'80s - Jon Anderson (2011)
‘Time and a Word: The Jon Anderson Story'
Much to the excitement of fans across the country, Music icon Jon Anderson, best known for his work with Yes, Vangelis, Kitaro and other notable music artists, as well as his innovative solo efforts, is preparing to tour the US in support of his forthcoming CD release 'Survival and Other Stories'.
Jon recently completed a successful European tour with former Yes member and keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman on the heels of their critically acclaimed debut album 'The Living Tree'.
The upcoming Spring tour “An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson” touts an exciting mixture of material from Jon Anderson's prolific solo career, collaborations with Vangelis and classic Yes songs, along with new compositions from his pending CD, and promises a magical and memorable evening of enchanting music for all who attend.
Most recently, Jon Anderson's vocals from the song "In High Places" featured on Mike Oldfield's 'Crises' album from 1983 (written by Anderson and Oldfield) are sampled on Kanye West's new track "Dark Fantasy" from his 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' CD, which has topped Billboard's chart as the #1 album in the country.
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Jon Anderson and discussed his time spent in Yes, his new solo album, his musical relationship with Rick Wakeman, and, of course, ... Penguins!
Taking it from the top and why did John Roy Anderson drop the 'h' to become Jon? "Not compicated. There is an old English saying that people from the North 'drop their H's' when they speak. So I did drop the H from my name."
And, do you still go by the nickname 'Napoleon'?! "No, that was in the early 70's, when I believed that music was everything ... 'still do' ... and Music didn't need to be a formular. So I fought hard to get the band to create 'more than the norm'. Music is still magic."
All the press on you has you termed as a Music Legend - how does that sit with you, and if uncomfortably, what words would you use to describe yourself? "I always say I'm a legend in my own spare time ... weeeeeee!"
With your new album about to come into the stores, why did you title it 'Survival and Other Stories'? Is there something in life you think you have survived, big enough that it warranted a major name check? "Nearly dying 3 times in 2008 was enough for me to know I was meant to survive. Thanks to Angel Janee, and the powers that be."
Is it true that some four years ago you simply put an ad on your website that stated: Musicians Wanted ... and 'Survival and Other Stories' is the end result? "This is the first installment of the power of that add. Much more to come. Endless stream of energy."
'Survival and Other Stories' seems to come with en mass of inspirational vibes - but, if you had to choose one message from it that was picked up on by your fans, what would it be? "Trust of the 'love' of all that is!"
Back in the Yes days your incredible alto tenor voice (which, funnily enough, some claim Michael Jackson had too) was the focal point of the band. These days, as none of us get any younger, my friend, are you finding it harder to live up to that very same register? "I'm singing better than ever, but I do sing a little lower keys. No more Helium for me!"
You recently released 'The Living Tree' with long time collaborator, Rick Wakeman. Whilst listening to it I couldn't help but reflect that it was very reminiscent of your work with Vangelis. A fair assessment? "Yes, Rick has the same 'open' musical energy. And on stage the songs got better and better. Rick is a master of the keyboards."
Your vocals from High Places are sampled on Kanye West's new track, Dark Fantasy, but was this something you had a say in? Are you a Kanye fan and what are your thoughts on sampling in general? "I love it and I'm happy for him. He has been through tough times and his production peeps are fabulous."
a) What kind of music do you wake up, turn on and start your day to? "Birds singing until I feed them."
b) Who is the most famous person stored in your cell phone? "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ... Divine Mother."
c) If you could meet anyone (within the entertainment industry) who has passed on, who would it be and what would be the first question you would ask them? "Michael Jackson ... you must be sooooooo happy now you have blessed the world with your energy."
d) What is your late at night food sweet treat guilty pleasure? "Craig Ferguson!"
Your upcoming 'An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson' Tour will be a mixture of material from your solo career, collaborations with Vangelis and classic Yes songs. But, with all that said, are there songs that you simply refuse to do on this tour from your past? "No ... I would sing anything I wrote or helped to write."
And with that in mind, you co-authored some mighty big Yes hits in the day - I've Seen All Good People, Roundabout and even Owner Of A Lonely Heart - so which one Yes song is you personal fav to still listen to today on the radio when it comes on ... and which one do you find yourself changing the channel on? "I love hearing them and realising they are sooooooooo good."
Being that both yourself and Chris Squire formed the band Yes back in 1968, for the record, where did the name Yes originate - and what other possible band names were circulating your thoughts at the time? "Peter Banks said YES, I said LIFE and Chris said WORLD."
Something I've always been curious about, and (again) for the record, why did you depart Yes in 1988 citing the band's "continued pursuit of major commercial success" as the reason? I mean, shouldn't that have been a good thing re: commercial success? "The problem with searching for a 'hit' [is] "it's not my world really." I just love creating great music. It's my way. So to chase the dream of a hit is a fools journey. To get one is great, but then 'Spinal Tap' says it all!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "I have one sitting in front of me now ... tiny dude ... very cute!"
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
“An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson” tour dates:
4/23/2011 - Somerville Theatre - Somerville, MA
4/26/2011 - Havana New Hope - New Hope, PA
4/28/2011 - Infinity Hall - Norfolk, CT
4/30/2011 - B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
5/02/2011 - Musikfest Cafe ArtsQuest Center at Steel Slacks - Bethlehem, PA
5/04/2011 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA
5/06/2011 - Princeton University - McCarter Theatre - Princeton, NJ
5/07/2011 - New Jersey Performing Arts Center - Victoria Theatre - Newark, NJ
5/09/2011 - Rams Head On Stage - Annapolis, MD
5/11/2011 - Rams Head On Stage - Annapolis, MD
5/13/2011 - The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performing Center - Plymouth, NH
5/15/2011 - Bates College Olin Arts Center - Concert Hall - Lewiston, ME
5/18/2011 - Tupelo Music Hall - Londonderry, NH
5/19/2011 - Tupelo Music Hall - Londonderry, NH
5/21/2011 - Woodstock Town Hall Theatre - Woodstock, VT
5/25/2011 - Ellsworth Grand Auditorium - Ellsworth , ME