Where are they now? - Jon Anderson
This page last updated: 14 Jan 2021
On other pages: Anderson Wakeman - Anderson Rabin Wakeman
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Overview of the direction
of Anderson's career
One of Anderson's main projects was Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW), but the band appears to have come to an end. In a May 2018 article, Anderson said, "As long as I can sing, I want to keep Yes going. Yes is in my DNA. Whatever I do is Yes." To Record Collector #511 (out Oct 2020), Anderson said, "In my heart and soul, I am still Yes." In the Dec 2020 issue of Prog magazine (in an interview conducted early Oct), he said, "For me, I am Yes. It's never left me." More on this below. He was #7 in the Prog Readers' Poll Male Vocalist category.
He has multiple further projects on the go, many involving
collaboration over the Internet. In an Aug 2020
interview, Anderson said he had "a lot of projects I wanted
to finish". In another,
I also just finished a project last week that I'd been working on for three months, and I thought, "Once I've got that done, I've only got six or seven projects left to get done before Christmas, and I'll be a happy guy!" (laughs)
In a Sep 2020 interview, Anderson said, "I'm finishing four or five projects that I've been waiting to finish for the last 15 years or so". In a Nov 2020 interview, Anderson said he hadn't thought about retiring: "I'll keep going. I've got a lot to do, a lot of work to finish, a lot of musicals to finish, a lot of books to write. I just believe that this life is all about finding your true self and to find the divine within, so that's what I do."
2014 interview said, "Just this past week, he received new
music from friends in Poland, Italy and New York." In another
that month, he said he is working on "a lot of different
things this year . I'm in my 70th year so I always believed
that 70 is going to be a strong momentum for the next 20 years."
In a Sep
2018 interview, he said, "I'm creating very avidly in my
74th year and just thinking about the next twenty, thirty years
that I've got to do some really great work." In an interview
for Inside MusiCast published in May 2016, Anderson talked
about how Invention of Knowledge is
"my next step into my next life, my next 20 years of music". In an
Sep 2016 interview, Anderson said: "I'm just chasing ideas
that come my way – a dozen or more – it's endless. I just need a
few doors open." Anderson said in a Nov
2013 interview, "I think I'm working with about twenty
different people at the moment, with twenty different projects."
2015 interview with Anderson said:
Anderson has "a dozen projects that I want to get finished in the next 10 years," ranging from an album he started working on 22 years ago to another that began last year .
It also quoted Anderson as saying:
I think the days of just going into a studio and making an album are not what I want to do anymore[.] I'm more interested in the adventure of free-form ideas. I know it sounds crazy, but I like it when you're not quite sure what you're gonna do until you get on stage.
In an Aug
2016 interview, seemingly conducted in Jul or earlier,
Anderson said, "I'd rather just do, sort of, ideas now and again.
I think it's just a different way of thinking. We can release
music all the time. I've got this project coming up next year
 which encompasses that, the idea that music is more
important than how many sell, or even the charts [...] after a
while you've gone through that experience, all you want to do is
create music without having to worry if people are gonna hear it.
So what you do, you make music, you put it on the Internet and
eventually people hear it, if they're interested. None of this
going through a record company and hoping that they're going to
promote it well, and so on and so on." Could this be a reference
to the Zamran project (see below)?
In an Apr
2017 interview, Anderson said, "I'm just a workaholic when
it comes to music. I've got a dozen albums ready to go at the
moment, but they're not really finished. I've got ideas for
multiple albums going at the same time."
A recent Jun
2017 interview illustrated further some of the diversity of
Anderson's activities and the various ongoing projects. The
interviewer has raised Survival and Other
Stories and how it was made through multiple online
collaboration, to which Anderson said he has "5 hours of music",
implying made in a similar way. He continued, "I'm waiting to
decide how to release it [...] it's so much music and everything
is so different. So, it's a question of how to put it into the
world and, er, I have some ideas to do it with [...] computer art
and also make it like a game [...] I have so many stories that I
have been writing [...] 4 musicals, if you like, which is music
and songs and me talking about the story. And they will come out
at the same time. So it's a large concept idea." We see here
common repeated themes of a large backlog of material, and of some
uncertainty how best to release it and of releasing it in some
unconventional digital way, involving a game or, in other
interviews, an app. Anderson has talked about the same ideas with
respect to other projects, like the Zamran
material. That material often stems from these many online
collaborations—as have other projects like Survival and
Other Stories or, less directly, Invention of Knowledge—but
there is also reference here to 4 "musicals, if you like". Many of
Anderson's projects do appear to involve a story element, whether
they're still music projects or entail a theatrical presentation
in some form.
I decided this year  that I was going concentrate on finishing a lot of work in the studio. My studio is chockablock full of music. I've got to sort it all out and here I am writing a new song now, this morning. It's compounding by constantly creating music, which is amazing, but I've got to get it organized. I think this year I won't do too many shows.As well as various traditional releases, Anderson has released a number of pieces of music digitally and made further tracks available for free through various online channels. In an interview in Apr 2011, Anderson explained: "I put songs up there [on Facebook] [...] I don't think they will be released, er, commercially, but I put them up there because I like them". In the Feb 2013 interview, asked about his next studio album, he replies:
I'm not going to make any more albums. I'm just going to create new music, probably through apps. You've got your app and you've got a couple hours of music. That's what I've got, I've got so much music that I want to put it out there, but it has to be put out there in a certain form other than the norm because we're not living in the norm any more.As well as music, Anderson is also working in a number of other creative contexts, including writing and painting: see below. He's also talked about additional multimedia components complementing his music. For example, there's this from the Jun 2011 interview:
Everything I’m doing from this
moment on is being visualized, and that’s what I’m really into.
I think it’s the way to go, because in the old days we used to
have - what was it called - “album covers.” The idea is, you get
not so much album covers anymore, so why not create visual art
to go with your work. That’s what I’m thinking. More or less,
people want to “see” the music like they used to in the old days
with a big album cover. So, that’s what I’m working on at the
2011 interview had this: "I think people should be able to
have at their behest, like, four hours of music, entertainment,
visual knowledge, different pathways[.] That's what I'm trying to
do with modern technology, not just another song and another
song." An interview
from around May 2013 had this:
[I've been] thinking about creating an app that I could use to put all this music up I’ve been creating in the last ten years. And then I want to evolve that app, and create a situation where people can get new music every month, and then every six months they’ll get albums that they’ve never heard from me before, with Vangelis or by myself. The idea is that within the next five years, the app itself will have probably all the work I’ve ever done, and be up to 12 or 14 hours long.
the idea would be to “visualize” everything, so that not only are you listening to music, you’re actually seeing a visualization of it at the same time. In the ’60s you had those lights at gigs in San Francisco with bands like The Doors, they were just projections at first and then it evolved over the years from projection to these large scale giant TV monitors you have [...] now, and you’re getting incredible visuals using computer animation. I think that’s part of the experience of the 21st century, music as a visual experience as well.
In an Aug 2013 interview on Planet
Rock radio (UK), Anderson talked about his many Internet
collaborators, saying "I'm working with a dozen or so people on a
constant level". He then went on to say he and collaborators were
"working on an app [...] rather than an album" as a way of
"releasing music over a period of time", which would also be
accompanied by "visual art" and be "more of a game" that would
allow the user to "go into a world that's different every time."
In Sep 2013, Anderson posted the following call to Facebook:
I'm searching for an experienced and knowledgeable Theatrical Agent to help me realize my dreams. I’ve written Musicals, Children's Musicals, Dance Theatre and other works over the years and it's time for them to be seen and heard. I need a fellow dreamer who can be honest with me, and help guide me to the people who can help see these wonderful projects to fruition.
In a Mar
2014 interview, Anderson said, "I'm working on a couple of
really interesting theater pieces, one for a local [central
California] dance company."
Ideas for Yes music
Anderson has often talked about making Yes-like music or his version of Yes music or re-visiting older Yes material. Several projects on the rest of this page, he's described as being Yes-like. Before the recent Anderson Ponty Band, Anderson had generally eschewed a band format, but had still talked about making more Yes-like music. Back in the Oct 2010 issue of Classic Rock Presents... Prog, he said:
I haven't stopped creating Yes
music in my heart. One of the things I realised was that all the
solo albums that I ever did had nothing to do with Yes; I didn't
want to 'pretend' to be Yes, because I don't want to do that.
But now I feel like that it is
part of my DNA, and I can't stop wanting to create large-scale
pieces of music that obviously have a very strong connection
with Yes, because that's what I did with the band. I helped to
create these larger pieces of music.
Asked whether he means to form an alternative group, Anderson
It won't be a band. It's just a
collection of musicians that want to do it. [...] [describes the "Open"
project] That's one of the things I've learnt over the
last five or six years — to work with people via the internet.
I'm working with a dozen people round the world, constantly
writing songs. They're just fun songs, crazy songs, sad songs,
hope-for-peace songs. As well as doing the big pieces I'm still
writing [...] short songs, because I still love doing that kind
of work as well.
I really want to do the final, great Yes album. I've got an idea of what it looks like, what it sounds like, but I'm not sure how to pull it off. [...] it's one of those things. I know what it should be, I know there's a lot of people who would love it to happen and I would love it to happen as well.
interview later that same month raised the question of a
Anderson had previously said more on this topic in this exchange from a Feb 2013 interview:
“I’m very open to it,” says Anderson. “It’s been 50 years now. You think something has got to happen. To me, a great album has to be made. That’s what I think. I don’t know how it’s going to be made, but the final Yes event should happen. I’ve talked to a couple of people about it and they get it. I really want to do this. I’ve even written eight songs for the record that I’m thinking would work with a full orchestra and a choir.”
Is Steve Howe into this idea? “I don’t know,” says Anderson with a sigh. “Maybe he’ll read this article and say ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ I don’t know.”
Anderson: I wish [Squire]'d have called the band something else, it would have been more real, but bands do it, Journey carried on without their singer. I wish them luck; it's not my idea of Yes, obviously. My idea of Yes is "Open" [see below] and what I'm doing now. Emotionally I haven't left Yes at all. [...] I still have a great feeling about the future of my idea of Yes music. I'm still committed to the wonderful Yes music we've created over the years. I want to continue to make that kind of Yes music [...]However, in other interviews, Anderson has been more cautious. In an Aug 2014 interview with Anderson had this:
Interviewer: [...] Are you open to the idea of an extensive tour with them [Yes]?
Anderson: I wanted to tour in 2009 when I got better and they said no. They turned me down. They said maybe next year . That's kind of bizarre to me that they'd say they already had a singer, six months later that singer, probably a lovely guy, couldn't handle the touring [...] Now they have another singer, they didn't call me or ask me if I'd be interested, they just say oh he's sick, which is a lot of rubbish.
Interviewer: Would you ever work with them again?
Anderson: Sure, I'd love to. There's no reason why we shouldn't bury the hatchet, get together and make some music and do something very special for all the Yes fans around the world. And there are thousands of people who would like us to get together [...] Rick would have to be in the band. There's no point in just me. We'd probably do some shows or something, some beautiful new music [...] we could make a movie or something like that, just to honor all the fans.
“That moment [when the band continued without him in 2008] really hurt,” Anderson admits. “I think we’d grown apart over the years, and when it came to the crunch, you know, business is more important and that’s what they wanted to do.There's more on the relationship between Anderson and Yes on the Yes page here.
“But we’re still brothers,” he adds. [...] Noting that a[...] reunion could happen if Yes ever makes it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [...] Anderson says he’d be happy to sing with them again.
As for a full reunion should it be offered, though, he demurs. “It’s not what I want to do,” he says.
Anderson was among the guests for #Quarantide on 22 May. This was a chat show format. Asked about his current activities, Anderson said, "I'm working like crazy on creating a large-scale piece of music." It's unknown if this relates to any projects described below: I would guess it is this project. He said he would "give it away", that is make it freely available. He also talked about making freely available online, at his website, an album he did "about 10 years ago". I am not entirely clear what he meant here, but he shortly before he had made all of Survival & Other Stories available on YouTube.
In the Dec 2020 issue
magazine (in an interview conducted early
Oct), he said, "I've been actually writing
large-scale pieces of music thislast three or four
months". This may be in reference to what appears to
main work during this period, a project with Michael Franklin: see below.
1000 Hands Website; Facebook; Twitter
|Anderson released 1000 Hands:
Chapter One (album
promo) with producer Michael Franklin (worked with Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz, Bobby
Kimball, Gloria Gaynor), a development of his 1990s
Uzlot sessions with Brian Chatton (ex-Warriors,
ex-Jackson Heights). Details
in Yescography. The
album was originally available solely from a dedicated
website (but appears to have sold out there on CD) and
at tour dates, but Anderson said in 2020 interviews that
they couldn't get a record deal. (In an early Jul
interview with Malcolm Wyatt, Anderson explained about
how the album was released: "the record companies weren't
very interested. Even Atlantic Records turned me down.") The
album has now had a general release, on CD, 180g 2LP and
digital, through Blue Élan Records. The digital version came
31 Jul 2020, with physical versions delayed to 14 Aug. This
re-release made #74 in Germany. There was also a digital
single of "Now"/"Ramalama" from the album, out 29 May.
There was a livestreamed
promo event on 2 Aug 2020 (archived
on YouTube). This consisted of a long interview with
Anderson plus 4 pre-recorded performances—"Ramalama",
"WDMCF", "First Born Leaders", "Makes Me Happy"—with members
of his touring band: Joe Cosas, Tim Franklin, Jocelyn Hsu,
Tommy Calton, Rayford Griffin, William "Billy" Meether and
Anderson is now working on a follow-up, Chapter
Two. He said 10 Feb 2020 online about being "Back in
Solar Studio last week... busy with so much new music". In
the Jul 2020 Wyatt interview, he said, "we've been working
on half a dozen or so songs already, and more follow every
week. I've an idea for one large piece that could work,
but it takes time to sort that out. [...] we'll be able to
release part two next summer maybe." In the Aug 2020
livestream, he said the album would be out in 2021. He
explained, "There were more songs created when we were
doing Chapter One." He then mentioned a cover of John
Lennon's "Nobody Told Me", which he was working on during
the original 1990 Uzlot sessions. In an Aug
2020 interview (released Oct 2020), he said they
would probably put it on Chapter Two. In another Aug
2020 interview, Anderson said, "We [himself and
Franklin] are connected to do chapter two and we have
already done half a dozen songs. We are going to do some
more in the new year, and release that next Christmas
In this Feb
2019 interview and another
article that month, Anderson had said Chapter
Two would probably be worked on winter 2019/20 for a
2020 release. In the first interview, he said it will be
based on "some songs that I wrote at that time" (i.e.,
the same time as the original Uzlot sessions). In
the second article, he said, "we have a lot of songs left
over". In a Mar
2018 interview, Anderson described how working on
the project, they had enough material for two albums, and
he talked of the second coming out, "next year 
maybe the year after ". (It's not clear whether
that's "next year maybe, the year after" or "next year,
maybe the year after".) In a Jul
2019 interview, Anderson said of Chapter Two:
"We're working on it now, I actually recently sang some
parts live from a new song that we have. We have about
half a dozen songs and another few more coming in the next
six months. So probably a release after touring in spring
or summer of next year ." An Aug
2019 interview reported that Anderson "plans on
adding another three [songs] in September and then
finishing up the record next summer." In another Aug
2019 interview, Anderson said, "I was working on it
[Chapter Two] just before the tour. I've got four
songs that we've got ready and Michael Franklin was doing
some production on it. Then I found another song which is
linked together with another one. When I get home, I'll
probably send Michael about 10 more!" The album will
include "songs that I was writing around that [Uzlot]
period [...] the idea of chapter two should be maybe a
couple more 'vocalizationing' projects [i.e. like
"Ramalama" and "WDMCF"] which I have [...] I know I've got
a couple of large scale pieces that I've always wanted to
get into production and I'll throw them at Michael and
say, 'Sort that out!'" In an Aug
2020 interview, Anderson said he had no plans "at
the moment" to write more with Chatton. He then talked of
having "two or three" Uzlot songs being worked on,
including "Welcome Touch", plus "four or five" more
(presumably not from Uzlot). In a Nov
2020 interview, he said they had "about nine
songs" from the Uzlot sessions: with 5
used on Chapter One, that would leave 4
remaining. In another Nov
2020 interview, asked if he was working on Chapter
Two, Anderson replied, "I am, all the time. And
Chapter Three. And Chapter Four (laughs). Well, I've had
six months off, and all I want to do is get all my songs
together and kind of finish them. Most of the time, I'd
be on tour after a year. Now, I've got the chance to
finish all this work."
The album was arranged by Franklin and Anderson, and recorded and mixed by Matt Brown. Brown also drums, while other notable performers include Tim Franklin (Michael's brother; bass), Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, worked with Pink Floyd, Jan Akkerman; drums), Jerry Goodman (violin) and Steady Joseph (percussion). Videos were initially released for "Now", "Ramalama" (seemingly by Deborah Anderson), "Activate", "Makes Me Happy" (shot with Deborah and Jane Anderson, produced by Deborah), "Now Variations", "I Found Myself", "WDMCF" and "1,000 Hands (Come Up)" (by Michael Byrne). A video of an extended version (8:33) of "WDMCF" was uploaded to YouTube on 30 Aug 2019. A video of a new mix of 1,0000 Hands (Come Up)" (8:33) was uploaded to YouTube on 19 Nov 2019. All these videos were removed in the first half of 2020. There is an alternative version of the "Makes Me Happy" video still online.
Anderson told the story in an interview
released Mar 2018, but seemingly recorded Oct 2017:
"[Franklin] got in touch with me about a year ago [so, 2016]. He
asked me about this project I started 27 years ago, 28 years ago
[...] the tapes got put in my garage and I forgot about them,
because I was on tour with, with Yes and recording other albums
and things like that. [...] So, Michael [...] we got together in
California where I live and he said, er, 'Why don't you come over
to Orlando and do some work on the tapes and make the music
happen.' [...] 27 years later, we're finishing it". In the Jul
2020 interview, Anderson said, "I would listen to the tapes
from time to time and think, 'This could have been a great album.
One day I'll finish it'." In the Yorkshire Post Jul
2020 interview, Anderson said: "life happened and they never
got finished. Brian tried to turn them into more commercial songs
– that didn't quite work; I went on tour." In a third Jul
2020 interview, with God is in the TV, Anderson said: "This
producer guy tried to work with Brian and mix some of the songs a
year later, around 1991, but it didn't sound very good to me, so I
just thought "Oh well, I'll just let go of it for now," but he's
this guy who lives in Orlando and he's surrounded by musicians
everywhere because of Disneyworld, Universal Studios [...] so I
mentioned to him that I'd like to..." This was M Franklin, first
working on the material in 1991. In an Aug
2020 interview, Anderson said, "[Chatton] had an idea of how
he wanted to hear the tracks and he actually spent time and money
working on it. He sent me the mixes and I said: 'Actually Brian,
it's a little bit too overproduced. Love you man! But let's leave
it for now.'" The early '90s sessions are the Uzlot
sessions and all the Anderson/Chatton co-writes are rooted in this
period. In a 6
Feb 2019 Facebook post, Anderson described the Uzlot
sessions as having music written by Chatton, but vocal melodies
and lyrics by himself, and the sessions as starting with himself,
Chatton (keys), Heffner (keys), Gary Barlow (producer/engineer).
Further sessions took place with Hamm (bass), Squire (bass), White
(drums), Heffner (keys) and others, and at least 8 songs were
recorded. All of Squire's and White's contributions are from this
period. In the third Jul
2020 interview, Anderson said these original sessions lasted
"about three months". Anderson and Chatton remained in touch about
the project after those original sessions. A piece by Anderson and
Chatton entitled "Welcome Touch"
is available on Chatton's
MySpace page (dated 2007), but it is unclear when it was
recorded; the song also dates to the original Uzlot
sessions, although it is unknown whether that recording was from
then. Artist Ed Unitsky did a video for "Welcome Touch", which was
on Facebook. On ProgressiveEars.com in Jan 2017, Chatton
said, "The Uzlot project is still unfinished. We have 7 songs in
the pipeline and as soon as Jon has the time, it will be mastered
M Franklin and Anderson re-engaged. In some versions
of the story, Franklin approached Anderson about releasing the
album. In the Yorkshire Post interview, Anderson described
how work re-started when Franklin said he had "some capital" to
complete the record. In the God in the TV interview, Anderson says
he approached Franklin. They had to bake the earlier 24-track
tapes, and new sessions began. The modern recordings were done at
Solar Studios, Orlando, FL. Anderson went on in his Mar
2018-published interview to say they were "finishing the album
over the next month", although there were additional sessions in
Mar/Apr 2018, including shooting for four accompanying videos. In
2018 interview, Anderson said some songs may be released to
YouTube beforehand. In another
later that month, he said he had just completed work on the album.
In a third May
2018 interview, Anderson explained: "I had tapes lying
around in my garage that I'd been working on for years and I got
this great producer and said that I really wanted people who I'd
met with throughout my life to play on it [...] and it sounds like
it was made last week. Some of the recordings go back years but we
have upgraded them and improved them over the years but the songs
still sounded great. I've written 3 or 4 new songs to go with it".
An Aug 2018 report had that the album was due in Sep 2018, to be
released in three parts. In an interview
conducted late Aug 2018, Anderson just said the album would
be out "next month". In an interview
conducted late Jul 2018, Anderson said he was "going to
Orlando to finish mixing next week". He described the project
there thus: "I started a piece of music 28 years ago in Big Bear,
which is southeast of L.A. I was just getting away from the world
for three months, and I decided to do an album[.] But it never got
finished because life is like that. Now, 28 years later, I'm just
finishing five of the songs, plus five new songs and an album
called 1,000 Hands." Talking more, he said, "there's one
or two obvious good radio songs. Whether they'll go viral or
whatever, who cares. You know, it's what it is. But all you want
is for people to hear what you do. I even do some dance EDM music
on one track on the album. One track on it is very EDM. Because
I've been doing some of that [over the] last year." An early Sep
2018 interview has Anderson as having just finished mixing,
and again reference to 5 songs being from 28 years ago and some
EDM being on the album. On
Facebook, Franklin described Grundman as mastering the album
on 31 Aug 2018. Anderson, M Franklin, bassist T Franklin and
drummer Brown were back in the studio in Sep 2018 for video
shoots; Michael described "9 videos in progress" on Facebook. On 7
Feb, Deborah Anderson a picture with her father captioned, "When
your dad asks you to create a music video for the first single off
his latest album in one day using a green screen to transport him
all over the world, this is what happens".
In the Yorkshire Post interview (Jul 2020),
Anderson said of the finished album: "In its complete idea it is
exactly what I was thinking at that time [when he first started
the Uzlot sessions] The lyrics haven't changed in two
thirds of the songs, we've been able to add some of the creme de
la creme of music on it". Anderson has said the first of the
recent sessions was with Cobham on "Come Up" (although in other
accounts, it wasn't the first session), while Corea also recorded
parts for that song a year later. Ponty's contributions are also
recent. Oct 2017 sessions for the album were with Anderson, M
Franklin, T Franklin, Brown, Snapp, Scanlon, Galotta, Calton,
Steinhardt, Chalk. Other performers mentioned include Jocelyn
Hsu (Violectric, Tallahassee Symphony
Orchestra; violin, backing vocals). In a joint interview
with Jon and Ian Anderson for the Aug 2018 issue of Record
Collector, Ian Anderson described his contribution, which
were done recently, with Ian recording it in his home office, as
being for "a long, epic song [...] very much in the progressive
rock tradition". Corea was recording in Mar 2018. Travers posted
to Facebook about meeting Anderson on 23 Apr 2018 at
Orlando, FL sessions with Franklin: he is guesting on a song. He
described the music thus: "mostly Jon Anderson sounding. Lots of
instrumentation, strings, horns, harp, keyboards, guitar in and
out, and a lot of wonderful choral performances. This one is very
special." Violinist Michelle
worked with Sarah Brightman, Art Garfunkel) also posted
to Facebook about doing a recording session (possibly just
for the video) with Anderson on 23 Apr.
2019 interview confirms that Howe's contribution was recent
(but recorded remotely). In another Mar
2019 interview, Anderson said:
I just felt that I was gonna ask if he would play on the last song which was "Now and Again" and he played this beautiful guitar work on it and... 'Cos we met up at the Hall Of Fame and everything, and I kept looking at him saying, "We're gonna sing together! We're gonna work together again!" [...] So he sent this recording back and I just wanted to sing with him so I sang on it, added some lyric and... In fact, the lyric is about me and him. And it was great to [...] sing with him again. We connected again, shall we say.
In another interview later that same month, Anderson explained, "I just called him up and he said he'd love to play on it[.] I haven't sang with him in many, many years. It felt really comfortable and cathartic to do that. We're brothers. Sometimes you don't understand or misunderstand your brother and want to do different things. I think that is called a family."
Jon has asked me to set up some auditions as he would love to have you all singing on Joyfullness. Jon's criteria is that you should sing light and clear and in time not rock singing. You can send me a brief demo at firstname.lastname@example.org and please title the email Demo Opus Joyfullness, this will help me organise them within my inbox."Hopefulness" was released first in Jun 2019 on a Google drive, entitled "Piano Lesson (2020)", and announced via Facebook. It is also available on Anderson's SoundCloud under the name "The Hopeless Opus". The other three came on separate days, 6-11 Jul. The original YouTube uploads for the first two parts were replaced in Mar 2020; I'm uncertain if the music has changed.
I was able to concentrate [during pandemic lockdown] on finishing the large scale epic that I started last year. I've spent three months on that. It's not finished completely – you can listen to the music because I did that last year in the space of one week. If you search for Jon Anderson's Joyfulness, it'll come up on YouTube. It's four movements, but then I decided that I liked the idea so much that maybe I should write songs and lyrics all the way through the whole thing. So it's four 19 minute pieces. For me it's become my focus for the next year. I still want to add choral and orchestra to it along the way.In the Aug 2020 livestreamed event, Anderson talked about Byrne's visuals, saying, "It's inspired me to write songs now within this music."
You can actually go and listen to the blueprint on my YouTube channel [...] they're called "Hopefulness," "Joyfulness," "Thankfulness," and "Gratefulness." It's music I did in the space of one week, and then I ended up going on the tour with 1000 Hands [...] I came back afterwards [after the tour, late 2019], listened to all this music, and went, "Actually, it works, all together."Anderson has done some further work with Byrne: he sang on "Dancin' and Jumpin'", a song released to Soundcloud May 2018 by Irish band Papercut, with Byrne (keys, drums) and Liam "Hippie" Johnston (guitars). There is now a video on YouTube, credit to Jon Anderson/Michael Byrne. Anderson and Byrne also have a second collaboration, "Andromeda", on Soundcloud and now on YouTube. Byrne explained on Facebook in May 2018, "He found me on Youtube, rang me up, got talking and here we are." Byrne has also uploaded their collaboration "Whispers of Forgiveness". Around the same time as the four "Opus" pieces, Byrne uploaded several other videos to YouTube. He did new visuals for "Surfing with God" (see below), "Sing to Me" (associated with Zamran), and a video for "Come Up" from 1000 Hands. There's also a cover of Radiohead's "Rain Down" by Anderson.
They're each about 20-25 minutes long, and now I've spent the last three months writing lyrics and songs and melodies within the framework of what you hear. It's all about Mother Earth.
Wrote this song after the horrific school shootings.. at Sandy Hook... and more... just breaks your heart when nothing gets done[.] Gun laws be Dammed... same with Priests screwing children in the name of WHAT!!!....then hiding it all away...!!!He had also recently expressed his opposition to Donald Trump.
So now is the perfect time for the song to be heard and seen ..we are at a breaking point with a mad man in charge of this amazing country.....we must change our being to help the world heal...and yes I said Fuckers!!!
a couple of weeks ago [...] I started digging into the files again [...] I have kind of a symphonic piece that’s probably like 15 or 20 minutes that’s just instrumental. And I was aiming at doing it orchestrated with a real orchestra, but that was 10 years ago or even more [laughs][ ]and nothing happened really. [...] I just felt like, well, this is probably something that Jon could sing. Because he’ll sometimes say, Oh, send me anything…send me some music and I’ll sing over it! Maybe I should just compile the best of the songs that we’ve done up to this point, because there’s probably seven or eight songs that I think are really strong. And one or two of the songs he wrote together with his son. So I think there’s great material already. And then I was just thinking that maybe if I take this symphonic piece and let him sing whatever he wants to sing on it, that makes an album!In an Oct 2020 interview with Yes Music Podcast, when Stolt was asked about a second album, he replied: "right now, when you're calling, I was actually mapping out a few things I was about to send to Jon, probably later tonight or tomorrow. [...] There's about half an album, I would say. It says now it's [...] 65 minutes, but I think at least 30 minutes of these are really great". Asked to describe the material, he said, "It's a bit mysterious, it's got really good melodies. It's got some [...] spots where it's more drawn out, improvising [...] It's got a little bit of everything. [...] We were finding our way on the first album. I think this, in general, sounds more convincing. [...] It just feels like, as we know each other better now [...] it seems to me, what I have now is just demos, so it's Jon's vocals and my drum programming and lots of orchestral stuff. But I'm thinking that when this is actually played by a band, and possibly with some real strings and stuff like that, I think it's going to be great." In a Feb 2020 interview, asked about his activities for the year, Stolt said, "I'm also finding time to finish the second album together with Jon Anderson we're sort of halfways."
[...] I haven’t spoken to Jon in a couple of weeks or a month or something like that. So, I have no idea where he’s at with that, but I’m thinking that maybe I just send it over to see. [...] It’s strange time for all of us. It’s about a couple of different things, we have other projects, but it’s also about survival. So we need to find ways to get the money in. Transatlantic for me is a good way of that, and The Flower Kings [...] sometimes I have to give priority, you know, and which I kind of regret sometimes, but it’s reality. [...] Sometimes I’m too much of a dreamer. So I just think about all these projects with other people that I want to do and it just goes on and on and on. Sometimes you spend a lot of time on projects that don’t generate a lot of money.
Next album is in the works - we make nice progress. Very happy about it - Jon's voice is now back in top shape (at 72 !!) - We work on a super-monster-epic-track. - Hey- it's prog & we owe it to you - and us.He also responded to comments. Asked if the same performers would be on the album as the first, he replied, "Most likely - with one or two new additions - can't give away anything yet". Queried about having more instrumental passages, he said, "absolutely possible - Jon himself suggested that too - and my singing too in between - (even if there was plenty of my voice as backing vocal on Invention - I personally envision a few more naked scaled down-to-earth sections too". In a Dec 2017 interview, he said, "On the recording side we started album number 2 with Anderson/Stolt". And, on his 2018 plans, "We're doing a beautiful limited edition of the 1st Anderson/Stolt album [see below] - plus working on the second album. [...] On top of my wish list is to take the Anderson/ Stolt music to the stage - with a grand visuals show too." However, in a Jan 2018 interview, Anderson said, "We are writing the next album now - expecting to release in 2020". In an interview conducted late Aug 2018, Anderson said, "I started working with Roine again a few months ago. Next year  we'll be preparing another album together, hopefully for 2020." Stolt told a fan on the 2019 Cruise to the Edge to expect the second album in early 2020.
Yep - we're both excited - All going well - and much smoother/faster these days - very promising times ....
|Buy vinyl version (UK):
|Their debut was Invention
of Knowledge (InsideOut Music). Performing were Anderson (lead
& backing vocals, additional keys), Stolt (electric
guitars, 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, dobro, Portuguese
guitar, lap steel, keys, percussion, backing vocals), Tom
Brislin (The Sea Within, worked with Yes,
Renaissance, The Syn; Hammond, piano, Rhodes,
synths), Lalle Larsson (Karmakanic; piano,
Reingold (The Flower Kings, Karmakanic, The Sea
Within, worked with The Syn; bass), Michael Stolt
(The Flower Kings, ex-Desperados; bass, bass
pedals), Felix Lehrmann (The Flower Kings, worked
with Jennifer Rush; drums), Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain
of Salvation, Transatlantic, The Sea Within, ex-The Flower
Kings; backing vocals), Nad Sylvan (Agents
of Mercy, worked with Steve Hackett; backing
vocals), Anja Obermayer (Chilli da
Mur; backing vocals), Maria Rerych (backing
vocals), Kristina Westas (backing vocals). Tracks (all
lyrics by Anderson):
We talked about next summer  doing some special event. It's very hard to know. The more I listen to the album [...] the more I think this would sound beautiful with a full orchestra and a choir and a lot of musicians and some incredible graphics [...] Because originally most of the songs were written for an idea for an installation that we are constantly re-inventing ourselvesIn a Jun 2016 interview, Anderson said, "we'll probably perform [it] next spring . We'll see how many people enjoy the album, and how many people want to see us perform in Sweden [...] Maybe we'll do some shows in America next summer. We don't know yet." And in a Jul 2016 interview: "We talked about [tour plans], but want to see the public reaction to Invention of Knowledge. Also, I would love to perform the album with a choir. We will see what develops." Asked about touring in an Aug 2016 interview (seemingly conducted in Jul or earlier), Anderson said, "That's up to, really, how it sells, of course. If it reaches a lot of people [...] we think, next summer , we'll probably do some concerts [...] we also have some new music we've been writing, so we might just re-record some new stuff, and then release that next summer along with the album again and then probably do a couple of shows, with some special shows in Sweden maybe." In the interview conducted Jun 2017, Anderson said, "I think if we get this new album together, we'll probably get a band together and go on the road. You hope that way, don't you? [...] We'll see what happens." That would be in 2018 or later.
Ponty Band Official page
(Former official page); Facebook;
The Anderson Ponty Band consisted of Jon Anderson (vocals) and Jean-Luc Ponty (ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra, ex-Frank Zappa, worked with Elton John, Chick Corea, Stéphane Grappelli; violin). They ran a Kickstarter campaign to support a live show and its recording as a live DVD/album, plus other activity. The band then toured. Entitled Better Late Than Never, the album was released Sep 2015. The band played a 17-date North American tour, Oct/Nov 2015. Keith Jones, who has also worked with Ponty previously, played bass on tour instead of Browne. An 18-date tour of North America Apr/May 2016 followed, with the same line-up.
As for the future, an Oct
2015 interview with Anderson had this:
the duo has also started writing some original material that may become part of the repertoire. And looking forward, there are desires to create both a stripped-down, acoustic presentation and full-scale orchestra and choir concert piece. "I think the days of just going into a studio and making an album are not what I want to do anymore," Anderson says. "I'm more interested in the adventure of free-form ideas. I know it sounds crazy, but I like it when you're not quite sure what you're gonna do until you get on stage."Nonetheless, there are no plans for more touring. Glaser said to the APB Facebook group in Aug 2016: "Though APB is over for now, we hope maybe one day to get back together. [...] I still check in though there is no "band" ,no management , nothing going on round here in APB land." In an interview for the Spring 2016 issue of Progression, Anderson said: "One thing we've considered is an orchestral project [...] we hope to do some performances with orchestras and see how it goes. We'd have to write a special-event piece of music apart from the songs we're already doing." In a Mar 2016 interview, Anderson said they had "written some songs this year  [...] we talk about working with orchestra idea that when we first talked on tour last year , we talked about it would be beautiful to to compose something specially for small chamber orchestra, with violin from Jean-Luc, and me singing." Likewise, in an Apr 2016 interview, he said, "We wrote about four songs late last year , and in January, we wrote a couple more." He also talked about the possibility of recording with an orchestra: "I think we'd like that. Jean-Luc comes from a very classical background, and I'm very interested in that world and that style of music, so who knows? It's going to be a very busy year  coming up. We'll see if we can find some time to record next year ." In a 26 Apr 2016 interview for the Daily Double radio show, Anderson said about Ponty that, "we're talking about working together next spring on a major project that I've been working on for a few years, about a violin player who finds a mystical violin." This must be the same as "Violin Stories", an earlier project with Bill Kirkpatrick (see below for details), but it is unclear how the material may be re-used or transformed with these new plans. In a Jun 2016 interview, Anderson said: "We talked about touring next year  [...] we're looking for a project to work together on. We want to tour Europe and the Far East with this ensemble [...] But it'll happen when it happens".
I talked about doing a few Zappa and a couple of Mahavishnu pieces, but Jean-Luc said, he’d rather do something new. So we’d write some new songs. We talked about maybe one day we should do a symphonic piece, with an orchestra, and he could revisit some of his Zappa and Mahavishnu parts, and I could implant some symphonic new songs or sort of Yes things as well. So we talked about that for next year , so we’ll see what life brings us.Ponty guested on Anderson's 1000 Hands.
I worked with a friend of mine [...] guitarist Michael Lewis[.] We’ve written two or three songs together, and he’s friends with Jean-Luc [Ponty]. I suggested we put some violin on one of our tracks, and Michael got Jean-Luc to add some to one of our songs. So now we have this connection, and last year  we talked about putting a band together with Jean-Luc, so I got in touch with some guys [...] all of a sudden we have a band. We’re just trying to figure out the step. We’ve written about five pieces of music together through the Internet. That’s what the Internet is for — it’s like a modern studio. We should be up and running for a tour next year .
M Lewis began working with Anderson in Jan 2007 and was working
extensively on projects for Anderson from early 2013. He described
in Mar 2014 "a large pile of music that has yet to be released. In
fact, we were on the verge of releasing another solo project for
Jon that I was heavily involved in when we made the decision to
[form the new band]." He explained more in an Aug 2014 press
While producing ‘Some People,’ a song I had co-written with Jon, I asked Jean-Luc Ponty to cut a violin track on it — which led to an offer from Jean-Luc’s management for Jon and me to do a U.S. and world tour with Jean-Luc. I first raised the concept of the band with Jon while hanging out at his hotel during one of his visits to Seattle in 2012. But he was reluctant to get back into a band situation at that time.
When YES was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year [i.e., Oct 2013], I again approached Jon about touring with me and my group of Nashville players who had played on the recordings I had produced for us. This time, Jon felt he was ready to tour with a band again. I arranged for Jon to meet Jean-Luc’s manager. Afterwards Jon told me ‘We are a band!’ And Inventioning was born.
M Lewis, who had been financing Inventioning, was surprised by Anderson's decision to part ways with him. Asked about his exclusion, he said on Facebook in Aug 2014, "We're all wondering. Not really sure... guess it didn't work out. Might ask Jon?" He later told me, "I was not surprised by the news of the Anderson-Ponty band because I knew they had ostracized me from the group and planned to continue on without me. I was surprised that Jon didn't try to work things out with me so that we could continue to work together. In all the years we had been working together, it's not like we had never had a disagreement before and we had overcome all our obstacles before. Why not now and what was the unforgivable sin? I don't have the answer to that question." Lewis announced plans to the continue Inventioning as a separate project to the Anderson Ponty Band, based on material co-written with Anderson that they had been developing and with the musical team who had been working on those songs. Inventioning said they planned to release an album, Affirmation; a prior digital single, "Walking Talking", has come out, with lead vocals by Anderson. A sample from the song can be heard on the band's ReverbNation page, along with a cover of Yes's "Onward" and further pieces. In total, the album was planned to include 4 songs with vocals from Anderson, one of which also has violin from Ponty. The new Inventioning line up was announced as M Lewis (guitar, keys), Bridgette Lewis (Michael's daughter, One Street Over; lead vocals, or backing vocals when Anderson has sung lead), Brian Fullen (worked with Shania Twain, Peter Frampton; drums) and Adam Nitti (worked with Shane Theriot, Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl, Scott Henderson; bass). More recently, album plans appear to have evolved and the band has looked to crowdfunding.
Further solo projects
A follow-up to Survival and Other Stories, to include a
new version of the digital release "Open" (see
below), had been completed, but awaited a label; nothing has
been heard about this in recent years. A sequel to "Open", called
"Ever", was expected digitally, but a report in Jan 2013 had that
Anderson was planning to re-record the piece in a different style
to the work to date. He said in a Feb
2013 interview that he is focusing on "finishing a lot of
work in the studio" in 2013, but also that he is "not going to
make any more albums", instead releasing new music "probably
In the Mar
2014 radio interview, Anderson also talked about writing a
piano concerto. In the Apr
2014 interview, he said more: "I'm actually working on a
piano concerto at the moment. For some crazy reason. I went to see
this concert about a month ago, Rachmaninoff's Third [...] the guy
that performed was so good, and I met him [Robert Thies] afterwards,
and I told him I was writing something and he said he'd like to
help. [...] So I'm working on presenting him with some music".
Survival and Other Stories
compiled material from across many of these online collaborations.
The album (as OPIOCD1) was initially only available on sale at Anderson
Wakeman live dates in the UK in Oct/Nov 2010. Anderson's
former PR company said 500 "demo copies" were available on the
tour and these appear to have sold out. The album was then
released by Gonzo (HST079CD)
in 2011. In a mid-Apr 2011 Facebook message, Anderson said the
general release would be "with some remixing here and there".
Anderson's PR had said in mid-Jan 2011 that, "The final album to
be released will include additional material." However, the track
listing is unchanged, there are no additional pieces and it
appears there were no changes from the first release.
Anderson has previously talked of Survival and Other Stories being only the first of
a series of albums made in the same way. In an Apr
2011 interview, Anderson said:
"Open" and "Ever"
"Open" is a 21-minute piece with 4 movements by Anderson, released digitally Oct 2011. A follow-up of comparable length has been expected, called "Ever". A new version of "Open" was expected to be included on a solo album (see above), while "Ever" was expected to be released digitally. It was thought that final work on the piece was occurring c. Nov 2012. In an interview published Nov 2012, Anderson said: "I'm trying to put together a long form piece; I've been working on it. I'm redesigning it today; I was working on it earlier." I would guess this is a reference to "Ever". However, a report in Jan 2013 had that Anderson is planning to re-record the piece in a different style. In a Feb 2013 interview, he said: "I'm halfway through my second piece". In an interview from around May 2013, Anderson said, "I'm actually working on a second one now [...] called "Ever" and I might have said there would be no orchestra this time, but I just put an orchestra on it this morning! It's kind of betwixt one and the other right now." Promo for the Anderson Ponty Band tour in Jul 2015 said that Anderson "continues to record new music" for "Ever".
Anderson said in a Sep 2011 article: "if people really like it
["Open"], I'll put it out with other songs next spring or
something like that[.] That's what I was thinking."
Publicist/backing vocalist Billy James described on Yesfans.com in
Oct 2011: "in the spring  release OPEN (with possibly a
different mix) with other tracks that fit the theme on CD." He
continued in Nov 2011: "on the CD planned for Spring release a
diff mix of OPEN and other tracks like Sing To Me and Surfing With
God". However, orchestrator Stefan
Podell said on Facebook in Nov 2011 that he was not aware of
any plans for a CD release. In a Jun
2012 interview, Anderson said: "I might release it
later this year  with another... er, I've got five or six
songs that I'd like to get out there and put it out as an album
before Christmas. I'll have to wait and see. Actually, I want to
do a vinyl." And then in the aforementioned May 2013 interview,
asked whether he might release "Open" and "Ever" on a CD or
whether he is just doing digital releases, Anderson replied:
I think I’m just going to work toward Internet releases and using the app [see here] right now. But there’s a record company that’s releasing all the classic Yes stuff, Audio Fidelity, and they’re a very, very nice company and if they wanted to release some of my work I’d be very happy to work with them. I’ve even thought about vinyl as well, for fun.
None of this has happened and no further news on "Ever" or a new
release for or version of "Open" has been heard more recently.
In a late Sep 2011 article, Anderson said he was "just finishing"
the piece "Open"; he was reportedly still mixing on 14 Oct. The
Sep 2011 interview with Anderson described the making of the
I haven't stopped creating Yes
music in my heart. One of the things I realised was that all the
solo albums that I ever did had nothing to do with Yes; I didn't
want to 'pretend' to be Yes, because I don't want to do that.
But now I feel like that it is
part of my DNA, and I can't stop wanting to create large-scale
pieces of music that obviously have a very strong connection
with Yes, because that's what I did with the band. I helped to
create these larger pieces of music.
Asked whether he means to form an alternative group, Anderson
replies, "It won't be a band. It's just a collection of musicians
that want to do it." He then goes on to describe what appears to
be the same project: "the orchestration on the new piece is done
by a guy who lives five miles away [presumably this is a reference
to Podell] and the guitar work is being done by a guy who lives in
LA. Then the kids who live in New York and Philadelphia [part of
the Paul Green School of Rock Music] they do drums, keyboards and
A Jun 2018 article for the 2018/9 School of Rock entry described
a "year-round program" to include "a recording project with Yes
frontman Jon Anderson". I don't know what happened with that. In a Dec 2020 interview, Anderson said he was
working with students at the Paul Green Rock Academy,
a related body.
was also working with Anderson. His 14-track album Miscellanea is
available only with any purchase from his website. It includes a
piece entitled "Opening", Morse's sketches of "Open" when he was
working with Anderson, arranged by Morse and Anderson, and
performed by Morse on keys and guitar. The album also contains a
Rick Wakeman cover entitled "One and a Half Wives".
with Jonathan Elias, Jimmy Haun and Michael Sherwood
On 23 Dec 2018, the Jon Anderson YouTube channel uploaded a piece entitled "Born Again" credited to "Jon Anderson with Jonathan Elias and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan". There is a 2013 version online by Elias with Khan, and without Anderson.
On 17 Sep 2020 came another piece, "The Given
Love", credited to Jon Anderson and Jonathan
Elias; Anderson wrote, "I wrote this with music from my good
friend Jonathan Elias". This piece can be traced to an abortive
Anderson solo album with producer/keyboardist Elias, guitarist Jimmy Haun (ex-CIRCA:, ex-Yoso, ex-Chris Squire Experiment)
and keyboardist Michael Sherwood
elder brother). All four previously worked together on
the ABWH tracks on Union, which were produced by Elias,
who also co-wrote and played some keys, while Haun played most of
the guitar parts and Sherwood contributed backing vocals. Haun and
Sherwood are childhood friends and worked on numerous projects
together, and both worked regularly with Elias since Union.
Sherwood passed away in 2019. Both Elias and Haun have also worked
on projects with Anderson before; Elias assisted with Anderson's
"Open" (see above).
The project, produced by Elias and featuring music written by
Anderson/Elias and by Anderson/Haun, was expected around spring
2013, but then stalled. Around the end of 2013, Sherwood said on
Facebook: "I did five tracks with Jon A and then it stopped
suddenly. Holidays, live gigs whatever.. Anxious to see what
happens with those pieces. They were sounding pretty great.
Hopefully we'll pick up where we left off." On 8 Jan 2014, he
said, "The JA thing came to a screeching halt, but I remain
optimistic about the work we did. We shall see. Perhaps we'll even
pick it up where we left off. I did at least five things." On 16
Jan, he said:
re: the JA project [...] here are some working titles to chew on.... The Given Love, The Remembering Gate, Children Yet To Come, Songs of Solomon and some nine minute orchestral thing which I think was called The Given Love part 2...They were all sounding so good. Also some Anderson collabs with Mr. Haun were taking place. I'll ask around and see what's next. Quite a bit of work was done. Then came the holidays....M S
In an Aug 2017 Facebook post, Sherwood referred to 9 pieces that
"just languish in the ether".
In an interview
conducted Nov 2011, Anderson described working with Elias:
"Yesterday I was singing on a new piece with Jonathan Elias and
we're writing some songs." He said more in a May
2012 interview: "I was writing a couple of songs yesterday
with an old friend, Jonathan Elias. [...] we're actually writing a
project together." An interview with Anderson in the Jul 2012
issue of Prog magazine refers to a 20-minute piece with
Elias. In Sep 2012, Haun and Sherwood broke the news on Facebook
that they have both been working on the project as well, including
sessions from late Aug through to 6 Sep. Haun had these comments
on 8 Sep:
"We've been working on it a few months now [...] I didn't want to say anything till all the ducks got in line! Jon is absolutely on fire and there is other surprises popping up as well too......."
"Jon just spent 2 weeks with us in the studio and is gone now for 5 weeks to tour. So we have tons of material now from him to work with. It's mostly the JA-JE stuff right now (which I was blown away with!!!) but when he gets back we dive into the stuff he and I wrote."
Sherwood said this the same day:
It's really taking shape . it's wonderful. Jon sounds better than ever.. Jonathan Elias is an awesome talent. A friend and champion of Mr. Anderson for years.. [...] All keyboards will be played by Jonathan and myself, as well as orchestral arrangements. . We're making a very fine record. Truly a labor of love.
Haun (7 Sep) said Elias "has written some astounding orchestral
pieces for this [...] You are gonna get inspired music that is not
trying to be pop or mainstream (Which I felt Union was). It is
Classic. In the sense of Traditional YES and modern music and say,
Stravinsky!!!. To me, quality and real organic stuff!!!" Sherwood
(7 Sep) said: "It's actually a combination of JA, JH and JE
tracks. I'm working the edges.. In charge of color and extra
texture . Perhaps some vocal action again. Strings French horns
etc." And he also mentioned: "I'm in the middle of a 9 minute
french horn arrangement." On 1 Jan 2013, Sherwood said, "Right now
I'm knee deep in the new Jon Anderson solo project. (Keys and BG
In an 8
Nov 2012 interview, Anderson said:
Anderson: I'm [...] working with a good friend of mine, Jonathan Elias [...] he's a great composer. We've written some really beautiful songs together. We're just putting that album together as we speak, over the next couple of months. We’ve been working on it on and off, most of the year . Spending a week here a week there, because he's a very busy guy too. It sounds really, really good. I'm very excited about the album. It'll be my first studio album in maybe, gosh, 15 years I think.
Interviewer: What do you mean by that; “first studio album?”
Anderson: Well, where I go and work and record in a studio with other musicians and that kind of thing.
solo shows and DVDs
Anderson has also talked of doing further orchestral shows (see below for past such shows). Sometimes billed as 'Jon Anderson - The Voice of Yes', future tour dates are booking through Ted Kurland Associates for 2011. They were also advertising the "Symphonic Jon Anderson", playing solo and Yes material ("Owner of a Lonely Heart", "And You and I", "Starship Trooper", "Your Move", "Roundabout", "Show Me", "Time and a Word", "Soon", "Give Love Each Day" and "Long Distance Runaround" are listed): I presume these are concerts along the lines that Anderson has done with Contemporary Youth Orchestra (see below).
The CYO gave copies of a (non-HD, 480p resolution) double DVD
(Region 1) of the show to those donating to the CYO in late 2012.
This was then put on sale more generally on 2 Jan 2013 entitled
"State of Independence: Jon Anderson and the Contemporary Youth
Orchestra" (Artistic Prophet Studios), also with a documentary
with artist Steven Kelso on his work with Anderson, including a
video tour of his work for Songs of Zamran
and about the organisation of the concert. This release appears to
have been put together by or with Kelso. This was a small-scale
release, on DVD-Rs rather than mass produced DVDs, and there have
been complaints about the quality of the audio. However, this DVD
and artwork by Kelso celebrating his collaboration with Anderson
have now been removed from sale. This appears to be following a
complaint from Anderson about the legitimacy of the release.
Anyone with more details about this, please e-mail me.
In Dec 2019, Anderson uploaded to YouTube
audio for "Music is the God of Love", performed with the CYO
on 24 May 2010.
Anderson appeared at the Tribute to Freedom Concert in Bratislava, Slovak Rep., in Aug 2009. Anderson performed a solo set (in no particular order): "Yours is no Disgrace", "Long Distance Runaround", "Roundabout", "Your Move", "Starship Trooper" (excerpt). He then performed with a band led by Peter Machajdík (keys); set (in no particular order): "Count Your Blessings", "Nous Sommes du Soleil", "Music is God", "I'll Find my Way Home", "Polonaise", "State of Independence", "And You and I" (abbreviated arrangement), "Close to the Edge" and "Sadness of Flowing" (excerpt; from Machajdík's album, Namah); encore: "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Soon". The band included Machajdík (keys), Miki Skuta (ex-Capella Istropolitana; piano), Juraj Burian (ex-Klobása; guitar), Oskar Rózsa (Marian Varga; bass), Martin Valihora (ex-IMT Smile, ex-Midi, ex-Prúdy; drums), Eugen Prochac (cello), Jozef Luptak (cello), Jan Slavik, Marian Varga and Prazsky Vyber II. Three tracks ("Count Your Blessings", "I'll Find My Way Home", "Close to the Edge") were broadcast on the Slovak national TV channel in Nov 2009. In a Jun 2011 interview, Anderson said they have made a DVD of this show and that, "It's going to come out this summer , I think." It has yet to appear. In an Aug 2009 interview, Machajdík quotes Anderson as saying he wants to continue working with this line-up of musicians, who he said played at least as well as Yes, and he would like to do a tour with them in 2010. While that didn't happen, a second show along similar lines took place in Aug 2012 in London. Anderson and Machajdík were planning further collaborations (see below).Zamran and other Olias-related projects
I'm [...] working on music now that I've been promising to finish myself for 15 years for my son [...] He's been asking me for 20 years now, basically, 'Why don't you do Son of Olias, dad?' [...] So I started writing it 15 years ago and it's slowly but surely... Now, it's coming through. And there are times [...] if you just don't feel right about it, you put it to one side again [...] So, this is music that I've had for 15 years because... I'm still building on it. I was actually writing last week some parts, new parts to it and now it seems to be forming itself, without me pressuring the album to be created. Y'know, I know exactly what it's about. It's about [...] the idea that the, er, actual planet, Mother Earth, is made up of this incredible crystal stream energy—they call it ley linesHe continued, "It's something that I do, study these crazy things. So I'm trying to modify and use it, as though the streams, the crystal streams, were created by light beings. [...] I'm getting a bit crazy now, sorry. But light beings have always been around this planet. They're still around. They're in the fourth, fifth dimension. We call them fairies and devic worlds". In another Aug 2020 video, Anderson said he was currently working on the project. He described Damion suggesting he do son of Olias 15 years ago. He continued, "It's all about the creation of the planet Earth [...] It was something that I started doing, then doing, then stopping, then doing, then stop, and now I have about 4 hours of ideas. And it's very hard to piece them together, because it's not ready yet, you see? It's like baking a cake [...] it's not ready until it's ready. Be careful, you don't want to burn it." In this Aug 2020 interview, he said, with a grin, that Zamran will "come out in the next 20 years. [shrugs] When I get my head around it!"
Zamran will happen sometime in the upcoming year . We already have what you would call a version of that album. But it’s like an app. You have this app, and you can go into different levels of songs I’ve written and worked on over the years. Plus there are a bunch of new songs and stories. It’s like the encyclopedia of my brain!
In an Aug
2016 interview, seemingly conducted in Jul or earlier,
Anderson said, "The next big [project] will be next year 
[...] probably next summer, when I release the Zamran project
[...] an all-encompassing project, relating to 6 interrelated
projects that I've been writing over the last 10 years. [laughs]
Doesn't sound real, but it is." In a Jul 2016
interview, Anderson referred to the project, saying,
"Putting it together is part and parcel of all this music I've
been writing over the past 12 years now. And it's just a large
amount of musical ideas that all seem to interweave with each
other. And, er, work. And now it's a question of how do I put it
out there". The idea is the "music is everlasting, music is
forever and music is timeless. That's the whole concept. And it's
a lot to do with the Golden Mean". (I think Anderson means the Golden Ratio.)
In a Mar
2016 interview, Anderson said Conrad was working on
visualisations. He continued, "We've done rough ideas of being
able to create four, four to five hours of music [...] every time
you go to the app... application, you can go on different musical
journeys every time you go there. You don't have to just listen to
the album over and over. You can do that, but also you can listen
to all the al... all the music of all the albums at the same time
like a long journey, every time you go. [...] with visuals, and
computer animation, there's storytelling and, uh, information
about the world and the planet and how things work. [...] Once we
set up the project, it runs the rest of my life and I continue to
add music to it every year. It's an ongoing exploration of musical
ideas, erm... storytelling and information that comes through the
Internet from, yeah, things that I see and read about, I explain
in the project. So people who join the experience and be able to
learn as much as I'm learning every month [...] yesterday,
I was learning about the future of holography and it was incredible,
so I will put this into my project, and people then will spend
time listening to music, reading, looking at art and at the same
time learning what I'm learning".
It's been in the works for now 6 years, 7 years. Um, I'm actually up to 5 hours of music […] There's a guy, a friend of mine in Poland, who's doing some visualisation of it, er, computerisation and we're going to try to put it out as an app that people can go in there and, er, go on as many journeys as they like, mussical journeys, visual journeys, information journeys, like a library of information.In an Apr 2013 interview for YesFANZ, Anderson described the project thus:
its an ongoing procession of ideas and musical events [...] its getting clearer as to how it all shapes and how it comes and how it works. [...] It sort of very, very connected to the origination and development of the Earth Mother and how it works. It is sort of a very powerful idea and the more I worked on it the more I realised that it should be a large scale piece, and I have said this before, but I'm up to about 3 or 4 hours of music at the moment with songs. So I am just waiting until it all fits together like a big jigsaw puzzle and hopefully I will be able to visualise it as well, like an app will probably be the best way of putting the music out because it is a long stream of music over a period of time.The interviewer, Brian Draper, responded by saying, "So a similar approach to the piece you put out last year , Open?" To which Anderson's response was: "Yeah, its something like that but not quite (laughs)." While a Mar 2013 interview had this:
I shouldn’t have said anything about it until I’d finished it, but it’s going to take another couple of years to finish. It’s nearly four hours of music as we speak and I’m just trying to figure out how to present it, you know, because I just don’t want to put it out on the internet on iTunes; I want to put it out as a visual experience. I have a couple of very good, talented filmmakers and there’s music from North Africa, a lot of music from Asia, a lot of music from Europe and some music from South America, so it’s sort of a constant evolvement of music.And also:
There’s some incredible computer animation out there [...] I’m just very interested in working with that medium as well, with the music and songwriting and what the songs mean and how it locates and relates to the earth, and the earth as Mother.Around Oct/Nov 2012, a website for the project appeared using the name Zamran Experience and including a 3:05 sample from the album entitled "Sing to Me" (music credited to Anderson and Jamie Dunlap, design & animation by Chris Nogiec at SevenDragons.org). This describes the project as an "audio-visual on-line concept album by Jon Anderson. A journey filled with music, stories and visuals. A true library of information about worlds of Zamran". The song was also at one point trailed as to appear on Ever (see above). On 12 Jul 2019, the song was put on YouTube, with visuals by Michael Byrne (see above for more about Anderson and Byrne).
I have written with a lot of musicians through the internet, including with a guy in Australia and someone from France and America. It is a slow process. It will happen when it happensAnderson also makes an enigmatic comparison to "Open", saying, "'Open' is a 22-minute work and it explains where I am going musically and how Zamram will enventually appear." Quite what this means is unclear. In a Feb 2013 Facebook post, Anderson said, "I'm writing music as usual, I think I might have Zamran nearly figured out.....songs galore, music everywhere..." On Facebook on 1 Dec 2014, Anderson said: "I keep myself busy working on the Zamran project".
Kelso and Baez held a series of exhibition of
Zamran and "Fiefdom of
Angels" (see below) art. There was also a
small exhibition of art by Kelso at Anderson's show with the
Contemporary Youth Orchestra (see above),
covered by a short
available here. In that video, Kelso says, "Jon has a lot of
work coming out from many different people, so... er... we've got
the website coming up soon, we have the music, new album".
Back in a Jul 2005 interview, asked what he was currently up to, Anderson replied, inter alia, "working with this dude 'Chris at his Polish Animation company and A Canny dude in Scotland, and Brad in South Bend .....and this guy John Banks who is perfect for my stories etc.........all these guys are very happening in the Art world..a lot of this work is based on the next 'OLIAS' saga..." (Anderson has also been working on other projects with John Banks; see below.) In a Dec 2005 interview for Delicious Agony, Anderson said he was working on "the next 40 minutes of new music, which is the beginning of maybe 6 episodes of the return of, not Olias, but the son of Olias, who's Zamran." In that interview, Anderson describes having written a story outline of about 20 pages. He again talked about working with animators on the project. Anderson put out a call on his website for animators: "Jon Anderson is seeking talented animators to help him with one of his upcoming solo projects, which he describes as a "return to Olias". If you are an animator capable of producing professional-quality 3D and graphics animation, this may be an opportunity to gain international exposure for your work." In the Jan 2005 Rockline interview, Anderson said he was working with six animators on a project, presumably the same one.
The relationship between 'The Big If' and The Songs of Zamran is complex. In a post to his MySpace page in Aug 2006, Anderson said: "All this new work has been evolving for many years under the title, "the Big If". Eventually it will be known as, "The songs of Zamran". (Son of Olias)." However, other comments have suggested that 'The Big If' or elements of it have a separate existence to The Songs of Zamran. Anderson has long talked about a sequel to Olias of Sunhillow, both in the sense that Anderson is playing all the instruments again but also in terms of continuing the story. In a Feb 2005 interview, Anderson said he's been working on the project for two months and that it will take "two or three years to finish it". In an Oct 2005 ProgRockRadio.com interview, Anderson said, "I'm starting next year  with the second installment of that idea, so for the next two or three years I'll be doing sort of the Return of Olias and the Songs of Zamran, which is the son of Olias and the next step in the evolvement of the planet." (In reported remarks to a fan in 2004, Anderson described the Olias project as actually a prequel to Olias of Sunhillow, although that seems incompatible with the repeated references to a son for Olias.) In his Aug 2004 MSN Chat, Anderson said: "I'm working on trying very hard to piece together this large jigsaw puzzle of music that I've been working on for the last 10 years. It will become, hopefully, a DVD or a series of DVDs. It's a lot of music, it will happen. It's Olias' Return." In a late 2003 interview in iO Pages, Anderson said the project would not be finished for three years (so, 2006). He has also said that the album is planned as the first in an ongoing series and, in Jun 2003, "If I do it right, this project will just continue, and it'll be the next ten years or so of my life"; "In my head I can see and understand everything about this project and how the stories should be told, but to put it all down in the proper order is a challenge."
Interviews going back some years refer to this/these project(s). In one from around Oct 2001, Anderson said: "I've been working on this piece of music for a year now [...] I did [...] "Olias of Sunhillow" where I performed all the music, and I'm getting back to that place again." Asked whether this would represent a sequel to Olias..., he continued, "Yeah, I'm trying to figure it out as we speak. It has a lot to do with the mysticism that surrounds us. We're going to go through a period now, because of the Lord of the Rings movie coming out. There will be a lot of interest in the mysticism of life and things like that." In a NftE interview seemingly done in 1999, Anderson said: "I've been working on [a] project for a couple of years and that's going to be the next one. It's going to take me another year to fulfill what it is and figure it out and then I think I want to record everything myself, like the Olias album. I want to go back to that point in time and reinvent that whole idea of a pure solo album and do it that way."
On tour in Mar 2010, Anderson said he is looking into playing the
whole of Olias at some
point in the future. In Apr 2010 on Facebook, Anderson said, "I
also met a guy called Stefan , he wants to perform 'Olias' with a
full orchestra and choir next year , amazing thoughts...I
met him, and he is very talented..." Stefan is a classical pianist
based in South America. At a show in Sep 2010, he hinted at "next
year , or maybe the year after " playing Olias with live a group of
musicians. In the Jun
interview, Anderson said: "I'm actually going to perform it
[Olias of Sunhillow] next
year  with an ensemble, a group of people [...] and an
orchestrator out of San Francisco. They want to do a production of
it and I think, "Go ahead. I'll get up and sing it." And ...
poof!" Stefan has now joined forces with this rock group led by Thomas Deis
Moorglade to work on live shows with Anderson. In May
2011 on Facebook, Anderson talked about what seems to be a
different possible collaboration along similar lines, working with
classical pianist Stephen
Prutsman (who performs a version of "Sound Chaser" in
recitals). He said:
Stephen Prutsman, quite amazing
work....we have become friends l, he came to our home a month
agao, and suggested OLIAS as a possible concert with Orchestra
and Choir and visuals.., I heard him play songs from Olias...I
was truly excited about the idea
In the Aug
2011 interview, Anderson said: "there's a group of musicians
out of Philadelphia who are working on Olias. And they sent me five of the songs
yesterday, and they're sounding so amazing. They want me to
perform them with them when they finish the whole album. So maybe
late next year  I'll be performing Olias for Christmas!" He then adds:
My dream next year  is to
perform “Awaken” in three different places. In London,
I’ll be doing it with those people who are doing Olias.
I talked about it with a friend of mine Thomas Diaz [Deis] who is one of the guys that's going to be helping with [a] company of people [...] It[']s just a question of finding a good promoter, producer to help put it together because it costs quite a bit of money to put on a show that it might just be a one-off experience and its just a question of putting it together and making a DVD, maybe in 3-D or something with the right visualisations and everything, it could be amazing, so it might take another year or so before it happens but why not?Deis (on electric sitar) was involved with a Jun 2013 live performance of the album, opened by Anderson remotely via Skype and using a recording of him for "To the Runner", at UMass Lowell: see complete show on YouTube.
Anderson has also launched Olias-themed jewellery, available here.
In an Oct
interview, Anderson said:
I have a violin concerto with
my friend, Bill. It's a wonderful story about a street violin
player who finds a big case in a dumpster when he was looking
for food. Inside it has a crystal violin and when he plays it,
it transports him to a different place and time in the world. I
have a few things I'm going to finish up in the next year
. One is an opera about The Alchemist. Wonderful book.
Over Christmas , the Mormon Tabernacle Choir [link] sang a song of mine from an album called "Change We Must," which I did with the London Chamber Orchestra. The guy that actually conducts and does the orchestration for the choir asked me if I would be interested in writing something, and it turns out I've had this piece of music for about 20 years and it's about singing to the children to come. Singing to the souls of the children in heaven who are gonna come and wake us up and make us realize how beautiful life truly is.In May 2010, Anderson explained that the collaboration did not pan out, but this project, called "For Children Yet to Come", re-emerged. The orchestral/choral piece, as "Children Yet to Come", was premiered live at Anderson's 24 May 2010 orchestral show (see above), consisting of 4 movements: "Children Yet to Come", "Earth Singing", "Breathing", "Love is All" (adagio, about Anderson's two recent near-death experiences and how his wife's love brought him through).
In a Feb 2013 interview, Anderson described how he "always wanted to play and sing in China" and again described the archaeological discovery of instruments, before concluding, "I went to China and I was going to work there, but the guy that was financing it smoked too much marijuana I think (laughs)." A mid-2012 interview with Anderson had this: "Also on tap: The debut of a new album in Asia this summer. "It's a coordination of songs and tranquil ideas that have been hovering around me for the last couple of years[.]""
and First Born
Anderson has been planning to release "Chagall", his musical about the artist, possibly in a newly recorded version, as well as another piece he wrote around the same time, circa 1980, called "First Born" about Daphne Charters' (1910-1991) experiences with fairies, as described in her 1950s book "A True Fairy Tale". (In the Dec 2020 issue of Prog magazine, he described how, after leaving Yes in Feb 1980 and before making Song of Seven, he made an album for Virgin (who rejected it), with one side of the album being "Chagall" and the other side being the fairy project.) An Aug 2020 article described Anderson as working on "Chagall". Around 2016, he was in contact with Joe Curiale about Curiale helping with orchestrations to finish the piece. Asked about "Chagall" in a May 2018 interview for Mannheimer Morgen, published in German, Anderson explained that the project still fascinated him and so he wants to work on it further. He said that he wanted to perform the work with an orchestra, choir and dancers. In an Oct 2009 interview, he said:
In an Oct 2005 interview with Progressive Rock Radio, he said of "Chagall", "I created a sort of musical interpretation of his life. I should finish it! I know that a demo of the project got [bootlegged] I'm thinking of putting it out as it was originally recorded and finished 18 years ago [...] and then take it on the road as a new version. I'll probably release it next Spring  and then hopefully [in 2007] I'd love to do a one-man show of the idea and that takes a lot of work." In a Dec 2005 interview for Delicious Agony, he talked of working on a "better quality production" of "Chagall" for 2006, but that he was seeking the required permission from Chagall's estate. Prior reports suggested it had undergone significant changes from the version widely bootlegged. In the Dec interview, Anderson talked of "First Born" and then continued, "There's Uzlot. There's about four or five different albums that have never got out there. So over the next couple of years, we're to release them, slowly, so people can build up a sort of library [of his music]." In the Dec 2005 interview with Anil Prasad of Innerviews, Anderson explained:
When I hit 60 I thought "I really gotta get stuff finished." I have the Chagall project which has never been projected onstage. I finished the recording 15 years ago and someone bootlegged it. Now, I'm thinking of putting out the correct version of it in 2006, along with another work I did at the same time which was about the fairy kingdom—the devic world—called First Born. The Fairies of the devic world are the interdimensional light beings that surround us and our world. We live in a world where they say there are eight specific dimensions and we're living in the third dimension, moving into the fourth. The fairies and devic beings are moving from the fourth dimension to the fifth. What's helping us move from the third to the fourth is computer-laser energyIn an interview for Exposé, Anderson had said:
I'm going to put that ["Chagall"] out too. I never wanted it to come out, but it's already out there bootlegged. A very bad copy was stolen from my studio so I'm going to put that out along with [...] a sort of children's fairy tale about a musical kingdom. It's kind of beautiful, funny and a little quirky. I'm going to put that out at the same time.Further projects
I`ve been working on recordings of the great Yes music using midi files to produce Yes with some teenagers singing all of the songs. It sounds unbelievable. The purists won`t like it which is OK but this is to introduce Yes to young people of the 21st century with very cosmic sounds. [...] I`m doing some mixing at the moment. I think we`re going to call it 21st Century Yes and we`ll be doing visuals for it as well. We`ll probably release it on the internet on You Tube or something so people can just find it and watch it.Soon after, on 1 Jul 2017, he likewise made available a song entitled "The Gift" for a project called Nathaniel. This appears to be a collaboration, but further details have not been forthcoming.
I wrote the symphonic piece about 20 years ago. [...] it's all in demo form, it's keyboards and very ready to be performed by a full orchestra when the time comes. And then I wrote a piece for [...] a choir, and singing with an orchestra. That's something else that I was working on. And there are so many different kinds of orchestral pieces. Generally working on keyboards. [...] Even about two months ago, I started writing on a different level that I never tried before, and so I sort of broke through a barrier, musically speaking, in my mind anyway, and that will take another two, three years to evolve correctly, until that time comes when I can get together with the right people to be able to produce it correctly.He then gave the example of how the music on Invention of Knowledge was from songs written 10 years before.
Although the planned context isn't very clear, Anderson has
repeatedly talked of late of writing Yes-style music. In a May
2011 interview, he said: "now I'm writing a piece that's in
that sort of classic Yes style. It'll be ready for the summer and
I'll put it out there on the internet. [...] It should be done
next month when I come off this [solo] tour [which ends 25 May]."
He has also talked about re-visiting older Yes material. A Jul
2011 interview describes how:
Anderson has "over an hour's worth of music from Yes from the old days that I'm revising and looking at," primarily in acoustic versions. "I think modern musicians do that," Anderson explains. "Music is very flexible." A possible outlet for these new treatments of the songs, he adds, may be online and via special apps.A Mar 2010 interview says of Anderson, " has on the go are two operas and three musicals." Indeed, Anderson has referred to multiple different projects in interviews and it can be difficult working out how these all relate. Anderson said in an interview with German magazine Eclipsed in late Nov 2007 that he would be releasing 6 albums on his own label in 2007 that will be available in selected stores or for download ("Ich habe auf eigenem Label 2007 satte sechs Alben veröffentlicht, die man sich in ausgesuchten Laden kaufen oder downloaden kann."). He goes on to describe these as "Ethno-Music" influenced by different world cultures ("Eine Art Ethno-Musik, die von den unterschiedlichsten Ecken dieser Welt und ihren Kulturen geprägt ist."), but that it is not for classical Yes fans ("Es ist nichts, was dem klassischen Yes-Fan gefällt, dafür ist es zu wenig symphonisch."). I presume he is referring to his Opio label on Voiceprint and is including re-releases: Voiceprint re-released 3 Ships and had two more re-releases in early 2008 (see below) followed by a new release (possibly of archival nature) in From Me to You, part of The Lost Tapes collection, in the middle of 2008. However, what further albums Anderson meant is unknown. Further back is this quote from Record Collector (Jan 2002): "Anderson revealed that he has no fewer than five album projects on the back burner". A late 2003 interview with iO Pages suggested that his next solo album would be a piano and vocals album some time in 2004. Anderson was quoted in Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza in Oct 2001 as saying that he would be releasing a rock solo album in 2002. However, in Record Collector (Jan 2002), he talked of his "next" solo album as being recorded with the London Chamber Orchestra. I remain unclear on how all these relate to each other. The rock style reported by Gazeta Wyborcza suggests a different project to Record Collector's with the London Chamber Orchestra. However, the rock album of Gazeta Wyborcza could refer to the Anderson/Crow project. The piano and vocals album might possibly tie in with the London Chamber Orchestra album. Anderson's tendency to talk about projects at early stages of development should be kept in mind. A more recent report describes an unfinished Anderson project from some years back of material in a "rock and roll style", including the song "Sweet Religion", which was performed live in 1993 solo shows.
"The Big If" material reportedly has some sort of theme running through what has been written already and future planned material, although the precise nature of that remains unclear. In an interview published in Jan 2004, Anderson described the album as being an hour long song cycle. Anderson has also talked about writing more autobiographical lyrics, like "Tony and Me" about his brother, while an Oct 2003 interview reports a slightly different slant:
His next solo album, Anderson says, will consist of long musical pieces with lyrics based on his observations of and relationship with the natural world.Reports in more recent years haven't mentioned "The Big If", with the focus having moved to Zamran and various collaborations. That was until an Aug 2018 interview (conducted late Jul) had this from Anderson:
"I think the lyrics I've been writing have been close to the first albums but more refined," he says. "I think that more than anything, I come from the hippie world of peace, love and forgiveness. [...] I'm working more in the spiritual sense of being."
I’m actually working on a piece yesterday with a friend of mine in Australia and when we started it, it was called ‘The Big If.’ I had this big idea for ‘The Big If.’ If is right in the middle of life, you know, the word ‘life’? And then, I found out there’s a book about it called The Big If and it was just minds thinking the same thing at the same time. We did all of this music and then the guy sadly, had a sort of mental breakdown. He was very confused about this and that. Then we linked up again three months ago! Yesterday, I was composing some music with him.In an interview published at the beginning of Sep 2018, Anderson again referred to "working on something with a friend from Australia".
It's a very simple idea. Hillary gets to become President and [...] on the first night she sleeps in the White House. She has a visistation from all the children in Vietnam that were killed [...] all the children of the wars, and all the children of the [...] terrible, er, destruction of the Native American culture. And they come to visit her, and they sing for her, and dance for her. And she eventually becomes this, er, very evolved women within the space of one night, so she goes and starts speaking to the press the following day and they freak out [laughs] because she starts to change the world.Asked how far along the project is, Anderson explains:
I actually wrote with this guy, Jeremy, and it's been very hard to pin him down. We wrote probably three quarters of the work and then I couldn't find him, he never wrote back to me, he had another life going on [...] I actually sent a near-finished piece to a company in North Carolina because they were interested in working on the project. This was [...] when she was running for President against Obama. And, you know, you go through these things, and try these things out, and if it happens, great, and if it doesn't, hey, it wasn't meant to be. Or it will happen when it happens.It is unclear whether this is Jeremy Cubert who wrote a song used on Survival and Other Stories and The Living Tree with Wakeman. Anderson also referred to a Jeremy doing piano transcriptions for him: see here.
Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin are working together: see details here.
With Andrew Rubin
Andrew Rubin (Facebook; worked with Tommy Shaw, Contemporary Youth Orchestra) is a young guitarist who met Anderson around 2009, aged 13. Anderson has been mentoring Rubin and suggested he wrote a guitar concerto, citing Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" as an example. The two co-composed just that and the piece for two guitars and orchestra, orchestrated by Rubin, was premiered live by Rubin (performing on one of Anderson's acoustic guitars) and the San Luis Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jim Riccardo, on 25 Oct 2015 as part of a larger programme by the orchestra including two pieces performed with folk-pop band Shadowlands, Aaron Copland's "Outdoor Overture" and Robert Schumann's "Symphony No. 1". (Anderson was not present, touring with the Anderson Ponty Band at the time.) A digital release through Bandcamp followed 1 Oct 2016. Tracks for Guitar Concerto by Andrew Rubin and Jon Anderson are:
With Fritz Heede and John S Banks
Anderson was collaborating with composer Fritz Heede (MySpace page) and artist John S Banks. Banks has previously worked with Anderson, including visuals for his solo touring, and those visuals appear on a new DVD from Banks and Heede: "Ritual Path" (Artek Images, distr. Koch Entertainment). The DVD, a sequel to their "Illuminated Manuscripts" DVD, is about an hour long. It contains 10 tracks of images to music and an additional 14 environmental loops, all in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. Music is by Heede; Anderson wrote lyrics for and sings on "Come By (Waterfall Ascent/Descent)" (dur. 4:08), used for the short film "Ascent/Descent". An accompanying 14-track soundtrack CD (Aeon of Horus Music/Magical Eye Records) is out. The other vocalists on the project are Heede's wife Nijole Sparkis (singing and co-writing plus loops, on 3 pieces), kaRIN (Collide) and Molly Pasutti (worked with Spock's Beard).
Heede and Anderson co-wrote an album called Dream Dancing (previously going under the working title of Trance-scendent Dance), with Heede (guitars, piano, sitar, electronics, vocals), Anderson (layered vocal rhythms), Gilbert Levy (ethnic percussion), Suzanne Teng (native flutes), Terry Glenny (violin), Sparkis (choral background singing, vocal arrangements, engineering and possibly some songwriting), Pasutti (choral background singing). Heede described the album to me as "The album will not be traditional trance music (rave) ... it is much more sophisticated. It is groove-based so it will have a natural uninterrupted flow. The songs develop over long arches with Jon sing[ing] a dozen or so layers of pulsing rhythmic chants." The album, with at least four tracks, was announced for 2009 on Voiceprint, billed as by 'Jon Anderson with music by Fritz Heede', with an accompanying DVD in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound also planned. This is presumably the project(s) Anderson first mentioned in 2004: in his MSN Chat of Aug that year, he talked about 'trance' music, but seemingly in the context of a Yes project (see under Yes news), while in an interview from circa May 2004, he said:
I was talking to a guy an hour ago about a project I've had in my head all summer [...] I'm getting into trance music [...] Not rave but trance. [...] it's going to be very exotic and it's going to be transforming and transcendental. [...] I heard about this great music from India that lasts seven days. I love that, that it would last so long. And I start thinking, that's what I should do!Heede, Anderson and an engineer were expected to be mixing the album in Jan 2008. Previously, in Aug 2007, Heede wrote: "Last may I finished mixing my version of the tra[n]ce album. Jon and I then brought in Jamie Dunlap [worked on "South Park"; link] to work on remix versions with more young "hip" dance grooves. Jamie has done some very exciting re[n]ditions". ASCAP and BMI have registrations for four pieces entitled "Trance Singing 1" to "Trance Singing 4" by Anderson/Heede, which may have been from this project, possibly suggesting it was close to release. However, in Apr 2010, Heede said that the finished album was now being re-structured as a sequel to Olias of Sunhillow. How this relates to other work on the Zamran album is unclear, but see above for details.
A Jun 2011 interview had this exchange:
Anderson: Me and my son, Damion, we’re writing
songs together as we speak.
Interviewer: [...] Will the writing that you’re doing with Damion be on the next two albums [following Survival & Other Stories].
Anderson: More than likely, yeah. I think so.
And in a Sep
2011 interview, Anderson says, "I'm working with my son on a
couple of new songs."
Alessandro De Rosa
Anderson has talked about an opera based on "The Alchemist", although work evolved away from that description. The project was written by Italian composer/arranger/guitarist/promoter Alessandro De Rosa (worked with Ennio Morricone), who co-wrote "Music is God" with Anderson. De Rosa describes the piece as a "a symphonic – theatr[ic]al poem"; he composed the music with Anderson contributing vocal melodies and lyrics. De Rosa continued on his webpage, which included a 5 minute sample of the music:
In 2006 and 2007, Anderson's websites requested submissions from people interest in collaborating with him. The first, in Aug 2006, read, "Jon Anderson is looking for fresh talent! Specifically, he seeks Symphonic and World Music keyboard players and orchestrators to contribute to an array of musical projects he is planning." In Jul 2007, Anderson announced on his webpage:
A while back, we posted a message calling on keyboard players to contact us if they were interested in collaborating with Jon. The response was tremendous, and as a result Jon is currently working with a number of excellent musicians on some exciting new musical projects.
Jon [...] is now inviting additional "Symphonic and World Music keyboard players and orchestrators" to submit samples of their work for possible collaboration.
Jon has also started work on three large-scale choral projects and a work he calls a "rap opera", so he has expanded his search to talented choral singers and rap producers as well!
In an interview for the May/Jun 2007 issue
of the Classic Rock
Society magazine, Anderson talked about the results of the
I was lucky that in November last year
 I put an advert on my website, 'Keyboard players
wanted.' I finished up with 15 really good keyboard players
and am now working with somebody in Switzerland, somebody in
Italy, somebody in France, somebody in Canada, 3 or 4 guys in
the USA, couple of great guys in England. One guy called Neil
Campbell [link; MySpace page] and
we're writing a large piece of music [...] He's a beautiful
musician and we are working on something all about inventions.
It's very cosmic music. He's actually playing in
I write music constantly. I opened the door on my website once [...] six, seven years ago. I got in touch with a couple of dozen players and I’m still working with some of them on different projects: musicals, music for children, some symphonic work.Likewise, in the Jul 2015 Prog interview, he says, "Right now I'm diving into different internet projects like crazy. [...] I'm making music with people in Italy, Poland, Romania, France, Holland. I have this constant flow of working relationships." In an Apr 2016 interview for the Daily Double radio show, Anderson likewise said, "I work with people all over the world on the Internet." In a Feb 2019 interview, Anderson described this process of collaborating with people online as "ongoing". He continued, "In the last 20 years [of this process], I've got maybe... Probably around 50 songs that I think are really genuinely interesting and quite wonderfully produced by these wonderful people who live in... one guy lives in Romania, a couple of guys in Italy, three guys in Holland, one guy in Brazil, and so on." In a Jul 2019 interview, Anderson said:
I put an ad on my website: “Musicians Wanted” and got hundreds of replies. I said send me music and I will get back to the people I could. I got back to a dozen or so people… and I’m still in touch with them. We create music on an open level. It’s not business.In an Aug 2020 interview, talking about his online collaborations, Anderson said, "I'm just finishing something that I worked with this wonderful guy in Holland." He continued, "Over a period of 10 years, I've been working on so many different ideas of music [...] At times you wonder... when is it ready to be released to the people that understand what I do, 'cause sometimes you haven't got record companies interested in certain things".
I started working with a lot of different people and I must’ve written about 300 songs. They’re going to come to fruition one day.
When the album [Survival & Other Stories] came together […] the idea was to use all these songs that I've been writing [through online collaborations]. And it's like a dozen of a hundred songs that I've been writing over that first sort of 6 year time period […] I was actually working on a piece this morning from a guy that I met in Canada, who actually lives in London, and he's a reggae master. [laughs] Keeps sending me these wonderful reggae tracks, and I sing them, and we've got a collection of 7 or 8 songs now over the past three years. And one day they'll come out. I don't know how or when […] I know that it's inspiring to me to sing about so many different things and with so many different combinations of musicIn many cases, these collaborations have seemed to involve two aspects: the collaborator doing orchestrations/arrangements of demos by Anderson (and, at least in some cases, Anderson appears to be getting different people to arrange the same material); and Anderson contributing lyrics and vocals to music by the collaborator. One example of this is keyboardist Tommy Zvoncheck (MySpace page; ex-Blue Öyster Cult, ex-Public Image Limited). He has re-issued his independent release ZKG with the addition of two bonus tracks (also available digitally on Amazon.com). One of these, "Rain in Florida", is sung and has lyrics by Anderson, a commentary on the Florida ballot controversy in the 2000 US Presidential election. The song can be heard on Zvoncheck's MySpace videos page. Zvoncheck explained: "Our arrangement was for me to orchestrate and arrange a 3 movement orchestral piece for him. In return, he would collaborate with me on a song and said I could do anything I want with it. I completed the task to Jon's satisfaction."
[Anderson] told me that he had
hundreds of unfinished musical ideas that he wanted a
collaborator to help fully realize. [...] the music came, two
CDs full. And later on, MP3s in
emails. The music was meandering and nebulous
like a cloud forming, but there were lovely melodies and
intriguing chords lurking in there. Much of it was
played on layered-up keyboards.. I had to
listen and listen and listen to pick out the individual notes
and melodies. Music that Jon sent me later included
harp and even vocals. [...]
The final versions include quite a lot of my ideas. [...] I had complete musical freedom to arrange, orchestrate, develop, et cetera. I gave them voice, structure, and harmonic development. But their heart and soul is still Jon's. [...] The majority of the pieces I created using Cakewalk Sonar and Synful Orchestra. A couple of the pieces contain live or electronic percussion [...] and one guitar concerto, on which I played acoustic guitar. [...]
Jon has told me about many ideas he had for this music: films, videogames, webcasts, even a ballet! Jon's a man of many ever--changing ideas. So far I'm not sure what the future of this music is, but [...] I look forward to amazing things.
In autumn 2007, Alimar
did orchestrations of two of Anderson's "musical drafts" for what
as "a large project [Anderson] was working on". They were
then working on a broader collaboration in which Anderson plans to
add lyrics and vocals to Alimar's orchestral-style work, including
Alimar's piece "Eclipse".
uploaded a piece
called "Tribal Love", based on his earlier piece "Tribal
Wave" to which Anderson has added vocals. In Nov 2009, he said:
Anderson has been writing with John Young (ex-Asia, ex-John Wetton, ex-Fish). Young said in his MySpace blog in Aug 2007:
Jon Anderson and myself are writing together albeit a somewhat long distance affair as Jon has been in Hawaii whilst I soldier on in darkest Bucks. (Isn't e-mail a wunnerful thing).The first fruit of their collaboration is "Sooner", which Anderson sang on his last European solo tour still a work in progress. Young blogged in Nov 2007 that "hopefully other tracks will gradually see the light of day over the coming months." Anderson wrote the lyrics to "Sooner", while the music was a collaboration. Their current studio version of the song can be heard as a streaming audio on Young's MySpace page.
The results are most enjoyable and I hope that it won't be too long before we can share them with the outside world.
Another collaborator is Dan Spollen. He said in
May 2009 that, "For the past few months I've been creating music
with Jon. We have several tracks, most of which are works in
progress and slowly evolving." There is a piece with Anderson
entitled "Vocal EXP" on his MySpace page
and Spollen said, "Jon has some additional melodic layers for this
that will be added eventually." A Yes medley on acoustic guitar by
Spollen was on Anderson's Facebook page (as "Going for the One"
medley). In Oct 2009, he said, "Jon and I are still working on
tunes- one is really coming along well...can't wait to release
it." Further samples
became available and a piece with Spollen appeared on Survival and Other
Stories. More now apepars on Invention of
Knowledge: see above for details.
has also been working with Anderson on orchestrations, while
Anderson guested on two Yes covers by Fraley's band, Wave Mechanics Union, on
their album Further to Fly. Members of Wave Mechanics
Union have produced a big band track for Anderson called "Sweet
Jazz". The piece was written "many years ago" by Anderson, and has
been arranged by Fraley and performed by Wave Mechanics Union with
vocals from Anderson. The recording is for release on an
unspecified future Anderson solo album. In Nov 2009, Fraley said
I've finished one more
arrangement for Jon since this one (not jazz) and discussed at
least two other possible ideas with him. As for when / where
this jazz tune will be out, I still don't know. Jon seems to
take things one day a time.
In the May
2016 Inside MusiCast interview, the interviewer mentions one
of the Yes covers on Further to Fly and Anderson replied,
"We're doing variations on many Yes songs as well, acoustic
versions of Yes songs, and this is all part of the collection of
music that eventually will come out." (Although I'm not
entirely sure Anderson here is only referring to work with Fraley
or more generally with a range of collaborators.)
Another collaborator is Rich
Goodhart (MySpace; Facebook page); to
Yesfans.com in early Oct 2009, he said:
All I'll tell you is that I'm
collaborating with Jon on some material... some of which may be
a part of Zamran... and I've heard things that are intensely
deep and inspired... lyrically, melodically, compositionally,
spiritually. So much so that I am knocked out by both the power
of his voice still, as well as the depth that he can tap into
when the elements align.
In Nov 2009, he added: "As one of the many collaborators, I have
spoken with Jon directly about his plans, visions, concerns and
uncertainty around releasing some of this vast accumulation of
music. As with most of us in this business at this time it is
nearly impossible to be much sure about anything in regard to
releasing music and how best to do it." Goodhart and Anderson's
"Spirit Grounding" went up on Anderson's Facebook page in Jan
2010. Goodhart's 2CD solo release Shaman Mirror Medicine Tree, available from his website,
included a piece with Anderson entitled "Good Love Coming".
Goodhart said of the track: "When I sent him the track I suggested
the idea of a "We Have Heaven" type of multi-voice chant, and as
far as I am concerned he delivered wonderfully." He's also said:
"It's another acoustic world music instrumentation backing, with
the primary instruments being the west African dousongoni and the
Brazilian berimbau, plus hand drums and percussion." The song also
includes a live cover (with Anderson) of "Moon Ra" from Olias of Sunhillow. Daevid
Allen (Gong; glissando guitar on several tracks),
John Ragusa (flute, additional vocals), Jim Ballard and David
Macejka also guests on the album. Goodhart provides vocals and
performs various instruments, including bouzouki, and did the
cover art. "Spirit Grounding", for which Anderson provided lyrics
and vocal lines, then appeared on Goodhart's next album, the 2CD Forest
River Pathway, released Sep 2017. Also guesting are
Athena Burke (vocals), Roger Mock and David Duhig
| Another collaborator is Dennis Haklar (MySpace),
who was working with Anderson for a few years. His Lizard's
Tale, released 2012, featured Haklar (guitars,
synth) joined by Anderson (vocals), Larry Coryell (worked
with Bill Bruford's Earthworks; electric &
acoustic guitars), Mark
Egan (worked with Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell,
Sting; fretted & fretless bass) and Thierry
Arpino (worked with Jean-Luc Ponty; drums). In
a press release, Haklar described how, "A few years ago I
began to collaborate over the internet with Jon Anderson on
a large-scale work. Charka Music [presumably this
should be Chakra Music], very involved." This
appears to be another Anderson project.
At least one further collaborator is known to be working with
Anderson in secret, under a contractual agreement that prevents
any discussion of the project. There are multiple further
collaborators as yet unknown to the public.
Anderson was working with keyboardist Stephen Layton (ex-The Expression, ex-Like Oxygen) on various projects for several years. Their song "Love and Understanding" appeared on Survival and Other Stories (see above) and they have worked on several other songs. Layton had a significant role in Anderson's planned Zamran project (see above). Layton and Mark "Truey" Trueack (Unitopia) made contact in 2009 and planned a project called The Hope to feature multiple guest musicians around the world, which led to Anderson contributing backing vocals to a song called "The Water". This appeared on Fall in Love with the World (InsideOut) by the United Progressive Fraternity (Facebook), released 2014. Aug 2016 saw a BlueMountain remix of "The Water" with Layton released on YouTube. This version was credited to Trueack/Timms/Williams as writers, with lyrics by Trueack, vocals by Trueack and Anderson, and all instruments by Layton.
The Hope was initially
expected in 2015, but has evolved considerably since then (and
with Anderson no longer involved). It is now due as two albums in
2019, with Jon Davison and Igor Khoroshev expected to guest: see on main
In a late
2008 interview for YesFANZ,
Layton talked at length about his work with Anderson. Their
collaboration began with Anderson's rap opera:
I received [...] pretty much
the content of his entire rap opera [...] I was actually shaking
with excitement that day. I thought I’m through, I’ve got the
gig, and I’m Jon’s producer. Because, although he has got people
working on the orchestrations, they were working off my
compositions or expanding my ideas. As the producer I am pretty
much expanding the basic ideas. Much of the opera section is
Jon’s composition. I was supplying the beats for those [...] I
spoke to him over the phone. I said ‘Jon, I think we need the
rap section which is kind of a ghetto feel; it is very black,
very dark. I think that should be very organic, very dirty
sounding, but the opera, I think we should go for a very
contemporary electronic beat, very clean, very pristine.’
‘Great idea, perfect’.
So I added very little to the opera except for Kraftwerky kind of simple beat. In some places more like Vangelis where I would add one of those kind of Chariots of Fire ‘duh duh duh’ bass lines. [...] We worked very intensely, very closely probably for about three months.
[...] we got to the end of the assigned work and he said ‘We need six new songs’. He was continuing to elaborate the story. He’d fax me the storyline and he came up with an idea for a bit of comic relief in a character in the story [...] we wrote a song together [...] he is a very funny character, he is one of those recurring light comic relief.
Jon can work extremely quickly [...] I think that is one of the reasons we did work so well together. I work very fast. [...] I could work on maybe three songs a day, send it back to him and he could do a vocal overnight here in his studio and bounce all three back to me the next day with maybe five or six overdubs. This one particular comic character, Jon blew me away because I don’t think anyone in the world would know that Jon Anderson can do one hell of a Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong impersonation. You would not think Jon with that high pitched voice can do that really deep growly voice. [...]
We got to the end of the project and we still needed three or four songs and he said ‘Can you give me some….like we need a love song between this character and that character and it still needs to have this kind of beat.’ So I sent him some basic chord structures, he’d write lyrics to them very quickly, ‘they are just rough but these will do.’ We finished the first draft of the project early this year .
I am going to have to get some
clearance from Jon because I have signed confidentiality
agreements on the rap opera so [...] I can’t tell you anything
about the nature of the story. Somewhere in between starting and
finishing Jon realised that it would make a very good film [...]
he seems to be, if not confident, optimistic that he can get
this made into a film. Therefore it would be released as a
soundtrack rather than as a Jon Anderson solo project. [...] I
have probably got maybe three hours of running time just on my
computer because some things we’ve let run long. Because at one
stage he had a view of just putting it on stage and he said
that’s great for choreography. We can extend this section and
that can be used for a dance sequence. [...] So which is why as
what I think of myself, I might be confabulating my role in the
whole thing, as co-producer of the venture, Jon has said that I
will want you here when we finish it. Because in its present
form, it’s the digital equivalent of two kilometres of unedited
tape and none of us are quite sure where to cut and splice
It remains unclear at least in my mind what constitutes a finished product because if it is to be for a stage musical it only needs to be presented in a rough format to be scored [...] He may find that he can’t get the backing for it to go on stage or as a film soundtrack and he might decide to just get fresh vocal performances in because he’s sourced his opera singers, his rappers and he might just bring me in and we’ll tighten the whole thing up and release it either as a double or single CD. Or who knows, the third possibility is that it may fizzle out. I would like to think not
Layton then talks about their subsequent collaborations:
I thought now that is pretty
much the end of that. [...] [Then] there was another email [...]
‘Send me some more of those songs with the beats, [...]’ [...]
At first I didn’t really know quite what to do. I had a few
tracks just lying around which had been discarded by other
singers or weren’t to their liking which I thought had
potential. And he very quickly wrote some, which were some of
the other songs that I had previously [...] on MySpace. There is
probably five or six of those which are in a very rough state.
[...] none of them had I specifically written for him.
And then [...] I wrote ‘Shine Shine Deliverance’. Now this really grabbed his attention [...] he said ‘You’ve got to release this’. I don’t know where he thinks my connections are, [...] I’m certainly in no position to be releasing anything. But he said, ‘This is a single, we have got to get this out there, but the ending has got to have a gospel choir.’ [...] I don’t know quite where he thought I was going to get a gospel choir from. He obviously was very intent on the idea because I saw on You Tube that when he had the School of Rock together once he had the backing track of Shine Shine Deliverance. He had them singing the backing vocals trying to get them to record it. [...] I think he obviously saw that it wasn’t really happening either because it never went any further than that.
We then had a series of discussions about how would we release this? [...] ‘Are you going to release this as Jon Anderson solo material?’ He said ‘no, no, no no, I don’t see that in my future.’ I don’t know exactly what he meant by that. But I said whatever we call it, it’s your voice and you are the voice of Yes.
After that point Jon started
asking me to write Yes type music. He said ‘Can you give me some
lighter, acoustic Yes-flavoured music?’ [...] He said ‘[...]
write your music but write the kind of music you would like to
see Yes doing now. Pick out everything that’s your favourite and
give it to me and I’ll sing.’ Which is what I did with Sacred
Balance, I just picked out everything that I felt my perfect Yes
song would have [...]
But Jon, before he got a chance to finish it, started having health problems and it’s missing the last vocal section but I’m hoping that it sees its way onto any potential project. [...] We’ve been working on three or four tracks which again he asked me to do them in a Yes style. [...] I kind of reflect on the Time and a Word period as where I see Jon being now. [...] he writes much more rhythmically than melodically. His mind thinks in terms of rhythm first. He places less emphasis on the ebb and flow of the melody than he does on the impact of the beat of what he is singing.
[...] In view of producing Jon in the here and now, I see him more as going back to the simple Jon, the Olias Jon or the Time and a Word Jon where he communicates simple messages in a simple fashion. I don’t think anyone else that he is working with is approaching it like that.
As for progressing to a release of any of this material:
there is my view of it and
there is Jon’s view of it. My view is in the realms of the
known; Jon’s is in the realms of the unknown. Because Jon just
has so many things going on and it causes immense frustration,
well it did to me at first and I got used to it, but there are
people out there who have worked with Jon who really harbour a
good deal of resentment towards him. He has used them for a song
and then ignores them for a month or two. And they’ll let him
know. [...] I think from what I now know of Jon, when he is very
focused on one thing, then that is what he is focused on. When
he is on something else you have just got to let him go on to
whatever else he is doing. When he is not thinking about me he
is not thinking about me and it doesn’t do me any good to email
him and chase him because out of the blue he will get in touch
with me and I will be the centre of his world for the next two
weeks and we will continue working on the material. [...] we
probably have sufficient material right now if his voice was up
to it that we could finalise. But his voice won’t be anywhere
near up to it, I would say probably, and I’m no expert, until
mid 2009. [...] I’m not expecting him to place any priority on
Personally I’m pretty sure that the first thing that he’ll want to get finished is the opera project. That’s got, as far as I know, an immense amount of work to do. He has requested for me to be present for future work at his studio. There is only so much we can do via email.
With composer Peter Machajdík
Anderson guested on "Sadness of Flowing" on Peter Machajdík's album Namah (Music Fund Bratislava/Musica Slovaca, MAMAH SF 00542131). Details in Yescography. Read my interview with Peter Machajdík about the collaboration with Anderson here. Machajdík has done some further work with Anderson, orchestrating some of his songs.
In 2009, Anderson appeared live with a band led by Machajdík (see details above), the show subsequently
broadcast on the Slovak national TV channel. A DVD release has
been expected. In an Aug
interview, Machajdík quotes Anderson as saying he wants to
continue working with this band, who he said played at least as
well as Yes, and he would like to do a tour with them in 2010.
While that didn't happen, there was a show in Aug 2012 in London:
see above. Machajdík also talked about doing
futher work with Anderson: "Budeme spolu robiť niečo s klasickými
nástrojmi, ak budú peniaze, tak aj väčšie obsadenie a dlhšie
kompozície." That is, something with classical instruments and,
finances permitting, larger compositions.
In a Mar
interview, Anderson described a project with a male
collaborator in Slovakia, who I take to be Machajdík:
I’m just working on a musical
dance piece about heraldry. I’ve always loved heraldry,
since I was a kid. [...] I think there should be new
heraldry. I think that cities and countries, places should
use their flags of heraldry and rejuvenate our conscious
knowledge of totem – worldwide totem knowledge - not just
American Indian totems. There is indigenous totem everywhere,
which is knowledge of the eagle, the coyote, the wolf, the bear,
the dragonfly, the ant [...] to rejoice in that and to use it in
a dance mode, using it in an artistic mode, by banners or flags
or things – which is basically heraldry. So, that’s something I
started doing just last month actually.
As a filmmaker, Sean McKee has worked with U2, Rage Against the Machine, Slash, Chickenfoot and Gail Zappa, while as a musician, he has worked with Chip Z'Nuff and Ike Willis. He has worked on a number of projects with Anderson. In a Jan 2019 interview, McKee and Anderson described having recorded a double album; this will be with accompanying "visual gaming and virtual reality experiences" according to the interviewer. McKee and their engineer Ryan Black were to be teaching a class (Musical Soundscape Design & Mixing in 5.1) at Columbia College Chicago on mixing in 5.1 Surround Sound, in which students were to contribute to the mixing of this album, with Anderson inputting via Skype. In McKee's description of the YouTube clip of the interview, he expands, saying, "And in a Columbia College first, the project will be multi-departmental, creating visual, gaming and virtual reality companions to the album." Anderson described how they have been working on the album for 5 years, largely collaborating over the Internet (Anderson said they have only met "three or four times"). McKee described the album as "written together", and described it thus: "while there is traditional music, some of it is moods and soundscapes, kind of like cinematic, as you'd hear in a movie". A Feb 2019 article additionally hints at "high-profile guests artists on the album". Citing McKee, it describes the album as having been "six years in the making", but with "no set release date". McKee emailed in Jun 2020 to say that they had started work on a 5.1 mix in 2019, but decided to switch to Dolby's Atmos system. They were going to start mixing in Mar 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic stopped that from happening. They planned to return this in summer 2020.
In an Aug 2020 interview, Anderson said, "I was actually working on a piece this morning, that is the finale of a large piece that I started with [...] Sean McKee [...] and we've been at it now for 10 years, working on this idea [...] I've been challenging myself to do orchestration".
Previously, a website seemingly from 2013 said, "McKee is currently composing his most ambitious work to date, working with Jon Anderson [...] to create an exotic concept album filled with epic length songs." In late Jan 2016, McKee explained online, "Jon and I have been working on an exotic, longer form concept album made up of epic length songs that is nearing completion". In a Jul 2015 Prog interview, Anderson described writing film music, saying: "It's a very surreal concept film about the truisms of magic. Sean's a visual artist as well as a music-maker." It is unclear if this is the same or a different project.Anderson and McKee were collaborating on a charity song for COVID-19 pandemic relief, due this summer. They wrote the song in May and have been recording guest singers and players, including Jean-Luc Ponty (Anderson Ponty Band; violin).
In a Jun 2012 interview, Anderson said, "I just finished doing a project with a friend in Los Angeles and now we're going to get into the production. We've written about a dozen new songs and it[']s a very exciting time." It is unclear which collaborator this is, however. An interview in the Jul 2012 issue of Prog magazine refers to several otherwise unidentified projects:
In a Jun
2011 interview, Anderson had said, "I'm working with a sort
of African/North African band of musicians that are very
talented." In this 2013
interview (approximately Aug), Anderson said, "Working with
music from North Africa, a group of people in San Francisco that
play North African music, I've been writing songs with them." The
2016 Inside MusiCast interview has more about the former:
I know that it's inspiring to me to sing [...] with so many different combinations of music, even Middle Eastern music. I'm working with a guy […] in San Francisco. And we've written quite a lot of music in the last few years. And I just bumped into a vocal person here who works as a percussionist in a sort of ensemble out of the local university here at Cal Poly, and they have a 20 piece – 12 singers and 12 musicians, doing Middle Eastern music, so I'm going to get together with them and probably produce a project with them for next spring next year .In a Jun 2016 interview, Anderson said, "I'm working with a Middle Eastern ensemble here at the local university [...] because I've been writing Middle Eastern music for a year with a friend from San Francisco." He later added, "I think we're going to perform it next summer , locally, but the record might come out the year after ." And in a Jul 2016 interview: "I have been working here in California with a group of musicians who are doing middle eastern music, and I've been writing songs in that genre with a friend of mine from San Francisco." In a Jul 2016 interview, when asked about plans after ARW, Anderson said, "a couple of years ago[,] I started writing with a friend who lives in San Francisco [...] He loves Middle Eastern music. So I wrote about 5 or 6 ideas with him. And I've no idea where I was going with them [...] [T]he kind of Middle Eastern music that is around, it's very spiritual, very, very connected to Mother Earth". He then referenced the work of the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Anderson continued: "About a month ago, somebody sent me a link and that's an actual Middle Eastern ensemble here in our local polytechnic university, here at Cal Poly [...] there's about 20 of them, there's about 12 singers and, er, about 8 musicians [...] So I got in touch with them [...] they're excited and we'll probably do it next year  some time and I'm going to meet them next week for the second time and just go through the songs, and how it's going to be presented visually".
(worked with The Eurythmics, Donovan, The Grateful Dead)
was reportedly working on a new album with Anderson.
Anderson has done some work previously with Dave Kerzner (Sound of Contact, worked with Steve Hackett, Steven
Wilson), who has more recently worked with
Billy Sherwood, Jon Davison and Geoff Downes. A song Kerzner
wrote with Anderson, "Meant to Be", was used by his new band In
Continuum on their debut album, with another, "All That Is", on
their second album and some compilations: see under
Davison, who guests.
Anderson guested on Juice B Crypts (Warp Records), the 10-track album from experimental rock band Battles, out 18 Oct 2019. Anderson appeared on "Sugar Foot", credited as featuring Anderson and Taiwanese experimental folk band Praire WWWW. Battles played the song live using a recording of Anderson's voice. Also guesting on the album are American singer Xenia Rubinos, Sal Principato (Liquid Liquid), hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces and art pop duo tUnE-yArDs. The album made #74 in Scotland, #112 in Japan and #23 on the US Indie chart. It made #58 on iTunes UK. It was at least as high as #1 in Post-rock, #7 in Dance & Electronic and #357 overall on Amazon (UK) on 19 Oct. The band have said that Anderson's management had approached them in 2011, but scheduling issues stymied any collaboration then. In 2019, needing a vocal for "Sugar Foot", they got back in contact. They sent the piece over and Anderson sent it back with his vocal added. An official video for the song was released 29 Nov 2020 to accompany the release of a 4-track, remix EP, Juice B Mixed (Warp Records), out 20 Nov 2020.
Anderson sings "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" on Set Them Free, an expected tribute album to The Police and Sting by Rock Against Trafficking (RAT), who are raising money for International Justice Mission. Gary Miller, who started RAT, has organised the album, which was expected Spring 2018, but does not appear to have been released yet. "Roxanne" covered by Glenn Hughes (ex-Deep Purple, ex-Black Sabbath, worked with Geoff Downes, Keith Emerson), produced by Miller, was released Jan 2018 as a prior single (available on Amazon US; video); it made #21 on the US Classic Rock chart. A second single also charted. Also appearing on the album are Slash, Carlos Santana and, doing "Synchronicity II" (produced/arranged by Schon/Miller), Journey members Neal Schon (guitar), Arnel Pineda (vocals) and Steve Smith (drums). An Aug 2014 report described as already recorded Anderson's track, Hughes' track, the Schon/Pineda track, "So Lonely" (Slash and Fergie), "Wrapped Around My Finger" (Heart), "If I Ever Lose My Faith" (Julian Lennon), "Message in a Bottle" (David Cook, ex-American Idol), "Brand New Day" (En Vogue), "Shape of My Heart" (Steve Lukather and Lee Ritenour), "Let Your Soul be Your Pilot" (Paul Carrack) and "Every Breath You Take" (Andy Fraser, ex-Free), with Carlos Santana, Joss Stone and Keb' Mo' still to record their contributions. A 2014 trailer also billed as involved Rob Morrow, Simon Phillips, Sam Aliano (CAB), Jonathan Moffett (worked with Michael Jackson, Madonna, George Michael), Simon Kirke (Bad Company, ex-Free) and Johnny G.
The Lost Tapes (details in Yescography) was an 8CD box set and a planned, ongoing series of releases, largely consisting of previously unreleased (live and studio) recordings from across Anderson's solo career. While further Lost Tapes releases have yet to appear, Anderson has talked about doing further releases. Both live and studio material were being planned for further releases in the series. Live material from the 1982 Animation tour was not in the initial release because of difficulties in locating a high-quality audio source, but was expected later. King Biscuit Flower Hour have multitrack recordings of a full show and, in Dec 2006, organiser Daniel Earnshaw said he was in negotiation with them. There was also talk of including a re-release of the 1993 CD/DVD The Best of South America. Anderson said more in an interview for the May/Jun 2007 issue of the Classic Rock Society magazine: "I'm designing a piano works. You might remember I had an accident a couple of years ago [...] so I spent a lot of time making piano pieces and got this guy called Jeremy [...] he's transcribing all the music for me and that'll come out next year  as part of the box set." The article continued:
There are 2 or 3 things sent to Jon from South America to consider along with [...] some recordings that Jon did in a cave in Southern China. "I was singing in to the cave and it was so beautiful, I just sang doing Opionian which is my secret language. So that will be on another CD. It's like singing to the Divine out there."In Mar 2008, in a post to Yesfans.com, Earnshaw said, "I'm 100% commited to future volumes of the box set, and have done some work on future ones."
Anderson's 1980 solo album Song of Seven is being released in an expanded and remastered form on Esoteric Recordings (QECLEC2747) with two bonus tracks, US single edits not previously released on CD. These are "Some are Born (US single promo edited version)" and "Heart of the Matter (short version)". The release includes restored artwork and liner notes with a new essay including an exclusive interview with Anderson. The album was #8 in the Prog Readers' Poll Reissue category.
Anderson is releasing his memoirs, entitled "Survival and Other Stories", to be released "soon" according to his webpage. Illustrated by Jim Higgins, chapter 1 (15 pages) is available online. He previously said saying he was "halfway through" the book in this Oct 2015 interview and described contact with publishers. A Sep 2017 interview revealed that "the first part of which, tracing his story to 1980, is all but ready for publication now, with more to follow in two or three years." A Sep 2018 interview announced the title. Further excerpts were included in the deluxe 2020 release of 1000 Hands: Chapter One. In an Aug 2020 livestreamed event, Anderson said he is "writing my memoirs".
Several short stories by Anderson are now available on his
website (select "Writings"). One, "When Toola Forgot
Her Song", is for children, written by Jon & his wife
Jane, with illustrations by Juan
Carlos Baez (who worked
with Anderson on Zamran), inspired by
ceramics by Jane. Baez has said there may be a physical
release at some point.
Anderson was working on a music video for an unidentified project with Carl B Richetti.
Anderson had serious health problems in 2008. On 13 May of that year, he suffered a very serious asthma attack leading to acute respiratory failure and was hospitalised in intensive care for some days. Anderson has been suffering from asthma for some time, with problems dating back to at least 2004. Later that year, around Sep 2008, pancreatitis and related problems led to multiple operations. In a Jul 2009 interview, Anderson said he had 6 operations. Anderson gave this account in an Aug 2011 interview:
A lot had to do with sinus problems. You travel and when you're in hotels you get a lot of very musty sort of air-conditioning systems in some of these old hotels. It gets to you. But I had a great doctor at UCLA last year. He cleared everything out. He said it would change my life and it did. I can see better, hear better and breathe better, and actually sing a little better.He said more in a Nov 2016 interview, describing a 2015 sinus operation that "really changed everything. I can breathe better and sing a lot clearer in my head. I think I have more stamina. My doctor at UCLA said I was going to have a different life from now on." By the time of ARW touring, Wakeman and Rabin were describing him as "fit and well" and "full of energy" respectively in this Aug 2017 interview. After a show in Oct 2018, Wakeman said that Anderson had had another throat operation, implying it was recent.
and The Warriors - The Road to Yes"
"Jon Anderson and The Warriors - The Road to Yes" (Sonicbond Publishing; 224 pages and over 200 photographs) is a new book from David Watkinson (author of "Yes—Perpetual Change") about Anderson's career before and at the beginnings of Yes, focusing on The Warriors, and includes new interviews with Anderson and other band members and others, previously unseen photos (of The Warriors and Yes), tour dates and more. To accompany the book, there will be a webpage on the band's tour dates 1960-6. There will also be a display at Accrington Library: this was to open 27 Apr 2020, with a signing with Warriors member Rodney Hill in May, but it has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a plan to open 27 Jul, but it has had to be pushed back to later in 2020, date to be confirmed.
A limited edition (250 copies) hardback (ISBN: 9781789520354) signed by the author came first via Burning Shed on 13 Dec 2019; this has sold out. A paperback and digital version followed 28 Mar 2020.
There was also a limited edition 7" EP, The Lost Demos (Plane Groovy Records, OLIAS91027), of previously unreleased demo recordings by Anderson and The Warriors from 1964-7. The orange vinyl has now sold out, but the black vinyl remains available. This is only available via Burning Shed. Some of the recordings were cleaned and mastered at Abbey Road Studios. These are the earliest known recordings with Anderson. Jon's brother, Tony, is the lead vocalist on some of the material, with Jon on backing vocals; also performing are Brian Chatton (ex-Jackson Heights, appears on 1000 Hands) and Ian Wallace (ex-King Crimson). Tracks—side A:
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.jobson