Yes, Asia, XTC Members Unite In New All-Star ‘Prog Collective’
Former Yes guitarist Billy Sherwood is the producer mastermind behind the album, which is set for release on Aug. 14 by Purple Pyramid/ Cleopatra Records. He’s assembled an all-star cast including former Yes mate Chris Squire, former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Alan Parsons, John Wetton (Asia), Tony Levin (King Crimson/Peter Gabriel), Colin Moulding (XTC) and John Wesley (Porcupine Tree).
Sherwood spoke with Something Else recently to reveal how he managed to get the reclusive Moulding back into the recording studio: “When this thing came up, I sent him a message and said: ‘I’d love for you to be involved.’ He got back to me, and at first he was a little apprehensive. He said he wasn’t sure if he was right to sing this or not. I kept telling him: ‘Trust me, just give it shot.’ Eventually, he wrote me back and said: ‘I’m in it now, I’m digging it.’ By the time it was done, he was very happy.”
As far as his old Yes friend Squire, it just required some communication between the pair, who had fallen out of touch, somewhat. When they came back together, they stayed away from talk of the past.
“We just pretty much focused on what we were doing,” Sherwood says. “We didn’t have a lot of time. We mostly talked about personal stuff. He brought his wife and his daughter over, and my son was here. It was more like families getting together – and talking about what is important. We didn’t get too much into the band stuff.” In the end, Sherwood and Squire had a blast: “It’s always fun to work with Chris,” Sherwood says. “He’s a funny guy. We end up laughing more than working.”
Sherwood is particularly excited about ‘The Technical Divide’ (a prog-worthy title, if we’ve ever heard one), a song on the new album which features Parsons, Squire and Bruce Springsteen alum David Sancious. He describes ‘Technical’ as a track that ended up sounding like “the Beach Boys meets Pink Floyd – with a Yes twist, of course.”