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“Going for the one!”
Yes is an immensely significant and universally recognized Progressive rock band that formed in London in 1968 after an unsuccessful career as a word in the English Dictionary. This relatively unknown incarnation of Yes failed because such a word is entirely unnecessary, and was seen by many as over-the-top and self indulgent. Yes music relies heavily on the use of dynamic and harmonic variation, and often incorporates time signatures that are yet to be mathematically proved. The band are also known for their extended song lengths, incomprehensible lyrics and general showing off. Their unique style of blending symphonic/classical structures with their own brand of cacophonous musical tomfoolery has been described by many as over-the-top and self indulgent. Despite daily lineup changes, warfare within the group and the ever-changing trends in popular music, the band has continued on for over forty years and still retains a
Since the release of Corporal Salt and the invention of progressive rock, being popular was seen as unfashionable. A new generation of musicians, under strict orders from Lucy in the Sky, began creating very aurally demanding music, which was for some reason described as progressive. Yes was no exception. In 1968, Jon Anderson (Vocalist, washboard player, whale-poacher and part-time midget) met Chris Squire (a tall guy who had been expelled from school for having too much hair) in an underground London khatru, and the pair soon discovered they shared an interest in psychedelic noodling. A band was then formed, with the addition of Peter Kay (a young pianist with a phobia of the Mellotron), Bill Bruford (a man with completely unsynchronised perceptions of rhythm, making jazz drumming the only realistic career choice), and a remarkably unimportant guitarist. At one point, Bruford left Yes to go to college and was replaced by Tony O'Riley. When the O'Riley Factor was not working for the band's sound, they replaced him with Ian Wallace. Bruford, who had been told by professors that his coursework was abysmal and that he would have much better luck in Earthworks, returned to Yes and replaced Ian Wallace.
The early days in the studio were tough times for Yes. After 8 months spent trying to write music, Jon Anderson realised he didn’t have a pen. As a result of this, a method of recording was developed called “Sound Chasing” where the five members (except for Bill Bruford who didn’t have a sound chasing warrant because he wasn’t a musician) would run around the studio chasing after the reverberations of whoever was recording next door and try to capture the sounds in a bucket. Of course this didn’t work; they were using the wrong kind of bucket. Jimmy Page on the other hand, had a particularly good bucket and was able to build an entire career out of other people’s songs.
1. Beyond And Before / 2. I See You / 3. Yesterday
all my troubles seemed so far away And Today / 4. Sleeping Around / 5. Harold Land / 6. Every Little Thing she does is magic / 7. Sweetener / 8. Survival
In 1969 Yes released Yes. The imaginatively titled debut was a huge success for the band, compared to previous albums. This album fails to capture what is now recognised as the classic Yes sound, but fans of the band (many of whom have hearing difficulties) insist that this early period is often overlooked amongst Yes’s later efforts, especially as the running time of the entire album is shorter than the average later Yes song. Peter Kay refused to play anything but his Hammond C3 organ during these early stages because of his alleged fear of other keyboard instruments, (known formally as Claviphobia), however this is possibly an excuse for the production budgets the band were given at the time, which only allowed for one keyboard.
WIME And A Turd
1. No Rhythm Necessary, No Drummer Needed / 2. Then / 3. Everydays / 4. Wet Dreams / 5. The Prophet / 6. Clear Days / 7. Astral Traveller / 8. Wime And A Turd
Soon afterwards, the orchestral Time And A Word was released, with a similar reception. The song "The Phrophet" foretold that that, in the 1980s, there would be War in Jon's homeland of Middle Earth and that he would be inspired by a turd. (As it would turn out, the prophecy was slightly off; War in Middle Earth ended up being a real-time strategy game, and Jon was inspired by three turds to make his Christmas album 3 Shits.) "That guitarist" was present during these sessions, although the addition of an orchestra created tensions, as they were stealing all of his parts. Aggravated, the guitarist decided enough was enough, and began throwing khatrus at the other band members. Anderson eventually made the effort to learn the guitarist’s name so he could fire him formally: Tony Banks was promptly kicked out of Yes, and went on to pursue a career in the Police force. He was then fired by Sting for having no talent. This wasn’t an issue when he was later approached by Genesis, and became their keyboard player.
The Classic Yes Period
Upon entering the 70s, Yes were confronted by Atlantic and told to come up with an album that a) did not cost the record company thousands of pounds in plagiarism repayments, and b) had some accessible material on it. If they didn’t, Atlantic would hire terrorists to assassinate each member of the band using their respective instrument. Having taken this on board, the band hired Steve Howe (who had just retired from being The Messiah) as their guitarist. He could not decide if he wanted to play Jazz, Rock or Classical music, and he could not choose between lead and rhythm guitar, so he decided to play them all at once. The world famous Howe sacrificed his popularity to join Yes, and together the new line-up began to create some very accessible 10- 25-minute songs. Since Yes wanted people to forget about Banks, Howe agreed to appear on the U.S. cover of WIME And A Turd and in the promo videos for the album. This caused fans to believe that Howe was the first (and, at that time, only) Yes guitarist.
Steve Howe’s arrival led to a new Yes sound, whilst his ability to clap jeopardised Bill Bruford’s position as occasional drum hitter. Furthermore, his tendency on stage to lapse into 5 hour guitar solos gave the other members a welcome break. Jon in particular harnessed this free time by meditating back stage, and achieved enlightenment every night. After an entire tour of this however, he claimed to be so bored with it that he went away and wrote some lyrics warning Buddhists that it “just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be”. These musings would resurface in the song "By the Border." At the Lyceum Theatre, Steve Howe lost his shit when Jon mispronounced his solo as "The Clap" instead of "Crap."
The Yes Albatross
1. Yours Has Been Replaced / 2. Crap / 3. Storm Trooper / 4. Obscene All Good People / 5. A Venture / 6. Perpetual Line-up Change
The Yes Albatross was regarded as the band’s first step into the world of all things progressive (not only music, but also progressive stage shows, progressive album art, and progressive hair); Eddy Offord (née Afford; he could no longer afford much), who had only engineered on WIME And A Turd, was promoted to producer when he produced new sounds for Yes to use. Their tour with Iron Butterfly (during which they stole the band's equipment after it broke up) was followed by their first American tour, during which they shared the bill with Jethro Tull (a band led by Jon's flautist brother Ian Anderson). The album had become well-known for chronicling Yes’s first extended song- "Yours Has Been Replaced," which was dedicated to all the past (and future) Yes members who would be bullied out of the band. Peter Kay did not twig until halfway through a live performance of the song that he was their next intended victim. Mid-song, he clambered out of his keyboard corner, tried and failed to insert Squire’s bass into Squire, and ran out of the fire escape in search of a Mellotron-free life. He then resided in Siberia, unaware that the Khatrus were (and still are) plotting his assassination.
1. Roundabout / 2. Cans and Bums / 3. We Have High-pitched Vocal Hell / 4. East Edge Of The Earth / 5. 35 Seconds Of Nonsense / 6. Long Distance Runaround / 7. The Fish / 8. Moody For A Day / 9.
Set the controls for the Heart Of The Sunrise
After the departure of Peter Kay, Jon Anderson vacationed on Mars, the birthplace of J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of Jon's homeland Middle-earth. There, he met the can-collecting bum keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, who had been searching for life on Mars with David Bowie. Wakeman listened to Anderson's anecdote about the time that he had met Tolkien on Mars. Squire, who had gained a reputation as the one who was always late to rehearsal called Wakeman late at night around 2:45 A.M. (a few hours before the keyboardist had to wake up at 6 A.M. for a jingle session) and asked if he wanted to join Yes and become a vegetarian. He told Squire that he was sick of eating strawberries and hung up, so manager Brian Lane called him later and bribed him with money. Wakeman then joined Yes and provided some unnecessarily fast keyboard runs and unnecessarily blonde hair. Unfortunately Wakeman suffers from “I Must Play as Many Different Keyboard Instruments as is Physically Possible during This Song” disorder, the exact opposite of what Peter Kay had. This further defined the Yes sound, which was now more progressive than evolution itself.
A shortage of prog material led to the decision that each band member should contribute a solo piece to Easily Broken. The prospect of five songs that would theoretically be only 1/5th as progressive as the other pieces on the album was promising for the record company, but it appeared that the band had gone from one extreme to another (Bill Bruford’s "35 Seconds Of Nonsense" has been known to provoke seizures amongst listeners, even those who actually LIKE progressive music).
In late 1971, Easily Broken, (aka: the one with that song on it that some people have actually heard of, but not very many, and even they can’t remember what it’s called). This album contained some of Yes’s most well known works. It featured the song "Roundabout," which was the band’s second radio hit (the first had resulted in a broken radio). The high amount of sales was due to the fact that people kept buying the LP again after it broke each time that they tried listening to it.
By the Border
1. By the Border / 2. And Me And I / 3. Siberian Cat Food
After another tour and a month or five in the studio chasing sounds, Yes unveiled their masterpiece, By the Border. This album famously took a long time to release because of creative differences within the band. Jon Anderson had written some lyrics about Siddhartha’s struggle against enlightenment and his doubt that there would be mutant enemies (despite Yes members themselves being mutants and threats to society), but when he asked the other band members to contribute music, none of them were particularly interested. Steve Howe was busy interviewing a goldfish for inspiration (see Stories From Geographic Seas), whilst Chris Squire, the only other fish and creative force in the band, had gone on holiday to Siberia (where he inadvertently killed an entire population of khatrus by playing his bass well). Wakeman and Bruford spent most of the sessions eating curries and discussing the meaning of life, which made them both very depressed. This led to the departure of Bill Bruford, who was far too pessimistic to be in a band called Yes. His sights were set on replacing Ian Wallace again for the King Crimson Underpants album Lark's Tongue's An Ass Pick. He would later reunite with Banks during a tour with Genesis. Bruford was replaced by drummer Alan White and has since written an autobiography, which is filled entirely with witty comments regarding his awful time in the band.
“Five percent for nothing...”
Meanwhile, Anderson completed all of the music for By The Border by recording the sounds made in the forest of Lothlórien, his place of birth. This resulted in a challenging album, but one which was ultimately praised by fans of Prog Rock for its innovation and originality. The lyrical additions made by the popular Star Wars character Yoda were particularly well-received, allowing listeners to finally make sense of Anderson's complex wordings.
“The space bar broke”
The Ultra Progressive Era
Stories From Geographic Seas
1. The Revealing Science Of Cod / 2. The Remembering Capacity Of Goldfish / 3. The Ancient: Giants Under The Surface / 4. Ritual (Nous sommes a la poisson)
Whilst working on Yessongs, Jon Anderson read the book Autobiography of a Yoda, and during one evening of the tour, he created an hour and twenty minutes of lyrical prog heaven. The four ambitious pieces featured on the double album, each one lasting longer than a papal election, contain some of the most controversial lyrics in the history of everything. After limited success interrogating the goldfish, Steve Howe decided to add music, completing the mega-project. Each 20 minute suite was based on a different fish-related spritual path.
The album has been criticised as an example of the worst excesses of prog rock. Though Howe and Squire wanted to recorded in the city, Anderson and Wakeman preferred the countryside (Anderson was worried about getting lost in the city again). White had no preference, probably due to his lack of personality. They went to Morgan Studios and tricked Jon into believing that they were in the countryside by adding haystacks, white picket fences, a small barn, and a model cow with electronic udders (the latter of which would inspire the lyric "electric freedom" for the Three-layer song "Sound Chasers"). The hay caused Wakeman's keyboards and long golden hair to be infested with lice. It is believed that this is one reason that he did not enjoy making the album. Drastic measures were taken to ensure that the creation process was of maximum quality; no musical stone was left untouched. For example, the entire studio was at one point completely submerged underwater at a monumental cost, to allow the band members more breathing space. Wakeman would often find excuses for not being at the sessions, saying that he was recording on the Black Sabbath album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath next door (Wakeman was really just eating strawberries). In an attempt to counter Rick Wakeman's decreasing enthusiasm for the project, Anderson ordered for the construction of an en-suite brewery, which itself only lured the keyboard player back in for enough time to complete the first song. The rest of the album was recorded in a bathroom, in which Squire spent all of his time swimming in the bath tub. The album was known under the working title “Marmite”.
“Marmite is one of those foods that everybody either loves or hates, but in reality most people hate it. Our album was like that.”
“I fucking hated it.”
“It does go on a bit.”
“Dawn of light lying between a silence and sold sources, Chased amid fusions of wonder, in moments hardly seen forgotten...”
“We must have wasted all our lives on this moment.”
The album was pre-ordered in bulk, a move that was regretted later by both casual and hard-core fans. Being predominantly made up of land-based mammals, Yes listeners were unable to connect with the amphibiously-themed material. But Stories From Geographic Seas had reached number one on the album spot before such issues were realised, resulting in a further stream of rock excess, this time financially. Not only were Yes on the verge of bankrupcy after consuming all the Earth's oil resources for their gargantuanly-proportioned plastic stage scenery, but they had also succeeded in draining the entire Atlantic ocean of fish for their portable stage-aquariums and indulgent dietary habits. Roger Dean's sleeve design was criticized for being geographically incorrect; the cover depicted Brimham Rocks, the last rocks at Land's End, the Logan Rock at Treen, single stones from Avebury and Stonehenge, the Mayan temple at Chichen Itza, and markings from the plains of Nazca.
During the tour of Geographic Seas, "The Remembering Capacity of a Goldfish" (a song during which Jon would express his craving for three-layer cake) was dropped from the setlist because the band could remember no more than three seconds of the song. After doing a live reading of Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Rick Wakeman was discovered eating a chicken tikka masala and downing pints of beer halfway through The Revealing Science Of Cod, a strictly fish-orientated song. The other band members were highly offended by this blasphemous act, especially as it ruined the atmosphere of Howe’s spiritual cod-summoning guitar solo. Wakeman was promptly fired, and the rest of the band finished the song.
1. The War Against No [inc. Sued] / 2. Sound Chasers / 3. To Be No-ver
Following another successful tour and with Swiss keyboard-slapper Patrick Moraz on board, Yes set to work on Three-layer, an album themed around war, sound chasing and war. Though fans would assume that the title referred to a style of architecture depicted by Roger Dean on the sleeve design, it actually referred to a type of cake. Communication with Moraz was difficult because, through choice, he only spoke Swiss and Chinese Mandarin, causing him to misunderstand the album title as a demand for him to stack three layers of keyboards. Yes masterwork The War Against No chronicles the ongoing battle that waged between Yes and their arch nemesis No, a hugely successful and talented pop-group from a parallel universe. This band were memorable for their short, accessible songs, simple lyrics, and nobody ever getting fired. In contrast, this new Yes song lasted longer than the entire holocaust and can be distinctly split into three main sections. Part 1 is the prelude, and describes the opposing Yes and No forces gearing up for war. Part 2, the instrumental battle section, is the most hectic piece of music in existence (other than Manic Monday which is just wild). This section is in fact, so excruciatingly grotesque and full of gore, that 11 individuals have actually died of repulse listening to it, including one man who played it at full volume and simply exploded. Part 3, Sued, was released as a single to promote Yes winning the completely metaphorical war and suing No for plagiarism. When the album was finished, engineer/producer Eddy Offord was fired by the vegetarian band for eating a ham and cheese sandwich.
Following the release of Three-layer, the five Yes members temporarily went their separate ways to release solo albums. To fill the gap between Yes albums, they released the deceptively titled Recorded Yesterday, on which Roger Dean
butchered reimagined the sleeve design for WIME And A Turd. Though fans believed that the songs were new and recent, the album was actually a compilation of songs from the first two albums that had been forgotten, as well as a Simon & Garfunkel track. The most popular of the solo albums was Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water, which featured actors from the "fish out of water" show The Beverly Hillbillies. The least popular was Alan White's Ramshackled, which put listeners in a state of severe despair. Each solo album was a concept album about one member's hatred for another (conincidentally, four of these were aimed at Jon Anderson, who released Elias of Sunhillow to ruin Jonathan Elias' 20th birthday before realizing that he was not yet a member). Steve Howe yearned for his beginnings, which had not included the other members. This career move resulted in rumours of a band break-up, forcing the group to tour together with an understandably awkward set list featuring the respective rants of each member. Soon afterwards, Patrick Moraz (who had titled his solo album I since it was the only English word that he knew) began to feel isolated due to the persistant language barrier between him and his bandmates, to the point where he could no longer control his hairstyle. Keen to replace the unreliable keyboard player, Anderson contacted Vangelis, but was even more dissapointed when the greek keyboard player turned him down (due to conflicts with Yes touring dates and his strict weight-loss programme). Then, in a strike of luck, Rick Wakeman made himself available once more...
to the Centre of the Earth
Going For The Bum
1. Going For The Bum / 2. Turn Off The Century / 3. Parachutes / 4. Blunderous Stories / 5. A Bacon
Nordic god of thunder Rick Wakeman (who frequently visited his hammersmith) was now a bum again after wasting money drinking so much that he felt no earthly connection and ice-skating with Monty Python's Graham Chapman, who was dressed as King Arthur. These actions were added to Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record. Wakeman recorded the soundtrack for White Rock, a documentary about Alan White playing drums as he competed in the Winter 1976 Olympics in Austria. Afterward, the two of them grew closer, turning into saxophone player Alan Wakeman and appearing on Soft Machine album Softs briefly. After Rick kindly removed Patrick Moraz from the picture (making him look like Swiss cheese in the process), the Yes vegetarians tempted him back into the band with a bacon, cans, curries, unlimited drugs, and progressive hookers. To his surprise, Brian Lane had already told Melody Maker that he was back in the band. Anderson also apologized to Wakeman about Stories From Geographic Seas, saying that the verses he sang did not add much weight to the blunderous Stories in his head ("Going For The Bum" would include this as a punchline).
They then parachuted into Switzerland to dodge taxes, record a new album, and stomp on Moraz's grave. These sessions were famously tough on the band, who worked so hard that they only managed to fit in 7 hours of skiing each day. Steve Howe, in particular, felt uneasy about Wakeman's return and turned to transcendental meditation for stress relief. The music on Going For The Bum was as excessive as before though, with a real church organ being used on the epic track "A Bacon." This was sent down a phone line back to the studio, but Anderson said that the quality was terrible. The Swiss Government were so offended that the entire country’s phone lines were uprooted (thus turning off the 20th century momentarily) and subsequently improved. The enormous cost of this venture was then confirmed unnecessary when Anderson revealed he was actually talking about the quality of Wakeman’s keyboard playing, not the quality of the phone line. Though Roger Dean had had experience painting buttocks on Recorded Yesterday, Yes were hypnotized by manager Brian Lane to fire Dean and hire a generic art design group to save money.
“This is the same guy that wrote fucking Stories From Geographic Seas! How he can criticize my "blindfolded key-spanking technique" I do not know.”
What followed was a series of unimportant Yes recordings that nobody knows a lot about.
1. Future Albums/Reconsider / 2. Don't Kill The Whale / 3. Madrigal (Not The Rush Song) / 4. (Don't) Release, (Don't) Release / 5. Incoming Flying Saucer / 6. Circus Of Hell / 7. One Word [Yes] / 8. On The Non-Noisy Wings Of Freedom
Poortato began the slow path of commercial decline for Yes, selling poorly because of a new wave of punk and disco bands such as Punk Floyd and Led Synthesizer, who were beginning to dominate the music scene. Yes wanted to cover "Money" on their new album to attract Punk Floyd fans, but they could not afford to pay royalties. The working title for the album had been Yes Poor, until Wakeman threw a potato at the album cover. It is believed that the headless man with bits of potato on him was the inspiration for the Toy Story character Mr. Potatohead. Though bits of the potato stuck to the album cover, the remainder of the potato became the logo for Uncyclopedia. The single Don’t Kill The Whale (later renamed "Don’t Kill Any Sea-dwelling mammals" due to legal threats) was Yes’s attempt to show people that they cared about the environment and become more popular with the public, who still thought Yes was just a word in the dictionary. The song was inspired by Squire's attempt to kill whales by using too much bath tub water. The other tracks were unmemorable, however. "Circus of Hell" is best forgotten since it features Jon's creepy son Damion "The Omen" Thorn Anderson. Songwriting disputes had become more frequent and very little worthy material ended up on the record, which was dominated by keyboards such as the unreliable birotron and the untrustworthy polymoog.
Approximately 3 people listened to Poortato upon its release. And it is generally believed that two of these people were Atlantic record executives (who were locked in a room with a whale and forced to listen to it on loop for a year). Few people attended the shows at which Yes performed on a spinning three-layer cake, and those who did attend were only there for the cake. Such a small audience led to the resignation of Rick Wakeman, again, but this departure was one of many that
year week, so nobody thought much of it. What shocked the band more, was Jon Anderson himself deciding to leave; creating a massive gap in the Yes sound, and a subsequently larger gap in the Yes bank account.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, and replacement members were soon found, next door.
Welcome to the Machine Messiah / 2. White Car / 3. Does It Really Stand For That? [Yes] / 4. Into The Lens / 5. Run Through Those Chords Once More... / 6. Tempt Us, Fuck It
After the 1979 Paris sessions (during which producer Roy Thomas the Baker made three-layer cake for the band, persuading them to fire Brian Lane as their producer), Jon Anderson famously threw away his dreams, got in a white car, drove out of the Yes roundabout to give the others a break, and began recording with his bitch Vangelis. His absence allowed the band to eat meat again and rehire Eddy Offord. At the risk of struggling against the cost of living once again, Rick Wakeman also left, deciding to only be a member of the band every other Wednesday. When the shoes of these two key elements of Yes were filled in 1980 by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes (formally of Buggles fame, and before that a comedy duo), all the remaining members could do was accept the seemingly random change. The music video for "Into The Lens" is notable for being a recording of the band's reflection in a mirror (Trevor Horn was a camera). Downes was commended for his humourous anecdotes about being in a mediocre pop band with a "glasses-wearing freak" and meeting a prostitute who used Roger Dean's landscape to hide herself (Yes rehired Dean since they were no longer under Lane's spell), but his keyboard playing left a lot to be desired. In fact, the immensely superior guitar playing of Steve Howe (whom he had described as a "Machine Messiah" since he used to be Jesus and played quickly) caused problems for him; his brain could not cope with progressive rock. About half way through the Karma tour his hands fell off against his will, leaving him unable to play. As a result, he left the band, forcing his comedy partner Horn to leave as well.
As if this was not bad enough, Steve Howe asked himself, "Have we really got to go through this?" When nobody said "Yes," he decided to leave on his birthday (he had won a scratch-card holiday to Asia). Now only two members remained, the omnipresent Chris Squire and his sidekick Alan White, who due to the lack of a personality, followed the bass player around non-stop. Squire was irritated at the rapid disintegration of Yes, and the fact that 90% of the band's Uncyclopedia article was simply a description of the constant line-up changes. He spent some time thinking and eventually came up with a solution.
Yes is no more
Yes did not exist for 3 years because Chris Squire needed some time to think.
In early 1982, Chris Squire arranged a secret meeting in a cave nowhere near Croydon with a homeless South-African iguana. This South-African was Trevor Rabin (née Rabbit), a multi-instrumentalist known for generating endless streams of no. 1 singles. Just what Squire needed. Since Chris "The Fish" Squire had evolved into a snake (also a reptile), they hit it off and discussed plans for a project together, which they originally intended to call Cinema. But this name was scrapped instantly because it was shit and they did not want people to mistake the music group for a movie group. So, after many hours discussing where Yes had gone wrong all these years, they made the bold decision to do what Genesis considered a last resort; they turned to 80s pop.
1. Boner Of A Lonely Fart
s Club Band / 2. Hold On To Your Cash / 3. Success Can Happen? / 4. More Line-up Changes / 5. Cinema / 6. Leave It / 7. Our Song / 8. City Of Love / 9. Boner of a Lonely Fart (reprise)
With Steve Howe continuing to make friends in Asia, and the other ex-Yes members nowhere to be seen, Squire introduced Trevor Rabin as the new guitarist and principle songwriter. Alan White retained his role as Chris Squire's "bitch", and the pieces were now in place for a new band and a new sound. But Rabin feared that his singing was so good it would make the other virtuosos look inferior, so he made one final phone call.
When Vangelis answered the phone and immediately plugged the availability of Jon Anderson (who had learned to turn into a bird), the new Yes was complete. The pieces were now in place for a new band and a new sound. But Rabin feared that his keyboard playing was so good it would make the other virtuosos look inferior, so he made one final phone call.
After recovering from his fear of the Mellotron, ex-ex-ex-keyboard player Peter Kay, who had changed his name to Tony Kaye after becoming a director of films, advertisements, music videos, and documentaries, agreed to return. Tony Kaye wanted to direct the music video for "Boner of a Lonely Fart," the riff of which Rabin had written with one hand in the bathroom (the same bathroom in which an acid trip turned Alan White into his exact opposite, a black cat). Director Kaye was camera-shy, so he called in Eddie Jobson (who had been deported from the U.K. in 1980) to fill his place in the video. Though Jobson wore makeup like the rest of the members in the video, Tony Kaye refused to film his face and called the government to deport Jobson once again when the video was finished. The pieces were now in place for a new band and a new sound. But Rabin feared that his production skills were so good that the record might not be commercial enough, so he made one final phone call to the glasses-wearing Trevor Horn, who would produce the new band. Since Horn was still a camera, the band did not need to spend too much money making videos, including the Steven Soderbergh directed 9021Show. Ironically, "Cinema" was the only track for which a music video was not filmed.
When Steve Howe heard that Yes had made 90210 and made a lot of money without him, he cried for two years until he (with the help of ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, the Spalding sporting goods company, a moving company, and a bacon) formed a group called Gut Trevor Rabin (GTR). Indeed, 90210 (the zip code used by Squire's Beverly Hillbilly friends) would literally sell millions, launching the group into a familiar cycle of excess and fortune that would again only last for a couple of years. Yes got into a pattern of making a new album whenever their previous profits had run out.
1. Huge Engine / 2. Large Mechanism / 3. Massive Machine Gun / 4. Gigantic Device / 5. Weighty Box / 6. Enormous Instrument / 7. Titanic Proccessor / 8. Big
Van der Graaf Generator (Song For Harmonic Convergence of Holy Lambs)
Following the success of such simple music, the album that followed was equally mainstream. Large Mechanism, an idea thought up by Trevor Rabin as he ate beside a jacaranda tree outside French restaurant Chez Nous, was a laborious album to make. It took Yes nearly two years to build the blue sedan-resembling machine itself, which was built to save time writing songs; the enormous, strange device through which they existed would produce a random series of electronic sounds known formally as 80s music. This noise-generating method was much more efficient than sound chasing, as no effort or talent was required by any member of the group. Indeed, the Large Mechanism was more advanced than the Soft Machine and the Van der Graaf Generator.
“Shoot high, aim low.”
Jon Anderson, believing that the blue sedan did not get them much further, was dissatisfied with the poppy, Horn-produced songs on the album and was beginning to yearn for more traditional Yes music. Wanting to see through the mask of uncertainty, he told the others about an idea for a 20-minute epic about a Khatru who climbed to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro and had a spiritual awakening, using only the chords of Bb Minor and F# Major Seventh (which he played on a giant didgeridoo, with an accompanying banjo that was put through a Leslie Speaker). Trevor Rabin was less than impressed, so Anderson re-pitched the idea to some of his ex-bandmates, leading to the formation of the progressive barbershop quartet, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (which featured the less important Tony Levin on bass). After that band released an uncreatively self-titled debut album and performed a tour titled An Evening of Yes Music Minus Squire, Yes tried to replace Anderson with a 5-year-old fan from Mexico named Billy, who had already been well-known as the youngest person to ever work at the World Trade Center at age 4. He had experience performing as a baby in the band Lodgic, which he had named and misspelled. When Rabin asked if Billy would be able to hit the high notes since he was so young, Squire responded, "Billy sure would!"
1. I Would Have Waited For Trevor / 2. Shock To The System / 3. Massacre / 4. Put Me Down! / 5. Without Dope You Cannot Start The Day / 6. Saving My Dart / 7. Sensation Of Being Alive / 8. Silent Talking / 9. The More We Play, The More We Disappoint / 10. Angkor What? / 11. Dangerous (Search In The White Of Whom You're Looking For) / 12. Holding On To Our Fans / 13. 50 Seconds For Nothing / 14. Take The Water To The
Robert Plant / 15. Give & Bake Three-layer Cakes (Bonus Track That Only Applies To Europeans)
By 1991, both Yes and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe were becoming less and less rich, and eventually the two separate parties gave in and amalgamated in the great big orgasmic jam session that was Onion. Continuing the root vegetable theme that began with Poortato, Onion is the first and only album to feature the MegaYes line up. This was the band’s 176th reunion. The advantages of having an 9-member band included more disputes, more songs, and tonnes more fat juicy ego. However, the 9 members were only together during the following mammoth tour on another spinning three-layer cake, during which Banks was invited as a joke and then humiliated when Howe shaved his head (Karma would later catch up to Howe, causing his head to bald); the songs on the album were actually recorded in two separate locations, and then drenched in the capable hands of some 200 underpaid session musicians. This was opted for instead of using the last album's technique (the random noise generator) because it now produced 90s music instead of 80s music. Producer Jonathan Elias later admitted that he did this to get back at Jon Anderson for making Elias of Sunhillow. Anderson had asked Squire to play bass on the ABWH tracks, but Squire did not feel like it, so Tony Levin kept his spot on those tracks. Though Billy had sung on "The More We Play, The More We Disappoint," Yes decided that his lead vocals for the track were no longer necessary now that Jon was back. His brother Michael, jealous of Billy's involvement with Yes West, provided some of the indistinguishable vocals on a few of the ABWH tracks. Billy's childhood friend, Jimmy the Hun, massacred Howe's parts since they had become enemies in Asia. Howe (who was fed up with all of the turbulence) and Bruford wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Easily Broken, so they included "Massacre" and "50 Seconds For Nothing" respectively. However, they forgot to inform the rest of the band about this.
The reason that the album had so many sales was that Rick Wakeman bought many copies, tried listening, and threw away the album in disgust (wishing that this was the album that could be easily broken). It made him cry so much that his tears formed Geographic Seas (in which Chris Squire would swim), causing people to believe in global warming. The only song that made Wakeman cry because he loved it was "Put Me Down!" since it reminded him of his time as a bum, thus sparking his bromance with Rabin. Wakeman became a bum again after purchasing Onion so many times. Shrek would later say that ogres are like onions because they have layers, but then Donkey would argue that ogres are more like three-layer cakes because people actually liked those.
“He cut in front of me at a Chinese restaurant!”
YesYears of Rubbish Continued
1. Mate Calling / 2. I Am Mating / 3. Fake Love / 4. Date Of Play / 5.
Another Brick In The Walls / 6. Where Will You Be When I Wake Up? / 7. Endless Cream I: Bed Springs / 8. Endless Cream II: Sex / 9. Endless Cream III: Endless Nightmare
Continuing through the 90s, Trevor Rabin was still taking leadership of Yes, and simple song writing was just what he required to make Steve Howe cry and wonder if he mattered in the grand scheme of things. In 1992, after a few shows in Japan (where one of the two Jons was kidnapped by Kitaro) Steve left for Asia again, taking all of the other talented members with him. In 1993, he and Bill Bruford thought that they were back in Yes, but it was only an orchestra trying to be Yes (even reusing audio of Jon's vocals from "Roundabout"). The 90210 line-up were now free to attempt more simple songs, but even the multi-instrumentalist Rabin was struggling to come up with any singles. So Jon Anderson re-appointed himself as the band leader, which led to a confusing concept album but one that was deemed the lesser of two evils. It was during this album that Anderson and Rabin talked to each other for the first time, bonding over their belief that Tony Kaye should only play a tiny bit on the album.
Distributed by Not So Victorious Music and themed around Jon Anderson’s often incomprehensible language and general manner of speaking, Yestalk (all of which was recorded on Rabin's hard
boner drive) was as fun to listen to as the Queen’s speech. The last song made for the album was "Walls," which Rabin had written with a Supertramp named Roger Hodgson. He ultimately regretted including the song because it did not fit the common theme covered by the rest of the tracks. The cover artwork, which was also as pleasurable to look at as the Queen herself, had been given to the band by 5-year-old Billy a few years prior. Instead of paying to use the artwork, they let Billy (fresh off of The Chris Squire Acid Experiment) play three quarters of the bass on the album (after which Squire would show up late) and tour with the band. The cover artwork was far better than anything Roger Dean ever came up with, subtly reflecting the collective rationality of Yes at the time. Yestalk was to be released on Billy's 9th birthday on March 14, 1994, but everyone thought that his birthday was a week later than it actually was. Billy would later appear on Yes tribute album Stories From Yesterday (on which Banks would appear, believing mistakenly that it would be an actual Yes album). The name Yestalk was later adopted for an online forum where fans of the band gather to worship Rick Wakeman’s hair. They are also known for their frequent pilgrimages to Yes concerts, where they attempt to touch members of the band.
“I hate my member being touched. It feels weird”
Keys To Ignition
In May 1995, as Alan White joined Oasis an hour before performing a show with them (just as he had done when he joined Yes), Jon looked through the drummer's underwear drawer (replete with tighty-whiteys) and found a napkin that had been signed on Chris Squire's drunken birthday party in 1974 by the Stories From Geographic Seas lineup, who had agreed to reunite in 1995. Though the rest of the lineup had been joking at the time, Jon took it seriously and threatened to banish them to the first dimension if they did not fulfill their promise. White agreed to balance time between Oasis and Yes as long as Anderson stayed out of his underwear drawer. Since Steve Howe had been banished from Asia for getting a couple of countries mixed up, he had no other options. He was delighted to see Trevor Rabin get kicked out of the band and make film soundtracks as punishment for not making Yestalk a success. Tony Kaye argued that, with Trevor gone, he could stay in the band and play to the best of his abilities. Jon did not care, so he banished Tony to the first dimension for ten years, during which he became a comedian and reused his original name.
Over the next year, the members put the keys in the ignition of their collective Yes mind and drove it, recording seven studio tracks under their independent label Yessential Records and performing a tour that consisted of Chris Squire's three-day drunken birthday bash in one venue at the San Luis Obispo Wilderness (SLOW). They released live album Keys to Ignition, which contained half of the setlist and ended with the studio tracks "Be The Pun" and "Shat, That Is." The other five studio tracks were "Mind Drive" (an extended, repetitive version of an Ex-Yes-&-Synthesizer demo), "Hand Prints" (a song about the smudges on Steve's guitars), "Bring The Power To Me" (written by power-hungry Jon Anderson), "Children of White" (based on an ABWH demo that had been dedicated to Alan's children Jesse and Cassi), and "
Steve Morse Code" (a secret message between Howe and Wakeman about the lack of creativity). Though Rick had wanted these five tracks to be released as an album with Jon's proposed title No, it ended up being released as the second disc of live album Keys to Ignition 2, which contained the other half of the setlist from the tour. As they continued mind driving, Wakeman refused to turn his steering wheel in the direction in which the other band members were heading, causing the Yes hive mind to spin out of control and enter a new, Wakeman-less state.
Open Your Fucking Eyes: We're Not Making Any Money!
1. New State Of Mind / 2. Open Your Fucking Eyes / 3. Universal Studios / 4. No Cash We Can Lose / 5. Fortune Teller / 6. Man In The Moon/ 7. Wanderlust / 8. From The Falconry / 9. Glove Shine / 10.
We'll Make Money Somehow, Someday / 11. No Financial Solution (inc. extended "nature" solos)
Taking the advice of a fortune teller via a 1-800 number, Chris got Billy, the 12-year-old boy from Mexico, to join Yes in 1997 to contribute a more “down with the kids" sound (Spice Girls take note). After signing onto a new shady record label(Eagle Records), they recorded new songs at Universal Studios. The new album was as youthful as it was catchy. The track "Man In The Moon" was created to teach kids about moon landing conspiracy theories. The presence of a 23 minute epic, inordinate swearing content, and a paedophile keyboardist just proves how child-friendly Open Your Fucking Eyes was. And as the title suggests, the band made a huge loss from its
release, release. By this point the 90210 Vault was empty of cash, and Yes was becoming less of an asset and more of a hindrance. The new album would become known as the album that had easily broken Large Mechanism's record for most love songs in a row. New recruit Igor Khoroshev (whom Jon had met during a three-layer cakewalk) helped out by financing his own keyboards (hence the use of the Stylophone) and Alan White agreed to fire himself for a couple of months to save more money; the cost of the album was ultimately totalled at around £1.20. During the Manchester show, Rick Wakeman, embarrassed to be seen with Yes, would disguise himself as a son of his (of whom nobody has ever heard) after causing Igor to miss his flight to the gig as a joke.
Fueled by his annoyance at the ametuer cover artwork on the previous studio album, Roger Dean smattered his artistic influences all over the new album cover. His design was a simple Yes logo, but he enforced that the size of each jewel case should be 10 metres squared at minimum, in order to hammer home the fact that he was the band's primary artist. In the following months, every record shop in the world was clogged up with giant CDs that weren't selling, and that took up lots of room. At the next G8 summit, it was agreed to launch millions of these records into outer space; the huge Yes logos have since been adopted as currency in surrounding solar systems.
The Stair Lift
1. Homeworld (The Stair Lift) / 2. It Will Be A Good Day / 3. Frightening Dykes / 4. Can I Re-release "We Have High-pitched Vocal Hell?" / 5. Face To Face/ 6. If Only Jon Grew / 7. Surprised To Be Alive / 8. Finally Old / 9. The Postman / 10. Новый язык / 11. Nine Over-dubbed Voices [Long-Talker]
Yes were getting pretty old by the time The Stair Lift was released. Howe, Anderson, Squire and White all required medics to tour with them as heart failure was frequent. Steve Howe also died many times, and was often resurrected using cheap equipment, contributing to his “mad scientist” look. And Chris Squire was frequently mistaken for Father Christmas (his diet consisted of fourteen kilograms of Schindleria Praematurus a day). It was thus down to Igor Khoroshev and Billy The Kid (who had gotten a haircut so that he would not be kicked out of high school like Chris) to guide Yes to success. They wrote and recorded every single song on The Stair Lift. Things seemed to be going well, with the band even performing at Billy's Halloween party at his house in Las Vegas (filmed and released as House of Yes: Live From The House Of Billy), where Billy, Igor, Steve, Chris, Jon, and Alan dressed up respectively as Frankenstein's creature, Fritz (Frankenstein's assistant often mistaken for Ygor), Dr. Frankenstein, Father Christmas, Leprechaun, and a generic drummer (Alan still lacked personality). Wakeman crashed the party dressed up as Count Dracula, wearing a cape again. Despite Billy and Igor's efforts, the two of them were fired promptly after the album's chart position was revealed. Chris stayed in touch with Billy, forming a Conspiracy with him to eventually overthrow Jon as the band's leader (and promising that Billy would then become the lead singer if he did not go through puberty by then).
The significant and memorable producer of the album, whose name I have forgotten, sadly died shortly before the release of The Stair Lift. It turned out that he was brutally murdered by former Yes producers Trevor Horn and Eddy Offord. The pair repeatedly attacked him with early Yes records, including one particularly gruesome copy of 90210 that was used to decapitate him. They later formed a comedy duo act known as That Horn and Offord Sound, which featured impeccably produced jokes (that were not very funny).
Realizing that they needed a keyboardist, Yes rehired Khoroshev (Rick Wakeman was busy making a shit-ton of forgettable solo albums as usual) for the Fireworks tour of Kansas, the only tour during which they had ever performed Igor Khoroshev's "Firework Suite" in its entirety, as well as every 15-plus-minute song that Yes had made up to that point. The Fireworks tour rivaled Bill Bruford's Earthworks, as well as Waterworks, Windworks, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Khoroshev was fired from work after trying to assault the rest of the band with his sex toy fireworks.
Medication (One Last Try)
1. Medication / 2. Once Again This Amazement At Being Alive / 3. Don't Die / 4. Give Love Each Day / 5. Can You Imagine Being Young? / 6. We Disagree / 7. Soft As A Dove / 8. Bedtime / 9. In The Essence Of / 10. Time Is Most Definately NOT On Our Side
In 2001, the ancient four congregated once more, after Rick Wakeman’s decision to only be in the band every leap year. Despite Steve Howe being older than all of the golden girls put together, Chris Squire still being frequently mistaken for Santa Claus, Alan White having his own business-related reality TV show, and Jon trying to re-boost his career by appearing on QI (oh wait, that was his brother), the four of them still made the decision to release yet another Yes album. Doctors disagreed, recommending medication. Being old, the members misunderstood this suggestion as an album title pitch. The Ex-Yes-&-Synthesizer demo "Can You See That We're Young?" was reimagined after getting dug up from the beach by Squire's ocean home. They replaced the indecisive Yes keyboardist with an orchestra conducted, something that had not been done since 1970’s WIME And A Turd, which sold well. The two albums actually feature the same orchestra (though conducted by Larry the Groupie this time), continuing the theme of “Nobody who works on this album must be younger than 90 years old”... Anticipating a tour, they hired meat loaf-eating keyboardist Tom Brislin to stand on the south side of the stage and do nothing unless the entire orchestra died. Only half of them would end up dying.
--More tours have since followed with many different members of Yes in various combinations that really aren’t that interesting.
In The Present
In 2008, a 40th anniversary tour of the south side of the U.S. titled By the Border and Back was cancelled when Anderson's respiratory problems kept him from returning to America via the Mexican-American border. Yes replaced him with Belgian porn star Benoît David (how they found him is a Mystery). David is a clone of Jon; his singing voice was sampled from the Yes singer and wired into his voicebox. However, due to an administrative mistake, Benoît became a full-time member of the band. Jon Anderson was less than pleased about this. In October he posted on his website a stream of insults directed at the current line-up, and for the first time ever, what he said made perfect sense. Jon said that he disliked that the lineup were touring as Yes, not realizing that they were actually billing themselves as "Steve Howe, Chris Squire & Alan White of Yes Introducing Oliver Wakeman and Benoît David." Rick Wakeman had also decided to tour, under the deceptive title Oliver Wakeman. Many foolish people believed that this is Rick’s son, but Wakeman insisted that it was him and that he was feeling younger than ever. His experiences with Yes over the years would be recorded and released as Past, Present and Future.
Though Anderson felt better in 2009, Squire wanted to get back at him for doing ABWH without him 20 years earlier. He said that he would let Jon return if he realized that he was only joking around. Jon did not catch on. It was during this year that Yes toured Asia, making Steve Howe (whose banishment from the continent had been lifted) to play half of the show before the rest of the band went onstage. Steve Howe was even more pissed off the next year when Trevor Rabin (who had been contacted by Yes management in 2008 to replace Steve Howe since they had expected him to die) tried to sabotage Yes by performing "Boner of a Lonely Fart" with them at the Greek Theatre in 2010. Rabin then tried to form a group with Anderson and Wakeman called Wakeman Anderson Rabin (WAR) so that they could declare war on Yes. (Initially, they wanted to recruit Bill Bruford and Tony Levin and call themselves BRAWL, but they found out that Levin had "retired" Bruford for not adding Levin's name to ABWH's name 20 years earlier.) Though they blamed the project's delays on scheduling conflicts, the truth is that they have not thought of any new music together. Fans who missed the Stories lineup started saying, "Three-fifths Yes is not Yes!" not realizing that, by that logic, Easily Broken and By the Border should not be considered Yes since they feature 3/5 of the original lineup, and that the Stories lineup should be considered 2/5 Yes. A new album with the In The Present tour line-up was planned, with its 2011 release relying upon Steve Howe's ability to stay alive until then. The popular book-keeper chain Ladbrokes allowed customers to place bets on this, with odds of 3:1.
Walk From Here
1. Walk From Here - Over There / 2. Walk From Here, Part I - We Can Walk (Except Steve) / 3. Walk From Here, Part II - Sad-Eyed Lady of the Airfield / 4. Walk From Here, Part III - Mad Magazine / 5. Walk From Here, Part IV - Lumpy Side / 6. Walk From Here, Part V - We Can Still Walk (Except Steve) / 7. The Man Jon Never Wanted Me To Be / 8. Death on a Film Set / 9. Hour of Need
for Jon Anderson / 10. Solitaire Card Games / 11. Into The Lens Storm
Roger Dean, who had been starving in the 14 years since he reached his peak designing the cover for Open Your Fucking Eyes, was contacted by
Faux Yes to make a new album cover. The band was now under the label Space, the final Frontiers Records. After recording one new track, Wakeman told the group that it was their hour of need for Jon Anderson. Squire's response: "You are the weakest link. Goodbye." Wakeman would go off to marry a fourth wife, his sights set on surpassing the record of The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Steve Howe recorded "Solitaire," claiming that it was tradition for one of his solo studio tracks to be featured on a Yes album once every 20 years since 1971. In truth, he had no room for it on his solo album, Time Is What I Don't Have, and he was not sure if he would live long enough to put it on another solo album.
Too lazy to make a whole album of new songs, Yes uncovered formless memories lingering: "We Can Walk From Here" (an outtake from Karma) and "Death on a Film Set" (a demo by The Buggles that predicted the death of Trevor Horn). The members of Yes claimed that everything was recorded "in the present," even crediting Horn's vocals to David. Since fans had already been aware of the existence of "We Can Walk From Here" because it was on the live boxset The Turd Is Alive, the band refrained from using the whole title and split the phrase into two separate phrases on the tracklist. To further throw off suspicion, they brought in Geoff Downes all the way from Asia (where he had found his hands) to contribute to tracks 7 and 11. They also got Trevor Horn to appear in a music video for "We Can Walk," in which he walked the streets and carried a mirror (he was still a camera). During the shoot,
Jon Anderson a man in a white car killed the video star, who had not read that objects in the mirror were closer than they appeared. Walk From Here was released in LP format, with "Lumpy Side" being a track that spanned an entire side (and a lumpy one, at that). Jon Anderson said that the album sounded dated, and he was right.
“What have I become? What am I running away from? I used to see things in a very different way. What am I to do? I have changed my point of view. I was lost. Now I've found myself in you!”
“Armies of angels are starting to form. Take me away at the break of the dawn. Take me away!”
Realizing that Benoît David could not write for shit, Yes invited Jon Anderson back. Anderson accepted the invitation (designed by Roger Dean), but this turned out to be a ruse. Yes performed a ritual that combined Jon Anderson and Benoît David into a being who was both energetic and experienced. They named this hybrid Jon Davison. Yes announced that they were going to perform three albums on tour in 2013. Though the plan was to make three new studio albums to make a ton of money quickly, Jon Davison needed time to adjust to his body and his skills (he had believed that he was Rick Wakeman, even going as far as sculpting a hammer out of glass to imitate the Nordic god of thunder). Therefore, they decided to play three older albums instead: The Yes Albatross, By the Border, and Going For The Bum. A day in between two of the shows, Steve Howe
caused heard about the death of Yes' original guitarist, who had planned on playing material from Yes' first two albums with a band creatively named Affirmative. With Banks' death, Squire cancelled plans for SuperMegaYes to perform a 45th anniversary Broadway show titled The Holy Lamb Cries Out On Broadway.