This interview was conducted by e-mail in early May 2002. Many thanks to Stu for his help.
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Stuart Chambers: My mother always played piano when we were youngmostly Beatles tunes and classical musicso I fell in love with the piano and acquired a sense of melody from that instrument. When I was about eight years old, I saw a re-playing of The Doors on Ed Sullivan doing "Light My Fire", and I thought Ray Manzarek was God. His keyboard sounds and showmanship, I think, set the precedent for almost all of the '70s greatest players like Emerson, Wakeman, Banks, Jobson, and the rest.
Then when I was nine years old, my older sister gave me a tape with three songs on it. They were "The Barbarian" by ELP, "In The Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson, and "Yours is No Disgrace" by Yes. It was the unique keyboards heard on that tape that drew me to progressive rock and eventually turned me into a hard-core Yes fan.
I started following progressive rock with a passion. I would tape television specials, go to concerts, record radio interviews, and buy every magazine in sight if ELP, King Crimson, Genesis, or Yes were on the cover. Basically, I would throw it in a box and leave it, never dreaming it would amount to anything but a private musical collection.
As a teenager and into my twenties, I went to every concert, and then I got a bright idea. I thought, perhaps, I should bring a camera on the off chance of running into a member of Yes. In the 1990s, this happened more and more frequently. I would drive into a five star hotel closest to the venue, hoping they would be staying there, or I would wait out in the rain on a cold November day and see if they would pull up from the airport. Sometimes I met them at a bar or at breakfast table somewhere in North America or even in a hotel lobby. I began to write things down (initially on bar napkins), and by the time I was ready to write a book, I had a box full of primary research. Before that, I had only written Op-Ed pages or commentary articles on controversial social issues for major newspapers. The only music articles I had written previously were for fanzine articles on ELP. At the same time, I also started winning major essay competitions in university, so I thought my writing was improving, but I still had not thought it possible to write a book.
However, the idea for the book came in 1994 after Talk was released. I thought, "If Yes can sound sort of earthy in the '70s, hip in the '80s, and computerized in the '90s, then perhaps different age groups view this band in different but equally valid ways with distinct styles or sounds." In other words, Yes may have passed through specific phases which different people identify with passionately.
To see if my idea could work, I began by reading previous Yes books to see if anything could be written with any originality since so much Yes product was already on the market. The one thing that struck me was the lack of emphasis on the Trevor Rabin era (1983-1995). My thesis took off from there, and what lay ahead was six years of blood, sweat, and tears with some unbelievable highs and an equal amount of lows.
How difficult was it to find a publisher for the book? How supportive were your publishers, General Store Publishing House?
SC: The publishing business is just thata business. The first one I contacted liked the writing, but they thought they could sell more books if I tried my hand at Britney Spears. After my phone flew through the window, I located another publisher who was so abrasive I couldn't stand even to talk to them. They didn't know anything about Yes and didn't care. The bottom line was: "Can you sell thousands and make this financially viable? If not, don't call back." The next one was close to signing on the dotted line, but it fell through between what they wanted as a guarantee from Yes management and what Yes management needed financially to make their time and effort worth it. Yet another publisher was still unsure of the book's originality but could not offer any viable suggestions on improving the book.
I was determined to prove them all wrong, and I really believed in it. However, I was going about it all wrong. I was dealing with people who had a passing interest in music at best. What I needed to find was a chief editor who loved music because you cannot get to the publisher unless you get by the chief editor first. That's when I met Jane Karchmar. She is, coincidentally, a huge Doors fan and loves classical music, so I knew I was dealing with someone I could relate to. She was not overly familiar with YEs, but as she was reading the first manuscript, she liked it so much that she started purchasing the CDs to follow it. I recall that Going for the One's classical approach really caught her attention.
From there, Jane Karchmar talked to the publisher, Tim Gordon, and she convinced him to take a risk on a first-time author. General Store Publishing House came to the rescue, and I am forever in their debt. I think we both knew there was something about the book that would trigger an emotional interest in Yes fans.
David Watkinson's "YesPerpetual Change" is already going to a second edition after better than expected sales: what are your expectations for "Yes: An Endless Dream"?
SC: With no disrespect to David Watkinson, this book will do better. I know that because I know the press it will receive in May-July. I have already seen the press releases by e-mail, and this is from Canadian, American, and UK media who have nothing whatsoever to do with the publisher. They could have just as easily sunk the book with bad publicity. If anyone wants to compare, look at Watkinson's past review and star rating in Classic Rock magazine versus what mine will be in their late May-early June release. It should turn some heads.
Each author of Yes history has something unique to offer, and it is this quality that has led to each one being successful in their own special way. Unlike Rick Wakeman, I have total respect for any Yes author. I know how hard it is to complete the whole projectwriting, editing, and publishingand the perseverance it takes to make it happen.
Rick Wakeman's beef is that the books will never be accurate enough because the only way the true story can be told is with all five Yes members in the same room with the author of their choosing. I'll probably get in trouble for saying this, but that's a ridiculously naive remark on his part. How can anyone tell an "accurate" history of Yes? Even the players can't agree on what happened. Firstly, which five members would be chosen? From which era? Were they drunk, stoned, or sober at the time? Were they angry at leaving or happy to be staying? Were they financially stable or broke? This and a myriad other factors make accuracy pretty tough to define. Wakeman even agrees that these factors are what make YES a mix of fact and fiction, but then he demands accuracy. There's not much logic in that kind of thinking.
No colleague of mine would ever use the phrase "accurate portrayal of history." Sure, as far as dates, places, and ticket stub prices go, that's fine, so I suppose that makes David Watkinson's last 100 pages of his book really accurate, but it translates very little meaning. For instance, how is anyone going to give you an accurate portrayal of the American Civil War? Was the person black or white? From the North or South? Were they poor or rich? It can't be done, so meaningful snapshots are about as good as it's going to get. That's what my book contributes to YES history. It hopes to provide an alternative interpretation to the entire history that provides meaning to certain fans.
The book concentrates on Yes in the last two decades, a period you rightly describe as having been comparatively neglected in past books. Can you expand on how you think the way you became a Yes fan explains your interest in '80s and '90s Yes?
SC: Two words: Trevor Rabin. I have enormous respect for Steve Howe as a musician. I believe he was the most influential guitarist of the 1970s and arguably the most influential guitarist of the twentieth century (perhaps only Eddie Van Halen had more influence). That said, Howe ran into the Les Paul syndrome where you are leading the pack for a decade when you enter the race, but as new guitar players arrive, you find yourself struggling to catch up every year after.
Once anyone saw Trevor Rabin do "Solly's Beard" live in 1984, they knew instantly that he was a virtuoso and, in many ways, a modern version of Steve Howe. Like Howe, he could play a variety of cultural styles and use dozens of guitar sounds depending on the orchestration of the track. In other words, the torch had been passed on to a new guitarist whom many Yes fans accepted as the future of the band. He was no replacement for Steve Howe; he was Yes' official guitarist for the next decade.
In the 1990s, the album Talk said it all. It showcased Trevor Rabin's overall talents as guitarist, keyboardist, singer, programmer, and producer while simultaneously marrying all three decades of Yes music into one recording. It was eons ahead of its time and showed a whole new generation of Yes fans just how special a musician Rabin was in his prime.
Therefore, 90125 and Talk were highly influential albums in the Yes catalogue for the younger generation of Yes fans and certainly had an impact on how I view the band's various styles, those being classic '70s earthier tones, modern '80s flare, and futuristic Yesa computerized hybrid of sorts. I think Trevor Rabin was instrumental in defining the latter two phases of Yes music.
With a number of further Yes books due soon or in the pipeline, do you think the market is now too crowded or do you see the various books as complementing each other?
I see books as complementary. Each adds meaning to the next in a web of interpretations. Some consensus may be found, but it's the meaning each brings to individual fans that excites me.
Bill Martin started the ball rolling in the '90s, and to date, his is so influential in terms of how different Yes music is analyzed. Tim Morse's is unique in that members learn about each other's thoughts. In fact, they learn that Yes members only ever disagree on their interpretation of various Yes phases of music. Chris Welch's is probably the best book not only in Yes history but in rock 'n roll period. He's just too gifted and is a complete natural when it comes to writing. David Watkinson's book is probably the best visual history of Yes. I could just follow the pictures, and it made sense. Thomas Mosbo helped initiate the word "meaning" as a crucial indicator in historical writing rather than the word "accuracy."
However, when Peter Banks' book comes out, it will focus on the late 1960s. I truly believe that it will be a great addition because it is an era that is missing in terms of substantial focus. He has a different way of viewing music than other members of Yes, so once again, the meaning that he provides to Yes history is imperative. If the Gottlieb brothers put out a visual history, it will add to Watkinson's contributions and so on.
You talk in your Introduction about wanting to write a book in between the more academic approach of Macan's "Rocking the Classics" and a personal approach taken by Chris Welch or Tim Morse. You write that "Yes: An Endless Dream" is "both a chronicle and a critique". Are you happy with the balance you achieved?
SC: Like Tales from Topographic Oceans, I was going for a large scale contribution. Although it sounds a bit pretentious to do a thesis, sub-thesis, a critique, and a chronicle, the book lays it out there in a logical format, and it is very accessible. The balance was reached because I kept re-editing until my fingers bled, plus the fact that my editor, Jane Karchmar, is the equivalent of Trevor Horn as a producer. It has to sound just right, or it's back to the table. The first edition of the book and the fifteenth are quite different, but it was worth the effort. My writing style tends to be a cross between Martin and Welch but also unique in its own right.
You make some forthright claims in the text: if I may quote one particularly brave one:
Contrary to popular belief, [Close to the Edge] is not the best Yes music of the '70s, but it is the best music of the early '70s. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the band was still young and had not peaked in terms of creativity and musicianship; secondly, their rhythm section needed much more swing; and lastly, they had not finished replacing members with musicians who were better suited to play Yes music. [...] No matter what people think of Bill Bruford's skills, he is not really an elegant musician [p. 29]You continue in a footnote:
The momentum of [Bruford's] solos [in Earthworks] tended to sound somewhat rigid and reminded me of his solo on the live Yessongs recording (1972). Furthermore, I believe that Bruford's feel for rock 'n' roll is very awkward, and he seems rather uncomfortable in this format. [p. 223]You describe in the Introduction how you expect to receive strong disagreement with some of you ideas and I don't expect you will be disappointed here! How much, do you think, can comments like these be objective rather than subjective? You write of "a desire to challenge all fans to rethink their philosophy on Yes music over three full decades, not just their favourite time period". Are you trying to convince your readers, or will you be satisfied just to get them to re-consider their views?
SC: That's a great question. I never want readers to be convinced of anything. Questioning and re-questioning one's thoughts are the best way to learn. Those who have no self doubt usually scare me because they already have all the answers. To clarify, let me say first that Bill Bruford is great musician, but he's not a rock musician in the way that Alan White is. Jazz and rock are opposite in that jazz is off the beat and rock, like classical, is on the beat. Unless you're Keith Emerson, one's natural feel tends to slant one way or the other.
I think Yes' best work in the 1970s was on Close to the Edge and Going for the One because I felt they were an English classical-rock band first and foremost. They could do other styles, but it was never as natural. The band with Bruford peaked in 1972 but not the band itself. As the group drew closer to classical rock, this was the beginning of the end for a jazz musician like Bruford. He would take that as a compliment because he would never compare himself to a rock n' roll drummer. By the time Rabin entered, Yes was even more of a rock band with strong classical influences. When you listen to Bruford do "Owner of a Lonely Heart" on Symphonic Music of Yes, it's obvious that he does not have a chemistry with this genre.
Alan White, on the other hand, has been with Yes for 30 years because he has every ingredient they need. Drumming for John Lennon, he has a Beatles' penchant for melody, so he slants toward more austere melodies. To me, Alan just adds more beauty to Yes compositions, and that factor is more important than all the technique in the world. Look at Jon Anderson. There are a lot of singers out there with superior vocal technique, but it doesn't matter because Jon just sings more beautifully. White is also a songwriter, something Bill never was. I mean that in the Phil Collins sense of the word. Moreover, Alan's sense of swing and feel bring more majesty to Yes compositions because classical rock 'n roll is his natural calling. His chops are also incredible. I think Relayer proved he was not just about feel.
That's really the difference between the two. Bill is a left-wing jazz drummer full of polyrhythmic ideas, and Alan is the typical English rock drummer. Those who think that The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge were Yes in their heyday have a limited view of history. These were only three recordings over thirty-four years, and as my book suggests, Yes was a three-decade band. There was still a lot of history in the making, and some incredible music was made in the 1980s and 1990s. It has certainly been an "endless dream" for Yes and an incredible journey to say the least.
"Nostalgic reunions make nice vacations for the musicians, but, if repeated too often, they lose their appeal." (p. 9) You wrote those words before the third reunion of what many consider the classic line up was announced. What's your reaction to Wakeman's fourth return to the band?
SC: I always have mixed feelings about these things. Often, they're done for strictly financial reasons with no real intent on moving the band into another echelon of music. Although I think die-hard classic Yes fans will arrive at the concerts in droves, it's another nostalgic tour that probably won't result in a studio album with this line-up. Rick Wakeman has already made it public knowledge that Yes can still attain a higher echelon in music, but the formula for that magic contains he and Trevor Rabin. Wakeman and Howe have done so many albums together that it's hard to imagine how they can lift Yes to new heights. I've grown a bit tired of the nostalgic kick because I've heard some songs far too often. If I never hear "Roundabout" or "Owner of a Lonely Heart" again, I won't shed any tears. They've been bled to death on too many tours.
The Masterworks tour was exciting because some tracks like "Gates of Delirium" and "Ritual" had not been played for such a long time, and they sounded fresh. My preference, however, is for Yes future. In other words, what new music will they create that will blow away a new generation of fans while maintaining the older fan base? For that to happen, some new faces are needed on future recordings and tours. Any band wants to avoid the Beach Boys nostalgic label. That feeling is slowly creeping into Yes concerts as '80s and '90s music is being largely ignored while at the same time, a new Yes sound has been difficult to define.
In the Epilogue, you write:
Where most people (and even some members of Yes) make an error in interpreting the band's music is in believing that it can only be one type (i.e. 1970s classic period with only Steve Howe on guitar and only Rick Wakeman on keys). This is a myth that has hurt the group [p. 215]Is Wakeman's latest return a case of the myth winning out? Does the commercial reality require that myth; or is it perhaps something that Yes themselves feel comfortable with?
As my head of department used to say, "History is a fable made by the winners." This tour has won out in terms of the band's desire to please the die-hard fans, so it's a reality, but reality and myth can become flexible entities to say the least. There's been so much change over the band's long career that five years from now, a new Yes line-up can alter one's perspective of myth and reality. Stories change about the purpose of a tour. At first, the story is that it was a desire by all involved and a natural move. Years later, it was purely for money since the band was in debt, and a tour was pragmatic.
With Steve Howe in the band, a '70s approach is almost a given since he feels most comfortable in that role. It's then convenient for the band to gravitate toward songs of this decade since all five members shared these musical moments. It comes out as more genuine, and that's what classic Yes fans want. That said, I wish a broader catalogue could be presented from all three decades, but tracks on Talk really require Trevor Rabin's playing style, and Howe just does not feel comfortable playing Rabin's tracks from the '80s.
It's been six months since the release of Magnification. We've had time to digest the album and tour; the band are releasing a DVD, but otherwise could be seen to have rejected the developments of Magnification with no more work with an orchestra, the return of Wakeman instead and a set list this summer which will probably not have much from the album. What do you think of Magnification now? Has it held up? Is it a template for 'future Yes' or a blind alley?
Magnification is a well produced effort, and it was a good attempt at a classical-rock hybrid; however, I'm not sure what purpose it served in terms of creating a new Yes vision? The band has done this twice beforeTime and a Word and Symphonic Music of Yesand several other bands have done orchestral albums and tours. Unless a group attempts to make a symphonic recording that is different from their past ones or that differs from other bands' efforts, it makes you wonder what musical statement Magnification was supposed to make. ELP already did the Works tour in 1977, and it could be argued that they already epitomized that effort.
Furthermore, Magnification had no virtuoso keyboardist on it, and although the string arrangements were supposed to substitute for this, the music sounded a bit thin (20% actually) in songwriting influences. Wakeman felt that he was the most qualified to do the orchestral arrangements because he knows how the band thinks. There is an argument there about using Rick instead of Larry Groupι. Was it really a true partnership of rock meets orchestra? Certainly not on the tour. Most people couldn't hear the orchestra after the first five minutes. Why was it used? To fill more seats, perhaps.
Some of the tracks also served little purpose. "Soft as a Dove" is "From the Balcony" from Open Your Eyes with a chord change and won't exactly be remembered as a classic Yes track. Had the band tried something riskier in approachsay an operatic, classical-rock hybrid where all of the songs run together like a concept albumit may have been more original and garnered more attention, but I just do not see how this recording differs from others. Rock songs are given string arrangements; it's been done before. Where is its progressive originality?
When I think of progressive rock todaysomething that is going beyond the horizon and into another solar systemI think of Steve Stevens' new recording Flamenco. A. Go. Go. There has been thousands of flamenco albums, but only a genius like Steve Stevens could do "futuristic flamenco" and pull off this gem. It's absolutely outstanding, and the melodies are very strong. Here's a guitarist who was heavily influenced by Steve Howe, he loves Trevor Rabin, grew up on ELP, and led the British punk rock scene. That's the very essence of progressivethe ability to continually astound the listener. I just haven't heard that kind of excitement within Yes music over the last five years or so.
Even Igor Khoroshev's Piano Works was fantastic. Except for Talk and a song like "Mind Drive," it was probably better than every piece of Yes product during the 1990s. When you listen to tracks like "Picasso" in four movements, one instantly hears a progressive artist who knows how to take risks. You can only wonder what he could have added to a recording like Magnification. He's the band's future star, and on tour, he was a real showman.
Poe is another progressive artist. Her new recording, Haunted, is one of the best of the new millenniumwhat risk in terms of lyrics, a progressive concept album, great vocal chops, soaring melodies, and risk-taking computer production.
Since 1996, Yes' CDs have not charted past one or two weeks, they are not selling, and they are receiving very little media attention. Is this a clarion call for nostalgia? I just don't think Magnificationeven with some great momentsis going to send Yes on a new path of progressive music nor represent uncharted musical territory. As my book points out, phase four of Yes history with a new sound has yet to be fully discovered.
Talk is a very important album to you and to your thesis in the book, a position that is sure to attract controversy, so let's tackle some of the arguments that are going to be put in response to "Yes: An Endless Dream".
In a recent thread on rec.music.progressive, Talk was described as, "the worst album ever recorded. It makes [ELP's] Love Beach look like a progressive masterpiece in comparison." [Jensen, P. A. (2002). Re: What's with these poorly rated albums on Gnosis2000.net? (Mark-1, Ironia, etc.) In <rec.music.progressive>. 7 May.] You argue that it is Yes's best. That's quite a disparity: why does Talk engender such different reactions?
SC: Most great works often receive polarized results. Tales from Topographic Oceans had both the fans and the band divided, but it was still being played between 1996-2001 on tour, so its staying power speaks for itself. Although Rick Wakeman dislikes it, Jon Anderson loves it. Writers from Rolling Stone magazine called it one of the worst rock 'n roll recordings ever, but Progression magazine called it Yes' hallmark recordingeven above Close to the Edge.
As a comparison, when Steve Vai put out Sex and Religion in 1993, Guitar magazine polls placed it in two categories: both the best and worst music of the year. How? Massive risks tend to polarize fans, and there's rarely been an album of more risk than Vai's Sex and Religion. I mean, here's a musician who added grunge guitar sounds to his classical chops, invited Terry Bozzio to drum like God, Devin Townshend screamed like Bach meets chainsaw, and T.M. Stevens played funk bass like Tony Levin on acid; it never sounded more appropriate. Yet, you either loved it or called it a sell-out to guitar instrumental music. I thought it was outstanding.
I see Talk in the same light. It was a big risk, and although not a financial bonanza, it was Yes' best work within the Rabin-era as measured by every criteria imaginableexperimental guitar sounds, production, Jon's lyrics, melodic structure, and the inclusion of an opus.
Anyone (or any website) who compares Talk to ELP's Love Beach or In the Hot Seat, quite frankly, has very little understanding of music history. I know for a fact what ELP thinks of both their albums because I've asked them. Both Love Beach and In the Hot Seat were made under duress and should not have been released. ELP would never label either recording as "great music"; in contrast, every member of Yes who played on Talk supported the music's merits, and they were proud of that album. Any member of Yes who played on Talk would be insulted with any comparison to ELP's Love Beach. Talk and Love Beach are miles apart in every musical comparison possible. In fact, if you want a comparison, Yes' Open Your Eyes was closer to Love Beach, and everyone knows it. Open Your Eyes was just an embarrassing recording. Someone should play it for Bill Bruford someday. I think then he would change his opinions of Union.
You categorise 90125 to Union as 'modern Yes' and then Talk onwards as 'future Yes'. Let me suggest an alternative perspective. It could be argued that it makes more sense to include Talk in the former category: Talk in many ways was the culmination of the confused period from 1982-1992, and ultimately a dead end. Whatever its merits, Talk has not been a model or an influence for subsequent Yes albums (as you discuss in the book). It was the end of a period, not the beginning of one. (If Talk was a template for the future, it was only for Rabin's subsequent career in film scores.) Maybe there was a missed opportunity, but what do you say to the argument that, as things have turned out, Talk is a cul-de-sac in the history of the band?
That's a coincidence because I almost wrote Talk as the end of the modern era, but it was so advanced from Rabin's latter two efforts (90125 and Big Generator) in terms of artistic statements that I just felt that another standard in the band had been set. Therefore, I had no choice but to give it the futuristic label since I felt it had redefined Yes for the 1990s.
That said, it could be argued that Talk was both a beginning and an end. In one instance, it was the highlight of Rabin's career in Yes (and the end of an era) but also the beginning of a new Yes sound, which could have significant future influence. Talk is in that periphery that's not always measurable, which is why I like it. Many people try to pin it down, but it's argumentative.
This happened to Bill Bruford in 1972 with Close to the Edge. This recording was the highlight of his career within Yes, but it was also the end of what he felt he could contribute musically except for Close to the Edge part two. In addition, Close to the Edge helped re-define the band's classical sound and eventually led to the purer classical style of Going for the One five years later in 1977. Rabin probably felt he could only do Talk part two unless another Yes style was adopted with the possible acquisition of new faces (i.e. Rabin and Wakeman).
Until the next five years is sorted out, the decision as to which new recordings set the band on a whole new path is difficult to judge. The music from 1996-2001 was so scattered in direction, varied in line-ups, and hit and miss musically that all five CDs could be labeled as "dead ends" and hardly models for Yes future. In 1996, Yes was once again classic rock with Keys 1 and 2. Then it was overt pop rock with Open Your Eyes, then mediocre prog-rock with The Ladder, only to become symphonic rock in 2001 with Magnification. Can anyone find a template there for future influences?
At least with 90125, Big Generator, and Talk, there was a thread of progression and a focus in a forward direction. Between 1996-2001, however, the band has not really received any extended radio play, had poor sellers, and charted for a blink of an eye.
Overall, Talk can't become a model for future recordings because Steve Howe will never go in that direction. Unless Yes picks up someone like Steve Stevens or Steve Vai, it isn't likely to even possess the label of "futuristic." Instead of cutting edge progressive rock, the label of nostalgia is more suitable. My preference is for the former. Talk, then, certainly has created a lot of divisions, but I just don't see how the last five CDs have been all that successful in comparison.
Let me air a related argument. Should Talk, an album nearly a decade old, be the template for new Yes any more? In terms of years passed, that would be like 90125 basing itself on Close to the Edge! The book is entitled "Yes: An Endless Dream of '70s, '80s and '90s Rock Music"... but we're in the '00s now. Doesn't the band have to find a new path for future Yes, one different from Going for the One, and from 90125, and from Talk?
SC: Without a consistent Yes line-upin the studio and on tourit's hard for an recording to have an influence on the next series of CDs or for the band to find a new path. The band's biggest problem, musically speaking, is consistency.
The last sentence in my book states that a new Yes soundphase fourhas yet to be fully developed, and I base that on the inconsistent period of 1996-2001. A whole new path, in my opinion, means a combination of talent that has never previously been used on a Yes recording. Yes needs new facesthat is, unless Geoffrey Downes is right, and they are secure with their hard-core fan base: that makes every point moot then. However, if progression is the goal, I have not seen it since Talkjust a lot of hits and misses and unsure directions.
I hope in the future that the band locates that fourth level. It
would be an unbelievable accomplishment as musicians. In ten
years, someone will probably take an idea from my book and analyze
the band in a different light. That would be exciting because I
think with the right personnel changes, Yes could be around for a
long time. It's kind of like Star Trek. They just keep searching
for the right spin-off. It's certainly a fascinating history to
say the least.