Where are they now? - Steve Howe
This page last updated: 26 Apr 2015
On this page: Solo projects - Guest appearances
On other pages: Yes news - Asia
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Yes & Asia
Howe is in Yes—see details on main news page. He amicably left Asia in early 2013 after several years with the reunion line-up in order to focus on other activities, saying, "Myself and the band wish to thank their fans for the enthusiasm shown during the original members' reunion. I will continue with Yes, and with my trio and solo guitar work. I wish my friends continued success." On his website, he said, "I have left Asia to concentrate on Yes, my solo work & my Trio. I've enjoyed the 6 years of touring and recording with Asia, but now it's time to focus more on the above mentioned formations." In an Apr 2013 interview, Howe explained: "it was was the end of last year  that made me realize that this being on call was really too much. I couldn't keep either really happy. I was either making Yes miserable or Asia miserable, because of the other one being in existence."
Howe plays solo dates in England & Wales 1-28 Apr 2015. The set is advertised as including "familiar pieces", [SPOILERS—highlight to read] "Solitaire" (from Fly from Here), "The Golden Mean" and further pieces from Motif Volume 1. On the opening night, the set included Howe's acoustic version of "To be Over" and ended with a medley of 4 Yes songs, and an encore of "Clap". The 19 Apr set was: "In the Course of the Day", "Trambone", "Sweet Thunder"/"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", "Diary of a Man Who Vanished", "To be Over", "Pleasure Stole the Night" (with vocals), "Corkscrew", unidentified, "The Little Galliard", "Classical Gas", half of "5% for Nothing", "Mood for a Day", intermission, "Hint Hint", "Ram", "Look Over Your Shoulder" (with vocals), "Provence", "Valley of the Rocks", "Solitaire", "Second Initial", "Sketches in the Sun", "Cactus Boogie" (switching to electric guitar), "Georgia's Theme Pt 2", "Dorothy", "Intersection Blues", Yes medley ("Hour of Need/9 Voices/Wonderous Stories/Your Move", on Portuguese guitar, with vocals), encore: "Clap". In a Mar 2015 interview for Rhino, Howe said of subsequent touring:
we can’t say it’s definitely going to happen, but if it can, it may have legs, this idea. I haven’t done America solo since 2008 [...] knowing that later in the year Yes are quite busy, I’m obviously not looking at prolonging the idea too much, but it’ll be something similar in length to the UK dates. I juggle whether to do Japan or Australia or America, and I have a loyalty to come back to America [...] Or Canada! [...] I do like solo shows. They’re challenging, but I don’t find it a stressful challenge. Yeah, it’s something I definitely have a need to keep doing. That gives me a lot of premium and a lot of exploration of what my music is about
This tour is in support of a new solo 2CD
compilation entitled Anthology, compiled by Howe and out on Rhino
in the US and UK, and on Warner Music Japan in Japan. The 12 Apr
gig at Trading Boundaries will be introduced by Roger Dean,
who will be exhibiting a new painting for the release and previous
Plans for such an anthology date back many years. In the Rhino Mar 2015 interview, Howe described:
I had the idea at a few stages in the last 10 years, say, but when I got to 12 albums, I suddenly thought, “You know, it might be good to do that now.” So I got together with Virgil [...] we got a rough idea of what was happening, and then we talked to the people at Rhino, and it started to move forward. It was a bit slow. Last year we kept bouncing the idea around, and then we suddenly got a green light.
In another Mar
2015 interview, Howe explained: "I have planned an album
like this many times before, but it never really got off the
ground. I didn't want to look back at all those notes and make
the same choices, I wanted to make fresh choices. So I thought
the way to get it going was to get together with my son, Virgil,
and vibe off of him." A 3CD compilation with accompanying
DVD was mooted in 2001 under the name So Far, which
appears to be the same as a project earlier tentatively entitled Headstock.
In a Jan 2009 interview
from the Edge, Howe talked about "a lot of my films
that I've been preparing for many years that will eventually come
out on a DVD" (including performances of "Corkscrew"), which may
have been related to this project or be something else. Howe has
previously talked about a documentary of his career, concentrating
on his solo work from 1975-1994.
Asked about a next solo album in the Rhino
Mar 2015 interview, Howe replied:
I’ve always got a backlog of music [...] I create a sort of nest egg [...] of music and song that I can back to. And they’re most probably going to be on another solo album, because once I start to become secretive or very introverted about them – because they really are personal, certainly if there are lyrics [...] – then I’ll tweak ‘em an awful lot, I’ll go back loads of times, and think, “Well, you know, I just want this to be something else. How’s this going to live up to my new expectations?”
So certainly there is a work in progress, but I’m not terribly clear which way it’ll go. But as you prepare, eventually you start to spot that you’ve got tracks that really are going in a startlingly different direction, and I think that’s what I’m waiting for. I’m not going to make another Turbulence. [Laughs.] Even though it’s a nice album!
[...] So the style of the music, I haven’t put my big toe in so deep yet. It might be that I’m waiting to see enough material in another style [...] and just say, “Well, when I feel it’s there, then that’s the album I’m going to do,” and I’ll start really building that album. [...] I’m not really pushed to do anything.
most recent solo album was Time (Warner Classics).
The album was 5 years in the making and saw Howe working
with a classical ensemble. Tracks:
2013 interview reported that Howe is in talks with Warner
Classical about a follow-up. In a Mar
2015 interview, referring to Time, Howe said, "I'd
love to make another record like that". In a Feb
2013 interview, Howe talked about possibly doing another
solo album along similar lines to Time. He also mentions
another project. While talking about working with his sons Virgil
and Dylan, he says, "Virgil has collaborated on Spectrum and
other albums. We've got an on-going thing. [...] In fact, they've
just played on a whole project that's not been released, that's in
the pipeline. Virgil plays drums." It's unclear whether this is
related to any of the other projects discussed on this page.
Howe has been working further with Paul Sutin. In a Jan 2012 interview, Howe they have some "new tracks we haven't released yet", "kind of a mix up of some things we've done where we've re-arranged them, re-played them, they're almost like different tunes because they have such a different feel", plus some new tracks which are "almost Europop influenced". He goes on to describe how they've worked together: "What I like to do [...] if you've got a sort of semi Euro dance track, I don't play like semi Euro dance track guitar. [...] I play [...] different sorts of things [...] It came alive because of the contrast."
Howe's previous solo album was Motif Volume 1
(HoweSound). This solo guitar album consists of existing pieces
plus four new compositions. Howe explained that the album:
He has been working on a second volume, due "perhaps this year
" according to a May
2009 Billboard article, and "soon" according to a Jul
2009 article. In an update on his
website in Mar 2010, Howe describes Volume 2 as being "in the
planning stage" and that he will tour in support of it in due
course. In the Oct
2011 interview, he talks of working on Volume 2 and
says "maybe next year " for when it will appear. In another
interview, Howe said:
Yes and Asia have kept me busy
for three years [...] that's got to stop, and I do want to play
solo. I'm a solo guitarist, and that means that I do want to go
out and do it. I am writing new material, I am going to follow
up 'Motif, Volume 1' with, surprisingly, wait for it, 'Motif,
Volume 2'. I've got new material, I'm going to record it in the
studio, as opposed to how I've done it before. I enjoy that side
of my life, probably more than Yes or Asia, I don't want to make
that seem unappreciative, but the older I've got the more I've
dug in to that solo side. That's why 'Motif, Volume 1' was a
very important release for me, because it pulled together that
side of my life that had been spread over Yes, Asia, solo
records, Trio records
Promo for his 2015 solo tour still referred
to the Motif series, and in one of the Mar
2015 interviews, Howe said, "I hope to do Volume 2".
5 (Howe Sounds) was released 2013. The album contains
ideas and material used on Fly from Here, Asia's XXX
& Omega, and Howe's solo album, Spectrum.
"High Flyer" on the previous Homebrew
4 was described as having also been developed by GTR for
an unreleased song called "The Future". The liner notes then
continue, "which I plan to release as part of a forthcoming
project called Radar which contains unreleased songs and tunes
Howe has talked about two new books, one called "The Guitarist's Survival Kit", and the second a collaboration. At the Steve Howe Appreciation Society workshop in Jun 2005, Howe read a chapter from an autobiography that he is writing (which I guess may be related to some of these other projects). In a Feb 2011 interview, asked about his autobiography, Howe said:
Quite a few years ago I started talking about the fact that I’d written up quite a lot of my book. What I did, I got up to 1972, I think, in the book. And that was quite an achievement. What happened was, that I’ve had so much other things to do, I haven’t really addressed that very much. But I have a plan. The plan is about expansion [...] I look at those 15,000 words and I think, ‘Right, well, that isn’t quite right, it isn’t quite thick enough, there isn’t quite enough depth,’ so I want to bring a little more to it. So when I get another block period, I’ll get back to it [...] What it’s about is work in music. [...] My book will be about my work […] I hope to finish it, maybe even next year . [...] It might be a realistic plan to have it out by 2012.
Asked about it in Feb 2015, Howe replied on
Facebook: "it's in the works. It could be out in the Spring,
next year ".
In a Q&A
for YesWorld in Jun 2013, Howe was asked about the
possibility of a follow-up to his 1993 book "The Steve Howe Guitar
Collection". He replied:
I’ve been thinking about it since the first collection is now out of print [...] I’ve had some ideas about something more like a Steve Howe catalog of great guitars that I did keep, because since then I’ve traded, given, and sold instruments; a few a year, so that my collection would get smaller. [...] it’s more about things that, over the last thirty or forty years, I still value, as oppos ed to when the book was done, I was having a great time; buying shed-loads of guitars, and that doesn’t interest me now. [...] I have done some preparation, it’s just a matter of when and if I put it into action.
NVP (Nicolet Vidéo
Productions) described on
their website (scroll down to second item) filming in Oct
2008 a 3D film and an accompanying one-hour, 2D film about Howe.
It is unclear what has happened with this project or how it may be
related to the projects described above.
The Steve Howe
Much like I pushed Asia and Yes to keep reinventing themselves, the trio is going through a bit of that. We may decide to do a completely original record this time without any jazz or blues references. We may not get that far — we may decide we like something and we want to do it, but we’re certainly going to combine musical styles to come up with another phase of the trio.
In a Sep 2013 interview, he said, "We've got a lot of
new material for the new album, and we've been recording
that. [...] [Music] partly of mine, but also bringing
their music into play." At a Sep 2014 solo show, Howe
said the Trio may change name to Howe Stanley Howe. In
with Vintage Rock conducted around the beginning
of Apr 2014, Howe said: "We're going to release a new
album eventually — well we've recorded most of it —
which is completely original, and not relying on a jazz
kind of repertoire, which is maybe going to hold us
back. Because, strictly speaking, I'm not into playing
standards." I asked Dylan about the album on Facebook on
1 May 2014: he replied that it will be released,
"Hopefully end of the year  or before - still got
some o/d's [overdubs] to do and then mix". Steve Howe
said in an Aug
2014 interview that in Oct 2014 he will be "doing
recording, and finishing up a new trio album. It may be
called The Steve Howe Trio [...] although we may
modify that a little. [...] that's all original in
music. No direct Jazz music in it at all. But we do
swing, and hopefully that's the whole point: it don't
mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." Meanwhile, an
2014 interview stated that Howe "[i]s currently
planning to record a few of Bruford's compositions on
the next release by his side group, the Steve Howe
Trio." No direct quote is given, so it is unclear what
is actually planned (it may be a reference to Yes
material from Bruford's period with the band, rather
than actual compositions by Bruford). In an interview
published Dec 2014, but seemingly done much
earlier (possibly Aug), Howe said, "In October [...] I'm
going to be doing recording and finishing up a new trio
album. It may be called The Steve Howe Trio in the
future, although we may modify that a little. We've got
a fantastic new recording that's all original in music.
No direct jazz music in it at all. But we do swing". In
a Nov 2014 interview for YesFANZ, Howe said:
The Trio have just recorded a new album that should be out next year  we hope, which is unlike, The Haunted Melody', because we just thought “I know what we will try to surprise them or we’ll deviate from the….’ The program was you know we will take music from my career sometimes but also Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Roland Kirk. A kind of jazz, but this time it’s all original and it’s new original music and I think that has been good for us.
He also says he would like to tour in support of the
album. In the Mar 2015 interview, Howe
we have almost finished – and it’s only a hairsbreadth away from being finished – a new Steve Howe Trio album. But we’re not in a hurry. [...] We’re just going to take our time [...] we may be looking at much later in the year to release that, but if the album’s not ready ‘til next year, we won’t release it ‘til next year. I’m not really pushed to do anything.
The band toured the UK with 11 dates in Sep 2013. The London set list was typical: set 1—"Mood for a Day", "My Buzzard Friend" (new piece), "The Ancient" (excerpt), "The Haunted Melody", "Tune Up", "Heart of the Sunrise"; set 2 (52 minutes)—"Dream River", "Devil of a Chance" (new piece), "Siberian Khatru", "Conversation" (originally by Joni Mitchell), "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", "Blue Bash", "Close to the Edge" (new arrangement compared to Travelling), encore: electric guitar solo piece by Steve, "Kenny's Sound". The Portsmouth set list was shorter: set 1 (44 minutes)—"Mood for a Day", "My Buzzard Friend" (new piece), "The Ancient" (excerpt), "The Haunted Melody", "Tune Up", "Heart of the Sunrise"; set 2 (52 minutes)—"Dream River", new piece (probably "Devil of a Chance"), "Siberian Khatru", "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", "Blue Bash", "Close to the Edge", encore: "Kenny's Sound". The Stockport show was reported to have an audience of ~150 and to have been filmed in some capacity; London was sold out (120 capacity).
appearances & collaboration
"I asked them if they would work with me and they said yes," Steve says. "It has taken some time, but I have not stopped writing tunes [for the project]. I have a country side that I want to explore. I will do country records."
"Alison asked me why a guy from Yes likes [country] music so much," Steve recalls. "I really got into guitar because of country music. I loved Tennessee Ernie Ford, he was a fantastic jewel. I was so inspired by his playing, I started playing guitar. Then I heard Chet Atkins -- there are a lot of great guitarists but Chet is at the top -- and knew I wanted to go into country music sometime."
Although Steve is now deeply involved with Yes [...] he thinks the time for the collaboration may well be around the corner.
Asked about the collaboration in the Feb
2013 interview, Howe said:
I’ve got immense respect for Alison and the band. I just love them to bits. Things were mooted and there were was a little opportunity to try something. In the time that these things were talked about and mentioned, shifting sands changed here and there. So I never count on things like that. [...] My determination is to do some recordings that reveal some more of my connection with country and bluegrass through people like Chet Atkins [...] also Mel Travis and Tony Rice, Stevie West, Jimmy Bryant, I could go on and on. I’ve written 30 solo pieces, half of which are in the country style
In the Jan
2012 interview, Howe describes planned work with Italian
classical guitarist Flavio
Sala, and then further possible collaborations:
At the moment I've got a sort
of beautiful backlog of guitarists that I'm gonna be playing with. I
met a young guitarist a few years ago, he's only 28, and he
plays amazingly. So I'll play with Flavio Sala [...] He's from
Italy, highly, highly regarded classical guitarist, but he, like
me, he's not really going to be content with one repertoire,
y'know, he's looking to build repertoires, and I hope we're
going to do a couple of tunes together.
[...] of course Steve Morse and I have always had a point in destiny where [...] we're going to do more, but time might run out, we might not do that, but I'd love to do that
[...] Martin Taylor [...] I'd love to get back with him
describes how he's been inspired by Howe, inter alia, and goes on that
he is "working on new CDs, that will be released between 2012 and
2014, with classical, pop, flamenco and fusion repertoire." In a Jul
2012 interview, Howe said, "There's an Italian
guitarist I've been doing a bit with. His name is Flavio Sala".
Sala is also participating in Howe's guitar
retreat in Aug 2013. Discussing the retreat in this Apr
2013 interview, Howe said of Sala: "We started meeting up
and we have recorded a tune together that we're both sort of
holding back to see how we use. So we've done a duet together."
Howe guests on Sala's "discographical project", Mi
Guitarra y Mis Amores, playing acoustic guitar on the
first piece, "Sabrosa". The piece by René Touzet was recorded at
Howe's studio in Jun 2012 and released 21 Dec 2014. Mi Guitarra y
Mis Amores is a free, bimonthly download available by
signing up to Sala's regular mailing list. Others guesting
on the project include Rafael "El Pollo" Brito, Israel El Pirana,
Antonio Serrano, Fabrizio Bosso, Pasqualino Garzia and Euro
In a Mar
2015 interview, Steve Hackett (Squackett,
ex-Genesis) said: "Steve Howe and I just started
talking recently about possibilities of things [...] At this
point in time, obviously there's a lot of other things on the
agenda, first of all. So we'll see how that goes."
In the Jan 2012 interview, Howe was asked about the possibility of a Tomorrow reunion and said:
[Keith West and I,] we'd love to do it. […] I know Twink would like to do it. […] Keith and I have talked about it quite often. I think he's a bit more retiring than I am […] I think he would jump at it if he felt you could do it.
Jonathan Mover, who drummed in GTR, announced some years ago that he is planning a "a two volume collection of works from various artists that I've played with over the past twenty or so years. Mainly, a variety of tracks that are dear to me in one way or another and have not had the chance to see the light of day." On his website, he refers to "unreleased GTR (1985)". As GTR was released in 1986, presuming this is not a typo, Mover would appear to be referring to material before the first album.
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.