Every week a member of YES takes your top twenty questions from Facebook and Twitter.
This week, it’s the turn of new vocalist, Jon Davison.
Jon, welcome to the band. I’ve seen you twice now and I think you’re doing an awesome job. Thanks for keeping the legacy alive! My question: What was your reaction when you were first contacted by Yes to be the new singer? And a follow up, if I may: Who called you? Management or a band member? Thanks!
You’re certainly welcome, Jesse. It’s an honor to help forward the band.
My initial reaction to the news was one of practical concern. Despite the excitement of it all, I needed to keep a clear head and focus on straightening out all the practical details of this life changing event, not only for my own sake, but obviously for my family’s well being as well.
It was YES’ manager Paul Silveira who was the first to contact me with the news.
Scott C Leavell
First off – you are filling some very large shoes with a fantastic talent and class. You were definitely MVP of the night when I saw the band recently. Cheers! My question is: since it seems obvious that you were a fan before you ever joined Yes, could you talk a bit about your fandom of these great players as a young man, and how did it feel when you realized you were going to join the band?
Thanks for the kind words, Scott. As a shy and confused teenager, the music of YES as well as Roger Dean’s album cover artwork offered a portal to an alternate and grander frame of mind and heart, beyond the superficialities of teenage social existence. I was an aspiring bassist at the time and marveled at how other worldly and primal Chris’ bass lines are. I had the same feelings toward the unique styles of each member of the classic line-up. It really seemed that YES and their music were from another planet!
In most respects, joining the band felt like coming home. Beyond that, I can’t really express much with words.
Are you intimidated at all by filling such “big shoes”?
They are indeed big shoes to fill, but a small child can feel the familiar warmth and love slipping on his father’s shoes even if he’s not yet ready to fill them. Jon Anderson’s love and creativity are embedded in his words and melodies to guide and inspire me. I like to think of it that way.
Which was the first Yes song that made you feel “this is really working” during rehearsals?
I clearly remember feeling like things were really happening in rehearsal when Steve beamed a loving smile on me and expressed some deep words of encouragement after we had just finished playing And You And I for the first time.
Jon, What were your earliest memories of YES? What turned you on to them?
Hearing Owner Of A Lonely Heart on the radio for the first time exposed my eager, virgin ears to the world of YES. But that sugarcoated introduction soon wore off as I then dove head first into Fragile, Close To The Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans. That’s when the full implications of what I was opening up to became startling apparent. Since that time, I’ve never stopped learning from their music.
Jon, what is your favorite Yes song of all time? Hoping to see you guys in Stockholm soon, the current setlist is great!
I tend to not have favorites of things, but I’ll venture to say, the YES song yet to be written.
Hopefully we’ll see you in Stockholm sometime soon!
G. Hollis Humberson
What is your favorite song to sing and which song was the most difficult to learn.Greetings to you, Hollis
For this tour, I’d say that Turn Of The Century was the most challenging to learn. I equally enjoy performing all the songs.
Which Yes song, which you haven’t yet sung with the band, would you most like to sing?
I’d love to sing The Gates Of Delirium!
Having seen you each of the last two tours, it was remarkable this time (3/8 in California) how comfortable and confident you’ve become in the role as Yes’ lead singer. I, like many others, feel the loss of Jon Anderson, but your performance was simply spectacular: not a note nor a nuance missed. Had my eyes been closed, I would have sworn it was like the old days. My question is this: with so much excellent material to draw from over the years, how essential is it for most of each show to recycle the same ‘standards’ we hear almost every tour? (Not that we mind, but one of the nicer aspects of the current tour was hearing some stuff – Siberian Khatru, Turn of the Century, Parallels, etc. – not heard in many years. There is some great Keys material as well as other Rabin-era and post-Rabin gems that would be fun to have mixed in. It would even be fun to hear updated versions of one or two songs from the first two albums, such as Survivor.)
A sincere thank you for your inspiring compliments.It’s about finding and maintaining a balance – keeping faithful to expectations while also throwing in plenty of surprises. It’s harder than it sounds as you can’t please everyone. Such is life. Survival is a beautiful piece of music and I’d love to have a chance to sing it!
Hi Jon – My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting you in Honolulu. You answered our question then which was “would you be able to handle the position of lead singer of this band?” Not only did you convince us that you can but we feel that with you singing, YES can go further than it ever has. It’s not just your singing but whether it’s your personality, spirituality, some intangible quality, whatever you want to call it, you’re a perfect fit. We hope to be able to see you and YES again before too long.
Aloha Mahalo, Rick and wife! Your kindness inspires me! Hope to see you in paradise real soon.
The band someday will come again to brazil? I only have to say that Yes is one of the best bands I see. I´m Rose, 22 years old from Brazil
Oi querida Rose, Tudo bem?
Yes are playing 6 shows in Brazil this May – tickets are on sale now, details are here at yesworld.com
Jon, I saw your performance in San Jose – It was superb, and I was thrilled that on the early material you were very true to the original recordings (one might almost use the word reverent). Is that something you’d thought through, or are those songs just burned into your ROM that way? (I know they are for me!)
A sincere thank you for the encouraging words. Staying true to the original works was a definite conscious choice from the start and has remained a vitally important guideline. I’m glad it shows :^)
It was a real honor meeting you Jon. Thank you for the privilege of showing off my Beautiful new instrument. What did you think of the Harpejji?
A far-out device indeed! Best of luck with it, Dale.
Where does the nickname “Juano” come from?
My best childhood buddy, Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters gave me my nickname. He still calls me Juano to this day.
Does the whole band travel together on the tourbus? If so how do you pass the time together?
During last summer’s tour, we mostly traveled by tour bus and flew occasionally. On this tour however, we are mostly flying with a few short drives by van in between.
While en route, we mostly keep to ourselves to respect each other’s space.
Jon, welcome to the family! Having toured myself I am wondering how you maintain your spiritual and fitness/wellness life while living on buses plains and cruise liners…?
Good question, David. As you know, it’s a constant battle to maintain balance on the road. The main thing is to snatch any time you can to take care of yourself (exercise, meditation etc…) even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes. If you learn to make the most of your time, you’ll discover there are spaces available for such things.
I’m looking forward to the new YES album with you in the band. Are you writing new songs for that?
Yes, I am contributing ideas. I too am looking forward to it. We are planning for a new album to be released sometime next year.
Hello Jon, first I’d like to say that I think you’ve done a wonderful job with Glass Hammer, and I’m sure you will do the same for Yes. Do you see yourself being a full member in Glass Hammer in the future, or are you going to concentrate exclusively on Yes? And how do you look upon that?
At this point in time, I’m trying to balance equally my involvement with both bands. I can’t predict what challenges may arise in the future to obstruct my intention, but I will do my best to embrace my commitments.
Jim Martz @Martzsy
Mr. Davidson …Love your voice ..Did you listen to YES as a teen?
Mark Thorne @MarkDavidT
Jon which is your favorite song to perform on this tour?
I equally enjoy performing all of the songs. Thanks!
Robert Johnson @rjohnson5811
Any chance there will be a live album from the Spring 2013 tour?
No, but possibly from another tour later this year.
Next week… Geoff Downes