Legendary vocalist Jon Anderson led the progressive rock band Yes for almost 40 years – his soaring voice can be heard on such classic albums as Fragile, Close to the Edge and 90125. The work he did with that band brought a level of sophistication seldom heard in popular music. Anderson stepped away for a solo career in 2008.
His latest project returns him to a band format – and has been a long time in the works – bringing together two icons of music – Anderson and violinist Jean Luc Ponty – calling themselves the Anderson/Ponty Band – they’re getting ready to release the appropriately titled Better Late Than Never – and our planning a world tour.
We chat with Anderson about why it took so long for this project to finally become a reality. He also talks about the passing of his former bandmate, Yes bassist Chris Squire, and how Yes is still not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Ian Anderson led Jethro Tull for around 40 years, releasing a string of hit albums that endure to this day. A few years ago, he began releasing records under his own name. But, don’t worry – the classic Jethro Tull sound is still intact. Anderson’s latest project is a live rock opera entitled “Jethro Tull.” Yet, it’s not about the band, but rather the original person, who was an English agricultural inventor of the 1700’s. In Anderson’s new story, he imagines that Mr. Tull is transplanted in the future, burdened with the task of feeding an ever-expanding population. The tale is told through the inclusion of many classic Tull songs, as well as brand new pieces that Anderson has written specifically for the project. Also keeping him busy is the ongoing reissue program of his band’s back catalog – most recently with War Child & A Passion Play.
Renaissance formed out of the same Yardbirds’ ashes that sent Jimmy Page to form Led Zeppelin. After several lineup changes, the band developed a reputation as one of the finest progressive rock bands of the Seventies. After breaking up in the Eighties, the band reformed back in 2009 with a new lineup – still fronted by vocalist Annie Haslam and guitarist Michael Dunford. They’ve just released a two CD/1 DVD collection called Renaissance Tour 2011 – Live in Concert, where the band performed two of their classic albums in their entirety – Turn of the Cards, and Scheherazade and Other Stories.
Haslam tells us a great story of how the band got a flat tire in the pouring rain, while driving to where they were filming the DVD. She also reveals details on a brand-new Renaissance studio album coming in 2013, funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Ian Anderson is one of the most-recognizable figures in rock. For over 40 years, the wild-eyed flautist has led Jethro Tull through a string of classic albums, including Aqualung, Songs From the Wood, and Thick as a Brick. Anderson’s latest project is a sequel to that last album, Thick as a Brick 2, in which he entertains several possibilities of what happened to main character Gerald Bostock (who was only eight years old in the original album).
For the project, Anderson has returned to the progressive rock stylings which were so much a part of the original release. We also talk his band’s most-famous album, Aqualung, and the problems they had in the studio.