Jon Anderson on Assembling His Dream Team (Including Former Yes Bandmates) for ‘1000 Hands’


The 'Ramalama' video premieres under.

"I've so many issues that I need to discover over the following 30 years," says Jon Anderson, with an enthusiasm infectious sufficient to warrant alerting the CDC. "I'm gonna go after I'm 103, I made a decision. I feel I'll be prepared," he laughs. He'll be 75 this 12 months, so his math is off a bit, however what spoilsport would need to corrupt the Yes frontman's microcosm of positivity with such prosaic issues?

The newest mission stoking Anderson's irrepressible pleasure is 1000 Hands, his first solo album since he began flying the Yes flag once more with outdated comrades Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin in 2016. But the document, out on March 31, really started almost three many years in the past.

"Twenty-eight years in the past I used to be up in Big Bear close to L.A. with some buddies," relates the prog godfather, "I had an eight-track recording system, and I began writing songs, and I actually loved them. Then for various causes — I really went on tour with Kitaro, and I had different issues occur over a interval of six months — we by no means actually acquired 'spherical to ending it. So I simply put the tapes in my storage. Not that I forgot about it, however life takes over once you least anticipate."

Today, Billboard is premiering the "Ramalama" video from 1000 Hands solely under.

The recordings, which included contributions from Yes rhythm part Chris Squire and Alan White, popped up once more a few years in the past when one of many manufacturing's unique buyers broached the thought of revisiting them. Anderson started working with producer Michael Franklin on ending the document eventually. Soon Franklin rocketed issues to a different degree by drafting a jaw-dropping assemblage of visitors.

Imagine Ian Anderson, Steve Howe, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Pat Travers, Zap Mama, Steve Morse, Rick Derringer, Larry Coryell and Tower of Power's horn part (to not point out Squire and White) showing collectively on one album. Then rouse your self out of your reverie, as a result of what would have appeared like a document geek's fever dream has turn into a actuality with 1000 Hands.

The album's regal roll name was assembled by a gloriously overachieving Franklin with some artists enlisted at Anderson's behest and a few on his personal initiative. "When he put these actually marvelous musicians on," rhapsodizes Anderson, "the entire thing type of opened up. You get one thing you possibly can by no means consider. I recommended Billy Cobham as a result of I keep in mind Billy with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and we grew to become buddies a few years in the past. I'm an enormous fan of Chick Corea like 1,000,000 different individuals. Ian Anderson, in fact, we began off collectively. Our first [Yes] tour in America was with Jethro Tull, and I realized a lot from Ian. And Jean-Luc Ponty, who I labored with a few years in the past [in the Anderson Ponty Band], is like one other musical brother from a unique mom."

When Corea, Ponty, Cobham and Coryell take part on the monitor "Come Up," the fusion giants combine their jazzy licks with Anderson's prog-rock sensibilities for an eight-and-a-half minute tour de pressure. Corea's sunshower of a piano solo opens the tune. "The man simply walks in and performs that," marvels Anderson unabashedly, "and my head simply went [imitates explosion] , wow. The identical with Billy…you've acquired a grasp of drums taking part in, and it simply opens it up. And then Jean-Luc Ponty performs within the center, and it simply makes it actually shine. Chick Corea, he simply got here in and performed, I don't suppose he knew something about [the track], he simply mentioned, 'Okay, run the tape,' and he simply performed. He's a pure maestro of the piano."

Steve Howe provides lyrical classical-guitar filigrees to the album's closing reduce, the fragile, acoustic ballad "Now and Again." The monitor marks the primary time Anderson and his former bandmate have recorded collectively because the nice schism that in the end resulted in two variations of Yes: Howe's band and the Anderson/Rabin/Wakeman mannequin. "It was very refreshing to sing with him once more," says Anderson. "We went by means of a lot collectively, we wrote quite a lot of nice music collectively." The singer is characteristically philosophical about his fractious relationship with the "different" Yes. "In life generally you're very shut with someone and generally you're not," he muses, "like a brother. Sometimes one another so effectively, you reside with one another musically, after which generally it's simply not working."

Despite his present spate of solo exercise, Anderson appears enthusiastic when queried about choosing up the Yes banner with Wakeman and Rabin once more sooner or later. "I feel so," he ventures. "Working with them was like rejuvenation. I'm 75 this 12 months and I preserve saying, 'Hey, you solely stay as soon as on this lifetime.' Yeah, greater than doubtless, possibly subsequent 12 months, the 12 months after. I've all the time mentioned it might be good to do a Yestival and get everyone collectively on stage, that's like a magic wand [required] to make that occur, however you by no means know on this life."

While Anderson has blown the minds of a number of generations with metaphysical lyrics encompassing all method of cosmic commentary, a few of 1000 Hands finds the veteran starship trooper processing each the non-public and the political into his worldview. On "Activate," Anderson repeatedly invokes the numbers of fictional propositions as a result of "I stored seeing these posters in individuals's gardens, 'Proposition 23, vote now,' proposition this, proposition that… so I began writing alongside the precept that Proposition 35-42 is to comprehend that the whole lot begins and ends with you, which may be very true. Because you may have your individual imaginative and prescient of the world, you're distinctive. We're all related in fact, as a result of all of us have a soul, and the soul is a really musical power. So 'Come Up' is about coming as much as your greater being, your greater self. We all attempt for that anyway… Then you have a look at the world stage and also you surprise, 'Why the hell can't grownup individuals be taught to grasp one another?'"

Of course, Anderson has been advocating Aquarian beliefs of peace, love and better consciousness since Yes began within the late '60s. But in 2019's sociopolitical panorama, his unflagging adherence to these values simply makes you need to give the man a hug. Remembering the much less ethereal beginnings of his journey in the direction of enlightenment, he confesses, "I went by means of the '60s possibly taking too many medication and eager to be a Beatle like 1,000,000 different singers. And then I had a type of awakening proper earlier than I went to London. Then I began the band with Chris [Squire]. I had a type of psychological awakening in Munich, and I began listening to a lot music, a type of door opened to the huge potential of music. I had so many concepts it used to drive everyone loopy. But we made some lovely music."

Today, the septuagenarian singer feels he's in "Exactly the identical place, it's weird, music is de facto timeless anyway. I nonetheless really feel the identical approach about my music, my lyrical content material in my head, about striving for a greater understanding of life and the spirituality of the world, related to the earth mom and the whole lot like that. I'm nonetheless there in the identical place actually."

Anderson should be dwelling proper, as a result of his ethereal Accrington tenor, which has impressed numerous prog disciples to overdose on helium in futile imitation, appears as unaffected by time as his religious sensibilities.

"Just typically waking up eager to sing helps," assesses Anderson of his ongoing vocal energy. "Keeping myself as match as I can. At the second I've acquired so many tasks within the combine, and that retains me youthful, as a result of I notice there's a lot to be finished. To me that's the good work, and that's what I'm investing my complete power into, in addition to my love for my household in fact — my kids and grandchildren and my spouse Jane. And these sorts of issues preserve the whole lot going."

Anderson, who did overcome some main well being issues affecting his voice a number of years in the past, readily admits fashionable science is a part of the equation as effectively. "When you get to my age," he says, "you get quite a lot of vitamin capsules. I've about eight within the morning, six within the afternoon."

Many can be glad to lounge comfortably atop their again catalog if it contained as many classics as Anderson's oeuvre, however after greater than 50 years of document making, he appears virtually pathologically compelled to maintain pushing ahead. "I all the time say — I do know it sounds loopy — all the good stuff is occurring now," he insists. "In my thoughts I've to suppose that, since you don't go right into a studio saying, 'Oh I'm gonna make an album, it's not gonna be half nearly as good as any album I've finished.' You've all the time gotta suppose you're gonna do one thing very spectacular now."

Tour Dates

three/29/2019 – Lynn, MA – Lynn Auditorium

three/31/2019 – Cleveland, OH – Hard Rock Rocksino

four/1/2019 – Annapolis, MD – Maryland Creative Arts Center

four/three/2019 – Ridgefield, CT – Ridgefield Playhouse

four/four/2019 – Englewood, NJ – Bergen PAC

four/6/2019 – Collingswood, NJ – Scottish Rite Auditorium

four/7/2019 – Derry, NH – Tupelo Music Hall

four/9/2019 – Reading, PA – Santander PAC

four/11/2019 – St. Charles, IL – Arcada Theatre

four/12/2019 – Waukegan, IL – Genesee Theatre

four/14/2019 – Munhall, PA – Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall

four/15/2019 – Wilkes-Barre, PA – F.M. Kirby Center

four/19/2019 – Milwaukee, WI – Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

four/20/2019 – St. Paul, MN – Fitzgerald Theatre

four/23/2019 – Tucson, AZ – Fox Tucson Theatre

four/24/2019 – San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

four/26/2019 – Beverly Hills, CA – Saban Theatre

four/27/2019 – Las Vegas, NV – Cannery Casino

four/30/2019 – Phoenix, AZ – Van Buren

5/6/2019 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium

5/eight/2019 – Clearwater, FL – Capitol Theatre

5/10/2019 – Orlando, FL – Dr. Phillips Center

5/11/2019 – Biloxi, MS – Beau Rivage Casino

5/12/2019 – Arlington, TX – Kaboo Dallas