The Technology Tell website has published a new interview with Yes' bassist Chris Squire. The interview was conducted by Howard Whitman and an excerpt is given below:
Whitman:You also have a new album coming out in July, Heaven and Earth?
Squire: We do. We’re actually still in the process of making it. We’ve pretty much, just before we left for this tour, finished all of the playing side of it—the chords and arrangements and vocals—so we’ve done all that. The mixing starts next week—next Monday.
Whitman:You’re working with (producer) Roy Thomas Baker on that?
Squire: We are, yeah.
Whitman:How has it been working with him as your producer?
Squire: Well, actually, so far, it’s been fine. You may not know that we had an album (that) we started with Roy in the 70s …
Whitman:That was the stuff right before Drama, right?
Squire: It was beforeDrama, yeah, and unfortunately (drummer) Alan White broke his ankle and we had to abandon the recording, because obviously he couldn’t play. So then it was good to get back together with Roy, and he’s definitely a character, and a pleasure to work with. And in the studio, it’s all been very pleasurable, actually. That vibe, I’m sure will be injected into the album, the way it feels. And like I said, it starts mixing on Monday and we’ll see how he does with that. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.
Whitman:I think he does! The last album, Fly From Here, incorporated some of the stuff that Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes had originally come to you with prior to joining Yes for the Drama album in 1980.
Whitman:I understand the new album is all new material, all stuff that’s been created recently, is that true?
Squire: That’s correct. It’s all brand new material. And of course it’s the first album where Jon Davison is making an appearance not only as a singer but also as a writer musically and a lyricist. So you’re getting another twist in the story of Yes, with yet another injection, a new injection of talent from Jon Davison, which I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with, because he’s very good at the writing side of things.
Whitman:What kind of feeling, influence would you say Jon Davison is bringing to the music as a writer and vocalist?
Squire: It’s hard to talk about it. It’s going to be obvious when the album comes out. People can hear what he does, but I’m very happy with his contribution and we’ve all worked together with Jon on the writing of this album, and I’m pretty happy with the results, I have to say.
Whitman: I can’t wait to hear it. You actually had more lead vocal presence on Fly From Here. Are you going to be doing some of that on this one?
Squire: I’ve not particularly done that. There are some ideas of mine, there’s a little bit of it, but not much. The main focus is in bringing Jon into the band as the new singer and presenting him as such. That’s pretty much how we’ve approached this record.
Whitman:Any long pieces on this record? Any epics?
Squire: There are some very Yes stylistic longer-form pieces. Nothing that’s more than 10 minutes, I have to say. About three tracks are long-form, classic Yes-style arrangements, as well as some shorter songs. I want to say the emphasis has been on the quality of the actual songs on this album, and we seem to have pulled that off quite well.
Whitman:I’m sure you have. Now, with the touring, it seems like your current pattern is to be doing albums in their entirety, from start to finish, which your fans are loving, myself included. Do you foresee doing different albums down the road, maybe even touching upon Drama or Tales From Topographic Oceans, something very ambitious like that?
Squire: Ah, I don’t think Topographic Oceans, because I think there are about three people who would actually be coming to the show.
Whitman:Well, some of your fans really like that album … there are many who consider it a favorite.
Squire: I know. I’m being sarcastic … but it definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, that’s for sure, and of course you’re talking about to do an undertaking like that … we did do it back in the day when we finished the album. But that’s a good hour and a half worth of music there, and to eat it all at once, in one sitting, is a bit of a mouthful. And so we probably won’t be singing that. But there has been talk of doing other albums, and Drama was mentioned as one of them. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s sort of more secondary to presenting the new material this summer. That’s really my main focus, is to be able to do as much of Heaven and Earth as possible on the tour. And we’re all looking towards that as a goal, I think.
Whitman:Great! So how much of the new album do you think you’re going to be doing?
Squire: As much as possible. We’re still working out our show and the amount of time we’re going to be playing. As much as possible is the best answer I can give you right now.
Whitman:I think your fans are open to new material, and hearing something fresh, right?
Squire: Yeah, I think so. It definitely keeps it more interesting for us, to have new challenges and pull off new music, so I’m pretty sure that carries through to the audience as well.
Whitman:Absolutely. I was at the 2013 Yestival at the Susquehanna Center. It was a fantastic day. It seemed like a success—a packed house, and very well-received. At the time you mentioned that you were considering doing that as a touring model. Is there any chance of that happening?
Squire: Well, yeah, I think what we decided was that it requires the correct bill, and we were looking at trying to put that together for this year, but I guess some of the other acts that we wanted to be involved in it had prior commitments so we weren’t really able to put that together. So we decided that this summer was definitely going to be a time to concentrate on promoting the new album and, as you know, the complete albums situation as well. So that’s what we’re really going to be focusing on (for) this upcoming summer tour, but maybe the following year you might see something more spectacular like Yestival in a lot more towns.
Whitman:Great. It would be wonderful to see that again. … And you’re also doing the Cruise to the Edge again?
Whitman:Do you see the cruise being an annual event? Are you going to try to do that every year?
Squire: We’ve been approached to see if we’re interested in doing it next year. We haven’t really given a definitive answer on it yet. I think we’re probably waiting to see how we feel after this one. The first one was all a bit new to us. It seemed to go well, but I think we’ll have a better idea after this time around.
Whitman:I recently interviewed Graeme Edge from The Moody Blues, and they’re with the same company you’re with for your cruise to do their Moody Blues Cruise. I asked him this question, which I’ll ask you as well: How do you deal with being on a boat with your fans for a week? I’ll tell you that his answer was, “You stay in your room.”
Squire: I think you have to devote one evening to a night at the bar. But probably, I’m sure, just the one. Those cruises, it’s kind of like a free-flowing alcohol event, you’ve got to pace yourself. And of course, there are going to be some people you wish you weren’t directly interacting with sometimes. But generally, I think we’ll probably just keep to ourselves. They have a private area (on the ship) and that’s what we’ll be doing.
Whitman:They probably did, true. Now, a little while back, you did a wonderful side project with (former Genesis guitarist) Steve Hackett under the name of Squackett. I realize you’re very focused on Yes now with the tour and the new album, but is there any chance we’ll see Squackett II at some point?
Squire: A very good chance. We’d love to do that, I’m sure. We’ve both been real busy—he’s been out there with his Genesis Revisited project and I think he told me he was working on a new solo album as well. And of course, we’ll be seeing him on the cruise. I’ll be talking with him then, and then I’ll be over in England so we’ll probably get together and discuss the possibility of another Squackett project. I’m not quite sure what the window time-wise for that is going to be.
Whitman:Sure. You’re busy men. Also, is there is a possibility you might work with (former Yes member) Billy Sherwood again?
Squire: Billy and I have actually toyed with a couple of things recently and I’ve worked on a couple of things for his projects—he makes albums all the time. And we talked about the possibility of even another Conspiracy thing. It’s just really having the time to be able to fit all this stuff in and still have a family life as well. So I can’t put any dates on anything yet.