Original Yes Vocalist Jon Anderson
By Mike Mettler • Posted: Nov 13, 2013
“You always think your voice will never end, of course,” observes Jon Anderson, the unmistakable alto tenor fronting indelible Yes classics like “Roundabout,” “And You And I,” “Going for the One,” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” to name but a scant few of their progressive gems. About 5 years ago, Anderson’s golden voice was threatened with a health scare, but after a necessary recovery period, his singing voice is back, and stronger than ever. I can attest to that fact, having seen Anderson perform an exhilarating set accompanied only by keyboardist Rick Wakeman at New York City’s Concert Hall on October 24, 2011.
While he no longer fronts Yes, Anderson, 69, remains an undeterred spirit, forging ahead with many of his own projects, including solo tours on both land and sea, as well as putting the finishing touches on 60 minutes of new music he’s considering releasing in app form. A longtime fan of surround sound — to date, his favorite surround mix is one of the live versions of “Awaken” — Anderson says he’s especially looking forward to hearing the high-resolution 5.1 mix Steven Wilson recently did on Blu-ray for Yes’ 1972 far-reaching classic, Close to the Edge (spoiler alert: it’s mind-expandingly amazing).
Here, Anderson and I discuss why Yes music endures, the thought of Yes getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a possible new surround venture (or two). “There’s a constant flow of musical energy, and I’ve got to keep on keeping on,” he says. Who are we to say No?
Mike Mettler: You always put forth a positive vibe, no matter what’s been going on with you and around you. What do you attribute that to?
Jon Anderson: Well, there’s no point in slowing down. [chuckles] I’m very thankful for the success of my career and the potential of doing more of what I’ve done with the great musicians in Yes, as well as with artists like Vangelis and Kitaro. I worked for so many years with very, very talented people in Yes, and we were able to create music I couldn’t even dream of doing on my own. Because I was working with such talented musicians, I looked at creating longer forms of music with Steve [Howe], Richard [Rick Wakeman], Bill [Bruford], Chris [Squire], and Alan [White]. I pushed them along to do those longform pieces. Because I just felt, “Hey, the mountain is there; let’s climb it.”