‘Constant touring could spell the end for Yes,’ warns Jon Anderson

Yes lead singer Jon Anderson has reportedly warned the other members of the band that constant touring and “lack of passion” could spell the end of the group – unless they agree to take a break and work on new material.


Anderson says both he and Rick Wakeman – who quit the band for the fifth time earlier this year – were concerned about “over-touring”. In March, Wakeman stated on his web site that he felt Yes had done “far too many shows – especially in America” since 2002. He felt this had diminished the “specialness” of the band.


But the other members of the group insisted on going ahead with a 40th Anniversary tour, Closer To The Edge And Back, which begins in Ontario, Canada on November 4.


When Jon Anderson developed problems with asthma, guitarist Steve Howe and bassist Chris Squire decided not to delay the concerts until Anderson was well again. Instead, they recruited Benoit David – the lead singer in a Yes tribute band – as the frontman for the 26-date tour.


Anderson was far from happy the band didn’t consult him about the decision to hire a stand-in. He said he felt “disappointed and disrespected”.


Chris Squire recently attempted to smooth over the dispute by saying Anderson will return to the line-up in 2009 – if he recovers from his troubles with asthma. “If Jon is well again next year, he’ll be back,” said Squire.


Anderson himself says he hasn’t given up hope of getting better and returning to Yes. But he admits it is likely to be “some months” before he can do any shows.


In May, Anderson suffered a severe asthma attack which required a stay in hospital. Doctors diagnosed acute respiratory failure and cautioned him not to work for at least six months or risk further health complications.


“Like most people my age – I’m now 64 – the body goes through so many changes,” Anderson told ClassicRockForever.com. “I feel that my health has always been strong enough for the band…up until 2004.”


However, Anderson believes his time away from the band has given him a fresh perspective about the prog-rock giants’ future. He insists they have to stop touring.


“There have been too many tours, too much friction from outside of the band,” he said. “This has made it impossible to keep touring the way Yes truly should.


“With no new music, a lack of passion for the music and each other, and no real promotion of who Yes truly is, things just looked so bleak,” he said. “That’s why I suggested a break for six months, maybe do a progressive acoustic CD, and tour on a different style of touring, semi-acoustic, for a while, and do less shows per year… just for us to realise who we were. We were not communicating as a band.


“But sadly the others just wanted to keep going down that same touring spiral,” he added. “Hopefully we will get back together and perform in the coming years, I truly hope so. The fans deserve it, and so do we.”



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