Where are they now? - Jon Anderson
This page last updated: 24 Oct 2014
On other pages: Anderson Wakeman - Project with Wakeman and Rabin
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Overview of the direction
of Anderson's career
One of Anderson's main projects at present is the Anderson Ponty Band (see below). He has multiple further projects on the go, many involving collaboration over the Internet. A Mar 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." Anderson said in a Nov 2013 interview, "I think I'm working with about twenty different people at the moment, with twenty different projects."
Before the Anderson Ponty Band, Anderson had generally eschewed a
band format, but had 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 what became "Open"] 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.
In a Jun
2012 interview, asked about arranging material for live
work, Anderson had said: "If you try to do it like the band [Yes],
then you've got to find a band [...] then you're pretending to be
Yes, I don't want to do that." In a Jun 2011
interview, he had said:
I’ve had enough of bands. [...]
I’m not 40 years old looking for a band. I’ve done my thing with
bands. I’ll probably tour with some groups of musicians, yeah.
I’ve done shows with youth orchestras. [...] I do different
things. I did a concert with a group of musicians two years ago
in Slovakia [...] I’m doing other things with different bands.
I’ve worked with the young School Of Rock musicians
Asked why Yes is touring without him in a May
2011 radio interview, Anderson said:
Well, that's a good question, y'know, I got very sick in 2008 [...] they wanted to go on the road and do their thing. And I just thought, well, as long as they tell everybody who's in the band [...] and I'm not there and Rick's not there [...] for me, it's just a question of getting on with my life […] in fact, I’ve started writing Yes music, which I never thought I would do, because when I was in the band, I would always save writing Yes music to... working in the band, but now I’m writing some beautiful new music and, er, it’s very long-form ideas that Yes fans will love, and I’m hoping to get a piece out maybe by summer timeIn a Jan 2013 interview, Anderson was asked, "Will there ever be a chance at reconciliation with Yes that could result in a new tour, perhaps even a new Yes album?" His answer: "I would love that to happen!" He said more in this exchange from a Feb 2013 interview:
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.
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 mechanisms, lately mainly on Facebook. 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."
Ponty Band Official
The Anderson Ponty Band is a new band with Jon Anderson (vocals) and Jean-Luc Ponty (ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra, ex-Frank Zappa, worked with Elton John, Chick Corea, Stéphane Grappelli; violin). In Jul 2014, a new Facebook page for the project announced the line-up as Anderson, Ponty, Baron Browne (works with Ponty, Steve Smith, worked with Billy Cobham; bass), Rayford Griffin (works with Ponty, worked with Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Michael Jackson; drums), Jamie Dunlap (worked with Anderson and on "South Park"; guitar) and Wally Minko (worked with Ponty, Pink, Toni Braxton, Gregg Rolie; keys, piano); the band is managed by Jim Lewis. They successfully ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise $95,000 to support recording a live, 2-hour DVD/CD (to be released 2015) and other activity. (The project was as high as 4th among all Kickstarter music projects.) The band were at Wheeler Opera House (Aspen, CO) for 3 weeks to rehearse, record and play live. (An earlier plan had been to rehearse in Ventura, CA.) In an interview on 13 Sep, Anderson said, "We started late last week and we're now in our fifth day of rehearsals and we'll rehearse through to next Tuesday-Wednesday and then do the shows on Friday and Saturday." (Ponty added: "The band came a week before [...] me and Jon arrived a few days ago.") In another Sep 2014 interview, Anderson said, "We're not just going to go there and play our hits sort of thing, no, we want to recreate our music, redesign it, make it just sound better than ever. [...] We're going to do [...] four [...] of the YES classics, and a couple of songs I do with Vangelis. We've written six songs altogether now. [...] We have an acoustic section in the show." In another Sep 2014 interview, Anderson talked of [SPOILERS—highlight to read] 6 Yes or Jon & Vangelis pieces, 3 existing Jean-Luc Ponty pieces, and 3-4 new pieces. The band played 20 Sep (to a sold out or close to sold out venue; capacity of 504), with a dress rehearsal on 19 Sep. One report gave the set as: "One is Everything" (new piece), "Aria" (existing Ponty piece or possibly new piece?), "Yours is No Disgrace", "Listening" (new piece, heard as a demo on the Kickstarter page and based on a pre-existing Ponty piece), "Time and a Word" (reggae version, similar to Anderson's recent solo version), "Jig" (Ponty piece; Anderson on harp), "Infinity" (new piece, Kickstarter demo based on a pre-existing Ponty piece), "Soul Internal" (new piece by Anderson, his version previously appeared on YouTube), "I See You" (new piece, Kickstarter demo, reportedly by Anderson/Dunlap), "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Every Country" (Ponty piece?), "Wonderous Stories", "Long Distance Runaround", "Sky Vista (Renaissance)" (Ponty piece from Aurora), "Enigmatic" (Ponty piece), "New New World" (from Anderson's Survival & Other Stories), "And You and I" (similar arrangement to that by Anderson Wakeman), "Starship Trooper", bass solo/"Roundabout". There was also a drum solo at some point.
The band are also recording studio
material. Mixing etc. will be in Los Angeles, CA, along
with the making of a documentary and further videos. A world
tour from Mar 2015 and into the summer is planned (in venues of
~1000+ capacity), with Anderson in the Sep 2014 interview
mooting live work in 2016 as well and saying "We want to make it
an ongoing thing – you know, you start doing it and maybe in the
next five years we'll still be doing this".
The Kickstarter team clarified:
The Anderson Ponty Band will be going into the studio to record a full album’s worth of material.
And then we’re also going to record our Aspen show in the form of a live album and DVD.
The music and album rewards will include ALL the music from the studio album and the live album. The DVD will also include additional making of material and other extras.
A Sep 2014 article had: "Anderson says
together they've already constructed seven new songs for use on
a subsequent original studio effort". The Kickstarter
page has various offerings and audio samples from demos. The
studio material and live show are described as being "classics and
new material". (The first demo, "Listening", is
the instrumental piece "Stay with Me" from Ponty's 1979 album A
Taste for Passion with Anderson's vocals added. The second demo, "Infinity", appears to be
partly based on "Mirage" from Ponty's 1977 album Enigmatic
Ocean. The third demo is sort of a medley including
versions of "I've Seen All Good People" and "And You and I" and
an element from "New New World" on Survival
& Other Stories. The fourth demo is a new piece
called "I See You". Another demo is on
SoundCloud.) An introductory video was published on YouTube
late Jul 2014 in which Anderson talks about having worked with
Ponty and Dunlap over the previous 3 months. He refers to
"classic" material, specifically music he wrote in Yes, and he
also says how he "started writing songs on top of some of
Jean-Luc's music and it works". Ponty says the pair met years ago
and Anderson had suggested a collaboration then. In an Aug
2014 interview, Ponty described meeting in the early '70s,
and then: "we were put in contact again a year ago. A producer
of his was talking about me doing a violin solo on his song. And
when we got in contact, we came up with the idea putting a band
together." Ponty went on to describe the music of the new band:
there is his musical personality, which means the way he sings, the kind of melodies he always wrote with arrangements that are a lot more up-to-date in terms of rhythms and sounds. But we are going to play a very limited number of classics of each other. [...] The idea is to keep our musical personalities and the original sounds, but the production will be more modern.
Ponty also explained the choice of
management’s choice. We have a manager in common, he is who put us together, and he had interest from record companies. [...] But, I guess he wanted to keep control and use today’s ways of producing an album [...] and then Jon and myself said: “It’s ok. Let’s do it. Let’s see how it works”.
In another Aug
2014 interview, Ponty talked about what the Kickstarter
income will fund:
It will cover roughly a month of work. All the expenses of rehearsing and having the band, we will all reunite in Aspen [...] rehearsals begin on August 30th and I will arrive a few days later because I’m finishing a tour [...] It covers all the expenses including recording. I think the return will be much more rewarding financially because the difference you get paid from a record company as an artist and owning the masters is very different… it’s like one to six roughly. For me it’s about having total artistic control and we own it.
And on how the collaboration got going:
I was contacted a year ago to contribute a violin solo on a song that he was producing. He liked the solo and one thing led to another. Then Jon got the idea of singing on one of my songs … “Mirage.” Spontaneously he took the song and sang half way through it and then sent it to me, and I was so impressed how good it sounded and how it worked really well with my music.
He also confirmed that they are planning to
include this new version of "Mirage" in the project. Ponty said
they plan to release the album Feb 2015. In another Aug
2014 interview, Anderson talked about how he had written
some material with a "friend of mine" (i.e., Michael
Lewis—see below for more). Ponty played on one of these, which
brought Anderson in contact with Ponty's manager. Ponty's
manager suggested Anderson write with Ponty, so Anderson decided
to sing over a couple of Ponty's songs and then sent them to
Ponty. Anderson continues the story:
He kind of freaked out and said, “This is really different.” Once a month, he’d send me a new piece of music, and I’d sing these songs and send them back.Anderson went on to talk more about working with Ponty, saying Ponty would send him "some interesting stuff that I wouldn't normally gravitate to. Because it was musically a little obscure, jazzy, and suddenly I'd find myself singing something that balanced it out and made it work for me." He continued: "[Ponty] would send me a piece of music, say, once a month for the past four months. And I'd sing something on it and then put it to one side and get on with some project and then the next day re-sing it and find the lyric that I was trying to sing and what I was thinking about — and then feel, "This is really different for me." It's [...] at times more storytelling-ish [...] not verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. [...] it sounds like music for stage". Anderson then sent the work with Ponty to Dunlap, who "started to evolve it a little bit", which led to the idea of the band consisting of Ponty, some of his regular band members, Anderson and Dunlap. Discussing performing with a violinist, Anderson said:
especially the classics — the three songs I’ve done of his greatest hits — he plays the violin and does this beautiful dance right into what would be a piano solo, and that’s where I start singing [...] I’m sort of part of the band. You finish your part and get to the bridge section or the possible chorus or tagline, and coming out of the tagline, it comes straight to the violin section again. I started working with Jamie, and it would seem logical to use the rhythmic violin style of John Adams [...] one of the great American composers who uses the violin as a rhythmic energy. I wanted to use that a lot so that we already had the violin sound with Jean-Luc’s violin dancing on top.Anderson also said he wanted to "bring a more ethnic energy" to the material. He described how they will record demos, but then be more free-form in rehearsals. He expanded on this:
You don’t want all the songs sounding the same. I put them together in sections so that they’re 15-minute works: a well-known Jean-Luc piece, a new piece, and then a well-known Yes piece. And then the other way around [...] that’s what’s very good for a musician: the journey of performance. Sometimes the audience really enjoys the journey rather than every four or five minutes us stopping [...] I want to go on a little journey [...] After “Listening,” it goes into Amharic music, which is from EthiopiaAnderson again:
we’re putting the show together to go to Aspen, rehearse and do a couple shows there, and then take the show on the road next year. The plan is coming together. We’re sort of two-thirds of the way through, and I think the last third should be what happens in rehearsal — “let’s have a free-form part, a free-form section. Let’s see where we go with that.” And then we’ll piece it all together.Anderson also said that they will do some Yes material that is "pretty well known, because you wanna reach out to people." He explained:
I thought, “What we need to do is, do the classic yes songs but in a slightly different way — so that the song carries but the musicians and the music isn’t Yes. Because I don’t want to be a Yes tribute or try to pretend to be like the band.The Yes songs will include "And You and I" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart". In another Sep 2014 interview, Anderson described Ponty's manager, Lewis, suggesting he and Ponty form a band together: "I thought, I haven't been in a band for ten years, so maybe it's about time, y'know". He goes on to talk about new material: "Jean-Luc has sent me a couple of tracks about a month ago that he just actually put together and I sang right away and they just felt really good." He then describes a set list of three Ponty "classics", Yes "classics" and 3-4 new pieces. He also talks about the band staying "together for a couple of years".
The project was initially announced earlier in 2014 under the
name Inventioning (Twitter)
with Anderson, Ponty, Michael Lewis
Street Over; guitar, band director), Browne and
Griffin. In a Mar
2014 newspaper interview, Anderson said:
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
2014 press release:
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." In mid-Aug, 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 plan to release an
album, Affirmation, with a prior digital single,
"Walking Talking", due soon, 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 an existing piece by M Lewis called "Escape of the Good
Guys". In total, the album is planned to include 4 songs with
vocals from Anderson, one of which also has violin from Ponty.
The new Inventioning consists of 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). A dedicated keyboardist is to be
announced, while Alessandro
Bertoni (worked with Virgil Donati, Derek
Sherinian, Ric Fierabracci) is contributing keys to a
few tracks. The band also plan live work.
While the plan was for an Inventioning with Anderson and Ponty,
Anderson said that Jordan
Rudess (Dream Theater) would be on keys.
In an early
Apr 2014 interview, Anderson said, "I'm preparing some music
with Jean Luc Ponty and Jordan Rudess and a group of musicians,
we're getting ready to do some concerts in June, so we're already
thinking about putting a band together. We're waiting for
confirmation about that. [...] It was one of those things I
thought about a couple years ago, and I did some rough musical
sketches of what I'd like to try, and then I linked up with [...]
Michael Lewis and we wrote two or three songs together, and he was
connected to Jean Luc Ponty". However, Rudess said in an email in
May 2014, "Decided not to do the band project due to it being
something I would not have enough time for this summer. Jon jumped
the gun in announcing who was in his new band." M Lewis explained
Jordan had indicated a possible interest in the project but it was tentative. Jon, when pressed with questions about the personnel of the group, mentioned Jordan's name and it became a rumor that he was in (which I tried to quiet on the Inventioning page because it was not confirmed).In a Feb 2014 interview, Anderson described having "musical visions that I wanted to do, and I'm going to fulfil[l] them this year. I'm putting a band together for this year. [...] It's in the planning [stages]. We've just been in touch with two or three people [...] It's just a question of, we have a 2 month window in the summer. Could we get together? I have this idea of what we could do. I've been doing some sort of demos what a band could be doing these days." (Later in the interview, talking about Trevor Rabin, he added, "This band idea I've got going, he'd be perfect for, but it's finding time, if he has a week he could come and perform with us." However, Rabin is not involved.) Anderson also mooted including "Endless Dream" in the set. (Note also that in Apr 2014, Anderson said to a fan that he planned to do some material from Talk live in 2015.) In a Mar 2014 radio interview, Anderson said: "I'm just starting up with a new band this summer. We're going to do some recording for next year. [...] We're hoping to do a couple of weeks [in the studio] in May and a couple of weeks in June. [...] We've already written some music together via the Internet". The band reportedly did meet up in Jun. US venues are reportedly already been approached about the tour. In Mar 2014, Ponty said online: "Jon Anderson and I are planning to put a band together, perhaps recording this year and touring next year 2015. We met a long time ago and I knew we had musical affinities, yet when we tried recently I could not believe how great his singing works with my music, just incredible. The idea is to mix my music with his songs from the Yes period and new ones, and a mixed band of his musicians and mine."
When Dream Theatre came to Seattle in April, Jordan and I had the chance to visit and spend the afternoon together, hanging out around Seattle. Jordan is an amazing guy and we talked about all kinds of things, including (of course) the Inventioning band. Jordan was seriously considering the project at that time but from the time he made mention that he was interested (earlier in the year) to the time we met, Dream Theater's popularity literally skyrocketed and they were adding dates to their world tour, left and right. So Jordan really had no choice but to pass because the reality was he had become too busy to fully commit to production and touring with another major group.
Further solo projects
Anderson's next album had been expected to be the project with Jonathan Elias, Jimmy Haun (ex-CIRCA:, ex-Yoso, ex-Lodgic, ex-Chris Squire Experiment) and Michael Sherwood (ex-Conspiracy, ex-Lodgic; Billy's elder brother), all of whom worked on Yes's Union. This was expected around spring 2013, but the project stalled.
A follow-up to Survival and Other Stories, to include a
new version of the digital release "Open" (see
below), had been completed, but awaits a label and any
release schedule is unknown. A sequel to "Open", called "Ever", is
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".
Anderson said in a Nov
2013 interview that he has "got about three projects that
are nearly ready. So they'll come out when they're ready. Probably
next spring ." But it is unclear what these are or whether
these are the projects mentioned here or something else.
Survival and Other Stories
compiled material from across many of these online collaborations.
The album (as Opio Media, 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 is
unclear if there were any changes from the first release.
Anderson has 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" is a 21-minute piece with 4 movements by Anderson, released digitally on 25 Oct 2011 (his 67th birthday). A follow-up of comparable length is expected, called "Ever". A new version of "Open" is expected to be included on a forthcoming solo album (see above), while "Ever" is 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."
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 on 22 Nov: "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.
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 piano
with Jonathan Elias, Jimmy Haun and Michael Sherwood
Jon Anderson was working on a solo album with producer/keyboardist Jonathan Elias, guitarist Jimmy Haun (ex-CIRCA:, ex-Yoso, ex-Chris Squire Experiment) and keyboardist Michael Sherwood (ex-Conspiracy; Billy's elder brother). All four last 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 have worked on numerous projects together, and both have worked regularly with Elias since Union. 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 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.
Anderson has plans for a tour with his new band with Jean-Luc Ponty: see above for details.
He played with the School of Rock St. Louis under-19s on 16 Aug. The main performance was as part of a day of events on 16 Aug. Due to poor weather conditions, the start of the show was very delayed. Anderson and the students eventually played a set of ~40 minutes; set: "Yours is No Disgrace", "Every Little Thing", "I've Seen All Good People", "State of Independence", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Roundabout". The previous night was a more exclusive solo show billed as an "opportunity of a lifetime for a lucky 200 Jon Anderson super fans" including a meet and greet; attendance ~200. This set was similar to recent solo shows, but shorter (~50 minutes); set began with "Yours is No Disgrace". There was no meet and greet.Anderson had a 17-date tour of north-east North America 14 Mar-24 Apr 2014. These were solo shows, except for 2 dates (8-9 Apr) with the Paul Green Rock Academy in Woodstock, NY, playing the music of Yes. In an early Apr 2014 interview, Anderson described his solo touring: "I think I stick to the same set. Because it's like a play, it's like a little theater thing, where I talk about certain songs, certain people I met in my travels, and I sing the songs so there's a build up to another part of the show".
Anderson played four solo shows in Texas in Feb 2014 and a one-off
show (15 Feb, Clearwater FL) with a symphony orchestra (50
minute set, including further guest vocalists), opening for the
Alan Parsons Project. Anderson
was also one of many acts on the Progressive Nation
at Sea cruise (18-22 Feb 2014, Miami to the Bahamas),
organised by InsideOut Music, Mike Portnoy
(Transatlantic, ex-Dream Theater), Derek Sherinian
(ex-Dream Theater) and Sixthman. Other acts included Transatlantic (with
Ted Leonard filling in for Daniel Gildenlöw, absent for health
reasons), Portnoy Sheehan Macalpine Sherinian, Adrian Belew's
Power Trio, King's X, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Pain of
Salvation, Riverside, Devin Townsend, Animals As Leaders, The
Safety Fire, Haken, Tony Harnell & Bumblefoot, Bigelf,
Beardfish, The Dear Hunter, Jolly, and Next to None. Anderson did
a 1 hour solo set on 18 Feb (including "Starship Trooper") and a 1
hour Q&A (with some music performed) on 19 Feb. The cruise
ended with a show by Transatlantic (Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse,
Roine Stolt, Pete Trewavas, with Bill Hubauer), with Anderson
joining for an encore set of Yes songs; set: The Whirlwind
medley, "Indiscipline" (originally by King Crimson, with Adrian
Belew guesting), "We All Need Some Light", "All of the
Above/Stranger in Your Soul"; encore set with Anderson: "The
Revealing Science of God" (at Transatlantic's suggestion; with
Randy George on additional guitar), "Long Distance Runaround",
"And You and I" and "Starship Trooper" (mass finale, including a
keys solo from Ryo Okumoto during "Würm"). Attendance on the
cruise has been estimated as over 2000. In the Apr 2014 interview,
Anderson said he will do another cruise in 2015.
Anderson played two one-man shows in Miami, FL on 10 Nov. He then guested at a one-off show in Reykjavik, Iceland with the band Todmobile. Todmobile played hits from their career and a selection of Yes songs with Anderson.
Anderson received an award at the Vegas
Rocks! Magazine Awards 2013 on 25 Aug, along side Carl
Palmer (Asia, ex-ELP), Zakk Wylde and Laura Wilde. The evening saw
Palmer performing with Anderson ("Starship Trooper", "Time and a
Word", "One Love") and with Jordan Rudess (keys) and Rudy Sarzo
(bass). Anderson also performed with John
Payne's Raiding the Rock Vault Las Vegas show in Sep 2013: see below.
Anderson's solo touring returned to South America Sep/Oct 2012, covering Uruguay (1 show), Brazil (7) and Argentina (6). Connected to the tour is a new digital single, "Brasilian Music Sound"—see below for details. The set in Uruguay was: "Open" extract ("Sun is calling...")/"Yours is No Disgrace", "Sweet Dreams", "America", "Time and a Word" (reggae version), "One Love" (abbreviated), "Under Heaven's Door", "Flight of the Moorglade", "I'll Find My Way Home", "Open" extract (intro)/"Starship Trooper", "Long Distance Runaround", "Show Me", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", keyboard medley, "You Got the Light", "A Day in the Life", "And You and I", "Nous Sommes du Soleil", "Music is God", "I've Seen All Good People", "Roundabout", "Open" extract ("Sun is calling...")/"State of Independence", "Wonderous Stories", "Soon".
He played 10 US dates Jun/Jul 2012 (mostly west coast). He toured
North America in 2011, and then a short Latin American tour in
Nov/Dec 2011. The 13 Dec Brazilian date sold 526 tickets, grossing
$59,364. He then played further US dates Feb/Mar 2012, on some
dates opening for America.
Approximate 19 Mar set list [SPOILERS—highlight to read]:
on acoustic guitar—"Open" extract/"Yours is No
Disgrace", "Sweet Dreams", "America", "Time and a Word"
(reggae arrangement), switching to McNally
Heaven's Door (Never Ever)", "Flight of the Moorglade",
"Long Distance Runaround", "Starship Trooper", "Unbroken
Spirit", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", on keys—"Piano Medley",
switching to ukulele—"You Got the Light" (a.k.a. "The Light of Love"), "Tony and Me", "Turn of the
Century", "I've Seen All Good People", "Roundabout"; encore:
"State of Independence", "Wonderous Stories", "Soon".
14 Mar set list: "Open" extract, "Yours is
No Disgrace", "Sweet Dreams", "America", "Time and a Word", "One Love"
(by Bob Marley), "Under Heaven's Door (Never Ever)", "Flight of
the Moorglade", "Long Distance Runaround", "I'll Find My Way
Home", "Open" extract/"Starship Trooper", "Unbroken Spirit",
"Owner of a Lonely Heart", keyboard medley, "You Got the Light",
"And You and I", "Leaves Of Green", "Tony and Me", "To the
Runner", "Turn of the Century", "I've Seen All Good People",
"Roundabout", encore: "Open" extract/"State of Independence",
"Wonderous Stories", "Soon".
The 2 May show had an audience of ~400; the 4 May show appeared to
have sold out. The 12 Jul show had an audience of ~200. The 19 Feb
show was sold out. Sets are normally 90 minutes long + 10 minute
encore. In an Apr
interview, Anderson described the set:
it’s songs that they know which
is Yes songs that I wrote for the band. Plus songs that I wrote
with Vangelis and two or three new songs from the new album and
storytelling and I think I have two jokes.…It’s about an hour
and forty minutes. [...] I play guitar, I play dulcimer, I play
ukulele, I play the piano…and sing songs that people remember.
But asked about doing songs from The Living Tree (his
recent album with R. Wakeman), Anderson replied:
No, I’m doing songs from my new
album [...] called Survival and Other Stories. You know, I can’t
play piano like Rick plays, it’s impossible so I wouldn’t try,
you know. I was going to try one song, but he plays so many
beautiful chords, it never sounds right on guitar.
Anderson has also talked of doing further orchestral shows (see below for past such shows). He played
with the San Antonio Youth Orchestra on 14 Mar 2011, with
the set including "Polonaise", "Starship
Trooper", "Long Distance Runaround", "State of Independence"
and "Show Me". In a Jun
interview, Anderson said he is:
playing at the Kennedy Center
in two weeks with full orchestra [...] [including] a special
song written for the warriors, y'know, the guys that are out
there, the wounded warriors that have been wounded in the wars
of the last ten years, there's a special trust charity for them.
[...] I'm an American [...] what we're doing, even though it's a
very silly thing to be doing, they've got to get out of there
On 8 Aug, Anderson played a London show at Sadler's Wells with Slovak singer Miro Žbirka (ex-Modus), supported by Cappella Istropolitana (the Bratislava Chamber Orchestra), conducted by Adrian Kokoš; attendance ~940. Žbirka performed the opening set (~60 min.s), followed by Anderson (~55 min.s), and then a joint encore. Both singers were backed by the Cappella Istropolitana, but had different additional backing musicians. Anderson was backed by Peter Machajdík (keys, backing vocals), who did the arrangements, plus Juraj Burian (ex-Klobása; guitar, backing vocals), Igor "Ajdži" Sabo (drums, percussion) and Andrea Zimanyiová (vocals, hand percussion). Set: orchestral intro, "Starship Trooper" (abbreviated, ~7 mins), "I'll Find My Way Home", "Earth & Peace", "Long Distance Runaround" (abbr.), "Nous Sommes du Soleil" (with orchestral intro), "Race to the End" (followed by the orchestra playing a brief excerpt of the "Match of the Day" theme), "Music is God", "Change We Must", "And You and I" (abbr., ~6 mins), "State of Independence"; joint encore: "All You Need is Love". (Machajdík was behind the 2009 Castle Devin show, which also included Burian.) Part of the show was shown on Slovak TV. Wife Jane, daughter Jade and possibly son Damion Anderson were all in attendance. Initial planning had been for a longer set by Anderson: in an interview in the Jul 2012 issue of Prog magazine, Anderson said the set would include "two or three [Yes] classics", "Give Love Each Day", "Earth & Peace", and excerpts from "Open" and "Ever" (see below), and there had also been plans to include new material written by Anderson and Machajdík, but the promoters appear to have latterly included Žbirka, resulting in a shorter set for Anderson (with the new material with Machajdík to be heard on another occasion). There had also been plans for 3 prior shows in Slovakia. Anderson had 4 days in Bratislava, Slovakia rehearsing with the orchestra before the show. See my review here.
Further solo digital releases
"Race to the End"
|"Race to the End" was a 1981 song released
by Demis Roussos working with Vangelis, a vocal adaptation
of the main theme from the film "Chariots of Fire". The
lyrics were by Anderson, at the time working with Vangelis
as Jon & Vangelis. With "Chariots of Fire" a recurring
theme in promotion for the 2012 Olympics,
the song was covered by tenor Russell Watson
(worked with Shaun Ryder; sang the theme tune for "Star
Trek: Enterprise") and opens his album, Anthems
(Sony Classical), released May 2012, which made #5 on the
UK album chart (#1 on the classical chart). It was also
covered by soprano Laura Wright
on her album Glorious (#52 in the UK) and her
version was included on the Jubilee-themed Now That's
What I Call Britain, both albums also released in
Anderson himself has now released his new version of the song (3:05 duration) as a digital single in the UK and US (released 25 Jul 2012), done without the involvement of Vangelis. The music was performed by Lebled. An accompanying video is here.
Meanwhile, Vangelis has released a new 2CD compilation, The Collection (Rhino) in the UK, which includes "So Long Ago, So Clear", "I'll Find My Way Home", "State of Independence" and "I Hear You Now" with Anderson. "So Long Ago, So Clear" has also been covered by Sarah Brightman (ex-Andrew Lloyd Webber, worked with Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carreras, Nigel Kennedy). It is available on deluxe editions of her 2013 album Dreamchaser. (The album made #16 in Japan, selling 7183 copies in its first week, #14 in Mexico and the top 60 in Germany, UK, Austria and the Netherlands.)
"Brasilian Music Sound"
|Buy from Amazon (UK):
Anderson has talked about "his DVD projects currently underway (including performances with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland and the Tribute To Freedom Concert in Slovakia)." Anderson performed with the 100-piece Contemporary Youth Orchestra plus a 60-piece choir in a sold out show entitled 'State of Independence' in May 2010 in Cleveland, OH, following a week's rehearsal together; set: first piece, "Starship Trooper", "Long Distance Runaround", "Music is God", "Show Me", "Give Love Each Day/Earth & Peace", "Big Buddha" (a.k.a. "This is (Buddha Song)"), "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Children Yet to Come" (4 movements: "Children Yet to Come", "Earth Singing", "Breathing", "Love is All"; world premiere); intermission; "And You and I" (abbreviated), "I've Seen All Good People", "Change We Must", "State of Independence", "Roundabout", "Soon"; encore: "Starship Trooper", "State of Independence", outro jam. Anderson played acoustic guitar as well as singing. Stefan Podell (worked on Survival and Other Stories) was one of the arrangers of "Children Yet to Come" and he also co-wrote and arranged the opening piece. (There is an ASCAP entry for a piece entitled "Opening" by Anderson/Kardush-Podell, which may be this piece. Another report has this piece as an extract of "Open" (see below).) The show was filmed in HD for broadcast on HDNet, who have now become AXS TV (see promo video here). The broadcast set omitted a few pieces: "Starship Trooper", "Long Distance Runaround", "Music is God", "Show Me", "Earth and Peace", "Big Buddah", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "And You and I", "I've Seen All Good People", "Change We Must", "Roundabout", "Soon", "State of Independence". In a 13 Jul 2010 Facebook message, Anderson said, "the Cleveland DVD is looking reaaly good....just finished mixing 12 songs...hope to get them to you asap..."
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.
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: see details above. Anderson and Machajdík are planning further collaborations (see below).Zamran Experience and other Olias-related projects
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 17 Feb 2013 Facebook post, Anderson said, "The sun is shining, it's another wonderful day, I'm writing music as usual, I think I might have Zamran nearly figured out.....songs galore, music everywhere..." In an Apr 2013 interview for YesFANZ, Anderson described the Zamran 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.Some earlier reports had suggested a release is imminent (see further discussion above). In Mar 2010, Steven Kelso, who has been doing artwork for the project, said, "Zamran is done. Just need to find a viable distributor other than the digital medium. It is a work in progress seen hardly no one buys physical media anymore. Zamran deserves the full quality package." References to the project include a Facebook post by Anderson on 25 Jan 2012 in which he said, "writing more of the Zamran story...'it's taking it's time''." Then, in a May 2012 interview, Anderson had this:
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.
Universe—DVD, live album and tour
Anderson has been using visual backdrops on his tours, including material by artist John S Banks. Those visuals appear on "Ritual Path", a DVD from Banks, including a guest appearance by Anderson—see details below. Further live DVDs were planned. In an interview circa Apr 2006, Anderson said, "By the end of this year  I'll record a new DVD of a totally new show." It's unclear whether this happened as planned. Talking further about the new songs he's played, Anderson continued, "Some of the new songs are based on a project that I am sort of slowly discovering over the next two or three years. I've written about five or six other songs this year  - now I have about a dozen songs for next year . For the next five or six years I want to put together about four or five DVDs of new songs plus old Yes songs and songs of Vangelis that I've never actually done before and songs of Yes that I've never recorded before, which should be nice to do." As for where these DVDs will be recorded: "I'm going to do it here at home. I have my studio all ready to do it. [...] I'm actually going to try to do it on the Internet LIVE." A Mar 2006 article reported Anderson was archiving performances for future release. Anderson says, "We actually filmed a concert in Poland [probably the 11 Sep 2005 show], a concert in Paris and a concert in Brazil. They're all sitting here, but I haven't looked at them yet because there are so many things I gotta do!"
In a Feb 2004 Delicious Agony
interview, Anderson talked about not recording his new songs on
a studio album, but continuing to tour the new material and
releasing a series of DVDs; he suggested then that it
will take about three DVDs. In an interview later that month
with Rockline, he spoke of having solo shows for the
next five years planned and affirmed plans for DVDs thereof.
Comments while on tour in Mar 2004 fit in with these ideas of no
studio recordings, concentrating on touring and multiple DVD
releases. "I think I'll release five DVDs over the next eight
years," Anderson said in a Dec 2005 interview with Anil Prasad
of Innerviews. "I have
to space them 18 months apart to have the animation be created.
The packages may contain both a DVD and a CD of the audio."
None of these plans have come to fruition. It is unclear whether the new material described has been diverted to some other project, such as Zamran.Other solo projects
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 was 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 called "First Born" about Daphne Charters' (1910-1991) experiences with fairies. 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 in the May issue of Exposé, Anderson 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.In an Oct 2009 interview, he said:
In a Jun
2011 interview, Anderson 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."
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.
"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."
Anderson and Rick Wakeman have been working together as a duo: see details here. Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin are planning a joint project too. See details on main page.
Anderson guested at the Las Vegas show, Raiding the Rock
Vault (created by John Payne and also including Jay
Schellen, both of Asia
Featuring John Payne and formerly Asia) from
20-24 Sep 2013. Anderson sang "Roundabout", "Your Move" and "Owner
of a Lonely Heart".
With Matt Malley
"Family Circle" is a new digital single by Jon Anderson and Matt Malley (ex-Counting Crows), released 19 Oct 2014 on iTunes by Gonzo Multimedia (duration 5:29), with proceeds going to three charities, the Flutie Foundation (raising money for autism support), Sahaja Yoga Meditation and the National Autistic Society. The song can be heard on YouTube. Anderson described how the project was recorded in an Oct 2014 news article: "Family Circle came together when Matt sent me his beautiful music earlier this year . I sang the lyric idea and sent it back to Matt [...] He added some more sounds and the haunting guitar solo."
With Fritz Heede and John S Banks
Anderson is 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."
Anderson has talked about an opera based on "The Alchemist". This 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 continues on his webpage, which includes a 5 minute sample of the music (see under "projects"):
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 first call:
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.Large numbers of musicians working with Anderson since then have been identified and many more are working outside the public eye. In a Jul 2009 interview in Czech, Anderson talks of working with 25 people around the world (including one in Italy), and I believe the number may be higher. Plans for all these collaborations remain unclear. While some seem to be intended as straightforward bipartite collaborations, Anderson also seems to be working on projects with large numbers of collaborators on each, including an album to be called Piano Works where multiple, different keyboardists interpret Anderson's compositions. Most collaborators identified to date have been keyboardists or orchestrators, but Anderson is also reported to be working on a project with a large number of guitarists (including one in Japan and one in France). Anderson is planning to combine his international collaborations by Internet with his plans for live webcasts: a Dec 2008 article describes a plan where Anderson "is doing this show from his house, where he's doing green screen ... on virtual sets and he's collaborating with musicians all over the world [...] They send in tapes of them playing and then he plays live with those tapes. He's about to launch this." In a Mar 2010 interview, Anderson says, "every week I'm working with at least five or six people from around the world – different people working on different projects. [...] the Internet is a very available source of energy for musicians everywhere. About four years ago I just put in an ad on my website: "Musicians Wanted" because I wasn't getting much feedback from my close people, which was the band. So I thought, "hey I'll just reach out to people who want to work with me." [...] I got lots and lots of people sending in a minute of their ideas and I connected with a couple dozen of them and we've been working on many different things every since. [...] I think basically I want to put it to some form of literature or something to do with the world around us. That's why I invested in what I call the "Zamran experience"". Anderson has now released an album with material from his various collaborations, called Survival and Other Stories: see above for more.
I started an installation project with a guy from Liverpool [...] he suddenly asked me two months ago if I would be interested in doing what you might call “a progressive album.” He was friends with a guy I’ve met who lives in Sweden who’s a beautiful guitarist and musician. So I said yes, because I have these long-form pieces that need to be evolved by somebody, so I sent them to him — and lo and behold, he did a magnificent job.The interview then asked, "Who is this musician?" and for a name. Anderson replied:
I said to the guy, “Work on these pieces. There’s a 20-minute, 15-minute, 10-minute works that I had,” and he came up with a flourish of music for these pieces. He really upgraded them and evolved them. [...] he’s got two, three months off now, and I’m gonna send him some stuff that could be pretty wild.
His first name is Roine. I don’t know his second name. (Laughs.) He’s a wonderful guitar player. We’re just working on ideas.This is somewhat confusing. There is a Swedish guitarist called Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Agents of Mercy, Transatlantic). A few years ago, Anderson was remotely collaborating on a couple of songs with well-known Yes fan Nic Caciappo (worked with Rick Wakeman, Peter Banks) playing bodhran, including on a version of "Never Ever" also with Stolt. More recently, in early 2014, Anderson guested at a live show with Stolt's band, Transatlantic. So, Stolt fits the description of the "guy [...] who lives in Sweden", who is friends with the Liverpool collaborator. However, when apparently asked for the Liverpool collaborator's name, Anderson answers "Roine". Perhaps Anderson has mixed up the names, or the interview became garbled in editing?
[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
are now available and a piece with Spollen appears on Survival and Other
has also been working with Anderson on orchestrations, while
Anderson guests on two Yes covers by Fraley's band, Wave Mechanics Union, on
their new album Further to Fly: see
on main page for details. 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.
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,
includes 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
| Another collaborator is Dennis Haklar (MySpace),
who has been working with Anderson for a few years now, and
continues to do so. His Lizard's
Tale (SKU25585), released Jul 2012, features
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),
as well as Stefanie Haklar (vocals), KS Resmi (vocals on
Scott Robinson (MySpace;
percussion on "Angels in Bahia") and Matt Everhart (bass on
"Angels in Bahia"). Photography for the album was by Paul
Sky. Haklar, Coryell, Egan and Arpino recorded the album
over 2 days in Dec 2011, with Anderson subsequently adding
vocal tracks. Tracks:
Another collaborator is Arjan Kiel in the Netherlands. He blogged in Aug 2009 that, "There are plans that Jon and I will perform next year  in my area called Fryslan. New work and some Yes-classics, all translated into the Frisian language, arranged by me for orchestra and choir." He also says that he and Anderson are "working on an opera for the Chinese worldfair 2010 in Shanghai". Neither project has yet emerged. Another collaborator is pianist Larry Kutcher, who announced he had received back a demo of Anderson singing to his music in a Facebook post on 7 Aug 2012. Anderson was previously collaborating with producer/multi-instrumentalist Tom Curiano.Dave Burks, a neighbour of Anderson's, has done a song called "Beautiful Shoes" with him, available on YouTube.
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.
Stephen Layton & with Mark Trueack
Anderson has been working with keyboardist Stephen Layton (ex-The Expression, ex-Like Oxygen) on various projects for several years now. Their song "Love and Understanding" appeared on Survival and Other Stories (see above). A remake of "Time and a Word" with Layton, Anderson and Mark Trueack (ex-Unitopia) on vocals and Franky Valentyn on keys is on Layton's ReverbNation page, which Layton described to me as a "a kind of Led Zep 60's psychedelic re-imagining", and another collaboration "Best is Yet to Come" was also later uploaded. Layton and Anderson are continuing to work on further songs together, and Layton has had a large role in Anderson's planned Zamran project (see above).
"Truey" Trueack, formerly of the Australian progressive rock
band Unitopia, is
leading a new project called The United Progressive Fraternity.
Two albums are now planned, both with Anderson guesting: Fall
in Love with the World and The Hope. The band have signed to InsideOut. Fall in
Love with the World tracks:
Performing on the album are Trueack (vocals, production ideas), Matt Williams (ex-Unitopia; guitars, bass, vocals, production), Guy Manning (ex-The Tangent; keys, guitars, vocals), David Hopgood (ex-Unitopia; drums, vocals, production ideas), Tim Irrgang (ex-Unitopia; percussion), Marek Arnold (sax, flutes, piano, keys), Dan Mash (bass, vocals). Guests are Anderson (vocals), Steve Hackett (Squackett, ex-Genesis, ex-GTR; guitars), Guillermo Cides (Chapman Stick), Ian Ritchie (worked with Roger Waters, Steve Hillage, Laurie Anderson; sax, flute), Jon Barrett (fretless bass), Holly and Brittany Trueack (vocals), Claire Vezina (worked with Mystery; French & English vocals). Produced by Williams/Trueack; engineered and mixed by Williams; concept by Trueack; additional arrangements by Manning/Layton. Artwork is by Ed Unitsky (worked with The Tangent, The Flower Kings). The touring line-up in 2014 was announced as Trueack (vocals), Williams (guitars, vocals), Hopgood (drums, vocals), Irrgang (percussion), John Jowitt (Ark, Arena, ex-IQ, ex-Frost*; bass, vocals), Manning (keys, guitars, vocals), Ritchie (sax, flutes, vocals).
The Hope was due 2014,
but has now been put back to 2015. Stephen Layton is co-director
on the project and leads on the production. Anderson has already
recorded some vocals. An album is planned exploring "the meaning
of hope as well as where we can find hope in a world torn by
economic, political, and ecological strife", and incorporating
world, ambient, acoustic, jazz and rock elements in the music.
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.
Anderson previously guested on Culture of Ascent from Glass Hammer and is collaborating further with the band. The band is led by Fred Schendel (keys, programming, acoustic guitar, string arrangements, backing vocals) and Steve Babb (bass guitar, keys, percussion, harp, programming, backing vocals). Babb explained to DPRP, "Jon has been sharing musical ideas with us for a couple of years now [...] the first things to come from this exchange will be on" Culture of Ascent. Glass Hammer collaborator Bethany Warren said in an interview circa Mar 2007:
Fred [Schendel] and Steve [Babb] are BFFs (best friends forever [...]) with Jon Anderson. Well, I'm probably reaching with that statement. But Steve paid a lil' visit to Jon (the two spent plenty of time in the studio talking about music), and the three have been talking for a few years now. Both Steve and Fred are writing with Jon - there are several works they are joint producing as well, from what I've gathered. Jon is something of a big fan of GH work, and the respect is obviously mutual. Both GH guys are huge fans of the work of Yes and Anderson.In an Oct 2007 interview, Babb was asked how they got in touch with Anderson:
However, there hasn't been any more recent news on this
collaboration. Glass Hammer's current lead vocalist, Jon Davison,
has now joined Yes: see main page
With the California Guitar Trio
"Concerto Uno", also known as "Concerto for Four Guitars and Voice", is a piece by Anderson developed in collaboration with the California Guitar Trio (CGT). The concerto (or concertino) originated as part of Anderson's "Chagall" project, entitled "Paris Dance". It may or may not also be the piece described some while before as "Concerto Tre", following on from "Concerto Uno" (a different piece despite the same name) and "Concerto Due" on Earthmotherearth, but written before them. Paul Richards of the CGT described their first meeting with Anderson in his online diary (8 Dec 2004): "Jon got his classical guitar and began playing through all 3 movements of his guitar concerto. Jon strummed his guitar and sang various melodies, explaining that he wanted the CGT to help him embellish on his basic form. [...] we then listened to a CD that he had recorded of all the basic parts played by Jon on guitar and Synclavier synthesizer." An earlier report said the piece was about 12 minutes long. The California Symphony Orchestra with the CGT premičred an orchestral arrangement of the first movement (arrangement by Stan Funicelli (worked with CGT)) in May 2006 as part of a larger programme; Anderson was not present at the shows. The version with the CSO and more recent CGT performances are in the key of D major, whereas the piece was previously in C# major. The orchestral debut of the first movement (in May 2006) was about 6 minutes long: in the programme notes, Anderson writes that another two movements are "in the works". He was said to be considering adding vocals to the concerto's second movement. In an interview circa Apr 2006, Anderson said the CGT and himself have "three movements done now so we're on the fourth movement." The CGT played the first movement of the concerto live on tour in 2005-6 (some early 2005 dates were with Tony Levin or Levin and Pat Mastelotto (both King Crimson)), as well as their version of "Heart of the Sunrise". Live at the Boulder Theatre (CGT Direct Collectors Series Volume 3) is a live CGT show with Levin including a performance of the first movement, available as a download to buy from the CGT Direct store. In an interview, Richards described the piece thus:
I think it sounds very much like Jon Anderson wrote the music but it does have some Spanish-style influences. If it does eventually become a full-blown concerto I think it will be quite interesting to hear. It’s really in its bare essence, maybe it’s more like a sonata at this point but it has some of those wonderful melodies that Jon is known for.
Anderson had said he would like to write more with the CGT.
"Heart of the Sunrise" has been part of the CGT's repetoire since
prior to their collaboration with Anderson and, at Anderson's
suggestion, they learnt some other Yes pieces and have since
played "Long Distance Runaround" live. Bert Lams of the CGT wrote
of a Jul 2005 meeting (diary,
Jul 2005): "Jon casually played us a few songs and idea's
accompanied on his midi guitar; we brought our guitars in and
rehearsed the first two movements of Jon's guitar concerto, and an
acoustic arrangement of "Long distance runaround" [already by then
played live] [...] Tomorrow we will do some recording." Richards'
Jul 2005) describes developing the guitar concerto and their
arrangement of "Long Distance Runaround" and then recording both.
It is unclear whether these recordings are for release or demos.
At a Mar 2006 live CGT show, Richards said that the CGT and
Anderson are planning further live and studio work together. In a
interview, Richards said:
We have been doing some
collaboration with [...] Anderson. He has some music he has
invited us to work on and thats kind of another project that I
hope wi[ll] come to light at some point. Its a bit tricky with
his schedule and our schedule. I just spoke to him a few days
ago and he invited us to his house in southern California to
work in the studio he has at his home.
The CGT with Levin played a set at a previous NAMM convention and
Anderson joined them for performances of "Heart of the Sunrise"
(Anderson on vocals) and (without Levin) the first movement of his
concerto (Anderson on guitar and vocals). Anderson, the California
Guitar Trio and Levin performed at the Quebec City Summer Festival
in Jul 2006, opening for sets by Jon
Anderson & Rick Wakeman and then Wakeman's Return to the Centre of the
In an appearance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in May 2010,
Anderson explained that "It's a four-movement guitar concerto
idea", but that his ill health curtailed the project. He said: "I
still have dreams of developing the piece: I have four movements
now [...] we kept in touch [...] I think we might just connect
again and develop it and finish it."
In a Jan 2011 interview, Anderson said: "I might even be working with the California [Guitar] Trio and Tony Levin. We talked about maybe getting a run of some shows together".
Fiefdom of Angels
"Fiefdom of Angels" (Facebook; Twitter) is a novel and graphic novel being written by singer Kevin Max (DC Talk, worked with Adrian Belew, Tony Levin). There is to be an accompanying soundtrack album by Max and there was an earlier plan for Anderson to guest. However, Anderson's involvement now is probably not going ahead. Also involved are Douglas Klauba (painting) and possibly Tony Levin and Adrian Belew (both King Crimson).
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:
Anderson sings on "Limitless Lives" on the new album, Audio Ergo Sum (Charlemagne
Music Publishing), by Italian classical crossover artist Marco
Sabiu (worked with Perry Blake, Christopher Lee),
out 15 Feb 2012. "Limitless Live" (2:40), b/w "Satellite", has
also been released as a digital single. The piece has music by
Sabiu and lyrics by Anderson. The album has made the Italian
iTunes top 10. Sabiu was playing
Italian dates from Apr, which were to make use of
interactive videos (created by video artist Luigi Antonini) of a
number of guest artists synchronised to the music, including
Anderson, as well as Steve Hackett (Squackett, ex-GTR, ex-Genesis),
Christopher Lee and Frederick Poggipollini. The press release for
the single states that Anderson and Sabiu are planning to record a
full album together and tour in 2013. A Mar
2012 article had this from Anderson:
Anderson says that the
collaboration happened fairly easily.
“He sent an MP3 and within a couple of hours I’d sang the song, the melodies and the lyric and everything and Marco said ‘it’s called “Limitless”’ and I said ‘that’s good, I like that, the idea that we are limitless human beings and we shouldn’t limit our lives at all.’”
[...] Anderson says that the pair are “talking about getting together in the summer” and adds that “maybe we’ll get together and write some more songs and tour,” including a possible visit to Italy.
Anderson did vocals and lyrics for 2 songs by Micahel
Mollura for the documentary "The Highest Pass".
Anderson also co-wrote and did vocals and lyrics for "River of Dreams" on From the Core (YouTube preview), the forthcoming debut solo album from Jeff Pevar (worked with Bridget St. John, Rickie Lee Jones, Phil Collins, Ray Charles, Crosby, Stills & Nash), due in the second week of Dec 2012. Pevar recorded 12 pieces during a 3 hour improvised session on acoustic guitar and mandocello about a mile underground in the Oregon Caves and those recordings are used on the PBS documentary "The Marble Halls of Oregon". Pevar has since taken these and overdubbed additional tracks for the album, to be released by the US National Park Service.Keyboardist Jean-Philippe Rykiel (ex-Crystal Machine, worked with Steve Hillage, Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita) released Inner Spaces (Musea, FGBG 4898) on 7 Dec 2012, a career retrospective. While the album is otherwise instrumental, it also includes a track sung by Anderson entitled "Close to You". Some of his vocals were recorded in the mid-1980s when Anderson was working with Vangelis. (Rykiel is thanked on The Friends of Mr. Cairo.) Anderson then added to those parts in late 2010. Tracks: "Sonia's House" (1:34), "Good Old Days" (3:44), "Wet Side Story" (4:16), "Close to You" (5:39), "Saguele" (2:00), "Blue World" (4:35), "H2O" (5:34), "Tao" (4:52), "Inner Spaces" (3:57), "Fairlight" (4:22), "African Future" (1:48), "Another Peaceful Fight" (5:27), "Wrong Try Again" (2:07), "Hawa et L'Hippopotame" (0:35), "Robot's Party" (1:22), "Close to You - Radio Edit" (3:57).
Anderson has also been sporadically working on a piece of music with Dave Kerzner (Sonic Elements, Lo-Fi Resistance, working with Billy Sherwood, Steven Wilson, Simon Collins, ex-Giraffe): see on the main page.
Anderson wrote and recorded with guitarist/producer Robin Crow an album's worth of material in sessions finishing mid-Jan 2001. Crow brought in Phil Keaggy to record acoustic guitar parts for either 4 or 6 songs (reports vary) on the project. On a 2004 DVD (Keaggy's "Philly Live"), Crow describes the project as "mostly myself and Jon Anderson... It's mostly just a simple album with acoustic guitar and his vocal." Neal Williams, Keaggy's archivist, wrote in Jan 2002: "I think they are just waiting on Robin and Jon to get it finished! I haven't heard the tracks Philly played on, but he is very pleased with the sessions." In Jul 2002, Anderson said that he hoped to eventually release this album, but that there was so much else that he wanted to work on and put out first. In Dec 2002, someone from robincrow.com reported that there was no release date for the project. Fast forward to now, and Crow proposed releasing one of the songs on the benefit album, Let It Glow, raising funds for faith-based charity Feed America First. Anderson agreed, but has re-done the vocals. The result is the 10-minute "Heaven Sent", featuring Crow, Anderson and Keaggy. A 4-minute edit can be heard on YouTube. Let It Glow is available from Crow's website and will be available through CDBaby. A digital release through iTunes may follow some time later.
Anderson is collaborating with actress Valentina Vargas, who is
recording her first album of 10-12 songs co-written by her with
others. Vargas guested on Anderson's 1994 album Deseo.
(worked with The Eurythmics, Donovan, The Grateful Dead)
is reportedly working on a new album with Anderson.
Uzlot is an album project that Anderson has been working
on with Brian Chatton (ex-Warriors,
ex-Jackson Heights), which has been many years in the
making. The music is reportedly composed by Chatton. Sessions took
place in the early nineties—with Stuart Hamm (bass), Chris Squire (bass), Alan
White (drums), Keith Heffner (ex-Jon
Anderson; keys) et al.—and 8 songs were
recorded. In a 1991 interview, Anderson also mentioned Wayne
Shorter as involved. Luis Perez (ex-Jon Anderson;
percussion) was also reportedly to be involved, but it is
unclear whether he actually was. A piece by Anderson and Chatton
entitled "Welcome Touch" is available on Chatton's MySpace
page, but it is unclear when it was recorded; it appears to
be additional to the original 8 tracks. Artist Ed Unitsky did a
video for "Welcome Touch", available
The Lost Tapes is 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, but also including some previously released but rare (out of print) material. A box set was released first with the individual albums then available separately (except for two CDs exclusive to the box set). Further archival releases in the series were intended to follow with the initial box having room for 20 albums in all, but only one additional release has since appeared. That was From Me to You (Voiceprint JAVPBX07CD), consisting of 3 tracks of birdsong interspersed with multi-layered vocals by Anderson; tracks (all written by Anderson): "Songbirding" (18:17), "Birdsonging" (11:13), "Singsonging" (11:28). The executive producer on From Me to You was Voiceprint's Rob Ayling, with artwork, as for all the releases, by Mark Wilkinson (worked with Marillion, Judas Priest, Rick Wakeman, Geoff Downes). Further Lost Tapes releases have yet to appear. However, Anderson has talked recently about doing further releases.
Except for From Me to You, the project, with Anderson's
co-operation and endorsement, is co-ordinated by (long-time friend
of this webpage) Daniel
in Yescography. The initial box has 7 albums, albums
1-6 and album 20, which makes 8 CDs (album 4 is 2CD). Album 1, Interview, is
exclusive to the box set, an interview of about 40 minutes in
length with Anderson conducted by Jon Kirkman. Album 2 is The Mother's Day
Concert, a 1996 live show; released separately as
JAVPBX02CD. Album 3 is Searching for the
Songs, a collection of pieces recorded in 1986
(JAVPBX03CD). Album 4 is Jon Anderson with
the New Life Band, Live in Sheffield
1980, plus further material from rehearsals (JAVPBX04CD). Album 5 is Watching the Flags
That Fly, a set of studio recordings from 1990
intended as work towards a second ABWH album (JAVPBX05CD). Album 6 is The Lost Tapes of
Opio, an instrumental album recorded in 1989 that
had a limited cassette-only release in 1996. Album 20 is
Binaural in Boston,
a binaural recording of a show from Anderson's 2005 US tour,
exclusive to the box set. The box set is not currently available;
the individual releases do not appear to be currently in print,
but can be found from some retailers.
Both live and studio material was 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, Earnshaw said he was in negotiation with them. The series may also include a re-release of the 1993 CD/DVD The Best of South America. In an interview in Exposé, Anderson described the content: "a lot of different stuff that was [...] bootlegged. Plus [...] a lot of other stuff that was just sitting around. I have so much unreleased music at home and I'm not sure why. It's just that there is no avenue for certain music." Anderson revealed 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."
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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."
Esoteric also re-released Change We Must in Nov
2013 with two bonus tracks, an interview with Anderson and
the single edit of the title track. Esoteric previously
re-released Anderson's solo album In the City of Angels
(eclec2246); it was remastered and included a bonus track
of the single edit of "Hold on to Love".
Olias of Sunhillow has been
re-released on SACD.
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As well as music, Anderson is working in other creative contexts, including painting, writing and clothing. Anderson has been negotiating for the release of a book of his paintings and lyrics. Examples of his painting can be viewed on his website. Previously on his website, Anderson said he was looking for a stained glass artist "to help create a large mural". He was already painted a large mural. On his Facebook page, he said:
last year  I started a 'mural' [...] it was amazing to create, I couldn't sing for five months..so I painted, and painted [...] [it] is 25 foot long [...] it's finished now......and I will be showing the full work soon
In a Jul
2009 interview in Czech, Anderson described doing a painting
while ill for a children's hospital. In a Mar
interview, he said, "I've been painting this mural – when I
got very sick - for a while I started painting a mural. I've
finished it – it's about twenty-five feet long. And it's just like
those Navi people [from "Avatar"]." He continued:
when I couldn’t sing for six
months, I did this mural which takes up twenty-five foot long
and three feet deep. And I’m going to donate it to the
Children’s Hospital at Stanford where I was going. But, I
will be doing some prints and there will be some cards that
people are going to be able to buy a few smaller versions of it,
because it’s a ginormous piece. And I do some glass work,
where I enjoy painting glass and various things like that.
Several short stories by Anderson are now available on his website (select "Writings"). In a Jun 2008 interview with Joe Benson, Anderson said he'd submitted a movie script to Steven Soderbergh (directed "9012Live").
Nov 2010 press release said that Anderson is "even venturing
into clothing design."
Jon Anderson was nominated in the Prog God category for the Progressive Music Awards 2012, but lost to Rick Wakeman.
Anderson has previously worked with Alan Simon (worked
with John Wetton, Geoff Downes, Alan Parsons) and a
short interview with Anderson and footage of his performing
appears on Simon's DVD "Excalibur:
Live A Brocéliande" (Pathé Distribution), released Nov 2012.
Anderson is working on a music video for an unidentified project with Carl B Richetti.
Dan and Tim made a short documentary following Anderson around on his 2008 tour with the School of Rock All-Stars, viewable on YouTube. Their film of the tour is billed as "coming soon". There has been further talk of a longer or another documentary (unclear whether this is the same or a different project), including filming at Anderson's 2 Aug 2009 solo show in Liverpool for a documentary involving interviews and live footage, which may be made available on Anderson's website.
Anderson is no longer managed by HK Management. His solo
appearances are booked through Ted
Kurland Associates. In Nov 2010, Anderson signed to PR and
branding company The
Burgett Group, following the signing of his daughter Deborah
Anderson a few months before, but that relationship appears
to have now ended.
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. On US radio in Jul 2008, Alan White talked of how Jon's wife Jane told him that Jon was "dead" for two minutes before being revived. 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:
In a Mar
2010 article, Anderson said:
Those guys [Howe/Squire/White]
like to be on the road, they're like journeymen. I'm not like
that. My body would never be able to do what they do. I can't do
four or five shows a week, or all this hotel travelling. My body
just wouldn't take it.
He made similar comments in another
interview that month:
Prior to being very ill a
couple of years ago I was [...] slowing down from the crazy rock
and roll world. [...] when you reach your sixties, you
can’t do the same things you did in your thirties and
forties. [...] I just decided that life’s going to change,
I’m going to change with it. I am going to get more invested in
working with different musicians around the world via the
internet. So I’ve started doing that quite a lot.
Getting sick is a very powerful experience. When you get close to death and mortality, it kind of starts ringing in your head, “are you going to be alive tomorrow?” And so you take every day as it comes. The incredible experience of being in a hospital for four or five months, you see what people go through in those circumstances and still do. [...] I had to let the past go. I had to just let go of the band. Let go of that energy that I’ve been working with for many, many years. Now I’m working on a new sort of energy – a very intense, musically speaking, but not the sort of crazy trying do deal with, you know, the business. You know music is pretty easy, but the business is crazy.
Asked in May 2010 whether any permanent damage had been done to his vocal chords, Anderson replied: "No, no. [...] But I have to be very wary and careful about over singing, which I sometimes tend to do. [...] I spend every day in the studio, singing".In a Jan 2011 interview, Anderson said of his health:
I'm great now. I had two
years... one year of really going through difficult times.
Thankfully I'm born again, and I'm stronger than ever. I have to
watch over myself. I'm not a thirty-year-old rock and roller, on
tour forever like Yes. I can't do that. I can tour, actually.
[...] I've been on tour with my solo show, and I sing probably
twice as much as I ever did with Yes. I do a show that's nearly
two hours, and I'm talking and singing all the time. [...] I
don't have to contend with, "Turn the bass down!". And the
constant problems of, why doesn't everyone get on?
In a May
2011 radio interview, Anderson said, "I feel like I'm
singing better than ever". In a Jul
2011 interview, Anderson said that he is feeling "really,
really healthy. I've never been happier or healthier in my life. I
just feel really good about everything I'm doing." A Feb
2012 interview had more on his past health problems and
After the close of [Yes]'s 35th
anniversary tour, Anderson was in a bad way. Though he had given
up smoking more than 20 years ago, he was coughing almost
"There were some great shows on that tour, but it was just getting too difficult."
"Can we do shorter tours? Can we do a semiacoustic album?" he remembers asking the rest of the band [...] The band seemed unwilling.
Anderson's health problems got worse: acute respiratory failure, a blocked bile duct requiring several surgeries, diverticulitis. "I nearly died three times in a year."
[...] Now Anderson tours with just a couple of guitars in the back seat and his wife beside him [...] "I haven't felt this good, this healthy, in a long time." [...]
"I'm not in a rock band anymore. I've been in that world, and it was wonderful, but I don't want to be there anymore. Life is a constantly changing thing."
A later Feb
2012 interview had this exchange:
Interviewer: In 2008, you had acute
respiratory failure. How is your health these days?
Anderson: I'm fine now, but I nearly died a
couple of times. It was a very tough time for me. Several things
were happening at the same time. I was having intestinal
problems. Doctors weren't sure what to do and I ended up having
seven or eight operations over a period of six months. But after
they were all finished, I felt like I had been to Jiffy Lube and
I had a much better engine.
Interviewer: Because of your health issues, Yes decided to tour with a replacement vocalist. Can a band still call itself Yes and not have Jon Anderson singing?
Anderson: No, it's never going
to be the same band. And they've just announced this week that
they had to get yet another singer after the guy who replaced me
became ill. I've told them that since I am healthy again that I
would to get back with them. I told them that I wanted to create
new music, but they don't want to do that. They just want to go
on the road and make money.
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.