Where are they now? - Jon Anderson
This page last updated: 24 Apr 2018
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Overview of the direction
of Anderson's career
Anderson's main focus at present is Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW). 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." In an interview for Inside MusiCast published in May 2016, Anderson talked about how Invention of Knowledge is "my next step into my next life, my next 20 years of music". In an early Sep 2016 interview, Anderson said: "I'm just chasing ideas that come my way – a dozen or more – it's endless. I just need a few doors open." Anderson said in a Nov 2013 interview, "I think I'm working with about twenty different people at the moment, with twenty different projects." An Oct 2015 interview with Anderson said:
Anderson has "a dozen projects that I want to get finished in the next 10 years," ranging from an album he started working on 22 years ago to another that began last year .
It also quoted Anderson as saying:
I think the days of just going into a studio and making an album are not what I want to do anymore[.] I'm more interested in the adventure of free-form ideas. I know it sounds crazy, but I like it when you're not quite sure what you're gonna do until you get on stage.
In an Aug
2016 interview, seemingly conducted in Jul or earlier,
Anderson said, "I'd rather just do, sort of, ideas now and again.
I think it's just a different way of thinking. We can release
music all the time. I've got this project coming up next year
 which encompasses that, the idea that music is more
important than how many sell, or even the charts [...] after a
while you've gone through that experience, all you want to do is
create music without having to worry if people are gonna hear it.
So what you do, you make music, you put it on the Internet and
eventually people hear it, if they're interested. None of this
going through a record company and hoping that they're going to
promote it well, and so on and so on." Could this be a reference
to the Zamran project (see below)?
In an Apr
2017 interview, Anderson said, "I'm just a workaholic when
it comes to music. I've got a dozen albums ready to go at the
moment, but they're not really finished. I've got ideas for
multiple albums going at the same time."
A recent Jun
2017 interview illustrated further some of the diversity of
Anderson's activities and the various ongoing projects. The
interviewer has raised Survival and Other Stories and how
it was made through multiple online collaboration, to which
Anderson said he has "5 hours of music", implying made in a
similar way. He continued, "I'm waiting to decide how to release
it [...] it's so much music and everything is so different. So,
it's a question of how to put it into the world and, er, I have
some ideas to do it with [...] computer art and also make it like
a game [...] I have so many stories that I have been writing [...]
4 musicals, if you like, which is music and songs and me talking
about the story. And they will come out at the same time. So it's
a large concept idea." We see here common repeated themes of a
large backlog of material, and of uncertainty how best to release
it and of releasing it in some unconventional digital way,
involving a game or, in other interviews, an app. Anderson has
talked about the same ideas with respect to other projects, like
the Zamran material. That material
often stems from these many online collaborations—as
have other projects like Survival and Other
Stories or, less directly, Invention
of Knowledge—but there is also reference here to 4
"musicals, if you like". Many of Anderson's projects do appear to
involve a story element, whether they're still music projects or
entail a theatrical presentation in some form.
Before the recent 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 the Oct 2015 interview, he said: "I never felt that I've left Yes. Emotionally I'm still in that Yes entity. When we were very, very young as a band I realized that Yes is this thing above us. It's something to do with the energy of who we are musically and not who's in the band. People say, 'What's it like not being in Yes?' and I feel like I'm still in Yes. I'm always thinking Yes music, and the best of what Yes has done is still alive and kicking. 'Heart of the Sunrise' and 'Awaken,' [...] it's still alive and going." Asked in another Apr 2016 interview how, if he had "a magic wand", he'd like to see Yes wrap up, Anderson replied: "Create some of the greatest music in the next 20 years. I'm still Yes, I'm still part of Yes in my heart and soul. I didn't leave the band, the band went off on their merry way when I wasn't very well. [giggles] [...] I've got it in my DNA". In a May 2016 interview, he referred to his own work, saying "Yes is not over yet". In a Jun 2016 interview, he said: "people ask me, "What do you think of Yes?" I, honestly, never left Yes. Because Yes has been my life. The band itself are doing what they want to do. I can't tell them what to do, because it's not my band. They've got the name, but I've got the state of mind about what true "Yes music" should sound like".
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 online channels. In an interview in Apr 2011, Anderson explained: "I put songs up there [on Facebook] [...] I don't think they will be released, er, commercially, but I put them up there because I like them". In the Feb 2013 interview, asked about his next studio album, he replies:
I'm not going to make any more albums. I'm just going to create new music, probably through apps. You've got your app and you've got a couple hours of music. That's what I've got, I've got so much music that I want to put it out there, but it has to be put out there in a certain form other than the norm because we're not living in the norm any more.As well as music, Anderson is also working in a number of other creative contexts, including writing and painting: see below. He's also talked about additional multimedia components complementing his music. For example, there's this from the Jun 2011 interview:
Everything I’m doing from this
moment on is being visualized, and that’s what I’m really into.
I think it’s the way to go, because in the old days we used to
have - what was it called - “album covers.” The idea is, you get
not so much album covers anymore, so why not create visual art
to go with your work. That’s what I’m thinking. More or less,
people want to “see” the music like they used to in the old days
with a big album cover. So, that’s what I’m working on at the
2011 interview had this: "I think people should be able to
have at their behest, like, four hours of music, entertainment,
visual knowledge, different pathways[.] That's what I'm trying to
do with modern technology, not just another song and another
song." An interview
from around May 2013 had this:
[I've been] thinking about creating an app that I could use to put all this music up I’ve been creating in the last ten years. And then I want to evolve that app, and create a situation where people can get new music every month, and then every six months they’ll get albums that they’ve never heard from me before, with Vangelis or by myself. The idea is that within the next five years, the app itself will have probably all the work I’ve ever done, and be up to 12 or 14 hours long.
the idea would be to “visualize” everything, so that not only are you listening to music, you’re actually seeing a visualization of it at the same time. In the ’60s you had those lights at gigs in San Francisco with bands like The Doors, they were just projections at first and then it evolved over the years from projection to these large scale giant TV monitors you have [...] now, and you’re getting incredible visuals using computer animation. I think that’s part of the experience of the 21st century, music as a visual experience as well.
In an Aug 2013 interview on Planet
Rock radio (UK), Anderson talked about his many Internet
collaborators, saying "I'm working with a dozen or so people on a
constant level". He then went on to say he and collaborators were
"working on an app [...] rather than an album" as a way of
"releasing music over a period of time", which would also be
accompanied by "visual art" and be "more of a game" that would
allow the user to "go into a world that's different every time."
In Sep 2013, Anderson posted the following call to Facebook:
I'm searching for an experienced and knowledgeable Theatrical Agent to help me realize my dreams. I’ve written Musicals, Children's Musicals, Dance Theatre and other works over the years and it's time for them to be seen and heard. I need a fellow dreamer who can be honest with me, and help guide me to the people who can help see these wonderful projects to fruition.
In a Mar
2014 interview, Anderson said, "I'm working on a couple of
really interesting theater pieces, one for a local [central
California] dance company."
Next album is in the works - we make nice progress. Very happy about it - Jon's voice is now back in top shape (at 72 !!) - We work on a super-monster-epic-track. - Hey- it's prog & we owe it to you - and us.He also responded to comments. Asked if the same performers would be on the album as the first, he replied, "RS: Most likely - with one or two new additions - can't give away anything yet". Queried about having more instrumental passages, he said, "absolutely possible - Jon himself suggested that too - and my singing too in between - (even if there was plenty of my voice as backing vocal on Invention - I personally envision a few more naked scaled down-to-earth sections too". In a Dec 2017 interview, he said, "On the recording side we started album number 2 with Anderson/Stolt". And, on his 2018 plans, "We're doing a beautiful limited edition of the 1st Anderson/Stolt album [see below] - plus working on the second album. [...] On top of my wish list is to take the Anderson/ Stolt music to the stage - with a grand visuals show too." However, in a Jan 2018 interview, Anderson said, "We are writing the next album now - expecting to release in 2020".
Yep - we're both excited - All going well - and much smoother/faster these days - very promising times ....
|Buy vinyl version (UK):
||Performing were Anderson (lead & backing
vocals, additional keys), Stolt (electric guitars, 6 and 12
string acoustic guitars, dobro, Portuguese guitar, lap
steel, keys, percussion, backing vocals), Tom
Brislin (worked with Yes, Renaissance, The Syn;
Hammond, piano, Rhodes, synths), Lalle Larsson (Karmakanic;
piano, synths), Jonas Reingold (The
Flower Kings, Karmakanic, worked with The Syn; bass),
Michael Stolt (The Flower Kings, ex-Desperados; bass,
bass pedals), Felix Lehrmann (The Flower Kings,
worked with Jennifer Rush; drums), Daniel
Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation, Transatlantic ex-The
Flower Kings; backing vocals), Nad Sylvan (Agents
of Mercy, worked with Steve Hackett; backing
vocals), Anja Obermayer (Chilli da
Mur; backing vocals), Maria Rerych (backing
vocals), Kristina Westas (backing vocals). Tracks (all
lyrics by Anderson):
We talked about next summer  doing some special event. It's very hard to know. The more I listen to the album [...] the more I think this would sound beautiful with a full orchestra and a choir and a lot of musicians and some incredible graphics [...] Because originally most of the songs were written for an idea for an installation that we are constantly re-inventing ourselvesIn a Jun 2016 interview, Anderson said, "we'll probably perform [it] next spring . We'll see how many people enjoy the album, and how many people want to see us perform in Sweden [...] Maybe we'll do some shows in America next summer. We don't know yet." And in a Jul 2016 interview: "We talked about [tour plans], but want to see the public reaction to Invention of Knowledge. Also, I would love to perform the album with a choir. We will see what develops." Asked about touring in an Aug 2016 interview (seemingly conducted in Jul or earlier), Anderson said, "That's up to, really, how it sells, of course. If it reaches a lot of people [...] we think, next summer , we'll probably do some concerts [...] we also have some new music we've been writing, so we might just re-record some new stuff, and then release that next summer along with the album again and then probably do a couple of shows, with some special shows in Sweden maybe." In the interview conducted Jun 2017, Anderson said, "I think if we get this new album together, we'll probably get a band together and go on the road. You hope that way, don't you? [...] We'll see what happens." That would be in 2018 or later.
over the past years I've been writing music, songs, stories etc ..and felt it was time to open the 'book' so to speak, the first of which is an album called, 'Invention of Knowledge'.The core material on the album dates back about 10 years. Some of the material was reported to be from work by Anderson and keyboardist Max Hunt (Awaken, Tantalus, Fish, ex-Fragile) in 2007 (more on those sessions below). On 13 May 2016, Hunt said on Facebook: "heard from Jon Anderson [...] today & it seems that the songs we wrote together directly after his terrible illness may be about to be finally released in some form on his new album 'Invention Of Knowledge' due out in late June." Hunt isn't, however, credited on the album, unless he is under a different name or this is material that Hunt worked on, but didn't contribute to as a composer. "Knowing", "Chase and Harmony" and "Know..." relate to demos by Anderson that he was developing with Tom Curiano in 2007/8 (Curiano described two MIDI piano/vocal demos Anderson sent him entitled "Knowing" and "Know Now"). Curiano described in May 2016 how "Knowing" came in four sections, which Anderson wanted joined together into one piece. It appears Anderson sent the demos to multiple people in parallel. The Inside MusiCast interview had more, with Anderson saying:
I worked with Roine Stolt [...] the songs I chose for the project were written with people from around the world..all via the internet [...] music whichever way it is created is from the heart and the soul...you don't need to be in the same room, as long as you are on the same planet, then all is good
I started sending him [Stolt] music. [...] I just let him go ahead and [...] develop the music and I sent him songs that I actually wrote maybe 10 years ago that I always felt were part of a large scale workCampbell and Spollen were both known to be working with Anderson around the 2006-9 period, but I had not previously heard of Kristian Ducharme, a keyboardist from San Luis Obispo, CA. Likewise, in a Jun 2016 interview with The Prog Report, Anderson explained:
these are songs I wrote 10 years ago with people, a guy from Liverpool, Neil Campbell [see below], a guy near Philadelphia [...] Dan Spollen, [see below] and another guy who lives nearby here, Kristian. I haven't seen them for, gosh, 8 years or so
Basically, I had a collection of songs that I always wanted to... make an album out of […] over the years, I've been working on so many songs, er, and certain ones that sort of stand together very well. Sent Roine the songs [...] the music was already there and the lyric, and the songs, melodies and everything. Then he realised very instant [sic] how to do all the music his way. Keep the song intact, but do the music his way, and that was the greeting of two musicians, because he would send me a demo of the idea and I just said, 'Perfect!' […] The idea of "Invention" when I first recorded that was with a string section. Very sort of John Adams, sort of rhythmic strings, cellos and it was music that was sent to me by a guy in Liverpool called Neil Campbell, who we became friends and I wrote a lot of music with him. But this was one of the pieces. So I sent Roine, me singing with a […] string section. So when he started creating the music, it was a totally different way of looking at the idea. And because I trusted his musical judgement, it worked for me right away. So that's what we did with almost all the songs: he got a demo of an idea, and then he rejuvenated the music within that [...] it was the music inbetween the songs that captivated me because it gave me the chance to add more songs, lyrical, vocalising sort of ideas. So, it was this wonderful, erm, to and fro of MP3s.The interview continued with Anderson explaining the lyrical themes of the album (and Stolt has said Anderson wrote all the lyrics):
It's a combination of learning ley lines. […] They surround this planet, they're interwoven into the planet, this [sic] crystal streams of energy [...] we live on a very amazing, mysterious world, and we don't know so much about it. We're very much growing up in a land of... materialism, and very confusing religious-ism. If you look and realise that we re-invent ourselves almost every day, because of what we hear, what we see, what we feel. So we are evolving constantly and we are eternal beings and these are the things that are coming into my lyrical world. Erm... “And You and I”, y'know, a very similar lyric, but different... as you get older, you sort of modify your approach to how to say deep and connected, this oneness of being, and so on. [...] it feels the right time to say it this kind of way, and I'm sure there are going to be a lot of people who actually get it.In a Jul 2016 interview, Anderson explained how he sent a set of songs to Stolt. Then: "But he decided to re-arrange the musical side of it, which was amazing that he would change the music completely on most of the songs. One or two of the songs are very similar to the originals. [...] He would send back, er, his version of the music on top of [...] the song and then he would extend it a little bit with more, sort of, progression of music. And I'd start singing on that as well. So we sort of dovetailed one song to another song with a little bit of music of me and Roine." The interviewer queried whether it was harder to make an album remotely and in his answer, Anderson explained how they worked together: "Roine would send me a piece [...] I'd listen to it and I would, right away, know what was working and what doesn't quite work. So I could email him back and say, 'Before you lock yourself into this, try adding another verse at the end of this piece, because it needs to be extended a little bit, and then add some very [...] sort of dreamy section, because it's just been a little bit heavy for the last 3 minutes, 4 minutes, now an extra verse at the end, an extra something there would be great.' And it was like he understood what I was saying, because within an hour he'd send it back exactly the way I was thinking." He also said that he didn't hear the whole album until Mar 2016. The lyrics, he also explained, are about how "we're re-inventing ourselves continually" and how "the inventions we created are [...] bouncing us into the next generation of inventions". He then talked about the Internet revolution, high-speed travel, space travel, fusion, virtual reality, holography, and flying cars/drones. In another Jun 2016 interview, Anderson explained the lyrics as being about:
The invention of our understanding of the world around us [...] The knowledge that we glean from living. We’re going through so many avenues of change, and through the internet, we’re seeing it second-by-second all over the world. So we are not unaware of the great beauty of this planet, and of the great misery of this planet. There are so many ways to move towards a better enlightened future for everyone on the planet. Because we are all one. Like a oneness of being, if you like. If we don’t understand that, we’re lost.Anderson repeated events for the Aug 2016 interview, describing the timeframe for the initial collaboration with Stolt: "Within the framework of a couple of weeks, we had done three or four songs". When the interviewer asked about the symphonic approach of the album, Anderson replied: "It was the first thing we spoke about. And I said to Roine that, no matter what, we'll just try this adventure in music and then go through the journey and we'll realise in about two or three months if it's working. So, don't worry about things not fitting together just yet. We'll find a way to connect them. And then he would start working on some music and then I would sing on his music and that would connect a piece to a piece to a piece. [...] one of the tracks was 32 minutes long and that's why we sort of edited that down, so that "Knowing", which is the second movement, we edited the end of that to the very end [making "Know..."] [...] it was actually all together at one point, but it was just too much for me to listen to, and I thought, y'know, let's just edit it". He also said, "I would receive the music, and because it was done over a year and a half period when I was touring [...] Roine was touring with Steve Hackett, so we'd have time to reflect on the music and go back to it a month or two later. And then I'd listen to the music and think, OK, it needs some orchestration. So I would write some orchestration and send it to Roine and then he would get his keyboard player to modify what I was playing and make it work with the sounds that he was creating. So we, sort of, hand in hand, did a lot of that orchestration, which I like doing." He also talked of recording his parts in his cottage at home.
I felt it was the right thing for me to do to not... not criticise, not ask him to do anything different. [...] in terms of lyrics and the guy who is actually singing the lyrics, I think it is important that whoever is singing the lyrics should believe in what he's singing. [...] if you're singing your own lyrics, it's something you can almost talk to the listener [...] It's something that comes from within. And I think that was the way to go with this album.In another Facebook post, 27 Apr, Anderson said: "'Invention of Knowledge' has been such a wonderful experience for me, singing new songs and working with Roine really helped me realize how much of my life is still spent on creating my true Love and understanding of Yes Music, it's in my D&A [sic], and Roine and the guys in the band have helped realize it soooo much". In the Inside Musicast interview, Anderson also said, "it's so full of Yes energy, Yes music energy."
we met two years ago on a progressive rock boat trip out of Miami [...]In a 26 Apr 2016 radio interview, Anderson talked about lyrics for the album: "we keep inventing... re-inventing ourselves constantly in order to find that happy medium between the divine energies that surround us and what we go through as human beings and the craziness that seems to push us from side to side, and in one of the songs I talk about, 'I will not surrender to the advertising, the lies of advertising, that shake this avenue of faith.'" He later talked about the project generally:
Last year , we started working on the music. I really knew what I wanted to do, and we just finished mixing it, and it is sounding very, very special.
We only met once two and one-half years ago, and we met just four days ago in L.A. to do a photo shoot. So we did everything through the Internet.
People who have heard it say, "This is so Yes."
It was something I was very interested in doing, a long-form work. And, er, it was music that I'd been developing over the last ten years with different people around the world, using the Internet [...] It has so much of a Yes energy to it [...] because he was a big fan, Roine, big fan of Yes, and he wanted it to sort of, er, I suppose, appeal to the people that love Yes.In his Jun 2016 interview, Stolt told his side of the story:
our record company boss suggested to me that I would work with Jon Anderson [...] At the time, it didn't materialise because at the time, Jon was sick [...] he'd just left Yes and he wasn't well [...] And then the record company boss told me again, 'Roine, you should work with Jon Anderson, because I think you're the perfect guy to work with Jon, and sort of realise his visions, etc. etc.' And I said, 'Yeah, yeah, that would be great. Y'know, I love Yes music and I love Jon's work, y'know.' And then it came to the point when we were playing [...] on a cruise ship [...] Someone suggested that we would play a few songs together with Jon. So we did [...] that was sort of the first connection, and the morning after, my record company boss talked to me and said, 'Roine, I think we should talk about this again [...] You should do something together with Jon [...]' So it just went from there and, er, he suggested to Jon that we do something and Jon started sending me music and I just went very, y'know, open-minded with the music, trying to put something together with his vocals [...] his lyrics and my music, etc. etc. [...] At the time, I think, there wasn't really a record contract signed, we were just very, y'know, casual [...] after a couple of weeks, of months, you could see that this could actually be something, this could be interesting music.The interviewer then asked him about how he combined nostalgic stylings from the past with newer styles on the album:
at an early stage I think Jon said something like, 'Hey, Roine, let's not try and make progressive rock. Let's just try make progressive music.' And I didn't really understand what he meant, but I think now that what he meant was let's not try to make music that sounds like it was made in the seventies, y'know, let's not make a Yes album like Close to the Edge [...] The Yes Album or something like that. So that's what he wanted to do and I just tried to keep an open mind [...] of course, you realise this is the guy who sang in Yes [...] Of course, you're going to [...] zoom into that zone of music [...] the way you remember him singing all these songs, y'know, on the classic albums. So [...] I wouldn't say it was difficult, but [...] I had to be aware all the time that, let's not try to make another Close to the Edge, because that wasn't the plan [...] Let's try to make an album that sounds both fresh and sounds like it's 2016 and an album that has some sort of, you know, semblance or an echo of whatever was done in the seventies when he was doing his greatest albums with Yes [...] [and] Olias of Sunhillow [...] that was my mindset for starting to work with the album. And then we were just, y'know, sending ideas back 'n forth [...] working bit by bit, part by part and seeing where the music would take usHere's Stolt in another Jun 2016 interview:
Stolt: Jon is working all the time [...] with lots of different people. Some of it comes to fruition [...] Others, no. So this was probably something he had lying around and had been working on for a while and wanted to try it out, to see what I could do with it. They were usually short bits and pieces, maybe a bit here and there that wasn’t fully developed. I don’t know the background of every little piece. But there was a time a couple years back when he was working with all kinds of people from America, Canada, Austria, Germany, Japan [...] But these were the things he sent to me, and I tried to remodel them. [...] That’s the way we worked at the beginning, sending files back and forth. I was sending my ideas back to him, and he’d respond to that. Maybe he’d be, “Okay, I want to rewrite some lyrics a bit here” or “Can we try an instrumental interlude there?” or “Could you do that chorus again?” or “Could you take away the drums here?” [...] We kept going for six or seven months, then we finally had something that we felt could be the album. So we contacted the record company and said, “We have something.”Stolt again explained that the lyrics were from Anderson: "he was the guy writing the lyrics and dividing the songs into subsections and all that. [...] [The] concept gradually developed in his mind, too. Because when I asked in the beginning about it, it wasn't clear to him, either. It developed over time". And in terms of the structure of the sub-movements: "that was something that came from Jon. I think in the very, very beginning it was just three pieces of music. The second song, which I think ended up as the "Knowing" section end-piece called "Know," it was all one big song. At one point we were working with it for a long time. And Jon said, "I think we should divide this piece of music into two pieces." It was funny, because I was thinking the same thing—but I didn't dare interrupt Jon's vision [...] Maybe it wouldn't be as strong if it were one thing, because it's just theme after theme coming up. [...] So to divide it like that, I think it works." He also explained that they had planned to have the album finished in 2015, but Stolt was offered the Steve Hackett tour, delaying things.
Interviewer: Then you were ready.
Stolt: We were kind of ready. Not really ready, because it was all made in the computer with sequencers and programmed drums, and I was laying all the instruments. But we felt it was a good time to bring in the musicians and go into to a real studio to play it.
we had a very detailed demo [...] the demo sounded almost like an album [laughs]! But I also wanted to keep it a bit open for the guys to create in the studio so that they could come up with ideas. And they did come up with ideas for the drums and the bass, and Tom with the keyboards.
Once we had the basic tracks with the drums, bass, keyboards, and my guitar, I sent it all over to Jon. [...] he could do his own mix on his own computer. He could come up with new vocal melodies or lyrics and stuff, because whatever we did in the studio was triggering him to have new ideas
In a perfect world we’d be in the same room, but given the conditions here, with the budget and everything, it all worked great!
The manager of the record company, Inside Out, got in touch with me a month after th[e cruise], and said, “Why don’t you work with Roine? We’ll finance the album.” And I said “OK.” [...] I just thought, “If we’re gonna work together, I’m very interested in long-form. I just don’t want to do a bunch of songs.” We agreed this was the way to go. I just started sending him some recordings that I had made [...] I thought they would be good to delve into. By the time I’d sent him the first bit, it was twenty minutes of music already.Anderson sung live with Transatlantic in early 2014, although first contact dates back further. A few years earlier, 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. As Cacciapo explained online in Mar 2016: "A few years ago Roine told me that he wanted to make music with his idol. He added instrumentation to a song we did in 2009 with Jon and I. Then Roine met Jon on a Prog cruise. Finally, Roine and Jon struck up a great friendship and ideas for music together." In a press release, Stolt said:
When Roine sent the music back to me, he really developed the musical concepts. It was very progressive music, or “progressive rock.” I was really excited and I sent him more and more over a period of a year, and we co-created over the internet. [...] He was receptive to any changes that I wanted.
we would work on it and then take a break – I would go on tour, or he would go on tour [...] then we’d come back to the project, fresh. We took our time, we wanted to make sure we did ourselves proud. The album has the energy of Yes.
[...] I’ve got the state of mind about what true “Yes music” should sound like, and to me, or any fan of Yes, they’re going to love this album, because it does have the right feeling.
It is not aiming at being new Yes music; just new music, modern and classical, rock and ethno, tribal and orchestrated, grooving and floating. Hopefully in the true spirit of “progressive” - leaning forward, surprising and also comforting with familiar run-arounds.To Prog, Stolt said: "I don't think I've ever worked with someone who's come up with so many ideas so quickly[.] I don't know many people who are as absorbed by music as I am, who think about music every hour of the day [...] You can't really get away from the Yes connection but it doesn't sound like that [...] there are certain sections in the music that don't sound like anything [Anderson]'s done before or anything I've done before." In a Mar 2016 interview, Anderson described it as "music for people who can relax, put their headphones on and take their time and listen to some music. And it's a musical journey".
We’ve been “inventing” as we go along - Jon is an endless source of new ideas. We’ve been bouncing ideas back and forth for months and as a result there are probably dozens of versions of these songs. It’s been a very interesting and rewarding time and the result is just insanely detailed.
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.Anderson was one of many acts on the 2014 Progressive Nation at Sea cruise, organised by InsideOut Music, Mike Portnoy (Sons of Apollo, Flying Colors, Transatlantic, ex-Dream Theater) and others. The cruise ended with a show by Transatlantic (Portnoy, Stolt, Neal Morse, 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", "Starship Trooper" (mass finale, including a keys solo from Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard, Asia Featuring John Payne) during "Würm"). Anderson had also done a 1 hour solo set on 18 Feb (including "Starship Trooper") and a 1 hour Q&A (with some music performed). Asked about releasing the set with Anderson, Portnoy said on Twitter in Sep 2017:
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. It’s really jumping into that progression of music. Not so much a “prog-rock” album but a progression of music. And it’s just one of those things. You think, “Wow, I’m glad I held onto that dream from 10 years ago about installations.”
[...] 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.
Sadly not 😔 We wanted to include the whole PN14 set on the #KaLIVEascope Blu-ray but JA didn't want us to release it..I thought it was greatA Thousand Hands
The New Year promises to be musically exciting as ever, I will be finishing an album I started 27 years ago ...funny how time flies..weeeeeeeee...
Why did it take so many years?, well there is a crazy funny story that I will tell in the liner notes of the album, the album will be called '1,000 Hands'...simply because of all the wonderful musicians and singers who performed on it...I hope to have it ready this Spring 'fingers crossed'..
Ponty Band Official page
(Former official page); Facebook;
The Anderson Ponty Band consisted of Jon Anderson (vocals) and Jean-Luc Ponty (ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra, ex-Frank Zappa, worked with Elton John, Chick Corea, Stéphane Grappelli; violin). The line-up was announced in Jul 2014 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, percussion), Jamie Dunlap (worked with Anderson and on "South Park"; guitar) and Wally Minko (worked with Ponty, Pink, Toni Braxton, Gregg Rolie; keys, piano). They ran a Kickstarter campaign to support a live show and its recording as a live DVD/album, plus other activity. There were subsequent studio recordings for overdubs to the live material, with new guitarist Jamie Glaser (worked with Ponty, Alan Hewitt, worked on "Seinfeld", "Dynasty") replacing all of Dunlap's parts on the album and DVD soundtrack. The band then toured.
Entitled Better Late Than Never (in reference to
delays in the project), the album shipped to Kickstarter
supporters in Sep 2015; general release followed 25 Sep. Tracks on
the digital Kickstarter version are:
the plan was to capture the raw energy of our live performance and to enhance it later. As we were listening to our live recording, Jon and I would come up with new ideas, Jon usually taking the lead for his songs and me for mine. I am sure glad we did — I love what we achieved this way.UK iTunes tracks:
All you hear on the album is their [Minko/Griffin/Browne] live performance except for one of Jon’s songs, ‘I See You Messenger.’ We didn’t like our live performance of that one, so Jon came up with new ideas and I did a totally new arrangement for it, so this is the only song which was recorded from scratch and why you see recording studios credited. As for me I kept all my live solos but I was not yet mastering all the songs in Aspen and even forgot to play in some sections, so I overdubbed a few parts. Jon’s singing in Aspen was excellent overall but he came up with additional ideas afterwards and overdubbed a few more vocal parts.
The band played a 17-date North American tour, Oct/Nov 2015. Keith Jones, who has also worked with Ponty previously, played bass on tour instead of Browne. 23 Oct set: "Intro", "One in the Rhythm of Hope", "A for Aria", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Listening With Me", "Time and a Word", "Infinite Mirage", "Soul Eternal", "Jig", "I See You Messenger", "New New World", "New Country", "Under Heaven's Door", "Wonderous Stories", "Long Distance Runaround", "Renaissance of the Sun", "State of Independence", "Enigmatic Ocean Parts I & II" (inc. drum solo), "And You and I"/"Eulogy for Oscar Romero", bass solo/"Roundabout"; encore: "Re-Remembering Molecules", "Soon". The 27 Oct set saw a slightly different order: "Intro", "One in the Rhythm of Hope", "A for Aria", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Listening With Me", "Time and a Word", "Infinite Mirage", "Soul Eternal", "Enigmatic Ocean Parts I & II" (inc. drum solo), "I See You Messenger", "New New World", "New Country", "Under Heaven's Door", "Wonderous Stories", "Long Distance Runaround", "Renaissance of the Sun", "State of Independence", "Jig", "And You and I"/keyboard/violin duet, bass solo/"Roundabout"; encore: "Re-Remembering Molecules", "Soon". The 13 Nov show sold 587 tickets, grossing $40,190. Referring to the band covering Yes songs, Anderson said in a May 2016 interview, "Why just copy Yes? We put the songs in a different form musically. We are not just going through the motions."
tour of North America Apr/May 2016 followed, with the same
line-up. The set was nearly the same as well. For example, the 28
Apr show was close to the 27 Oct show, with the notable addition
being to mix "Yours is No Disgrace" with "Re-Remembering
Molecules". That show was estimated to have an audience of about
700. The 1 May show grossed $18,695, with 567 tickets sold. Paul
Silveira (worked with Yes) was the tour manager.
As for the future, an Oct
2015 interview with Anderson had this:
the duo has also started writing some original material that may become part of the repertoire. And looking forward, there are desires to create both a stripped-down, acoustic presentation and full-scale orchestra and choir concert piece. "I think the days of just going into a studio and making an album are not what I want to do anymore," Anderson says. "I'm more interested in the adventure of free-form ideas. I know it sounds crazy, but I like it when you're not quite sure what you're gonna do until you get on stage."Nonetheless, there are no plans for more touring. Glaser said to the APB Facebook group in Aug 2016: "Though APB is over for now, we hope maybe one day to get back together. [...] I still check in though there is no "band" ,no management , nothing going on round here in APB land." In an interview for the Spring 2016 issue of Progression, Anderson said: "One thing we've considered is an orchestral project [...] we hope to do some performances with orchestras and see how it goes. We'd have to write a special-event piece of music apart from the songs we're already doing." In a Mar 2016 interview, Anderson said they had "written some songs this year  [...] we talk about working with orchestra idea that when we first talked on tour last year , we talked about it would be beautiful to to compose something specially for small chamber orchestra, with violin from Jean-Luc, and me singing." Likewise, in an Apr 2016 interview, he said, "We wrote about four songs late last year , and in January, we wrote a couple more." He also talked about the possibility of recording with an orchestra: "I think we'd like that. Jean-Luc comes from a very classical background, and I'm very interested in that world and that style of music, so who knows? It's going to be a very busy year  coming up. We'll see if we can find some time to record next year ." In a 26 Apr 2016 interview for the Daily Double radio show, Anderson said about Ponty that, "we're talking about working together next spring on a major project that I've been working on for a few years, about a violin player who finds a mystical violin." This must be the same as "Violin Stories", an earlier project with Bill Kirkpatrick (see below for details), but it is unclear how the material may be re-used or transformed with these new plans. In a Jun 2016 interview, Anderson said: "We talked about touring next year  [...] we're looking for a project to work together on. We want to tour Europe and the Far East with this ensemble [...] But it'll happen when it happens".
I talked about doing a few Zappa and a couple of Mahavishnu pieces, but Jean-Luc said, he’d rather do something new. So we’d write some new songs. We talked about maybe one day we should do a symphonic piece, with an orchestra, and he could revisit some of his Zappa and Mahavishnu parts, and I could implant some symphonic new songs or sort of Yes things as well. So we talked about that for next year , so we’ll see what life brings us.Ponty has guested on Anderson's A Thousand Hands.
I worked with a friend of mine [...] guitarist Michael Lewis[.] We’ve written two or three songs together, and he’s friends with Jean-Luc [Ponty]. I suggested we put some violin on one of our tracks, and Michael got Jean-Luc to add some to one of our songs. So now we have this connection, and last year  we talked about putting a band together with Jean-Luc, so I got in touch with some guys [...] all of a sudden we have a band. We’re just trying to figure out the step. We’ve written about five pieces of music together through the Internet. That’s what the Internet is for — it’s like a modern studio. We should be up and running for a tour next year .
M Lewis began working with Anderson in Jan 2007 and was working
extensively on projects for Anderson from early 2013. He described
in Mar 2014 "a large pile of music that has yet to be released. In
fact, we were on the verge of releasing another solo project for
Jon that I was heavily involved in when we made the decision to
[form the new band]." He explained more in an Aug 2014 press
While producing ‘Some People,’ a song I had co-written with Jon, I asked Jean-Luc Ponty to cut a violin track on it — which led to an offer from Jean-Luc’s management for Jon and me to do a U.S. and world tour with Jean-Luc. I first raised the concept of the band with Jon while hanging out at his hotel during one of his visits to Seattle in 2012. But he was reluctant to get back into a band situation at that time.
When YES was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year [i.e., Oct 2013], I again approached Jon about touring with me and my group of Nashville players who had played on the recordings I had produced for us. This time, Jon felt he was ready to tour with a band again. I arranged for Jon to meet Jean-Luc’s manager. Afterwards Jon told me ‘We are a band!’ And Inventioning was born.
M Lewis, who had been financing Inventioning, was surprised by Anderson's decision to part ways with him. Asked about his exclusion, he said on Facebook in Aug 2014, "We're all wondering. Not really sure... guess it didn't work out. Might ask Jon?" He later told me, "I was not surprised by the news of the Anderson-Ponty band because I knew they had ostracized me from the group and planned to continue on without me. I was surprised that Jon didn't try to work things out with me so that we could continue to work together. In all the years we had been working together, it's not like we had never had a disagreement before and we had overcome all our obstacles before. Why not now and what was the unforgivable sin? I don't have the answer to that question." Lewis announced plans to the continue Inventioning as a separate project to the Anderson Ponty Band, based on material co-written with Anderson that they had been developing and with the musical team who had been working on those songs. Inventioning said they planned to release an album, Affirmation; a prior digital single, "Walking Talking", has come out, with lead vocals by Anderson. A sample from the song can be heard on the band's ReverbNation page, along with a cover of Yes's "Onward" and further pieces. In total, the album was planned to include 4 songs with vocals from Anderson, one of which also has violin from Ponty. The new Inventioning line up was announced as M Lewis (guitar, keys), Bridgette Lewis (Michael's daughter, One Street Over; lead vocals, or backing vocals when Anderson has sung lead), Brian Fullen (worked with Shania Twain, Peter Frampton; drums) and Adam Nitti (worked with Shane Theriot, Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl, Scott Henderson; bass). A dedicated keyboardist was to be announced, while Alessandro Bertoni (worked with Virgil Donati, Derek Sherinian, Ric Fierabracci) was contributing keys to a few tracks. They have since also been working with Adam Wakeman. The band also plan live work. However, little has been heard lately about the project.
Further solo projects
A follow-up to Survival and Other Stories, to include a
new version of the digital release "Open" (see
below), had been completed, but awaits a label and any
release schedule is unknown. A sequel to "Open", called "Ever",
was expected digitally, but a report in Jan 2013 had that Anderson
was planning to re-record the piece in a different style to the
work to date. He said in a Feb
2013 interview that he is focusing on "finishing a lot of
work in the studio" in 2013, but also that he is "not going to
make any more albums", instead releasing new music "probably
In the Mar
2014 radio interview, Anderson also talked about writing a
piano concerto. In the Apr
2014 interview, he said more: "I'm actually working on a
piano concerto at the moment. For some crazy reason. I went to see
this concert about a month ago, Rachmaninoff's Third [...] the guy
that performed was so good, and I met him [Robert Thies] afterwards,
and I told him I was writing something and he said he'd like to
help. [...] So I'm working on presenting him with some music".
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
appears there were no changes from the first release.
Anderson has previously talked of Survival and Other Stories being only the first of
a series of albums made in the same way. In an Apr
2011 interview, Anderson said:
"Open" 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 has been expected, called "Ever". A new version of "Open" was expected to be included on a solo album (see above), while "Ever" was expected to be released digitally. It was thought that final work on the piece was occurring c. Nov 2012. In an interview published Nov 2012, Anderson said: "I'm trying to put together a long form piece; I've been working on it. I'm redesigning it today; I was working on it earlier." I would guess this is a reference to "Ever". However, a report in Jan 2013 had that Anderson is planning to re-record the piece in a different style. In a Feb 2013 interview, he said: "I'm halfway through my second piece". In an interview from around May 2013, Anderson said, "I'm actually working on a second one now [...] called "Ever" and I might have said there would be no orchestra this time, but I just put an orchestra on it this morning! It's kind of betwixt one and the other right now." Promo for the Anderson Ponty Band tour in Jul 2015 said that Anderson "continues to record new music" for "Ever".
Anderson said in a Sep 2011 article: "if people really like it
["Open"], I'll put it out with other songs next spring or
something like that[.] That's what I was thinking."
Publicist/backing vocalist Billy James described on Yesfans.com in
Oct 2011: "in the spring  release OPEN (with possibly a
different mix) with other tracks that fit the theme on CD." He
continued 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.
None of this has happened and no further news on "Ever" or a new
release for or version of "Open" has been heard more recently.
In a late Sep 2011 article, Anderson said he was "just finishing"
the piece "Open"; he was reportedly still mixing on 14 Oct. The
Sep 2011 interview with Anderson described the making of the
I haven't stopped creating Yes
music in my heart. One of the things I realised was that all the
solo albums that I ever did had nothing to do with Yes; I didn't
want to 'pretend' to be Yes, because I don't want to do that.
But now I feel like that it is
part of my DNA, and I can't stop wanting to create large-scale
pieces of music that obviously have a very strong connection
with Yes, because that's what I did with the band. I helped to
create these larger pieces of music.
Asked whether he means to form an alternative group, Anderson
replies, "It won't be a band. It's just a collection of musicians
that want to do it." He then goes on to describe what appears to
be the same project:
the orchestration on the new piece is done by a guy who lives five miles away [presumably this is a reference to Podell] and the guitar work is being done by a guy who lives in LA. Then the kids who live in New York and Philadelphia [part of the Paul Green School of Rock Music] they do drums, keyboards and 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 previously worked together on the ABWH tracks on Union, which were produced by Elias, who also co-wrote and played some keys, while Haun played most of the guitar parts and Sherwood contributed backing vocals. Haun and Sherwood are childhood friends and 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 has stalled. Around the end of 2013, Sherwood said on
Facebook: "I did five tracks with Jon A and then it stopped
suddenly. Holidays, live gigs whatever.. Anxious to see what
happens with those pieces. They were sounding pretty great.
Hopefully we'll pick up where we left off." On 8 Jan 2014, he
said, "The JA thing came to a screeching halt, but I remain
optimistic about the work we did. We shall see. Perhaps we'll even
pick it up where we left off. I did at least five things." On 16
Jan, he said:
re: the JA project [...] here are some working titles to chew on.... The Given Love, The Remembering Gate, Children Yet To Come, Songs of Solomon and some nine minute orchestral thing which I think was called The Given Love part 2...They were all sounding so good. Also some Anderson collabs with Mr. Haun were taking place. I'll ask around and see what's next. Quite a bit of work was done. Then came the holidays....M S
In an Aug 2017 Facebook post, Sherwood referred to 9 pieces that
"just languish in the ether".
In an interview
conducted Nov 2011, Anderson described working with Elias:
"Yesterday I was singing on a new piece with Jonathan Elias and
we're writing some songs." He said more in a May
2012 interview: "I was writing a couple of songs yesterday
with an old friend, Jonathan Elias. [...] we're actually writing a
project together." An interview with Anderson in the Jul 2012
issue of Prog magazine refers to a 20-minute piece with
Elias. In Sep 2012, Haun and Sherwood broke the news on Facebook
that they have both been working on the project as well, including
sessions from late Aug through to 6 Sep. Haun had these comments
on 8 Sep:
"We've been working on it a few months now [...] I didn't want to say anything till all the ducks got in line! Jon is absolutely on fire and there is other surprises popping up as well too......."
"Jon just spent 2 weeks with us in the studio and is gone now for 5 weeks to tour. So we have tons of material now from him to work with. It's mostly the JA-JE stuff right now (which I was blown away with!!!) but when he gets back we dive into the stuff he and I wrote."
Sherwood said this the same day:
It's really taking shape . it's wonderful. Jon sounds better than ever.. Jonathan Elias is an awesome talent. A friend and champion of Mr. Anderson for years.. [...] All keyboards will be played by Jonathan and myself, as well as orchestral arrangements. . We're making a very fine record. Truly a labor of love.
Haun (7 Sep) said Elias "has written some astounding orchestral
pieces for this [...] You are gonna get inspired music that is not
trying to be pop or mainstream (Which I felt Union was). It is
Classic. In the sense of Traditional YES and modern music and say,
Stravinsky!!!. To me, quality and real organic stuff!!!" Sherwood
(7 Sep) said: "It's actually a combination of JA, JH and JE
tracks. I'm working the edges.. In charge of color and extra
texture . Perhaps some vocal action again. Strings French horns
etc." And he also mentioned: "I'm in the middle of a 9 minute
french horn arrangement." On 1 Jan 2013, Sherwood said, "Right now
I'm knee deep in the new Jon Anderson solo project. (Keys and BG
In an 8
Nov 2012 interview, Anderson said:
Anderson: I'm [...] working with a good friend of mine, Jonathan Elias [...] he's a great composer. We've written some really beautiful songs together. We're just putting that album together as we speak, over the next couple of months. We’ve been working on it on and off, most of the year . Spending a week here a week there, because he's a very busy guy too. It sounds really, really good. I'm very excited about the album. It'll be my first studio album in maybe, gosh, 15 years I think.
Interviewer: What do you mean by that; “first studio album?”
Anderson: Well, where I go and work and record in a studio with other musicians and that kind of thing.
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 2011 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
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.
Anderson has made further pieces of music available through his website
and other online channels. These include a cover of Radiohead's
"Rain Down" with Dan Spollen on guitar.
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
In an Aug
2016 interview, seemingly conducted in Jul or earlier,
Anderson said, "The next big [project] will be next year 
[...] probably next summer, when I release the Zamran project
[...] an all-encompassing project, relating to 6 interrelated
projects that I've been writing over the last 10 years. [laughs]
Doesn't sound real, but it is." In a Jul 2016
interview, Anderson referred to the project, saying,
"Putting it together is part and parcel of all this music I've
been writing over the past 12 years now. And it's just a large
amount of musical ideas that all seem to interweave with each
other. And, er, work. And now it's a question of how do I put it
out there". The idea is the "music is everlasting, music is
forever and music is timeless. That's the whole concept. And it's
a lot to do with the Golden Mean". (I think Anderson means the Golden Ratio.)
In a Mar
2016 interview, Anderson said Conrad was working on
visualisations. He continued, "We've done rough ideas of being
able to create four, four to five hours of music [...] every time
you go to the app... application, you can go on different musical
journeys every time you go there. You don't have to just listen to
the album over and over. You can do that, but also you can listen
to all the al... all the music of all the albums at the same time
like a long journey, every time you go. [...] with visuals, and
computer animation, there's storytelling and, uh, information
about the world and the planet and how things work. [...] Once we
set up the project, it runs the rest of my life and I continue to
add music to it every year. It's an ongoing exploration of musical
ideas, erm... storytelling and information that comes through the
Internet from, yeah, things that I see and read about, I explain
in the project. So people who join the experience and be able to
learn as much as I'm learning every month [...] yesterday,
I was learning about the future of holography and it was incredible,
so I will put this into my project, and people then will spend
time listening to music, reading, looking at art and at the same
time learning what I'm learning".
It's been in the works for now 6 years, 7 years. Um, I'm actually up to 5 hours of music […] There's a guy, a friend of mine in Poland, who's doing some visualisation of it, er, computerisation and we're going to try to put it out as an app that people can go in there and, er, go on as many journeys as they like, mussical journeys, visual journeys, information journeys, like a library of information.In an Apr 2013 interview for YesFANZ, Anderson described the project thus:
its an ongoing procession of ideas and musical events [...] its getting clearer as to how it all shapes and how it comes and how it works. [...] It sort of very, very connected to the origination and development of the Earth Mother and how it works. It is sort of a very powerful idea and the more I worked on it the more I realised that it should be a large scale piece, and I have said this before, but I'm up to about 3 or 4 hours of music at the moment with songs. So I am just waiting until it all fits together like a big jigsaw puzzle and hopefully I will be able to visualise it as well, like an app will probably be the best way of putting the music out because it is a long stream of music over a period of time.The interviewer, Brian Draper, responded by saying, "So a similar approach to the piece you put out last year , Open?" To which Anderson's response was: "Yeah, its something like that but not quite (laughs)." While a Mar 2013 interview had this:
I shouldn’t have said anything about it until I’d finished it, but it’s going to take another couple of years to finish. It’s nearly four hours of music as we speak and I’m just trying to figure out how to present it, you know, because I just don’t want to put it out on the internet on iTunes; I want to put it out as a visual experience. I have a couple of very good, talented filmmakers and there’s music from North Africa, a lot of music from Asia, a lot of music from Europe and some music from South America, so it’s sort of a constant evolvement of music.And also:
There’s some incredible computer animation out there [...] I’m just very interested in working with that medium as well, with the music and songwriting and what the songs mean and how it locates and relates to the earth, and the earth as Mother.Around Oct/Nov 2012, a website for the project appeared using the name Zamran Experience and including a 3:05 sample from the album entitled "Sing to Me" (music credited to Anderson and Jamie Dunlap, design & animation by Chris Nogiec at SevenDragons.org). This describes the project as an "audio-visual on-line concept album by Jon Anderson. A journey filled with music, stories and visuals. A true library of information about worlds of Zamran". A Dec 2012 interview describes Anderson as having been working on the project for 6 years (an underestimate) and quotes Anderson saying it's "ongoing. I have written the story now five times. It is driving me crazy [...] It's not ready yet. It's like a cake. I have all the ingredients but I haven't put it in the oven yet". The interview also confirms Zamran is now a collaborative project:
I have written with a lot of musicians through the internet, including with a guy in Australia and someone from France and America. It is a slow process. It will happen when it happensAnderson also makes an enigmatic comparison to "Open", saying, "'Open' is a 22-minute work and it explains where I am going musically and how Zamram will enventually appear." Quite what this means is unclear. In a Feb 2013 Facebook post, Anderson said, "I'm writing music as usual, I think I might have Zamran nearly figured out.....songs galore, music everywhere..." On Facebook on 1 Dec 2014, Anderson said: "I keep myself busy working on the Zamran project".
Kelso and Baez held a series of exhibition of
Zamran and "Fiefdom of
Angels" (see below) art. There was also a
small exhibition of art by Kelso at Anderson's show with the
Contemporary Youth Orchestra (see above),
covered by a short
available here. In that video, Kelso says, "Jon has a lot of
work coming out from many different people, so... er... we've got
the website coming up soon, we have the music, new album".
Back in a Jul 2005 interview, asked what he was currently up to, Anderson replied, inter alia, "working with this dude 'Chris at his Polish Animation company and A Canny dude in Scotland, and Brad in South Bend .....and this guy John Banks who is perfect for my stories etc.........all these guys are very happening in the Art world..a lot of this work is based on the next 'OLIAS' saga..." (Anderson has also been working on other projects with John Banks; see below.) In a Dec 2005 interview for Delicious Agony, Anderson said he was working on "the next 40 minutes of new music, which is the beginning of maybe 6 episodes of the return of, not Olias, but the son of Olias, who's Zamran." In that interview, Anderson describes having written a story outline of about 20 pages. He again talked about working with animators on the project. Anderson put out a call on his website for animators: "Jon Anderson is seeking talented animators to help him with one of his upcoming solo projects, which he describes as a "return to Olias". If you are an animator capable of producing professional-quality 3D and graphics animation, this may be an opportunity to gain international exposure for your work." In the Jan 2005 Rockline interview, Anderson said he was working with six animators on a project, presumably the same one.
The relationship between 'The Big If' and The Songs of Zamran is complex. In a post to his MySpace page in Aug 2006, Anderson said: "All this new work has been evolving for many years under the title, "the Big If". Eventually it will be known as, "The songs of Zamran". (Son of Olias)." However, other comments have suggested that 'The Big If' or elements of it have a separate existence to The Songs of Zamran. Anderson has long talked about a sequel to Olias of Sunhillow, both in the sense that Anderson is playing all the instruments again but also in terms of continuing the story. In a Feb 2005 interview, Anderson said he's been working on the project for two months and that it will take "two or three years to finish it". In an Oct 2005 ProgRockRadio.com interview, Anderson said, "I'm starting next year  with the second installment of that idea, so for the next two or three years I'll be doing sort of the Return of Olias and the Songs of Zamran, which is the son of Olias and the next step in the evolvement of the planet." (In reported remarks to a fan in 2004, Anderson described the Olias project as actually a prequel to Olias of Sunhillow, although that seems incompatible with the repeated references to a son for Olias.) In his Aug 2004 MSN Chat, Anderson said: "I'm working on trying very hard to piece together this large jigsaw puzzle of music that I've been working on for the last 10 years. It will become, hopefully, a DVD or a series of DVDs. It's a lot of music, it will happen. It's Olias' Return." In a late 2003 interview in iO Pages, Anderson said the project would not be finished for three years (so, 2006). He has also said that the album is planned as the first in an ongoing series and, in Jun 2003, "If I do it right, this project will just continue, and it'll be the next ten years or so of my life"; "In my head I can see and understand everything about this project and how the stories should be told, but to put it all down in the proper order is a challenge."
Interviews going back some years refer to this/these project(s). In one from around Oct 2001, Anderson said: "I've been working on this piece of music for a year now [...] I did [...] "Olias of Sunhillow" where I performed all the music, and I'm getting back to that place again." Asked whether this would represent a sequel to Olias..., he continued, "Yeah, I'm trying to figure it out as we speak. It has a lot to do with the mysticism that surrounds us. We're going to go through a period now, because of the Lord of the Rings movie coming out. There will be a lot of interest in the mysticism of life and things like that." In a NftE interview seemingly done in 1999, Anderson said: "I've been working on [a] project for a couple of years and that's going to be the next one. It's going to take me another year to fulfill what it is and figure it out and then I think I want to record everything myself, like the Olias album. I want to go back to that point in time and reinvent that whole idea of a pure solo album and do it that way."
On tour in Mar 2010, Anderson said he is looking into playing the
whole of Olias at some
point in the future. In Apr 2010 on Facebook, Anderson said, "I
also met a guy called Stefan , he wants to perform 'Olias' with a
full orchestra and choir next year , amazing thoughts...I
met him, and he is very talented..." Stefan is a classical pianist
based in South America. At a show in Sep 2010, he hinted at "next
year , or maybe the year after " playing Olias with live a group of
musicians. In the Jun
interview, Anderson said: "I'm actually going to perform it
[Olias of Sunhillow] next
year  with an ensemble, a group of people [...] and an
orchestrator out of San Francisco. They want to do a production of
it and I think, "Go ahead. I'll get up and sing it." And ...
poof!" Stefan has now joined forces with this rock group led by Thomas Deis
Moorglade to work on live shows with Anderson. In May
2011 on Facebook, Anderson talked about what seems to be a
different possible collaboration along similar lines, working with
classical pianist Stephen
Prutsman (who performs a version of "Sound Chaser" in
recitals). He said:
Stephen Prutsman, quite amazing
work....we have become friends l, he came to our home a month
agao, and suggested OLIAS as a possible concert with Orchestra
and Choir and visuals.., I heard him play songs from Olias...I
was truly excited about the idea
In the Aug
2011 interview, Anderson said: "there's a group of musicians
out of Philadelphia who are working on Olias. And they sent me five of the songs
yesterday, and they're sounding so amazing. They want me to
perform them with them when they finish the whole album. So maybe
late next year  I'll be performing Olias for Christmas!" He then adds:
My dream next year  is to
perform “Awaken” in three different places. In London,
I’ll be doing it with those people who are doing Olias.
I talked about it with a friend of mine Thomas Diaz [Deis] who is one of the guys that's going to be helping with [a] company of people [...] It[']s just a question of finding a good promoter, producer to help put it together because it costs quite a bit of money to put on a show that it might just be a one-off experience and its just a question of putting it together and making a DVD, maybe in 3-D or something with the right visualisations and everything, it could be amazing, so it might take another year or so before it happens but why not?Deis (on electric sitar) was involved with a Jun 2013 live performance of the album, opened by Anderson remotely via Skype and using a recording of him for "To the Runner", at UMass Lowell: see complete show on YouTube.
Anderson has also launched Olias-themed jewellery, available here.
In an Oct
interview, Anderson said:
I have a violin concerto with
my friend, Bill. It's a wonderful story about a street violin
player who finds a big case in a dumpster when he was looking
for food. Inside it has a crystal violin and when he plays it,
it transports him to a different place and time in the world. I
have a few things I'm going to finish up in the next year
. One is an opera about The Alchemist. Wonderful book.
Over Christmas , the Mormon Tabernacle Choir [link] sang a song of mine from an album called "Change We Must," which I did with the London Chamber Orchestra. The guy that actually conducts and does the orchestration for the choir asked me if I would be interested in writing something, and it turns out I've had this piece of music for about 20 years and it's about singing to the children to come. Singing to the souls of the children in heaven who are gonna come and wake us up and make us realize how beautiful life truly is.In May 2010, Anderson explained that the collaboration did not pan out, but this project, called "For Children Yet to Come", re-emerged. The orchestral/choral piece, as "Children Yet to Come", was premiered live at Anderson's 24 May 2010 orchestral show (see above), consisting of 4 movements: "Children Yet to Come", "Earth Singing", "Breathing", "Love is All" (adagio, about Anderson's two recent near-death experiences and how his wife's love brought him through).
In a Feb 2013 interview, Anderson described how he "always wanted to play and sing in China" and again described the archaeological discovery of instruments, before concluding, "I went to China and I was going to work there, but the guy that was financing it smoked too much marijuana I think (laughs)." A mid-2012 interview with Anderson had this: "Also on tap: The debut of a new album in Asia this summer. "It's a coordination of songs and tranquil ideas that have been hovering around me for the last couple of years[.]""
and First Born
Anderson is planning to release "Chagall", his musical about the artist, possibly in a newly recorded version, as well as another piece he wrote around the same time, circa 1980, called "First Born" about Daphne Charters' (1910-1991) experiences with fairies, as described in her 1950s book "A True Fairy Tale". In 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:
I wrote the symphonic piece about 20 years ago. [...] it's all in demo form, it's keyboards and very ready to be performed by a full orchestra when the time comes. And then I wrote a piece for [...] a choir, and singing with an orchestra. That's something else that I was working on. And there are so many different kinds of orchestral pieces. Generally working on keyboards. [...] Even about two months ago, I started writing on a different level that I never tried before, and so I sort of broke through a barrier, musically speaking, in my mind anyway, and that will take another two, three years to evolve correctly, until that time comes when I can get together with the right people to be able to produce it correctly.He then gave the example of how the music on Invention of Knowledge was from songs written 10 years before.
Although the planned context isn't very clear, Anderson has
repeatedly talked of late of writing Yes-style music. In a May
2011 interview, he said: "now I'm writing a piece that's in
that sort of classic Yes style. It'll be ready for the summer and
I'll put it out there on the internet. [...] It should be done
next month when I come off this [solo] tour [which ends 25 May]."
He has also talked about re-visiting older Yes material. A Jul
2011 interview describes how:
Anderson has "over an hour's worth of music from Yes from the old days that I'm revising and looking at," primarily in acoustic versions. "I think modern musicians do that," Anderson explains. "Music is very flexible." A possible outlet for these new treatments of the songs, he adds, may be online and via special apps.A Mar 2010 interview says of Anderson, " has on the go are two operas and three musicals." Indeed, Anderson has referred to multiple different projects in interviews and it can be difficult working out how these all relate. Anderson said in an interview with German magazine Eclipsed in late Nov 2007 that he would be releasing 6 albums on his own label in 2007 that will be available in selected stores or for download ("Ich habe auf eigenem Label 2007 satte sechs Alben veröffentlicht, die man sich in ausgesuchten Laden kaufen oder downloaden kann."). He goes on to describe these as "Ethno-Music" influenced by different world cultures ("Eine Art Ethno-Musik, die von den unterschiedlichsten Ecken dieser Welt und ihren Kulturen geprägt ist."), but that it is not for classical Yes fans ("Es ist nichts, was dem klassischen Yes-Fan gefällt, dafür ist es zu wenig symphonisch."). I presume he is referring to his Opio label on Voiceprint and is including re-releases: Voiceprint re-released 3 Ships and had two more re-releases in early 2008 (see below) followed by a new release (possibly of archival nature) in From Me to You, part of The Lost Tapes collection, in the middle of 2008. However, what further albums Anderson meant is unknown. Further back is this quote from Record Collector (Jan 2002): "Anderson revealed that he has no fewer than five album projects on the back burner". A late 2003 interview with iO Pages suggested that his next solo album would be a piano and vocals album some time in 2004. Anderson was quoted in Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza in Oct 2001 as saying that he would be releasing a rock solo album in 2002. However, in Record Collector (Jan 2002), he talked of his "next" solo album as being recorded with the London Chamber Orchestra. I remain unclear on how all these relate to each other. The rock style reported by Gazeta Wyborcza suggests a different project to Record Collector's with the London Chamber Orchestra. However, the rock album of Gazeta Wyborcza could refer to the Anderson/Crow project. The piano and vocals album might possibly tie in with the London Chamber Orchestra album. Anderson's tendency to talk about projects at early stages of development should be kept in mind. A more recent report describes an unfinished Anderson project from some years back of material in a "rock and roll style", including the song "Sweet Religion", which was performed live in 1993 solo shows.
"The Big If" material reportedly has some sort of theme running through what has been written already and future planned material, although the precise nature of that remains unclear. In an interview published in Jan 2004, Anderson described the album as being an hour long song cycle. Anderson has also talked about writing more autobiographical lyrics, like "Tony and Me" about his brother, while an Oct 2003 interview reports a slightly different slant:
His next solo album, Anderson says, will consist of long musical pieces with lyrics based on his observations of and relationship with the natural world.Reports in more recent years haven't mentioned "The Big If", with the focus having moved to Zamran and various collaborations.
"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."
It's a very simple idea. Hillary gets to become President and [...] on the first night she sleeps in the White House. She has a visistation from all the children in Vietnam that were killed [...] all the children of the wars, and all the children of the [...] terrible, er, destruction of the Native American culture. And they come to visit her, and they sing for her, and dance for her. And she eventually becomes this, er, very evolved women within the space of one night, so she goes and starts speaking to the press the following day and they freak out [laughs] because she starts to change the world.Asked how far along the project is, Anderson explains:
I actually wrote with this guy, Jeremy, and it's been very hard to pin him down. We wrote probably three quarters of the work and then I couldn't find him, he never wrote back to me, he had another life going on [...] I actually sent a near-finished piece to a company in North Carolina because they were interested in working on the project. This was [...] when she was running for President against Obama. And, you know, you go through these things, and try these things out, and if it happens, great, and if it doesn't, hey, it wasn't meant to be. Or it will happen when it happens.It is unclear whether this is Jeremy Cubert who wrote a song used on Survival and Other Stories and The Living Tree with Wakeman. Anderson also referred to a Jeremy doing piano transcriptions for him: see here.
Anderson and Rick Wakeman were working together as a duo: see details here. Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin are now working on a joint project too. See details here.
With Andrew Rubin
Andrew Rubin (Facebook; worked with Tommy Shaw, Contemporary Youth Orchestra) is a young guitarist who met Anderson around 2009, aged 13. Anderson has been mentoring Rubin and suggested he wrote a guitar concerto, citing Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" as an example. The two co-composed just that and the piece for two guitars and orchestra, orchestrated by Rubin, was premiered live by Rubin (performing on one of Anderson's acoustic guitars) and the San Luis Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jim Riccardo, on 25 Oct 2015 as part of a larger programme by the orchestra including two pieces performed with folk-pop band Shadowlands, Aaron Copland's "Outdoor Overture" and Robert Schumann's "Symphony No. 1". (Anderson was not present, touring with the Anderson Ponty Band at the time.) A digital release through Bandcamp followed 1 Oct 2016. Tracks for Guitar Concerto by Andrew Rubin and Jon Anderson are:
With Fritz Heede and John S Banks
Anderson was collaborating with composer Fritz Heede (MySpace page) and artist John S Banks. Banks has previously worked with Anderson, including visuals for his solo touring, and those visuals appear on a new DVD from Banks and Heede: "Ritual Path" (Artek Images, distr. Koch Entertainment). The DVD, a sequel to their "Illuminated Manuscripts" DVD, is about an hour long. It contains 10 tracks of images to music and an additional 14 environmental loops, all in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. Music is by Heede; Anderson wrote lyrics for and sings on "Come By (Waterfall Ascent/Descent)" (dur. 4:08), used for the short film "Ascent/Descent". An accompanying 14-track soundtrack CD (Aeon of Horus Music/Magical Eye Records) is out. The other vocalists on the project are Heede's wife Nijole Sparkis (singing and co-writing plus loops, on 3 pieces), kaRIN (Collide) and Molly Pasutti (worked with Spock's Beard).
Heede and Anderson co-wrote an album called Dream Dancing (previously going under the working title of Trance-scendent Dance), with Heede (guitars, piano, sitar, electronics, vocals), Anderson (layered vocal rhythms), Gilbert Levy (ethnic percussion), Suzanne Teng (native flutes), Terry Glenny (violin), Sparkis (choral background singing, vocal arrangements, engineering and possibly some songwriting), Pasutti (choral background singing). Heede described the album to me as "The album will not be traditional trance music (rave) ... it is much more sophisticated. It is groove-based so it will have a natural uninterrupted flow. The songs develop over long arches with Jon sing[ing] a dozen or so layers of pulsing rhythmic chants." The album, with at least four tracks, was announced for 2009 on Voiceprint, billed as by 'Jon Anderson with music by Fritz Heede', with an accompanying DVD in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound also planned. This is presumably the project(s) Anderson first mentioned in 2004: in his MSN Chat of Aug that year, he talked about 'trance' music, but seemingly in the context of a Yes project (see under Yes news), while in an interview from circa May 2004, he said:
I was talking to a guy an hour ago about a project I've had in my head all summer [...] I'm getting into trance music [...] Not rave but trance. [...] it's going to be very exotic and it's going to be transforming and transcendental. [...] I heard about this great music from India that lasts seven days. I love that, that it would last so long. And I start thinking, that's what I should do!Heede, Anderson and an engineer were expected to be mixing the album in Jan 2008. Previously, in Aug 2007, Heede wrote: "Last may I finished mixing my version of the tra[n]ce album. Jon and I then brought in Jamie Dunlap [worked on "South Park"; link] to work on remix versions with more young "hip" dance grooves. Jamie has done some very exciting re[n]ditions". ASCAP and BMI have registrations for four pieces entitled "Trance Singing 1" to "Trance Singing 4" by Anderson/Heede, which may have been from this project, possibly suggesting it was close to release. However, in Apr 2010, Heede said that the finished album was now being re-structured as a sequel to Olias of Sunhillow. How this relates to other work on the Zamran album is unclear, but see above for details.
A Jun 2011 interview had this exchange:
Anderson: Me and my son, Damion, we’re writing
songs together as we speak.
Interviewer: [...] Will the writing that you’re doing with Damion be on the next two albums [following Survival & Other Stories].
Anderson: More than likely, yeah. I think so.
And in a Sep
2011 interview, Anderson says, "I'm working with my son on a
couple of new songs."
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
I was lucky that in November last year
 I put an advert on my website, 'Keyboard players
wanted.' I finished up with 15 really good keyboard players
and am now working with somebody in Switzerland, somebody in
Italy, somebody in France, somebody in Canada, 3 or 4 guys in
the USA, couple of great guys in England. One guy called Neil
Campbell [link; MySpace page] and
we're writing a large piece of music [...] He's a beautiful
musician and we are working on something all about inventions.
It's very cosmic music. He's actually playing in
I write music constantly. I opened the door on my website once [...] six, seven years ago. I got in touch with a couple of dozen players and I’m still working with some of them on different projects: musicals, music for children, some symphonic work.Likewise, in the Jul 2015 Prog interview, he says, "Right now I'm diving into different internet projects like crazy. [...] I'm making music with people in Italy, Poland, Romania, France, Holland. I have this constant flow of working relationships." In an Apr 2016 interview for the Daily Double radio show, Anderson likewise said, "I work with people all over the world on the Internet."
When the album [Survival & Other Stories] came together […] the idea was to use all these songs that I've been writing [through online collaborations]. And it's like a dozen of a hundred songs that I've been writing over that first sort of 6 year time period […] I was actually working on a piece this morning from a guy that I met in Canada, who actually lives in London, and he's a reggae master. [laughs] Keeps sending me these wonderful reggae tracks, and I sing them, and we've got a collection of 7 or 8 songs now over the past three years. And one day they'll come out. I don't know how or when […] I know that it's inspiring to me to sing about so many different things and with so many different combinations of musicIn many cases, these collaborations have seemed to involve two aspects: the collaborator doing orchestrations/arrangements of demos by Anderson (and, at least in some cases, Anderson appears to be getting different people to arrange the same material); and Anderson contributing lyrics and vocals to music by the collaborator. One example of this is keyboardist Tommy Zvoncheck (MySpace page; ex-Blue Öyster Cult, ex-Public Image Limited). He has re-issued his independent release ZKG with the addition of two bonus tracks (also available digitally on Amazon.com). One of these, "Rain in Florida", is sung and has lyrics by Anderson, a commentary on the Florida ballot controversy in the 2000 US Presidential election. The song can be heard on Zvoncheck's MySpace videos page. Zvoncheck explained: "Our arrangement was for me to orchestrate and arrange a 3 movement orchestral piece for him. In return, he would collaborate with me on a song and said I could do anything I want with it. I completed the task to Jon's satisfaction."
[Anderson] told me that he had
hundreds of unfinished musical ideas that he wanted a
collaborator to help fully realize. [...] the music came, two
CDs full. And later on, MP3s in
emails. The music was meandering and nebulous
like a cloud forming, but there were lovely melodies and
intriguing chords lurking in there. Much of it was
played on layered-up keyboards.. I had to
listen and listen and listen to pick out the individual notes
and melodies. Music that Jon sent me later included
harp and even vocals. [...]
The final versions include quite a lot of my ideas. [...] I had complete musical freedom to arrange, orchestrate, develop, et cetera. I gave them voice, structure, and harmonic development. But their heart and soul is still Jon's. [...] The majority of the pieces I created using Cakewalk Sonar and Synful Orchestra. A couple of the pieces contain live or electronic percussion [...] and one guitar concerto, on which I played acoustic guitar. [...]
Jon has told me about many ideas he had for this music: films, videogames, webcasts, even a ballet! Jon's a man of many ever--changing ideas. So far I'm not sure what the future of this music is, but [...] I look forward to amazing things.
In autumn 2007, Alimar
did orchestrations of two of Anderson's "musical drafts" for what
as "a large project [Anderson] was working on". They were
then working on a broader collaboration in which Anderson plans to
add lyrics and vocals to Alimar's orchestral-style work, including
Alimar's piece "Eclipse".
uploaded a piece
called "Tribal Love", based on his earlier piece "Tribal
Wave" to which Anderson has added vocals. In Nov 2009, he said:
Anderson has been writing with John Young (ex-Asia, ex-John Wetton, ex-Fish). Young said in his MySpace blog in Aug 2007:
Jon Anderson and myself are writing together albeit a somewhat long distance affair as Jon has been in Hawaii whilst I soldier on in darkest Bucks. (Isn't e-mail a wunnerful thing).The first fruit of their collaboration is "Sooner", which Anderson sang on his last European solo tour still a work in progress. Young blogged in Nov 2007 that "hopefully other tracks will gradually see the light of day over the coming months." Anderson wrote the lyrics to "Sooner", while the music was a collaboration. Their current studio version of the song can be heard as a streaming audio on Young's MySpace page.
The results are most enjoyable and I hope that it won't be too long before we can share them with the outside world.
Another collaborator is Dan Spollen. He said in
May 2009 that, "For the past few months I've been creating music
with Jon. We have several tracks, most of which are works in
progress and slowly evolving." There is a piece with Anderson
entitled "Vocal EXP" on his MySpace page
and Spollen said, "Jon has some additional melodic layers for this
that will be added eventually." A Yes medley on acoustic guitar by
Spollen was on Anderson's Facebook page (as "Going for the One"
medley). In Oct 2009, he said, "Jon and I are still working on
tunes- one is really coming along well...can't wait to release
it." Further samples
became available and a piece with Spollen appeared on Survival and Other
Stories. More now apepars on Invention of
Knowledge: see above for details.
has also been working with Anderson on orchestrations, while
Anderson guested on two Yes covers by Fraley's band, Wave Mechanics Union, on
their album Further to Fly.
Members of Wave Mechanics Union have produced a big band track for
Anderson called "Sweet Jazz". The piece was written "many years
ago" by Anderson, and has been arranged by Fraley and performed by
Wave Mechanics Union with vocals from Anderson. The recording is
for release on an unspecified future Anderson solo album. In Nov
2009, Fraley said on Yesfans.com:
I've finished one more
arrangement for Jon since this one (not jazz) and discussed at
least two other possible ideas with him. As for when / where
this jazz tune will be out, I still don't know. Jon seems to
take things one day a time.
In the May
2016 Inside MusiCast interview, the interviewer mentions one
of the Yes covers on Further to Fly and Anderson replied,
"We're doing variations on many Yes songs as well, acoustic
versions of Yes songs, and this is all part of the collection of
music that eventually will come out." (Although I'm not
entirely sure Anderson here is only referring to work with Fraley
or more generally with a range of collaborators.)
Another collaborator is Rich
Goodhart (MySpace; Facebook page); to
Yesfans.com in early Oct 2009, he said:
All I'll tell you is that I'm
collaborating with Jon on some material... some of which may be
a part of Zamran... and I've heard things that are intensely
deep and inspired... lyrically, melodically, compositionally,
spiritually. So much so that I am knocked out by both the power
of his voice still, as well as the depth that he can tap into
when the elements align.
In Nov 2009, he added: "As one of the many collaborators, I have
spoken with Jon directly about his plans, visions, concerns and
uncertainty around releasing some of this vast accumulation of
music. As with most of us in this business at this time it is
nearly impossible to be much sure about anything in regard to
releasing music and how best to do it." Goodhart and Anderson's
"Spirit Grounding" went up on Anderson's Facebook page in Jan
2010. Goodhart's 2CD solo release Shaman Mirror Medicine Tree, available from his website,
included a piece with Anderson entitled "Good Love Coming".
Goodhart said of the track: "When I sent him the track I suggested
the idea of a "We Have Heaven" type of multi-voice chant, and as
far as I am concerned he delivered wonderfully." He's also said:
"It's another acoustic world music instrumentation backing, with
the primary instruments being the west African dousongoni and the
Brazilian berimbau, plus hand drums and percussion." The song also
includes a live cover (with Anderson) of "Moon Ra" from Olias of Sunhillow. Daevid
Allen (Gong; glissando guitar on several tracks),
John Ragusa (flute, additional vocals), Jim Ballard and David
Macejka also guests on the album. Goodhart provides vocals and
performs various instruments, including bouzouki, and did the
| Another collaborator is Dennis Haklar (MySpace),
who was working with Anderson for a few years. His Lizard's
Tale, released 2012, featured Haklar (guitars,
synth) joined by Anderson (vocals), Larry Coryell (worked
with Bill Bruford's Earthworks; electric &
acoustic guitars), Mark
Egan (worked with Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell,
Sting; fretted & fretless bass) and Thierry
Arpino (worked with Jean-Luc Ponty; drums). In
a press release, Haklar described how, "A few years ago I
began to collaborate over the internet with Jon Anderson on
a large-scale work. Charka Music [presumably this
should be Chakra Music], very involved." This
appears to be another Anderson project.
At least one further collaborator is known to be working with
Anderson in secret, under a contractual agreement that prevents
any discussion of the project. There are multiple further
collaborators as yet unknown to the public.
Stephen Layton & with Mark Trueack
Anderson was working with keyboardist Stephen Layton (ex-The Expression, ex-Like Oxygen) on various projects for several years. Their song "Love and Understanding" appeared on Survival and Other Stories (see above). A remake of "Time and a Word" with Layton, Anderson and Mark Trueack (ex-Unitopia, worked with The Samurai of Prog) on vocals and Franky Valentyn on keys was 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 uploaded. Layton and Anderson continued to work on further songs together, and Layton had a significant role in Anderson's planned Zamran project (see above).
Stephen Layton and Mark "Truey"
Trueack first made contact in 2009 and planned a project
called The Hope to feature multiple guest
musicians around the world, which led to Anderson
contributing backing vocals to a song called "The Water".
Meanwhile, Trueack's band Unitopia came
to a halt, with Trueack saying he and keyboardist Sean
Timms (Southern Empire)
agreed to split a set of Unitopia demos for separate
projects, although Timms has said the material was used
without his permission in
a Jan 2015 response. (Timms and Trueack have since
re-united.) This led to Trueack and further Unitopia
members recording Fall in Love with the World
(InsideOut) as the United
Progressive Fraternity (Facebook),
which also came to include a version of "The Water". The
album is out on CD and vinyl; tracks:
Performing on the album are Trueack (vocals, production
ideas), Matt Williams (ex-Unitopia; guitars,
bass, vocals, production), Guy Manning (ex-The
Tangent, Damanek; keys, guitars, vocals), David
Hopgood (ex-Unitopia; drums,
vocals, production ideas), Tim Irrgang (ex-Unitopia;
percussion), Marek Arnold (Toxic
Smile, Seven Steps to the Green Door, Stern Combo
Meissen, Damanek, worked with Manning; sax,
flutes, piano, keys), Dan Mash (Damanek; bass,
vocals). Guests include Anderson (backing vocals), Steve
ex-Genesis, ex-GTR; guitars) and Claire Vezina (worked
with Mystery; French
& English vocals). Produced by Williams/Trueack;
concept by Trueack; additional arrangements by
Manning/Layton. Artwork is by Ed Unitsky
(worked with The Tangent, The Flower Kings). Details
|Buy from Amazon (UK):
||Buy from Amazon (US):
The Hope was initially
expected in 2015 with Stephen Layton as co-director on the project
and leading on the production. The album was planned to explore
"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. Reports gave the following tracks:
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.
In the Jul 2015 Prog interview, Anderson described writing film music with Sean McKee, who has also been working with Anderson Ponty Band (see above). As a filmmaker, McKee has worked with U2, Rage Against the Machine, Slash, Chickenfoot and Gail Zappa, while as a musician, he has worked with Chip Z'Nuff and Ike Willis. Anderson said: "It's a very surreal concept film about the truisms of magic. Sean's a visual artist as well as a music-maker." A website seemingly from 2013 says, "McKee is currently composing his most ambitious work to date, working with Jon Anderson [...] to create an exotic concept album filled with epic length songs." In late Jan 2016, McKee explained online, "Jon and I have been working on an exotic, longer form concept album made up of epic length songs that is nearing completion". A Jan 2016 release said Anderson and McKee were working on "a number of projects", including music for the half-minute title sequence of PBS's Thailand Kitchen of the World.
Anderson and McKee also worked with music software company Lumit Audio, collaborating with the company's brand ambassador, Serbian EDM producer Milojko Jaric (or Miloyko "Micha" Jarich; performs as Molok), to create a song in a pre-release version of their new DAW software in the first weekend of Jan 2016. Anderson and McKee performed the song, "You are the Computer", live at 2016 NAMM at Lumit Audio's booth on 21 Jan.
In a Jun 2012 interview, Anderson said, "I just finished doing a project with a friend in Los Angeles and now we're going to get into the production. We've written about a dozen new songs and it[']s a very exciting time." It is unclear which collaborator this is, however. An interview in the Jul 2012 issue of Prog magazine refers to several otherwise unidentified projects:
In a Jun
2011 interview, Anderson had said, "I'm working with a sort
of African/North African band of musicians that are very
talented." In this 2013
interview (approximately Aug), Anderson said, "Working with
music from North Africa, a group of people in San Francisco that
play North African music, I've been writing songs with them." The
2016 Inside MusiCast interview has more about the former:
I know that it's inspiring to me to sing [...] with so many different combinations of music, even Middle Eastern music. I'm working with a guy […] in San Francisco. And we've written quite a lot of music in the last few years. And I just bumped into a vocal person here who works as a percussionist in a sort of ensemble out of the local university here at Cal Poly, and they have a 20 piece – 12 singers and 12 musicians, doing Middle Eastern music, so I'm going to get together with them and probably produce a project with them for next spring next year .In a Jun 2016 interview, Anderson said, "I'm working with a Middle Eastern ensemble here at the local university [...] because I've been writing Middle Eastern music for a year with a friend from San Francisco." He later added, "I think we're going to perform it next summer , locally, but the record might come out the year after ." And in a Jul 2016 interview: "I have been working here in California with a group of musicians who are doing middle eastern music, and I've been writing songs in that genre with a friend of mine from San Francisco." In a Jul 2016 interview, when asked about plans after ARW, Anderson said, "a couple of years ago[,] I started writing with a friend who lives in San Francisco [...] He loves Middle Eastern music. So I wrote about 5 or 6 ideas with him. And I've no idea where I was going with them [...] [T]he kind of Middle Eastern music that is around, it's very spiritual, very, very connected to Mother Earth". He then referenced the work of the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Anderson continued: "About a month ago, somebody sent me a link and that's an actual Middle Eastern ensemble here in our local polytechnic university, here at Cal Poly [...] there's about 20 of them, there's about 12 singers and, er, about 8 musicians [...] So I got in touch with them [...] they're excited and we'll probably do it next year  some time and I'm going to meet them next week for the second time and just go through the songs, and how it's going to be presented visually".
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 was 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)
was 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. Eduardo del Signore played on one
piece. 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
on Facebook. On ProgressiveEars.com in Jan 2017, Chatton
said, "The Uzlot project is still unfinished. We have 7 songs in
the pipeline and as soon as Jon has the time, it will be mastered
The Lost Tapes was an 8CD box set and a planned, ongoing series of releases, largely consisting of previously unreleased (live and studio) recordings from across Anderson's solo career, 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 about doing further releases.
Except for From Me to You, the project, with Anderson's
co-operation and endorsement, was co-ordinated by (long-time
friend of this webpage) Daniel Earnshaw.
in Yescography. The initial box had 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 are not currently in print.
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."
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
"Top of the World" from Anderson's solo album In the City of
Angels is included on the 16-track Steve Lukather (Toto) compilation Session Works 2,
released Nov 2017 in Japan.
For some years now, Anderson has been working on an autobiography. A Sep 2017 interview revealed that "the first part of which, tracing his story to 1980, is all but ready for publication now, with more to follow in two or three years."
Several short stories by Anderson are now available on his website
(select "Writings"). One, "When Toola Forgot Her Song", is for
children, written by Jon & his wife Jane, with illustrations
Carlos Baez (who has worked
with Anderson on Zamran), inspired by ceramics by
Jane. Baez has said there may be a physical release at some point.
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.
2010 press release said that Anderson is "even venturing
into clothing design." His website is selling a pendant
in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Olias.
Anderson has, for some years, been writing his memoirs, saying he
was "halfway through" in this Oct 2015
interview and describing contact with publishers. Anderson
through his website is starting a FanZoom section,
a scrapbook of fans' memories and pictures of Anderson and Yes.
Submissions are welcomed.
Anderson was working on a music video for an unidentified project with Carl B Richetti.
Anderson had serious health problems in 2008. On 13 May of that year, he suffered a very serious asthma attack leading to acute respiratory failure and was hospitalised in intensive care for some days. Anderson has been suffering from asthma for some time, with problems dating back to at least 2004. Later that year, around Sep 2008, pancreatitis and related problems led to multiple operations. In a Jul 2009 interview, Anderson said he had 6 operations. Anderson gave this account in an Aug 2011 interview:
A lot had to do with sinus problems. You travel and when you're in hotels you get a lot of very musty sort of air-conditioning systems in some of these old hotels. It gets to you. But I had a great doctor at UCLA last year. He cleared everything out. He said it would change my life and it did. I can see better, hear better and breathe better, and actually sing a little better.He said more in a Nov 2016 interview, describing a 2015 sinus operation that "really changed everything. I can breathe better and sing a lot clearer in my head. I think I have more stamina. My doctor at UCLA said I was going to have a different life from now on." By the time of ARW touring, Wakeman and Rabin were describing him as "fit and well" and "full of energy" respectively in this Aug 2017 interview.
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.