Where are they now? - Geoff Downes

This page last updated: 17 Oct 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

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 with vocalist Nathan James (Inglorious) performed a tribute to the late John Wetton at the 2018 Progressive Music Awards, in London, Sep 2018; set: "Heat of the Moment", "The Smile has Left Your Eyes" (video herescroll down about halfway). They rehearsed in Raglan, Wales at the beginning of the month.

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, 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. HMS Prog was nominated for the Event of the Year category in the Progressive Music Awards 2018, but failed to make the top 3 and lost to Space Rocks: you can vote here.

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 was Skyscraper Souls (Cherry Red, X2XCD003), with a Roger Dean cover. There is also a transparent blue vinyl version on Plane Groovy (PLG065). 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). Andy Partridge (worked with Steven Wilson, ex-XTC) 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. Lee Pomeroy (This Oceanic Feeling, It Bites, works with Yes featuring ARW, ELO, Take That, Rick Wakeman), who played on their second album, Suburban Ghosts, was originally to play on Skyscraper Souls too. 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.
DBA played their debut live show at Trading Boundaries, East Sussex on 28 Sep 2018, which sold out. The duo performed with Hodge (bass), Colquhoun (guitar) and pre-recorded drums, plus guests Almond (vocals) and Longdon (vocals, flute; on 2 songs). Roger Dean was also at the evening showing the original artwork for the new album. The set included "Tomorrow" and Asia's "Heat of the Moment", "The Smile has Left Your Eyes" and, as a solo by Downes, "Bolero" ("Cutting It Fine" excerpt). I think "Suburban Ghosts - Part 3" was also played. In response to a fan who tweeted their should be more shows, Hodge replied, "We're all in agreement with you, it's just a matter of how and when really...Keep spreading the word and crossing your fingers and we'll get there sometime!" In response to someone saying they would love to see DBA play in the US, Downes replied, "So would I ! Let's hope we can make that happen sometime soon."

Asked Mar 2017 about the possibility of DBA touring, Downes had  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."

A new version of their 2015 album, Suburban Ghosts, is due 30 Nov 2018. Seemingly called Suburban Ghosts 2018, this is described as a remix by Braide, but appears to involve new recordings. Promo describes the involvement of Patrick Howley (worked with Braide; electric guitar), Dave Gregory (slide guitar), Lee Pomeroy (bass), Andy Hodge (bass) and Ash Soan (drums), of whom only Gregory and Pomeroy are on the original album.

Icon
The full Wetton/Downes Icon back catalogue is being re-released through Cherry Red, to finish with a career-spanning box set. Asked about unreleased Icon material on Twitter in May 2018 (before the re-releases of iCon to iCon 3 were announced), Downes replied, "A few gems waiting in the vaults [...] Stay with us there!" First came Urban Psalm in Jun 2017, 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 was the first general release of the performance. Next came Zero in Nov 2017, a (as Downes described it) "Remastered and re-jigged" version of the 2002 Wetton/Downes release (which predated the Icon name). Downes tweeted 22 Sep 2017, "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):


Jun 2018 brought a remaster of iCon (ICON1CD), with bonus tracks of all of the band's "Heat of the Moment" EP (some of which were included on previous editions):

12. "Heat of the Moment '05" (4:38)
13. "Overture/Paradox"
14. "Let Me Go"
15. "The Smile has Left Your Eyes '05" (3:42)
16. "In the End" (4:47)
17. "There in Your Bed" (2:24)

The bonus tracks of "Overture/Paradox", "Let Me Go" and "In the End" are remixes with orchestrations by Mike Stobbie.

Icon II—Rubicon (ICON2CD) is remastered and comes with a bonus track of "The Harbour Wall", previously only released in Japan. Icon 3 (ICON3CD) is remastered and also includes a previously Japan-only bonus track, inserted as the 10th track. This is a live version of "Live Another Day".

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

Pulse, Jerusalem and Deckchair Poets
Downes has guested on several projects by Jersualem and their side project, Deckchair Poets, produced/engineered by Rob Aubrey (worked with Wetton/Downes). On 11 Oct 2018, he tweeted, "At work today on the new 'Jerusalem' album with Rob Aubrey and [...] Lynden Williams." On 14 Nov 2017, Downes had tweeted about working with Aubrey, although it is not known whether this was for Jerusalem or for Pulse.

First described by Downes in a Feb 2007 blog, Pulse is a project put together by Aubrey (engineer) with Downes (keys), Tony Levin (King Crimson, worked with Yes; bass), Michael Holmes (IQ; guitar), Nick D'Virgilio (In Continuum, ex-Spock's Beard, ex-Genesis; drums, vocals) and Thomas Lang (Eddie Jobson, 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 [...] 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 in Feb 2012, he said: "Hangin with Mike Holmes, Geoff Downes, and Rob making music! WHOO HOO!!!"



Other news
Alan Simon's Excalibur III: The Origins, on which Downes guested, was re-released through Cherry Red (EXCAL3CD) on 8 Jun 2018. Downes briefly appeared on Kate Bush's The Dreaming. Her back catalogue has been remastered and is being released with bonus tracks. The Dreaming is included in Remastered Part I on CD and Remastered in Vinyl 1 on LP, both due 16 Nov 2018.

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

In response to a tweet about the New Dance Orchestra album Electronica, Downes tweeted in May 2018, "About time I did another one, right?"

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

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