I'm literally just one week away from flying off to America for part two of the YES tour and so I thought it was a good idea to apply myself to getting the newsletter written before I left, (and also before Mike Holden threatens me any more as regards cutting off bits of my body if it wasn't delivered very soon!)
It's really quite astonishing what can happen in the space of a just a few short few months, and amazingly enough there is almost too much to report in this issue, but we'll do our best to squeeze as much in as possible!
I suppose the best place to start is with the YES tour of America that finished a few weeks ago, especially as the second leg of the tour will probably be well under way just as you have started to settle down in your arm chair to read this newsletter!
I have been asked so many questions about the tour that I thought the best way of doing a report was simply to answer the most asked questions .... so here we go! (I haven't ducked out of any awkward ones either)! Sorry if we missed your particular query out, but I can assure you I have answered the most asked.
Q. Was there any bad feeling considering what has been written by the press and spoken about in the media in the past few years whilst you were away?
A. Absolutely none whatsoever. I have learned to take most of what I read about YES in the music press with a pinch of salt anyway. The average newspaper article regarding YES is more often than not less than 30% accurate, (unless of course it is a direct interview). The problem usually comes with editing any original piece in order to get it to fit onto the page. Here is an example of a fictitious interview and after editing, what eventually gets printed. We'll call the journalist Mr Enquirer!
Mr E: Hi Rick. What do you think of the YES material that you never played on? Do you mind playing some of it live?
Rick: I'm just like any other fan really. I like some pieces better than others. I don't mind playing music I haven't been involved with, in fact I've been doing that for years. Starship Trooper, Yours is no Disgrace, Your Move, I've Seen all Good People, Changes, Owner of a Lonely Heart, Magnification, Deeper the list goes on and on. Obviously if I could choose the set solely on my own then it would be a little different, but that's the same for all of us. At the end of the day we all love playing YES music.
And what gets printed?
Mr E: Hi Rick, What do you think of the YES material that you never played on? Do you mind playing any of it live?
Rick: I like some pieces better than others. If I had my way the set would definitely be different.
..... get the idea?!
Chat rooms are also a nightmare. It is well known that I would like to see them all banned, or at worst given a banner warning that the people within the chat room may well not be whom they claim to be. I have actually entered into a chat room and been stunned to find that I am already participating in it and also talking with Jon!!!!!!!! (who I know wasn't there at all either). There is no doubt that chat rooms single handedly set us back getting together by at least two years.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you don't read it on the official RWCC site, then it probably isn't true.
... now back to 'your' questions
As regards the relationships of band members with each other I can only say I have never known it better or more pumped up for what YES wants to achieve. Everybody was playing really well and the chemistry of this particular set of five people is quite extraordinary when it gets on stage.
Off stage it was not uncommon for any of us to spend time together socially and the overall feeling was one of excitement at what was happening. The six weeks went extraordinarily quickly and I am convinced if we had all been asked to add on a few extra weeks at the end we would all have agreed without exception. (As it happens that is sort of what is happening anyway with the second leg of the tour being added in America starting October 24th in Tampa, Florida and finishing either on the West Coast or Mexico City on the 8th of December.
Q. Will the second leg of the tour be the same music?
A. No. There will definitely be a few changes in the set as we are well aware that many people may be coming to see us again who saw the show during the first leg. We haven't decided exactly yet what new pieces will go in, but there will be at least a quarter to a third of the set that will change. There have been e-mails flying about between us all with some very interesting suggestions on board!!!
Q. Are YES coming to Britain?
A. Hopefully this coming summer. I know that the management are looking at YES possibly doing festivals this summer around Europe. Everybody wants to play Britain and Europe of course and I especially want to play Italy!!!!!
Q. How long will YES stay together as this line up?
A. I can't see an end date in sight to be honest as I see so much more that this band can and will achieve in the future. My personal problem is trying to fit everything else that I do in and around the YES schedule, but I am not organising anything unless there is a free confirmed gap within the YES itinerary.
Q. What about the New English Rock Ensemble?
A. That will continue, but we can only play live shows now when there are big enough gaps in the YES set up in order to put dates together. I am very concerned about where we will be able to play in the UK now as my new keyboard rig is much larger than the one I had before and certainly will not fit into many of the venues we have played in recently here.
Q. Will there be a new YES studio album?
A. I suspect we will be recording in the summertime, or early Autumn. Where? I really don't know. As everybody is scattered all over the world it could be anywhere!!! My choice? I really don't mind if the truth be known. I enjoy visiting and working in different places and as long as the studio is of the highest quality to produce what we know can be achieved musically, then that will be fine by me.
I have been pushing hard to get a live recording of the first leg released, plus some additional bonus material put onto a double CD and entitled 'The Set' (or something similar), for sale only at the shows this time around. This is because I am personally getting completely fed up with bootleggers. (There are 23 available bootlegs from the first leg of the YES tour as it is).
Bootlegs are a killer for any artist and band. It is now reckoned that more than 35% of all product sold is either counterfeit or bootleg which means that no money is returning to the artists in order to produce new material of the quality they would like. It's killing bands and killing music.
I believe that the only way to beat the bootleggers is to play them at their own game by releasing everything somehow yourself, at a value price and of the highest quality.
I have never understood the reason why if I made multiple copies of any other brand named goods, I would be arrested, taken to court and sent to prison and people who steal music don't. Bootleggers who sell their product are thieves and should be treated as such. (After they have been taken down a dark alley and kicked in their dangly bits first)!
In conclusion, there were some truly wonderful moments on the first leg of the tour, too numerous to mention. I was personally very genuinely moved by the kindness and wonderful receptions that I received personally wherever we performed. It was lovely to meet up with old friends and tour America once again. I was also stunned by the number of people who travelled from the UK just to see a show, I only hope they felt it was worth it!
Here's to a never-ending future.
The New English Rock Ensemble
The band is still very much alive and kicking even though it is in 'limbo'
so to speak. With OUT THERE finished and waiting for release and also with
Rick pretty busy YES schedule, there have been no concerts for some time,
but there are plans!
Here's how it works, (or should work), and what the tentative plans are.
We look at the YES schedule and fill in the gaps with other stuff!
Well it would be simple if we knew the YES schedule!!! To be fair, the YES management are constantly having to alter things around to fit in with new proposals for the band and so for us over here there is a lot of guess work involved.
Taking the above into consideration, here is the plan..... (but be prepared for it to change)!
In January it is hoped that some shows in America can be pulled together and during this tour there will be the launch of OUT THERE at NASA. (Let's face it, that's going to be fantastic to say the least)! There could well be a concert there too.
This tour will finish early February as YES are off touring in Indonesia, Australia and Japan and possibly other countries in South East Asia in February and March.
It then is possible that the New English Rock Ensemble will play some shows in Europe and hopefully the UK throughout April and May. It is then expected for YES to be doing festivals in Europe in July and August before going into the studio to record a new album.
I have high hopes that this can happen and that OUT THERE can get some of the exposure it deserves, as there really is some astonishing performances from some of the lads on this album.
It's never easy getting product released and promoted as we would really like, (this is mainly due to financial restraints), but we continue to do the best we can with the limited sources available to us.
Music Fusion and Hope Records are now administered by Classic Pictures at Shepperton and if they can repeat the success they have had with the DVD product with the CD releases then I will be a very happy man.
It had been hoped that OUT THERE would get a major label release, (certainly enough of them showed more than a passing interest), but when they know you are 'little' and don't have financial resources, then the deals they offer are paltry and not worth taking, and so rather than waste any more time, we have decided to go it alone once again and release OUT THERE through Music Fusion in January.
We also have a new distributor in the UK which may help matters and also an overseas partner for selling in as export CDs around the world. We will just have to hope this is successful and wait and see if this new set up works.
For OUT THERE to be 'lost' amongst the masses of releases would really upset me, but these days all you can really do is hope that something good can come of music that you really believe in.
CHRISTMAS VARIATIONS will be coming out on Hope Records in late November again and hopefully the new distributor will be able to do what the last one didn't...... i.e. get it into the shops! Once again we'll have to wait and see.
THE WIZARD AND THE FOREST OF ALL DREAMS should also appear in the shops on Music Fusion in November at the latest.
This particular album has been remixed numerous times and the problem for me has been that all the mixes sound really good and so it was just a matter of selecting my favourite!!! The next difficulty came because every other day I had a new favourite!!
Eventually I stuck with my initial choice and it's currently being pressed.
HUMMINGBIRD, (the joint album with myself and Dave Cousins), has received some excellent reviews and by all accounts is doing pretty well. Attempts were made for Dave and I to do some live performances together but at the moment there simply isn't enough time in my calendar. Maybe next year we will be able to squeeze in a few specials.
All the above product will be available on the shop website to purchase by mail order.
Finally, THE TREASURE CHEST is getting close to selling out as the limited edition so if you haven't already got yours, then log onto the Voiceprint website pretty quick! Reviews from all around have been really favourable and it looks very much like there will be a second edition of other 'lost gems' in 2004.
At the moment I have no plans to record anything new next year except with YES although to be honest a lot will depend on how the above releases do over the coming months.
Classic Pictures intend to release a DVD of OUT THERE around
April time to coincide with the intended tour of the New English Rock
Ensemble. This will be the first piece of DVD product that will not be
a live performance and so is a pretty exciting step forward in this
There are also plans afoot to re-edit and produce a package of DVDs from the Hope Vision catalogue of videos. This should be ready by Christmas 2003.
The current DVDs are now available in America through export and seem to be finding their way into quite a few outlets which is a promising sign. What isn't a promising sign are the incredible numbers of compilations that have suddenly appeared since I rejoined YES for which I receive not one penny!
Finally, we also have a lot of rare material that we are trying to get clearance on so there may well be a DVD Treasure Chest by the end of next year as well.
"No Earthly Connections"
Sounds like a reasonable heading for news involving those connected with our set up and we start with ADAM who has an album due for release very shortly entitled 'Neurasthenia', which he tells me is some form of nervous disorder! Anyway, ifs out in November on the ATT label and more information can be found if you log onto his website for more details.
Also be prepared for a shock when you see him out with me this Christmas. The hair has all but disappeared completely!
OLIVER continues to produce CDs almost as often as I do, (obviously in the genes), although I suspect things will quieten down on this front for a little while anyway as on September the 5th he married the beautiful Lisa in Devon and so now Rick awaits the patter of feet of tiny grandchildren. (I have sent books on 'how to do it' to both my married sons, although it appears from the replies I got back, that they already know)!
If you would like to know more about Oliver's current work, which includes the release in early 2003 of "Anam Cara' and also "Angels', which is part of a three CD set being released early next year on the Balance and Harmony label, then log onto his website at http://www.oliverwakeman.co.uk/
If you would like to see him perform live, (stop making up your own jokes!), then he will be at the Oakwood Centre in Rotherham on December 14th with Rachel and their band.
JEMMA continues to write and record more and more songs at Hatch Farm Studios in Surrey and is thoroughly enjoying life at the University of Surrey where she is studying art, (and the male students probably)!
OSCAR is still drumming, (with new cymbals thanks to Alan White), and BENJAMIN has just produced some electronic music in Switzerland for an American film due out very shortly
TONY FERNANDEZ, (the Greasy Wop), has now completed his move to Portugal, (a free transfer we understand), with his lovely lady Jackie and we all look forward to visiting him in the sunshine as well as getting him back every now and then to 'build a few sheds' on the drums with the New English Rock Ensemble and Ruthless Blues.
ANT GLYNNE recently made the trip back to England and has finished all his treatment in America. He will be returning to America to live and work and of course as soon as he is fit enough, with the band. I know ANT has been deeply moved by all the help and prayers that have gone out to him. There is still a long road ahead of him, but with his lovely Meg by his side and the support of so many friends known and unknown, things can only continue to move forward.
DAVE COLQUHOUN has also been in the wars, very badly in fact as he contacted meningitis! He is also now back on the road to recovery although he was really bad at one stage and we were all very worried for him. I spoke to him recently and he seemed to be getting over it all. I'm sure with his wife Jay by his side, (remember the beautiful jay from Bucks Fizz?); he'll soon be back to full fitness.
(It seems that the job of guitarist with the New English Rock Ensemble may have some sort of curse on it)!!!!!
In the meantime he will be at the Roadhouse in Covent Garden on October 26th with his lovely wife Jay Ashton and they also have an album that they recorded together which is called "Alive and Well' and due for release on Angel Air Records on February 10th and just to top that, they have also just announced that they are going to be mummy and daddy in nine months time, so congratulations all round!
if you want to know more then there are two websites for the Colquhoun Family.
LEE POMEROY and his lovely wife Ros have just announced that they are expecting their first child which is due in May. (Ros is actually the one expecting with Lee being responsible). For those of you who know that Lee plays his bass left handed and upside down, can only wonder at how the conception took place!
He's been working with Archive and The Tar Babies in concert over the last few months and Archive have an album out entitled "You All Look The Same To Me' Finally, for all you PlayStation 2 freaks, Lee played all the basses and guitars on Burnout 2.
STUART SAWNEY has been out working with AI Stewart and also Ray Davies and will of course be joining Rick in America with YES. IAN BARFOOT has been building radio stations and MALCOLM WELCH has been deplenishing the stocks of Indian food in Stoke. MIKE HOLDEN has been out with The Bees and ERIK JORDAN has been working solidly on the music recording of the follow up to Lord of The Rings.
ALINA BENCINI, (who, for those of you who aren't aware, has been my partner now for two years), has an exhibition of her painting on the Isle of Man during the first week of December. Details will be on her website very soon.
Her artwork is now appearing everywhere as regards my CD covers. The list now extends to The Wizard and the Forest of all Dreams, Out of the Blue, Hummingbird and next year, Out There.
DAMIAN WILSON has been out touring with 'Star One' in Europe as well as producing a new solo album entitled 'Live in Rehearsal', of which I had the pleasure of playing the piano on one of the tracks, (at least, I think it's that album!!!). It's available on his website which is http://www.damianwilson.com/
In-between all this work I expect he is about to become a father again. (A Damian speciality).
It is with much joy that I can announce that I am back on Countdown after an absence of more that two years.
Five shows were recorded in Leeds in early October for broadcast between the 28th of October and the 1st of December. New stories too!!!! I t was great to be back there and I had a truly wonderful day. I hope it will herald a few more invitations again in the future.
I also appeared on Banzai in a competition which involved me playing a left handed chromatic scale on a keyboard that was placed at a very unhelpful height for me to perform on! I recorded my bit on a rainy afternoon at the MTV studios back in September and then flew back to the Isle of Man for two days immediately afterwards!
There are sadly no new televisions on the horizon, which is a shame as Christmas Television is one of the areas I really used to look forward to. I have a new agency in London, (U.S.E), who are now looking after the television, radio and media area for me and I hope that they can perhaps revitalise this part of the business which has certainly gone downhill over the last two or three years from what it was back in it's heyday when I seemed to be doing a major television almost on a weekly basis.
So that's pretty much it until Christmas. There will be a Christmas Newsletter, which amongst other things will contain a full report of the second leg of the YES tour in America.
Before the Yes tour started back in July we were all asked to come up with possible names for the tour itself. The following list was put together with input from everybody, including myself), and I made comments after each one in capital letters... I was just about to delete the file when I thought it deserved a public airing in the newsletter, just for a bit of fun!!!!!!!!
Yes: The Original Tour - NOT BAD
High Vibration Tour - SOUNDS A BIT LIKE THE LOGO SHOULD BE A GIANT VIBRATOR
The Twenty Four Before Tour - BEFORE WHAT?
The Cold Summer Listening Tour - THE WEATHER'S MISERABLE AS IT IS
Sharp Distance 2002 - SOUNDS LIKE A CAMERA AD
Lost In The City 2002 Tour - SOUNDS LIKE WE'RE NOT GOING TO FIND THE VENUE
Back To The Edge Tour - AND THEN FALL OVER IT?
Down At The Edge Tour - SOUNDS LIKE WE'RE ALL BLOODY MISERABLE
Get Up Get Down 2002 - A CONDOM ADVERT?
Coins and Crosses - YAWN
The Dawn Of Light Tour - ANOTHER YAWN
The Leaves Of Green 2002 Tour - FOR AUTUMN NOT SUMMER
We Love When We Play Tour - SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD NAME FOR THE ARCHIES
Yes - Listen In Time 2002 - DOES THAT MEAN WE DON'T PLAY IN TIME
The Workings Of Man Tour - SPONSORED BY THE TEAMSTERS
The Master Of Images 2002 Tour - OH PLEASE!
The Rejoice 2002 Tour - CHURCH TOUR?
Release, Release 2002 - PRISON TOUR?
The Wings Of Freedom Tour - SOUNDS LIKE A WORLD WAR II FILM
The Silent Wings Of Yes 2002 - SOUNDS LIKE THE PA'S STOPPED WORKING
Togetherness 2002 - FOR THE GAY LIB MOVEMENT
The Giving Things Tour - LIKE THEIR MONEY BACK?
Yes - Footprints 2002 - YAWN
The Children Of Light Tour - WELL THEY CAN'T SEE IN THE DARK
Yes - Drive Tour 2002 - WELL I'M NOT WALKING TO THE SHOWS
The Dialogue Tour - IT HELPS TO TALK TO EACH OTHER
New Beginnings 2002 - AT OUR AGES?
Making The One 2002 Tour - OR EVEN THE OTHER ONE
The Affirmative 2002 Tour - PATHETIC
The Say Yes 2002 Tour - TO WHAT? SAFE SEX?
Resurrecting Oceans Tour - AND DROWN EVERYBODY?
Re-Evolution 2002 - YAWN
The Tour Of The Oceans 2002 - I CAN'T SWIM
Perpetual Change 2002 - NOW THIS IS ACTUALLY QUITE CLEVER AND PERTINENT
The Wondrous Tour - BACK TO THE CHURCH
Yes Know 2002 Tour - KEEP TAKING THE DRUGS
The Keys To Reunion 2002 - PATHETIC
Keys To Awakening 2002 - SO IS THIS
Tales From The Edge 2002 - SOUNDS LIKE MY DIVORCE
Yes - Going For The Edge - SOUNDS LIKE THE DIVORCE BEFORE THIS ONE
Yesshow 2002 - HOW ORIGINAL!
The Meeting Tour - LET'S ALL SHAKE HANDS ON STAGE
New Beginnings Tour 2002 - FOLLOWED BY OLD ENDINGS?
Turn Of The Century Tour 2002 - NOT BAD IF YOU TAKE THE 2002 AWAY
Fourth Dimension Dream Tour - GO BACK TO SLEEP
The Fathers Of Re-invention Tour - GRANDFATHERS?
Born Again Tour - BACK TO CHURCH
As Before Tour - BEFORE WHAT?
The More Things Change Tour - INCLUDING MY BOXER SHORTS
Reawaken The Future -