Chris Squire Of Yes: ‘I’d Be Happy To Work With Jimmy Page Again’
Yes bassist Chris Squire recently revealed some more details about the spectacular rock and roll near-miss experience that nearly resulted in a collaborative supergroup featuring members of Yes and Led Zeppelin.
On the heels of the disastrous Jon Anderson-less ‘Drama’ album and subsequent tour, Squire and fellow Yes member, drummer Alan White, found themselves jamming with Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. Musically, Page was at loose ends following the death of Zep drummer John Bonham and was searching for the appropriate entry point to get back into making music again.
Squire tells Prog Magazine that the trio were in the studio together in early 1981, working on prospective material with Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon. They laid down recording sketches for four songs, mostly written by Squire, with distant hope that Zeppelin singer Robert Plant might complete the circle and add vocals to the tracks.
It was a bit early for that however, as Plant wasn’t quite ready to get back into a band situation. As Squire relates, “Jimmy was hoping that Robert was going to come and join the party,” and even when that didn’t come to pass, the project had already served its purpose. Page, says Squire, “just wanted to get back into playing with some guys.”
“XYZ” was the working title for the collective, a nod to the trio of “ex” Yes and Zeppelin members. Two of the four songs they were working on eventually surfaced as Yes tracks. ‘Mind Drive’ landed on the ‘Keys To Ascension’ release while ‘Can You See’ got a new title, labeled as ‘Can You Imagine’ on the 2001 Yes album ‘Magnification.’
Squire says that he’s still in touch with Page and that the possibilities for collaboration remain loosely plausible. “Jimmy knows how much he enjoyed playing with us and if it’s something that he ever wanted to do again, it’s always on the table,” Squire continued. “I’d be happy to work with Jimmy again, but it’s not something I am thinking is going to happen necessarily.”
But isn’t it just maddening to consider the possibilities of what the above grouping might have sounded like?