Drummer ALAN WHITE Never Expected To Last This Long In YES - "Forty-Six Years Later I’m Sitting In The Same Spot!"
May 28, 2018, 8 months ago
In a new interview with Robert Cavuoto for MyGlobalMind.com, YES drummer Alan White talks about the band’s 50th Anniversary tour of North America, the unconventional way that he was asked to join YES, and the song selection process to celebrate the event. An excerpt follows:
Robert Cavuoto: Can you believe it’s been 50 years for YES and in the beginning did you ever think it would last this long?
Alan White: "Absolutely not, when I first joined the band, I really thought I’d give the band three months to see if I like it and then they can give me three months to see if I’m a good fit. Forty-six years later I’m sitting in the same spot!"
Robert Cavuoto: How did the band tell you that you were hired?
Alan White: "They actually threatened me if I didn’t join. [Laughing] Chris Squire had seen me play in my band and Jon knew of me as we had met a couple of times. Jon also really loved the work I had done with John Lennon. I was already versed in playing all time signatures because I had my own band in the countryside in England that played their kind of music like Zappa and funky stuff. They came to my flat in London and told me that they had all decided that they want me to join the band as I was the right guy for the job. They told me that if I didn’t join the band, Chris Squire, who is a pretty big guy was going to throw me out the third-floor story window! [Laughing] I had no choice but to join! I hadn’t had any rehearsal at all, and they said, “And by the way, you have to learn the entire new album in three days!” I was like “Thank you very much!” [Laughing] I took the bull by the horns and studied it immensely. The first gig was a little nerve-wracking for everybody, and by the time we got to the end of the show, we were sweating bullets. It took a few days, and by the fifth show I had everything down."
Robert Cavuoto: YES’s songs are not 3 ½ minutes long where you can pick 15-20 songs for a show, they are more expansive. How will you pick songs that properly cover and celebrate the five decades?
Alan White: "No they are not! [Laughing] There is the classic YES song that we have to add for the fans. We tried not playing “Roundabout” one time, and people complained like Hell, and we had to put it back in the set. “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Starship Trooper” have to be in the set the list can go on forever! People know these songs as they have been on the radio for so many years. We always like to put one anthem type song so “Close to the Edge” will be in there and we are finishing the show with “Awaken.” There are two or three long songs, and the rest are all classic stuff."
Robert Cavuoto: How long does it take YES to ramp up for a tour like this?
Alan White: "I’m leaving for rehearsal tomorrow, and the next show is a week later in Chicago. We will be rehearsing about six to eight hours a day for the next six days. It’s done in a studio setting where they test out the sound. When it comes to the full production, we rent out the first venue the day before the show to run through it."
Read the full interview at MyGlobalMind.com.
Catch the #YES50 summer tour in the following markets:
5 - St. Charles, IL - Arcada Theatre
6 - St. Charles, IL - Arcada Theatre
8 - New Buffalo, MI - Four Winds Casino Ballroom
10 - Kansas City, MO - Midland Theatre
11 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre
13 - Boise, ID - Century Link Arena
14 - Woodinville, WA - Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
16 - Bakersfield, CA - Spectrum Amphitheater
17 - Anaheim, CA - City National Grove of Anaheim
19 - Los Angeles, CA - Ford Theatre
20 - San Jose, CA - City National Civic
22 - Wendover, NV - Peppermill Casino Hall
23 - Laughlin, NV - Edgewater Hotel & Casino
24 - Temecula, CA - Pechanga Resort & Casino
28 - Interlochen, MI - Kresge Auditorium
29 - Grand Rapids, MI - 20 Monroe Live
30 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
2 - Cincinnati, OH - PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center
5 - Pittsburgh, PA - Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
6 - Jim Thorpe, PA - Penn's Peak
7 - Montclair, NJ - The Wellmont Theater
10 - Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre
11 - Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
13 - Mashantucket, CT - Foxwoods Casino
14 - Atlantic City, NJ - Tropicana Casino
15 - Staten Island, NY - St. George Theatre
17 - Peekskill, NY - Paramount Hudson Valley
18 - Westbury, NY - Theatre at Westbury
20 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore
21 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore
23 - Washington, DC - Warner Theatre
24 - Richmond, VA - Classic Amphitheatre
26 - Clearwater, FL - Capitol Theatre
27 - Orlando, FL - The Plaza Live
28 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Symphony Hall
On June 29th, Warner Music will release YES: The Steven Wilson Remixes, a five-album vinyl set featuring Steven Wilson's remixes of five classic YES studio albums: The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971), Close To The Edge (1972), the double album Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973) and Relayer (1974). Each album features remixed audio by Steven Wilson, released on vinyl for the first time, and artwork created specifically for the set by Roger Dean, with new cover art for Close To The Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans and reworked art by Dean for the remaining three covers.
(Band photo - Gottlieb Bros.)