When it comes to Progressive Rock Icons
they don't come much richer in history than
Jon Anderson. With a career that spans the decades, Anderson was there at the beginning and is still making
great music today. From his time as vocalist with Yes, to his solo efforts, to his work with Vangelis and more recently Rick Wakeman there is much that can be said. And yet Jon Anderson is a man of few words and not one to dwell on the past. For him it's about the future and as he sees it, the best is still to come. Here's a few words with Jon Anderson...
Jon Anderson: I am so
much better, it was a tough 2008 for me, and thanks to my wife Janee who saved my life...and some great doctors at Stanford Hospital
I'm in good health...and thankfully all is good...
JL: I’m always fascinated by the early days, when Yes came together. Playing clubs like the Marquee and so forth. Looking back on it now, does it seem as romantic to you as it does to people like me who never had to endure it?
JA: You have to start somewhere, I always felt great about singing with YES in the early days...I just believed
we had some cool musical ideas...I was learning to write and direct them in a new way of musical thinking...and fans were always traveling
to see us in the clubs...I was never dreaming of the 'big time' ...just happy to get gigs, and do a good show...
JL: What are
your fondest memories of that era?
JA: Getting to see Jimi Hendrix live..and being on tour with the WHO, and Small Faces with
Rod Stewart, and Joe Cocker, what a tour that was...
JL: You’ve had the opportunity to have a very fruitful solo career along
side Yes. What are the benefits of being a solo artist?
JA: The musical door is wide open; I'm able to work with musicians from
around the world, via the internet...do shows wherever I like...and work with whoever wants to work with me. I’m very 'open' about
JL: What about the challenges?
JA: None at all really, life is just amazing...no real worries.
are many critics who like to point to a band’s heyday (when they were most popular, or sold the most records) and say “that’s as good
as they’ll ever be” and everything else created since has not been as good or been on the decline. What are your thoughts on that?
I don't make music for Critics...Yes Music is wonderful....Yes was in great form on the last videos we did, one with the Young Polish
Symphony 'MasterWorks’ Tour. Amazing work... and the Magnification tour with the wonderful Roger Dean set..,,,..YES music has survived
for so many years and will continue to be enjoyed forever...despite what some critics think.
JL: I don’t ascribe to that theory
by the way. I thought that Magnification was some of Yes’s best work.
JA: I totally agree...we were very badly managed around
that time, and the record company went bankrupt...that's life!!
JA: I love 'Olias'...’Toltec’...'Three ships'...all of them
really have a place in my heart, I never released anything I didn't feel was important for my growth as an artist...I love my work
with Vangelis...and the great work is yet to come.
JL: You just finished up a tour with Rick Wakeman…how did that go?
A lot of fun to be together on stage...he's a funny dude and really wonderful musician on many levels...very spontaneous and so beautiful
JL: You and Rick have been “together” on and off for many years. Now that both of you are older, what’s it like working
with Rick today rather than in the past?
JA: I know we are good friends for starters...he just has a special place in my heart...so
these days...it's more to do with 'for the fun of life'
JL: Now you’re about to embark on another tour. Tell us about that?
I do love doing my solo show...it has developed over the years...it has a lot of classic Yes songs that I wrote, plus Vangelis songs...and
new ones of course...I also feel relaxed enough to tell stories about my life and the music I write...it's truly a wonderful time
JL: How do you deal with life on the road after all these years?
JA: Janee, my angel, and I drive almost everywhere,
with 2 guitars, a couple suitcases...and we feel like two teenagers on the road loving life...
JL: I’m guessing the reason you
still tour is because of the contact you make with fans, correct? But what are the things that still cause you aggravation on the
JA: It’s that need to please people and show them that you care, lift them up through songs...the only thing that's tough
JL: Is there time for a rest anywhere in the future?
JA: We have a month here and there to relax, but
I love being in my studio writing and learning music... and Janee is a beautiful artist in her own right, creating sculptures, painting
chairs and making enchanting ceramic birdies, and lots of other things... it’s very special art...I love cooking, so we are homebodies
JL: Lastly then, a desert island disc question…if you were “lost” on a desert island and could only have 5 discs
with you, what would be and why those ones?
JA: Jean Sibelius Symphonies...that's all I would need…