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Steve Howe Says Don’t Hold Your Breath for Classic Yes Reunion

Steve Howe of Yes
Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images

Yes guitarist Steve Howe said fans shouldn’t put too much stock in the idea of a reunion with classic-era members, including Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, even though Anderson has confirmed he’ll perform with his former colleagues at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction later this week.

“Before we can take on board ideas, there has to be a good line of communication,” Howe said in a recent fan Q&A. “As far as I understand, ARW aren’t really interested, and we’re most probably not either. Now, that sounds like a big shutdown – but things aren’t always what they appear. Reinventing the Union tour is not a concept that anyone from either Yes or ARW have endorsed.”

Noting behind-the-scenes issues are often more complex than they appear, the guitarist said, “I think there’s ways that we can celebrate Yes’ 50th year, and most probably they want to as well. Those things aren’t easy – it’s not any one person that’s particularly making it difficult. But people can make it difficult. And then, it’s got to be done in the right spirit. I’d say don’t hold your breath.”

Yes formed in 1968, and currently consists of Howe, Jon Davison, Geoff Downes, Alan White and Billy Sherwood, while former members Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Wakeman are touring under their ARW banner. During the Union tour in 1991, many of the musicians most closely associated with the band performed together.

Howe added that a new album from the current lineup is more of a possibility, as the veteran prog outfit’s 50th anniversary approaches. Asked about a follow-up to the 2014 album Heaven & Earth – the last to feature late bassist Chris Squire – Howe said, “We like the fact that people anticipate and enjoy new music. I tried to slow down Heaven & Earth because I thought we could refine it. We’ve got to find material that we think is really worthy.”

He said that he and singer Davison will most likely write together in the future. “Yes albums are all about collaboration,” he pointed out. “The skill of the great record in the ‘70s was definitely that we arranged the hell out of something that was really quite innocent. I think that allowed the musicianship and the ideas to flow.”

Howe’s interests remain strongly planted in the ‘70s, with further classic-album tours to follow recent road trips that featured performances of early era LPs in their entirety.

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