"We were doing a European leg of the tour to promote ‘Fly From Here' [the group's most recent CD] last year," explained Squire. ?
"At that time Benoit who, I must say, did an excellent job, was the singer. He started having voice problems and we actually had to cancel the last three shows of the tour because he felt he couldn't deliver.
“We just assumed after the New Year he'd be fine, that he'd recover. But it turned out he said he really didn't feel like this was the right fit for him, and he had other responsibilities —he had to take care of family. So we just agreed to find somebody new, and very, very fortunate for us, there was Jon Davison who was ready, willing and able to jump on board. I have to say he has done a fantastic job."?
As it turns out, Davison, was actually on Squire's radar years before Yes recruited him.
"My tour manager, Paul Silvera, who has been with us for years, found him," noted Squire. "But I'm a friend of Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, and for years, Taylor had been telling me, ‘If you ever need a guy to come in and sing, I know this guy.'?
“I buried that somewhere in the back of my brain, but it wasn't really close to the surface. But when Paul found this guy, I realized it was the same guy that Taylor had been telling me about. That was a good thing."?
So far, he added, Davison appears to be fitting in well. ?
"We just did Australia and New Zealand and Indonesia. That was his maiden voyage, if you like, and it was really enjoyable for all of us."
The hiring of Davison appears to be further proof of the permanent estrangement of Yes and original vocalist Anderson, whose severe respiratory issues caused him to leave the band he co-founded. However, while Squire insisted that, "At the moment, we're not thinking about doing anything with Jon Anderson again," he seemed to take a "never-say-never" approach.
"It's a possibility that we might do it one day," he offered, "but at the moment we're out promoting ‘Fly From Here' and introducing Jon Davison to people."?
According to Wikipedia, since its founding in 1968, Yes has boasted 16 members. But only Squire has appeared on all 20 studio albums (as well as several live LPs). He is likewise the only member to be on every one of the band's numerous tours. That, he offered, was not part of any game plan, but was simply a matter of random chance.
"It's really the way it played out," he said. "My stock answer to that is that it's more by default than design that it worked out that way. I was there, and people would leave, and somebody else would come in, and then [Anderson] left at one point, and [keyboardist] Rick [Wakeman] left, and after awhile they came back. And in the ‘80s we had [original keyboard player] Tony Kaye return —I was just there, really."?
Squire also noted that beat-keeper Alan White has been in the band since 1972. He laughed heartily when it was suggested it might be time to stop referring to White as "the new drummer."?
Squire is, perhaps, most famous for his signature, treble-tipped bass sound, one of the most identifiable instrumental calling cards in rock history. Countless bassists (including this reporter) were inspired by him to purchase Rickenbacker 4001 basses. So, where did he get the idea to play that model?
"I have to put it down to the fact that I was a big fan of [The Who's late bass player] John Entwistle when I was a teenager, and I liked the sound that he got," he said. "I think I was just trying to create my version of the sound of John's that I liked."?
The problem is that despite having the same basic ax, the rest of us were never quite able to duplicate Squire's sonic blueprint.
"The flukey part of it is, back in the early days, I had that guitar decorated with all kinds of crap wallpaper, ‘Flower Power,' — then that got all shaved off," he recalled. "And during the course of cleaning the bass up again, some of the wood got shaved down and it probably became a lighter body than the stock factory model. And then I put silver reflective stuff all over it and once again, when I got past that phase, I had that removed and had the bass shaved down again to get to the wood and had some lacquer put on it and it's been that way ever since.
“Meanwhile, this is prior to Yes in the ‘60s. By the time it came to Yes, that particular bass was not like a stock model. So when a bunch of fans bought Rickenbacker bases thinking they were gonna get the same sound, they really weren't."?
Since the release of the band's American breakthrough, 1971's "The Yes Album," Philadelphia has arguably been the unit's most steadfast outpost — a fact that hasn't escaped Squire's notice.
"Philly has always been one of our favorite towns to play in, and the fans have been very loyal, and very supportive over the years," he said. "I can only say I'm very grateful, and thanks."?
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Contact Chuck Darrow at 215-313-3134 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his CasiNotes casino blog at philly.com/casinotes/ and follow him on Twitter @chuckdarrow.