Where are they now? - Geoff Downes

This page last updated: 8 Mar 2018
 
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
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson & Wakeman
Others associated with the band

On this page: Solo - iCon - Other projects

On other pages: Yes - Asia - With Trevor Horn

Geoff Downes' official sites: Official site; Official online store; MySpace page; Twitter; Official Facebook; Official Fan Page on Facebook; PSCP.TV

Downes Braide Association banner ad

Asia & Yes
Downes is in Yes (see main page for their activity) and has been in Asia. Asia had consisted of Downes (keys), John Wetton (ex-King Crimson, UK; bass), Carl Palmer (ex-Emerson, Lake & Palmer; drums) and Sam Coulson (guitar), but Wetton died early 2017 and Billy Sherwood replaced him on 2017 dates. Next steps for the band are unclear: details are on the Asia page.

Solo
Downes headlined HMS Prog (Facebook), a prog mini-cruise from Hull to Rotterdam and back on 2-4 Mar 2018. Downes played both legs and was to do a Q&A. Roger Dean was exhibiting and did a logo for the cruise. Also appearing were Caravan (with John Etheridge standing in for Geoffrey Richardson), PFM (replacing the previously adversited Focus), Pendragon, Cairo, Martin Turner (ex-Wishbone Ash; performing both Argus and There's the Rub), Pendragon, and writer Jerry Ewing (editor of Prog). There were expected to be acoustic sessions and more.

Downes Braide Association

The Downes Braide Association (DBA) is Downes and Chris Braide (ex-Producers, This Oceanic Feeling, written for Trevor Horn, Sia, Paloma Faith, Lana Del Rey, David Guetta, Cheryl Tweedy, Glenn Tilbrook, Clay Aiken, Will Young, Kylie Minogue, S Club 7). Their third album, Skyscraper Souls (Cherry Red, X2XCD003), is now out. The album has a Roger Dean cover. There is also a transparent blue vinyl version on Plane Groovy (PLG065), with additional liner notes by Downes and Braide. Braide said, "Geoff and I decided to make a more traditional progressive rock/ band album this time with the pop aesthetic always running throughout". Downes said, "I feel the new album is a natural extension of the previous 2 albums, which were more of a 'mechanical' approach". He later said, "I feel this is our strongest album to date, an album' rather than simply a collection of songs." The album is performed, written and produced by Downes (piano, keys, programming, Vocoder) and Braide (lead vocals, piano, keys, programming). Also performing are Ash Soan (Trevor Horn Band/Producers, This Oceanic Feeling, worked with Adele, Will Young, Rick Wakeman's English Rock Ensemble, Seal; drums, percussion), Andy Hodge (worked with Gary Husband; bass guitars), Dave Colquhoun (Rick Wakeman, ex-Francis Dunnery, ex-Paul Young, ex-T'Pau; guitars) and Matt Bourne Jones (trumpet). From track 2 onwards, there is narration spoken and written by Barney Ashton Bullock (worked with Andy Bell, Giorgio Moroder, Dusty Springfield). In May, Andy Partridge (worked with Steven Wilson, ex-XTC) said he had been asked to contribute: he performs background vocals, lead & acoustic guitars, mandolin and sleigh bells. Tracks:
  1. "Prelude", with Andy Partridge (guitar); described by Braide as, "quite a mournful piece with beautiful chord changes and a lyric for and about everyone".
  2. "Skyscraper Souls" (18:09 duration), with Kate Pierson (The B-52's, worked with Chris Braide, Sia; harmony & additional vocals); Downes said, "Chris and I had long talked about putting together something of an epic, along the lines of Tubular Bells Side 1, War Of the World , Close to the Edge, etc, and here we found a chance of doing just that". And also, "It goes through all kinds of manifestations. We wanted to do something that has these recurring motifs."; lyric video for the first part of the song here
  3. "Glacier Girl" (approx. 2:30 duration), with Partridge (mandolin, acoustic guitar, sleigh bells) and, in the outro, Braide's 2 sons supply vocals; the song was described by Braide thus: "This track in particular is a nod to Kate Bush who is one of my favorite artists"; Downes said, "It was originally something I had written as an instrumental piano solo. But I really liked the 'icy' feel of the piano cascades. Chris immediately picked up on this, an interweaved a melody around these".
  4. "Angel on Your Shoulder", with Matthew Koma (worked with Zedd, Tiesto, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hilary Duff; backing vocals), Patrick Howley (guitar solo) and Downes on Vocoder; Downes said, "The song was originally intended as a BUGGLES tune. I had the basis of this idea some years ago, and had been kicking it around ever since." Braide: "May be the most ASIA sounding chorus on the album. Geoff asked me to stack up the chorus with bV's like he and the late great John Wetton."
  5. "Tomorrow", with a vocal duet by Braide and David Longdon (Big Big Train, ex-The Tangent), who also contributes flute; spoken word poem by Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
  6. "Lighthouse", with background vocals from Tim Bowness (No-Man, Henry Fool, worked with Andrew Booker)
  7. "Skin Deep", with dual lead vocals from Braide and Marc Almond (ex-Soft Cell, worked with Chris Braide, Trevor Horn)
  8. "Darker Times", with Partridge (guitar, vocal arrangement)
  9. "Finale", with Partridge (guitar); reprise of "Prelude"
Buy from Amazon (UK):

Buy MP3 version from Amazon (US):

Braide's sons, Elijah and Sascha, provide vocals on tracks 2, 3, 5 & 6. Tracks 2-7 were from original ideas by Downes, with Braide seeming to have written most or all of the lyrics and to have led on arrangements. Downes said, "However well you can program the music, it's always great to add real musicians who add influences and take the music in a different direction". Braide said, "It[']s a band sound rather than just an album of Geoff and myself in a studio. It's a family event. There is so much warmth and movement in these recordings. They breathe." In a 4 Nov 2017 radio interview, Downes described the album as having a "thread" running through it. In a post to Yesfans.com in mid-Apr 2017, Downes had said that Lee Pomeroy (This Oceanic Feeling, It Bites, works with Yes featuring ARW, ELO, Take That, Rick Wakeman), who played on Suburban Ghosts, "will be playing on the next Downes-Braide album." However, Braide explained in another Nov 2017 interview: "I had done a project (This Oceanic Feeling) with Ash Soan and Lee Pomeroy at about the same time as the last DBA album and it was so much fun to have a real rhythm section. So I spoke to Geoff about it and said: 'How about we do something with those guys' and he loved the idea. It turned out that Lee couldn't do it because he was busy with Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman, but that's how it started actually. We thought, why don't we merge the two bands?" He later continued:
Dave [Colquhoun] played Lee his copy of Skyscraper Souls because they are both in the UK at the moment and Lee emailed me afterwards and said: 'Bloody hell, I've just heard the album and it's absolutely fantastic. I wish I was on it.' (Laughs) So I said: 'Well, there's always another one' and he replied: 'Absolutely, when are we doing it?' That was the last that I spoke to him, so I think he is keen to do something.
The album was as high as #192 on UK Amazon's Digital Albums (#46 in Rock Digital Albums; 19 Nov). A press release for the album has more about its creation:
The idea for the album started as a series of sketches Geoff had been working on after a break from touring last year [2016]. By the time he returned from the road he directed the subsequent pent-up energy into composition and the ideas literally poured out. As a kid, Chris had always loved expansive pieces like Close To The Edge and Tubular Bells.

[...]

The fact that their ‘association’ has always had to fit around their extensive commitments has never dulled their [...] creativity. This album went a step further and was co-written remotely – at no time were the pair ever in the same room! Chris explains, “Geoff would send me folders full of stuff such as the magnificent piano pieces which turned into Glacier Girl and Prelude. As soon as I heard the chords I was writing lyrics like a mad man and before long the album started to materialize.” Geoff adds, “The ideas themselves were in a very rough format, but with the melodies & basic harmonies. Chris started playing around with these, and often, they came back with some radical changes, but Chris was always very conscious to retain my original idea”

[...] This album contains constant motifs and themes that recur and flow throughout. Keeping strong melodies to the fore they have created a wonderfully interesting soundscape.
Downes said more in a Dec 2017 interview: "I'd put aside a few ideas that I felt were very strong. I gave Chris all these ideas and he started working on them, and he also sent me back some other ideas. It was all done quite remotely [...] We started working on the album around the beginning of this year [2017], but I think I sent Chris some ideas towards the end of last year [2016]." Braide talked about the making of the album in a Nov 2017 interview:
Geoff started sending me bits of ideas while he was in tour with Yes last year [2016]. I would take his initial idea and flesh it out and work it up to a full length song and write lyrics etc. the title track is the result of many of those initial bits of ideas he sent to me which I then stitched together to make one big long epic adventure. [...] Recording is always a case of chipping away until the picture becomes clear. I would get a rough mix together of the track with a drum machine and sample bass and then add our bass player Andy Hodge and Ash Soan’s drums and then Dave Colquhouns sublime guitars which were all recorded in the UK. [...] That was the main difference between this new album and the previous two records which were mainly programmed. [...] I would then mix it all at my studio in LA. It took me absolutely ages to mix the 18-minute title track. I kept going back in the next day and the day after that and so on and tweaking the mix. Weeks and weeks of work on just that one track.
In the Oct 2017 issue of Prog, Downes described how they were particularly inspired listening to Caravan's In the Land of Grey and Pink, but that the album "also has elements of Yes, Genesis, King Crimson – there are dark moments in there so it's not just bright, happy pop". Braide, in his Nov 2017 interview, said he was "was listening to a lot of Kate Bush at the time. A[e]riel, Sky of Honey, all that kind of stuff".

Asked 1 Mar 2017 about the possibility of DBA touring, Downes replied, "Not yet, but certainly not out of the equation." On Nickey Radio in Nov 2017, asked about touring, Downes said, "I think at the moment it's very much an album album", but that "I'm looking forward to it [touring], if it's going to be possible". He noted that a tour is "not an easy concept", citing a poor appetite from promoters, but said that "if we were offered some nice dates somewhere", they would consider it. In one of the previously mentioned Nov 2017 interview, asked about touring, Downes replied, "We have discussed it, it's not something that has been discounted. Initially, when we only had one album, it would have been a struggle to have a tour but we decided it might be nice potentially now that we have more material. It would take some careful planning because we both have a lot of things going but certainly something we would consider." Braide also replied: "In [or]der to really make it work we would have to devote a lot of time to it and my schedule and Geoff's are pretty hectic at the moment. I haven't taken one week off this year [2017] which I'm certainly not complaining about. [...] Having said all that, no one would like to hear the DBA songs played live more than me. [...] It may happen." Braide also confirmed a desire to go on making albums together. In Downes' Dec 2017 interview, he said, "We've discussed [touring]. Chris is very-very busy with all of his projects [...] I'm also touring quite extensively [...] But when a little time comes up, I think we'd certainly be looking at maybe doing a few gigs, but not a full-blown tour." To the Feb 2018 issue of Prog, Downes demurred, pointing to a busy 2018 touring schedule with Yes and possible Asia and The Buggles, as well as Braide being busy, but he ended, saying, "But we've built up a nice catalogue of music and it would be great to take it out live." He made similar comments in a Mar 2018 interview: "We've talked about doing a couple of live shows. We wouldn't discount the idea. It's just getting a run of dates that you can do as just doing one or two dates would be impractical so it's just getting the time to be able to do it. If someone offered us a nice run of dates we'd look seriously at doing it."

The Platinum Rock All-Stars
The Platinum Rock All-Stars were a new supergroup with Downes on keys along side Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, ex-Cactus, ex-Rod Stewart, ex-Beck, Bogert & Appice, ex-Ozzy Osbourne; drums), Gene Cornish (ex-The Young Rascals/The Rascals; guitar), Phil Naro (Druckfarben, ex-Talas, ex-Peter Criss; vocals, guitar), Rudy Sarzo (ex-Quiet Riot, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Whitesnake, ex-Blue Öyster Cult; bass), and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Art of Anarchy, ex-Guns N' Roses, worked with Jordan Rudess, Guthrie Govan; guitar). The band played 2 dates: 19 Oct 2016, Toronto, Canada, and 22 Oct, St Charles, IL.

Promo gave a "potential list of songs" to be performed: "Roundabout", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Video Killed the Radio Star" (originally by The Buggles), "Only Time will Tell" (Asia), "Heat of the Moment" (Asia), "Good Lovin'" (The Young Rascals), "Groovin'" (The Young Rascals), "You Better Run" (The Young Rascals), "How Can I be Sure" (The Young Rascals), "People Gotta be Free" (The Rascals), "You Keep Me Hanging On" (originally by The Supremes, but then covered by Vanilla Fudge), "Come on Feel the Noize" (originally by Slade, but covered by Quiet Riot), "Superstition" (originally by Stevie Wonder, but written for and performed by Beck, Bogert & Appice), "People Get Ready" (originally by The Impressions, but covered by Jeff Beck with Appice), "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" (Rod Stewart), "Welcome to the Jungle" (Guns N' Roses), "Sweet Child o' Mine" (Guns N' Roses), "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (originally by Bob Dylan, but covered by Guns N' Roses), "Here I Go Again" (Whitesnake), "Burnin' for You" (Blue Öyster Cult), "Crazy Train" (Ozzy Osbourne), "Is It Love", "Evil". Further promo mentioned "Sole Survivor" (Asia) and "Shotgun" as well.

Ride the Tiger
Greg Lake & Geoff Downes' Ride the Tiger (Manticore, MR002) was released 27 Nov 2015, consisting of demos from the pair's 1988 collaboration. Tracks:

  1. "Money Talks", previously released on Lake's From the Beginning - The Greg Lake Retrospective; part re-worked as "Paper Blood" on ELP's Black Moon
  2. "Love Under Fire", re-worked by Asia on Aqua
  3. "Affairs of the Heart", re-worked by ELP on Black Moon
  4. "Street Wars", part re-worked by ELP on In the Hot Seat
  5. "Check It Out", previously released on From the Underground Vol. II
  6. "Blue Light", previously released on From the Underground Vol. II
  7. "Love Under Fire (alternate mix)", previously released on Lake's From the Beginning - The Greg Lake Retrospective and From the Underground Vol. II

ELP are releasing ELP Fanfare 1970-1997, a deluxe numbered box set of all their albums plus previously unreleased live material, including Black Moon, with the Downes co-written "Affairs of the Heart". Pre-orders also included an additional CD, Black Moon – Rough Album Mixes. The release made 6th in the 2017 Prog Readers' Poll, Reissue category.

Icon
The Wetton/Downes Icon back catalogue is being re-released, beginning with Urban Psalm (Cherry Red, ICON6CDVD) which came on 2 Jun 2017 in the UK. This is a 2CD/1DVD live album recorded at a one-off show in St Mary-Le-Bow church, London, on 30 Jan 2009. The band included Dave Kilminster (guitar), Hugh McDowell (ex-ELO; cello) and Anne-Marie Helder (Mostly Autumn, Panic Room; vocals, flute). After a previous limited release DVD, this is the first general release of the performance. As of 21 May, the release was as high as #92 on Amazon UK's Heavy Metal (sic) chart and #291 in Box Sets. Tracks: CD1:

  1. "Countdown to Zero"
  2. "Go"
  3. "I've Come to Take You Home"
  4. "Twice the Man I was"
  5. "Elstree"
  6. "Voice of America"
  7. "The Die is Cast"
  8. "To Catch a Thief"
  9. "Starless"

CD2:

  1. "Paradox/Let Me Go"
  2. "Raven"
  3. "True Colours"
  4. "Heat of the Moment" (acoustic version)
  5. "Rubicon"
  6. "Don't Go Out Tonight"
  7. "My Own Time"
  8. "Days Like These"
  9. "In the End"
  10. "Rock and Roll Dream"

DVD (Region 0 NTSC):

  1. "Countdown to Zero"
  2. "Go"
  3. "I've Come to Take You Home"
  4. "Elstree"
  5. "Voice of America"
  6. "The Die is Cast"
  7. "To Catch a Thief"
  8. "Starless"
  9. "Paradox/Let Me Go"
  10. "Raven"
  11. "True Colours"
  12. "Heat of the Moment"
  13. "Rubicon"
  14. "Days Like These"
  15. "In the End"
  16. "Rock and Roll Dream"
Buy from Amazon (US):




Buy from Amazon (UK):

Next from Icon comes Zero (Cherry Red, ICON0CD), due 10 Nov 2017, which Downes described as a "Remastered and re-jigged" version of the 2002 Wetton/Downes release (which predated the Icon name). Downes tweeted 22 Sep, "It was originally released as a WD album, but now seems appropriate to fit in as part of the Icon cycle of albums." Tracks:

  1. "Walking on Air"
  2. "I Would Die for You"
  3. "Only You"
  4. "Running Out of Time"
  5. "Soul"
  6. "Just as Long (As I Need You)"
  7. "Don't Say It Again"
  8. "Kari-Anne", with Francis Dunnery (ex-The Syn), Mike Sturgis (ex-Asia), Scott Gorham (ex-Asia)
  9. "Lost in America"
  10. "Please"
  11. "Summer (Can't Last Too Long)"
  12. "We Move as One", with Agnetha Fältskog (ex-ABBA; vocals)
  13. "Oh! Carolann", order moved compared to the original release, demo of "Kari-Anne"
  14. "She Knows (demo)", previously unreleased
  15. "I Would Die for You (Alternate Version)", previously unreleased

The release drops a live recording of "Christina" that was on the original album.

Buy from Amazon (UK):


Downes also tweeted about Icon that "Next year [2018], there maybe a complete box set available..."

With Trevor Horn
The Buggles news is under Horn and the pair are back working together on an album, and a possible tour and musical. Latest news here.

On 22 Aug 2015, Downes tweeted to Ash Soan (Producers/Trevor Horn Band, Will Young, ex-Rick Wakeman's English Rock Ensemble, ex-Squeeze, worked with Seal, Robbie Williams), "Look forward to working with you again next month!" I presume now this was something to do with the Downes Braide Association: see above.

Pulse, Jerusalem and Deckchair Poets
First described by Downes in his Feb 2007 blog, Pulse is a project put together by Rob Aubrey (worked with Wetton/Downes; engineer) with Downes (keys), Tony Levin (bass), Michael Holmes (IQ; guitar), Nick D'Virgilio (ex-Spock's Beard, ex-Genesis; drums, vocals) and Thomas Lang (ex-John Wetton; drums, although it is unclear if he is still involved). Downes wrote:

[In Feb 2007] We [Downes, Holmes & Aubrey] were working on a few tracks that they have been putting together at their respective studios. At the moment it's what you might call a 'virtual' project, with people sending in their stuff/parts from all over the World. [...] It's a fairly interesting but low-key kind of project, and the material - quite different and unusual, but at the moment is still very much a kind of 'work-in-progress' type of thing. Any of you prog-heads out there will probably love it all and lap it up

In 2009, Aubrey described Pulse as being close to completion. In Jun 2011, one track, "Immortalized", was previewed on a radio show (available on podcast, see show 7B, around the 33 minute mark). Interviewed on the show, Holmes described how Aubrey put the album together and also working on one Pulse track that is over 7 minutes long. D'Virgilio said in a Nov 2011 website message that:

I will be going back to London at the beginning of 2012 with Cirque [Du Soleil] and during that time I will be able to get back down to Rob Aubrey’s studio to do some more sessions with the great BIG BIG TRAIN and even try and finish a project that got started a number of years ago now called “PULSE” with Mike Holmes of IQ fame.

While on Facebook on 21 Feb 2012, he said: "Hangin with Mike Holmes, Geoff Downes, and Rob making music! WHOO HOO!!!"

On 14 Nov 2017, Downes tweeted about working with Aubrey, although it is not known whether this was for Pulse or another project.


Downes and Aubrey work with Jerusalem and spin-off band Deckchair Poets. Downes is on the latest Jerusalem album, Cooler Than Antarctica (Angel Air, SJPCD487), now out. Tracks:
  1. "Snake" [Hannifan/Williams]
  2. "Steaming Hot" [Hannifan/Williams]
  3. "Specks" [Cooke/Williams]
  4. "Drums, Bass and Guitar" [Hannifan/Williams]
  5. "Northern Lights" [Cooke/Williams]
  6. "Simple Man" [Cooke/Paul Dean/Bill Hinde/Ray Sparrow/Williams]
  7. "The Book of You" [Hannifan/Williams]
  8. "All My Doors are Open" [Hannifan/Williams]
  9. "Simple Simons" [Hannifan/Williams]
  10. "Cry" [Cooke/Williams]
The album is with original Jerusalem members Lynden Williams (vocals) and Bob Cooke (formerly on guitars, following a stroke, he is unable to play but still contributed songwriting) with Downes, Nick D'Virgilio (Pulse, Big Big Train), Ollie Hannifan (guitars), Ashley Cutler (bass), Dave Meros (Spock's Beard, worked with Big Big Train), Ray Drury (keys), Will Wilde (harmonica), Rachael Hawnt (vocals) and Rachel Hall (Big Big Train; violin).

Other news
Downes guested on 2 tracks of We Dissolve, the second album from singer Chrysta Bell (worked with David Lynch on her first album, appears in the new Twin Peaks), now out. The album is produced by John Parish (worked with PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp, Tracy Chapman). It's described as a "pop record with elements of soul, rock and jazz". Other guests include Adrian Utley (Portishead, worked with Dylan Howe) and guitarist Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O)))) on 1 track, and violinist Clare Mactaggart (worked with John Parish, Portishead). Tracks:
  1. "Heaven" [Bell/Smart] (4:21)
  2. "Devil Inside Me" [Bell/Smart] (3:22)
  3. "Planet Wide" [Bell/Smart/O'Neill] (4:02)
  4. "Half Asleep" [Bell/Smart] (3:01)
  5. "Monday" [Bell/Smart] (3:39)
  6. "We Dissolve" [Bell/Smart] (3:26)
  7. "Beautiful" [Smart] (4:08), with Downes (Hammond), Utley (guitar), O'Malley (guitar), Parish (percussion, guitar, Variophon, Rhodes), Christopher Smart (bass, guitar, background vocals)
  8. "Slow" [Smart] (6:56)
  9. "Over You" [Smart] (4:51)
  10. "Gravity" [Bell/Smart] (4:56), with Downes (piano), Parish (percussion, Variophon), Smart (bass, guitar, piano, synth), Mactaggart (violin), Jeremy Hogg (lap steel guitar, synth)
Details in Yescography.

Downes guested on Billy Sherwood's Citizen album—details on the main page. He appeared on the Action Moves People United album project: see on main page.
Buy MP3 version from Amazon (US):

Buy MP3 version from Amazon (UK):


In the Nov 2017 radio interview, Downes said he had recently returned to doing film and library music as well.

He tweeted Jan 2014: "Soon to be released - GD App designed by Apple alumnus Ken Segall focusing on Asia, Yes, Buggles, Icon, DBA, NDO etc...Watch this space!!"

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
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson & Wakeman
Others associated with the band

On to Benoît David's news
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Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.