Interview with Alan White
Alan White has been a member of Yes since 1972 joining after the classic Close to the Edge album but just in time for Yessongs, prior to joining Yes he was the drummer in John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band appearing on three albums with the legendary ex-Beatle, some forty years on he still fills the same drum stool despite all the comings and goings throughout the years only Alan and Chris Squire have remained constant, On the eve of their world tour where they will play three classic albums in their entirety DPRP’s John Wenlock-Smith took time to speak with Alan White about these shows and future prospects for Yes
JWS: Good evening Alan thank you for making yourself available to talk to us
AW: My pleasure
JWS: I have some questions for you about the upcoming world tour
JWS: So Alan you shortly begin to tour playing three Classic albums back to back in the entirety can you tell me why these three albums
AW: Well John these three albums, the Yes Album, Close to the Edge and Going for the One represent three very significant stages of the band both musically, creatively and also in popularity and three time periods, in the seventies, 1970, 1972 and 1977 respectively
AW: Well Tales would be a show on its own, when that was released that’s what we did, we played in in its entirety and did Roundabout as an encore, so this time around no that wasn’t considered really, nor was 90125 either we wanted to concentrate on the “classic” albums that the fans like
JWS Which are the most challenging parts to play and why
AW: Well they are all pretty challenging but I’d say Awaken as there is a lot of orchestration on that, that we need to recreate on-stage and also Close to the Edge – that’s pretty intense too
JWS: What’s been the reaction so far
AW: Well we did a run of these shows last year and they went down a storm, we had a very mixed audience, some older folk but also a lot of younger people too(probably brainwashed by their parents) , but they all went out with a big smile on their faces and that’s what we want this time around too.
JWS: Do you have any plans to record these shows for posterity with either a live album CD or DVD /Blu-Ray for instance
AW: Absolutely, yes we intend to record the European leg somewhere, not sure where exactly as yet, maybe in England and yes it will be for a Live Album and DVD
JWS: I hope it’s in England
AW: Yeah it’s got to be in England
JWS: How are Geoff Downes and Jon Davidson (Yes’s latest Singer) settling into these shows and the band
AW: Well Geoff’s been with us before and he’s been back a couple of years so he knows the ropes and Jon is settling in fine, he’s a great musician a fabulous writer and has a great voice yes it’s all sounding really good – I think people are going to like this
JWS: How’s the tour going?
AW: Well we haven’t actually kicked off yet the first dates are in Vancouver on Victoria Island on the 18th March
JWS: Pretty close to you then
AW: Yes I can catch a boat from Seattle to Victoria Island, it takes about two hours and the boat goes at about 50 knots it’s a catamaran with aircraft style seating
JWS: So no chance to whale watch then
AW: Not really but it’s a great trip all the same
JWS: What expectations do you have for this tour Alan?
AW: Well really just to put on the best show we possibly can and to make sure that everyone leaves smiling – that would be terrific
JWS: What are you favourite parts and why
AW: Well I really enjoy the end part of Awaken as it’s very orchestral and anthemic and I like Turn of the Century, it’s not such a popular piece but I really enjoy playing that one
JWS: What are you playing for encores?
AW: Well we will always play Roundabout as people expect that one we dropped it on a couple of shows and everybody wanted it back (the audience that is) so we will have to do that and possibly Heart of the Sunrise
JWS: So what’s next for Yes after these shows?
AW: Well we’ve nearly finished the new album – just a few weeks off being done really
JWS: Is that another Roger Dean sleeve
AW: Yes Roger’s involved in this one too
JWS: Does it have a title yet or can’t you divulge that
AW: Well it has a working title but not a finished one as yet
JWS: That will be out what Mid-Year
AW: Yeah hopefully but I can tell you its sounding good like a classic Yes album
JWS: Well I look forward to hearing that later in the year then
AW: Anyway John It’s been good talking with you, I have to go as I’ve got to take Geoff to the studio to do some keyboard parts, we’re really looking forward to these shows especially in the UK Hopefully we will see you at one of them
JWS: Thanks for your time Alan it’s been great to speak to you about these too