Where are they now? - Asia
and related projects

This page last updated: 2 Apr 2019
 
YES and projects with several Yesmen
Jon
Anderson
Chris
Squire
Steve
Howe
Alan
White
Geoff
Downes
Trevor
Horn
Tony
Kaye
Peter
Banks
Patrick
Moraz
Bill
Bruford
Rick
Wakeman
Trevor
Rabin
Billy
Sherwood
Igor Khoroshev
Oliver Wakeman

Benoît David
Jon Davison
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson Rabin Wakeman
Others associated with the band

Asia Official website; MySpace page; Twitter; Facebook; Official Google Group; authorised fan club
Following John Wetton's death in Jan 2017, Asia's line-up was Geoff Downes (Yes; keys), Billy Sherwood (Yes; bass, lead vocals), Carl Palmer (ex-Emerson, Lake & Palmer; drums) and Sam Coulson (Twitter; worked with Guthrie Govan; guitar). In Apr 2019, a new line-up was announced of Downes (keys), Sherwood (bass), Palmer (drums), and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Sons of Apollo, ex-Guns N' Roses; guitar, lead vocals).

Wetton had been receiving treatment for colon cancer from May 2015 and he and Downes wrote a new album through 2015-6. Touring was announced for 2017, but Wetton pulled out of the initial batch of dates because of treatment, with Sherwood announced as subbing for him, before then passing. In a Feb 2017 interview, Downes said, "John had already said that he wouldn't be well enough to do the tour and I had worked with Billy Sherwood in Yes and what was meant to be something of a temporary thing has become a full-time gig for him since things took a turn for the worse with John, who died earlier this week." In a statement about Wetton's passing, Downes said:
We were planning another album, but sadly he was not well enough to complete it. I feel heartbroken about this, as I knew John thought it was to be one of our finest albums to date. I remain as proud as ever of our Wetton/Downes writing partnership. I am hoping one day that I will be able to finish it, and that it will be appreciated by all those who loved his and our music, and most importantly, a legacy he would have been proud of.

Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the World will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on - the music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops.

Final writing sessions with Wetton
In the Feb 2017 interview, asked if they planned to complete the album they had been working on, Downes replied, "Yes. I think so. He had a lot of material for it. I think we will definitely do something with it because I think John would like me to do that." Downes has reiterated this position subsequently. To the Feb 2018 issue of Prog, Downes said, "I am personally committed to finishing the songs we had started in 2015/2016." Asked on Twitter in Apr 2018 about plans for releasing this material, Downes replied, "Working on it".

Work on this material may go back to Jul 2015. In a late Jan 2016 interview, Downes said he'd "been writing with John Wetton for another Asia album" and, on 11 Feb 2016, both Downes and Wetton tweeted about meeting up to work on a new album. Wetton said: "Looking forward to (yet) more writing today with @asiageoff Mr.Downes. Next ASIA record moves along apace." Downes later said: "Excellent day in Bomo with my old chum @arkangel2605 [Wetton's Twitter account] Very productive - new Asia album on the way!" On 3 Mar 2016, Wetton then travelled to meet Downes in Wales "to formalise new ASIA material", according to a tweet he made. Downes tweeted afterwards: "Excellent day with @arkangel2605 today at my studio. New Asia album en route!" In a Mar 2016 interview (possibly conducted in Feb), Downes said, "I've been working with John on some material since last year [2015] actually. John's been sick for the last year or so now and has been having some fairly extensive medical treatment. In between that we've been putting together some songs that we hope sooner or later we will actually go into the studio and do another Asia album." In an Apr 2016 interview, Downes said: "I have been working with him [Wetton] on some new material and hopefully we will get an album out in the not too distant future." In a later Apr 2016 interview, Downes said: "we are still writing and we [sic] be doing an album with John Wetton towards the end of [2016]." A May 2016 tweet by Wetton showed a CD-R and said, "next ASIA record is on here, now we just have to record it!" In an Oct 2016 interview, Downes said: "Asia, hopefully we'll get that back up and running soon. That's the idea. We've been working on new material, and we have a whole album planned." Wetton described the first song as 7.5 minutes long and as in 17/8. He also mentioned one song title was "Tattoo on Your Soul".

However, in a Jun 2017 interview, it was reported that Palmer "says it's too early to say if the new lineup, featuring Sherwood, will record together." In another Jun 2017 interview, Palmer talked about events and the future more broadly:
“We thought he’d make the March [2017] period for the tour, but he suddenly took a turn at the very end,” Palmer said. “Those last three weeks, he was very ill and he passed.”

Asia had already committed to opening for Journey, but Palmer wasn’t sure if they could continue or even if Journey [...] still wanted them [...]

But the band’s management said, “They still want you. Please find a bass player.”

As it happened, they had one in mind.

Before Wetton died, Palmer said the band had some difficult discussions about whether Asia would carry on.

The drummer said, “Before he did go, we asked Jo[h]n if we were to carry on, who would you want to take your place?”

Wetton chose Billy Sherwood [...]

Beyond this tour, Palmer doesn’t know what will happen next. He will keep playing music — that much is certain, but whether it’s with just his own band, with Asia or as part of another group, he’s not entirely sure.
Shortly before Wetton's death, in comments in Jan 2017, Palmer said, "I wasn't going to be making the next Asia album anyway because I was a bit concerned about the direction of the band. It was getting a little bit too middle of the road. I didn't realize that John was this ill when I made this announcement to him, so obviously I'll review that. If he can record at all I'll look at the situation again."

Touring
Asia are joining Yes, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy with Arthur Brown, and John Lodge on a joint tour summer North American tour: see details under Yes. The line-up is Downes, Palmer, Sherwood and Thal, but with Steve Howe guesting for a portion of the set.

Asked about Asia plans, Downes tweeted late Sep 2018 that, "Nothing planned this year for Asia as yet, but some ideas for next year [2019] surfacing." At a Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy show in Oct 2018, Palmer confirmed to a fan that there would be touring in 2019, with his manager saying it would be "part of a package next summer", but with the line-up still to be determined. In a Dec 2018 interview, Palmer said, "As far as Asia is concerned, there's nothing planned at the moment," but that he and Downes "don't want to bury it completely. Depending on how meetings go, Asia might even be touring next summer. I'm going to link it and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy into the same tour; I'm not sure how it's going to happen yet, but we'll make some proposals and see." In a Nov 2018 video on Facebook, Sherwood's colleague on another project, Elisa Furr, mentions a 2019 Asia tour. Asked when it is, Sherwood said, "Allegedly March." Asked whether Asia would tour in 2019, Downes tweeted Dec 2018, "Every chance."

In a Mar 2018 interview, but based on the same interview, when asked about Asia, Downes said:
We`re still in limbo at the moment.  We had a tour [...] last year [2017] [...] I think it`d be nice for Asia`s music still to be heard.  I`ve discussed it at great length with Carl and we might make plans to continue at some point.  There`s some great songs there and not just the famous ones. There`s a great weight of good material below the surface so it`d be a shame if they were put in a chest and locked away for good.
In a May 2018 interview, Downes said of Asia:
we are on hold for the moment because Carl [Palmer] is off doing some stuff and I am working on the Yes 50 stuff at the moment. Certainly it was a big blow when we lost John 18 months ago
Management is by Martin Darvill.



John Wetton memorial box set
In Jun 2017, Asia's management, QEDG Management, tweeted that they are "planning an Extraordinary Box Set commemorating John's career, for release on John's 70th birthday on 12 Jun 2019. We invite fans to send memories, mementos, videos, photos, thoughts etc which can be incorporated. Please send to management@qedg.co.uk". John's son, Dylan, is working on the box set, which I expect to include Asia material.

Asia Featuring John Payne
In early 2006, Asia had consisted of Geoff Downes (keys), John Payne (bass, vocals, guitars), Guthrie Govan (guitars) and Jay Schellen (CIRCA:, ex-Conspiracy, Billy Sherwood, ex-World Trade, ex-Peter Banks, since worked with Yes; drums, backing vocals), when Downes left for the reunion of the original band. Payne/Govan/Schellen then formed GPS, with Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard) on keys. The Asia Featuring John Payne name was contractually agreed with the reunion band on 9 May 2006, but Payne did not assemble the band until later, after GPS had failed to take off commercially. In May 2007, Payne/Govan/Schellen announced the formation of Asia Featuring John Payne (MySpace page), with Erik Norlander (ex-Ayreon) later announced on keys. Since then, AFJP have played scattered US dates with a set list covering both the Payne and Wetton eras of Asia. Their first show under this name was in Jun 2008, but Govan soon left the band. From the beginning, Asia Featuring John Payne were working on their debut studio album. The project was initially trailed under the name Architect of Time as a continuation or completion of the 2005/6 Asia sessions (though some of that material was used on the GPS album, Window to the Soul). However, Payne was subsequently writing with Norlander and no material was carried over from Architect of Time (Payne also used the "Architect of Time" name for an unrelated solo release). The album name then changed to Americana. However, Payne's Vegas show, Raiding the Rock Vault, kept him busy and the album languished. Norlander left in 2014, and Schellen left in 2015.

By 2017/8, the a line-up was Payne, Johnny Fedevich (drums), Jamie Hosmer (keys), Moni Scaria (guitar) and Jeff Kollman (guitar). A Jun 2017 show in Florida had the following set: "Long Way from Home", "Only Time will Tell", "Who will Stop the Rain?", "Silent Nation", "Days like These", "Desire", "Go", "Time Again", "Different Worlds", "Military Man", "Heat of the Moment", "Sole Survivor". They played Buffalo, NY on 20 Jul 2018, without Kollman; set: "Long Way from Home", "Only Time will Tell", "Who will Stop the Rain?", "Silent Nation", "Days Like These", "Desire", "Go", "Time Again", "Don't Cry", "Military Man", "Heat of the Moment", encore: "Sole Survivor". Payne also continues with his touring show, The Rock Pack, featuring various and changing classic rock singers backed by Scaria/Kollman/Hosmer/Fedevich. Payne plays bass for the backing show and sings on Asia numbers. A Jul 2017 show, for example, had the following: "Only Time will Tell" (Payne lead vocals), "Time Again" (Payne), "Sole Survivor" (Payne), "Hold the Line" (Bobby Kimball (ex-Toto)), "Rosanna" (Kimball with Payne), "Separate Ways" (Steve Augeri (ex-Journey)), "Faithfully" (Augeri), "Anyway You Want It" (Augeri), "Double Vision" (Lou Gramm (ex-Foreigner)), "Cold as Ice" (Gramm), "Hot Blooded" (Gramm), "Heat of the Moment" (Payne), "Africa" (Kimball), "Don't Stop Believin'" (Augeri), "I Wanna Know What Love is" (Gramm with Augeri), "Jukebox Hero" (Gramm with Augeri). 2019 sees a joint tour by Lou Gramm and AFJP, with AFJP acting as Gramm's backing band for his set.

At the beginning of 2017, Americana re-emerged. Feb 2017 on Facebook, Payne said, "finally to mix Asia FJP Americana." The album was eventually released Feb 2018, but as the eponymous release of Dukes of the Orient  rather than under the AFJP branding. The band are billed as Payne (vocals, bass, additional lead and rhythm guitar) and Norlander (keys), with the album also involving Kollman, Govan, Schellen and others. Payne explained the re-branding in the promotional materials: "This started as an Asia FJP album initially but we, and the record company, felt releasing an Asia FJP album so close to the tragic passing of John Wetton lacking respect." In a promo video posted in Apr 2018, Norlander explained, "I felt strongly about re-naming the band because the Asia brand had changed so much", that is, the reunion Asia had changed line-up, Wetton had passed away, and they had toured with Sherwood, who he describes as "a good friend of ours". Norlander continued, "It just became so muddy to me. And I thought, let's not throw another variation of Asia into this mix. It's already complicated enough for people to follow. This is an album of all original music. You [Payne] and I wrote all of this. None of this was left over from past projects. Y'know, people had asked about the Architects of Time thing that you started with Geoff in 2006, after Silent Nation. None of it comes from that. You and I wrote this as a new band. Let's re-name it as a new band. Let's keep it clear." Payne responds: "I couldn't see that at first. [...] I'd been in the band since 1991. That's all I'd ever done from '91 onwards. [...] Now I see it [new name] as the right decision". AFJP continues as a separate activity (without Norlander). On social media in Dec 2017, Norlander explained, "I left AFJP in 2014, but John continues to play live dates with his current version of the AFJP band [...] I'm not a part of that, but of course I wish them well. The Dukes are a totally separate band."

On to CIRCA: and related projects news
Return to Where are they now? front page
RSS feed
 
YES and projects with several Yesmen
Jon
Anderson
Chris
Squire
Steve
Howe
Alan
White
Geoff
Downes
Trevor
Horn
Tony
Kaye
Peter
Banks
Patrick
Moraz
Bill
Bruford
Rick
Wakeman
Trevor
Rabin
Billy
Sherwood
Igor Khoroshev
Oliver Wakeman

Benoît David
Jon Davison
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson Rabin Wakeman
Others associated with the band

Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.