#askYES – Q&A with Alan White – March 2017

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#askYES – Q&A with Alan White – March 2017

On 15 March 2017 on Facebook.. You asked.. and he answered.
In this massive in-depth Q&A, Alan White covers all aspects of his career from playing with John Lennon & George Harrison to his 45 years with YES and all points in between.

Part One    Part Two    Part Three

Part One

ßradley ßaker
Hi Alan. Aside from the first few weeks you toured with YES in 1972, I am wondering if there has been a gig that was so unbelievably good that you will never forget it, and the reasons for that; as well, has there ever been a gig so bad you wish you could forget it, and why? Any funny tales from the road you would like to share? Thanks!

Alan White: (Laughs) Ha ha. That’s pretty extreme right there. Well, okay. You know, the band plays at such a high standard that most gigs are really really good with YES. There are things that stick out. Memorable gigs like Rock in Rio, playing to 350,000 people. That was a great show.

Also when we played in the round at Madison Square Garden.

Those things stand out in my mind. And, you know, the band always rose to the occasion on those evenings. But it’s hard to pinpoint just one.

As far as a bad gig goes, when I first started dealing with my bad back syndrome, it was very difficult to make it through our lengthy set list but somehow we managed to make it to the end of that tour. The band played pretty well but I felt like I was not giving it everything I could. So, you know, there’s that.

I also remember a gig we played in Chicago with the round stage, and while the stage was turning it cut through all the cables and shut down everything. The band ran off stage and I was left playing the drums by myself to 10,000 people. Playing a damn solo! I started playing a drum solo and thought well I could be here for hours so, I just got quieter and quieter, and then stood up and walked discretely offstage. (Laughs) There are many stories like that during my time with YES.


John Carls
I really like ‘Ramshackled’. I recently bought the CD after owning the vinyl since the 70s. This was a true diversion from prog and likely confused a few folks. Do you see yourself ever releasing music again with this much playful and giddy abandon? It’s like going on vacation.

Alan White: Hah! I’ve never heard anyone say it’s like going on vacation, listening to one of my albums. But, that’s pretty interesting.

Yeah, well, obviously I made another album with the band WHITE with whom I record and perform in the Seattle area.

In fact we played a concert on Saturday night and raised $97,000 for our non-profit ‘Music Aid Northwest‘ that raises funds to support music programs in our schools throughout the state of Washington.

I thought that was a really good album. Geoff Downes collaborated and played keyboards on that CD. We’re working on new material right now to possibly do another WHITE album. My good friends in WHITE are all excellent musicians and we’re looking forward to writing more music together and coming out with another album in the near future.


Kurt Isensee
Which song(s) that you wrote are you most proud of?

Alan White: ‘In The Presence Of’ was a great song that I wrote with Jon Anderson. That comes to mind straight away.

I worked with Trevor Rabin on ‘Changes’ which is one of my favorites of anything I’ve ever been involved in writing.

And also, off the ‘Heaven and Earth’ album, there’s a song ‘To Ascend’ with Jon Davison, that I think is excellent.

On Keys to Ascension, I also came up with the ‘Bolero’ type beat that made ‘Mind Drive’ what it is.


Randy Aranki
What songs did you enjoy on (George Harrison’s) All Things Must Pass?

Alan White: Well, that’s a good question. Obviously ‘My Sweet Lord’ was a very memorable time in the studio, playing that with George, and you just had a feeling you were doing a very special song.

The song ‘Wah Wah’ that’s on that album is also very good. Eric Clapton played on it in the studio and we had a great time.

‘All Things Must Pass’ was maybe with the same amount of musicians in the studio on a daily basis, which was basically the Delaney and Bonnie Band, George and Eric were playing with them, and I was the drummer. And sometimes Ringo would sit in. So it was a good kind of all round, not a party kind of thing… Everybody was into making great music. The whole album was a pleasure.

Another song that comes to mind is ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ which is like a Bob Dylan song. That was really excellent.


Stephen LaGrange
How was working with John and Yoko?

Alan White: Well, I get this question an awful lot. I usually say do you want the long or short answer? For the short answer, it was an absolutely wonderful experience, and John was very much a father figure to me at that time and took me under his wing. They were just great people to be around and, you know, all the stories about Yoko and stuff like that, none of the bad stuff you hear was true. She was really just nice to me the whole time.


Peter Alderson
Memories of “Live Peace in Toronto”?

Alan White: (Laughs) I remember getting the phone call from John Lennon, and I put the phone down. And finally I realised when he called back that it really was him! In a short period of time I went from John being a god, going on a plane and rehearsing on the back of the seat with drum sticks, getting off the plane and the next thing, I’m in this stadium with 25,000 people and walking out to see what was going on.

There was Little Richard playing on stage. And I was going “Wow, this is really, really cool!” And then I walked backstage and I met Gene Vincent, of all people, and I was going “Wow, this is incredible!”

Then we walk on stage, and I sat down on a drum stool and they literally built the drum kit around me. John went “1, 2, 3, 4…” and that was it. We were into the show. He said “We’d never played together before” – which was absolutely right. None of us had played with each other. It was pretty incredible.


John O’Brien
Instant Karma…..How many takes?

Alan White: Ah! ‘Instant Karma!’ it was one of the songs that came together really, really quick. I got a call one morning from Mal Evans, who was the Beatles main road manager, and he said: “Can you pack your drum set and come down to the studio? John wants to record this song he wrote it last night and he really wants to do it quickly.” So we jumped in the studio, and I believe we only did something like 3 takes and it was all done – the backing track, at least. And then we spent time playing the piano with John. It was me, John, Klaus Voormann, Gary Wright and Pete Hamm, I believe. We just played piano all the way through the song.

And then John decided that he wanted to put more vocals on the chorus line, “We All Shine One”. So Mal Evans went down to a local nightclub and brought all the people from the nightclub into the studio (who were a little intoxicated I might add) and surprisingly they were able to sing in tune. John and myself conducted them, and they did really well, they pretty much sang in tune. That’s how we recoded the chorus!


David Cabaniss
Describe the transition from playing in Lennon’s ‘Plastic Ono Band’ to progressive rock with YES. Curious as to how it transpired.

Alan White: For me it was kind of a difficult transition as far as playing the complex music of YES. But at that time I was playing with John Lennon and Joe Cocker and bands like that doing sessions. I had my own band and we lived in a house together in the country for 2 or 3 years. We were playing pretty complex music, kind of like YES. Zappa-ish, with lots of Jazz influences. I had a three piece horn section. In fact you can hear some of that on the ‘Ramshackled’ album.

It was difficult joining YES and to be honest it took about 3 months to really get into playing with band and feeling confident.

When I first joined, I said “I’ll give you 3 months and you give me 3 months.” And here I am, 45 years year later in July… so it must have worked somehow.


Scott Loessy
I always wondered who was the driving force behind the music. Was it truly a collective unit making the decision or was there one person who really drove the band? It seems like you and the band were on the same wavelength for many, many years which led to the bands huge success.

Alan White: Well, really in the band YES, I always considered, it’s like an egg rolling down the hill… it just keeps on going as YES. And then, all through my career with YES, it’s been a joint effort all round.

Of course when you’re hanging around with people like Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Rick Wakeman and I’ll include myself… Each of us were a driving force with very accomplished musical capabilities. Jon Anderson made huge contributions, writing a lot of the lyrics. Steve has a unique way of playing the guitar. Really it was a very different band all round and it still is.

Chris was such a central force, I always felt he was the heart and soul of YES. Not only was he a big presence, but as the rhythm section, Chris and myself were the fulcrum for everybody to bounce off. Chris played on every YES album recorded. He and I played together for 43 years so we had a kind of unwritten communication in life. And in music as well, sometimes we did things where I knew exactly what he was going to do and visa versa.

YES have always been pretty diverse in what we choose to record and it seems like we are always looking for something new all the time, something that sounds different and new. I think that’s what’s kept the band together for so long.


Kevin Hall
I’m always interested in how professional musicians who made the rounds in the 60s and 70s protected their hearing. How has hearing protection evolved during Alan’s career. How is his hearing with regards to his career doing today? What?

Alan White: Well I was about to start the answer by saying, “What?” (laughs). My hearing is relatively good. If I’m in a conversation with people and it’s important, I do have a set of hearing aids that I use. Obviously when one gets older, the top end in your hearing starts to deteriorate, but, you know, touch wood, it’s okay. There is great technology these days and I don’t have to wear anything on stage. I’ve gone back to wearing inner ear moitors, which helps a lot because you’ve got total control over what you’re listening to onstage.


Greg Coldwell
Please talk about the making of the song “Cinema”. It’s one of my favorite YES songs and I’d love to know how it came about? Your drumming is fantastic on this track!

Alan White: Well, thank you very much for the compliment. It was an instrumental song we came up with, Trevor and I worked on the rhythm for quite a while and then obviously with Chris. It was a song that came together easily and we played it for a while at rehearsals. Then we recorded the track. I remember going to Air Studios in London, where we recorded it in just one take. We went in there and played it once, and Trevor Horn said “Wow.” And we just kept the first take.


Duncan Weller
Hello Alan, ‘In the Presence Of’ from the Magnification album is one of my favourite tunes and one of the greatest in the YES canon. I have got the sneaking suspicion, or fantasy, that you have many more songs like this ready to be developed with the group, but you are just waiting for the right moment to bring them forth. I hope this is the case. Can you give us a hint as to whether or not you will soon add more great music to the YES canon?

Alan White: I have many ideas for music. A lot of the stuff I write is in collaboration with other artists including the members of YES. But yeah! I have things in my mind and demos I’ve recorded. I have a couple of songs that I did with Chris that we’re never released that I was thinking about reviving. It’s an excellent piece of music. Chris came up with certain chords and I wrote the melody. So, I’ve got some interesting stuff like that around. I find it funny you say ‘suspicion or fantasy’ …that’s kind of out there, the fantasy aspect. But in the back of my mind I have some music hanging around that I want to eventually record. I’m also getting new musical ideas all the time.


Gary Corley
Did you guys record any of the Drama/Tales Tour? The recordings of YES Like It Is Live from the Bristol Hippodrome and YES Live at the Mesa Art Center are outstanding. Some of the best live recording I’ve ever heard.

Alan White: Well, you know what, the band always pays a lot of attention to recording and attention to detail in recording. There are tapes of that and I think we have some things that are about to get mixed. Yeah! In the near future you probably will hear another live recording.


Part 2

Daniel Krohn
When are you guys going to do another album? I loved ‘Fly From Here’ and ‘Heaven & Earth’ especially your song ‘To Ascend’.

Alan White: We all have it in our minds to record another album but it’s a question of trying to find time to get back into studio together. Geoff Downes is on tour with Asia for a few weeks this summer and YES will also be on the road in August & September playing about 30 shows. It’s quite possible we’ll be touring later in the year as well, so trying to please everyone, it will realistically be 2018 before we can block out enough time to do this. We all continue to write even when we’re doing other things like touring.


Renzo Acosta
Why dont you guys go back to Anderson & Wakeman & Howe & White and make a new record ?

Alan White: Well, you know, I’m open to anything in the future. I’m not opposed to the idea of that down the line but I’m part of the YES touring band and it makes more sense to continue with the group of musicians I’m currently working with… we have a great working vibe between us. You asked why we don’t “go back” and that’s really key because I always try to be positive and continue to move forward instead, I want to make progressively new and interesting music and we’re performing great on stage together. I’m happy with the way things are and looking forward to continuing on with the current YES line up.


Luis Funtanet
I wish your back spine are very well and improving every day. (I did a surgery of 2 herniated discs in Berlin, they use mother cells. Perfect). Two questions: Do you still miss Chris Squire? (I miss him everyday). Any plan for touring South America? Please, after RNRHF ceremony keep both with Steve Howe the current line up. Don’t do another Union, YES sounds great now!!!!

Alan White: Okay. Yeah my back’s improving, but it’s a slow process as many people know, once you’ve hurt the discs in your spine, you have to give them time to heal properly. So I’m treading very carefully until I can recover fully and operate like I’ve always done physically. I don’t do want to cause any permanent damage. The other question – Of course I miss Chris, we had a great relationship. I miss the way we played together, his talent, unique style, his presence and also his friendship. Billy Sherwood is doing a great job of playing with YES but those are giant shoes to fill. Chris was one of his mentors and he’s a skilled bass player but it will never be the same as Chris. There are so many memories shared between the two of us that go back a very long way.


Pat McGuckin
Neil Peart retired because he said his body was breaking down and it was becoming too difficult to play Rush music. In light of your back problems and YES’ complex music, did you think about retiring as well?

Alan White: No, not really. It’s never crossed my mind to do that. It’s what I love and I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t playing music. I’ve done it my whole life. I just wanna keep playing and treading forward. I will get my back healed and keep performing on stage. There’s nothing like it!


Emmanuel Guzmán Zúñiga
What albums or which songs would you choose to play on the next tour?

Alan White: The next tour won’t be so much of an album-orientated tour, we’ll be playing a lot of YES songs the public enjoy seeing the band play on stage. We’re doing a YESFest this summer with Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer – 3 bands touring together, it’s a great combination. Todd is a great musician. I just saw him recently with Ringo. I had no idea he had written all these great songs, like ‘Bang On The Drum’.

Carl is a good friend of mine. He’s got a particular style. I just saw him recently because he’s on the road with Asia and their first show was in Yakima, not far from Seattle. They are performing a tribute to John Wetton, another great loss for the music world and for myself, a personal friendship. It’s a great thing for their fans but probably not easy for Geoff and Carl.


Dino Venturini
What is the most difficult YES song for you to play?

Alan White: Good question… A lot of YES music is quite difficult to play but the challenge makes it fun. When you listen to albums like ‘Relayer’, ‘Gates of Delirium’ in particular is a difficult piece to get right. There are a lot of changes.

‘Sound Chaser’ has always been a hard song to play but at the same time I enjoy playing it.

When you’re involved in creating something it tends to come back quickly and you can remember exactly how you played it in the first place. ‘Relayer’ is a hard album to play but we’re discussing performing that album next year.


JR Bird
How much did Alan influence the writing of the amazing song “Sound Chaser” on the Relayer album? I presume quite a bit with that complex rhythm.

Alan White: Yes, well that’s relative to the last question. We were working in studio and doing quite a lot of really crazy stuff. I had this rhythm that I’d been playing for a while and Chris came up with the initial lick to go with it. Then with Steve, the three of us started working on putting it all together. The idea of the speeding up and slowing down took a long time to get right. I mean it has to be done perfectly. But when you’ve been playing together for so long it’s quite easy to switch from one tempo to another tempo almost immediately. The idea behind it was the feeling of being in a car going down the freeway changing gears. We tried to do that with music, it was an interesting concept.


Michael Chapan
What YES album did you enjoy recording the most and what were your fondest memories of the sessions?

Alan White: ‘Going For The One’ has a lot of great memories for me. We spent 8 months in Switzerland. The album took about 4 months but we all just hung around in Switzerland for quite a few months during that time period. ‘Going For The One’ was a great album you know, especially when Rick came back into the fold and was part of the band again.

We did stuff like record the church organ in ‘Parallels’, with Rick 10 miles away in a church. It was very interesting. I was counting him in for the beginning of the song and I was 10 miles away from him (laughs). All of these things, especially the experimentation the band did at that time is very memorable.


Rob Leas
Will you be playing at the induction? Will Geddy?

Alan White: Yes, we will be performing and I do believe Geddy has agreed to play bass for the band. We’ll be playing 2 songs that everybody knows. I’m going to New York with a very positive sense of playing together again. It will be a bit of an adventure for everybody but when you put us all in the same room, we all know the songs, so it shouldn’t take too long to rehearse them.


Part 3

Barry Bartle
Will YES be doing the Relayer album next time you tour the UK … ‘To Be Over’ is my favourite track and never seen YES play this wonderful piece of music .. Cheers

Alan White: We used to play Relayer but it was a long time ago. Yes, we plan to play the entire “Relayer’ album in the UK next year, I think it’s going to be a very exciting show.


David Murray
Any chance of touring the ‘Tormato’ album? I’d love to hear ‘Release Release’, ‘Future Times’, ‘Arriving UFO’ and of course ‘On the Silent Wings of Freedom’ live

Alan White: Billy Sherwood and myself know ‘Silent Wings Of Freedom’ well and it would be a great song to include in a set. YES has a big repertoire of songs to pick from for a 2-3 hour show. It gets difficult to choose when we’re not playing the “Album Series” concerts, so who knows? Tormato was a very different album from our history but some of the songs on that album are really great. I will always remember the joy of playing ‘Silent Wings of Freedom’ with Chris, it was a highlight of the show.


Brian Patterson
Do you think YES will continue indefinitely?

Alan White: Currently everybody’s playing really well and enjoying each other’s company. It’s important to all of us that we continue to keep up our high standard of performance on stage. Steve is playing great and the whole band is playing really well. Geoff Downes is one of my closest friends and a fantastic keyboard player. I would say at the moment nobody has any thoughts about giving up the band and it seems like YES will carry on in some shape or form.


Juan Pérez
What happened to the XYZ project? Any chance that may someday see the light?

Alan White: It’s funny you should say that because I saw Jimmy Page recently in Seattle. He was getting the Founders Award award from Paul Allen at Experience Music Project. I was invited so we had a chat and he mentioned he was thinking about digging out the tapes and remixing the XYZ music, finishing some of the tracks. One of particular song we did with XYZ was the start of ‘Mind Drive’. Somewhere there’s a demo of that song which I did with Jimmy Page. I don’t know when that might happen but we write some great music together with Chris so I’d be very interested in pursuing that project.


Glenn Goldberg
Non-music question for Alan: I know you’re a huge football fan. since you live in the PNW, are there any American sports you enjoy?

Alan White: Football is one of my favorite sports, both American and ‘Soccer’. I’m a football/soccer kind of guy and a fan of both. We’re lucky that Seattle has a great soccer team, Seattle Sounders FC, and an exciting football team, the Seattle Seahawks. Soccer season is underway and I can’t wait for the American football season to start. I also watch the English Premier games on TV whenever I get the chance, usually weekend mornings.


Rhiannon Grainger
What advice would you give to anyone trying to turn their creative outlet into their career?

Alan White: You always have to keep pushing, believe in yourself and never give up. In some ways it’s more difficult nowadays than it used to be to break through and have people to accept your music but there are more outlets to get it heard today. I say just keep on trying. When I was young I played with many different bands to get a lot of experience, stick with it and learn my craft. Just just keep doing it and keep pushing forward to get it out of your system. It can be frustrating when you’ve got talent inside and you can’t find a means to get it recognized, eventually something really good may come out of it.


Bill Negron
If you didn’t venture into music what would you have done in lieu?

Alan White: When I was at college in England one of my fortés was technical drawing. I was thinking of becoming an architect until the Dean told me he’d seen an article in the paper that my local band had won a big competition in London and he said, “If I were you, I’d stick with that.” It was very wise advice and I’ve played music ever since.


Larry Barton
What is the most difficult song to play?

Alan White: ‘Close To The Edge’ is a difficult song to play and also ‘Gates of Delirium’. ‘Close To The Edge’ is in a kind of 12/8 pattern, it has a lot of little time changes that are here and there, all the way through the song. ‘And You And I’ is a bar of eight followed by a bar of seven continuosly for the theme. All of those things are difficult to get right emotionally too, to play the right thing at the right time and be in sync with the other musicians. It feels great when you’re playing a piece like that all together and you get it right, it just sounds amazing when everything clicks.


Geoffrey Mason
What have been your favorite songs to play live?

Alan White: ‘Close To The Edge’ is great to play live, ‘Awaken’ is also a really fun song to play live. The whole end of the song with all the chord changes is just tremendous. ‘Mind Drive’ is incredible to play live and ‘America’ is one of my favourites.


Morgan MCDonald
Who are your favourite musicians to listen to currently? 🙂

Alan White: I like to listen to many kinds of music. I like some of the songs by the band ‘Fun’. I’ve also got into listening to trumpet players. There’s a musician, Chris Botti, who’s really talented. Diverse stuff really, I still listen to Zappa as well as some classical pieces so I’m all over the map. I like lots of different genres of music.


Steve Smith
What hi-fi system have you got at home ?

Alan White: I’m a JBL guy, I like JBL speakers. They’re rock and rollish and I’ve had an ear for them for a number of years. That’s been my favourite for a long time. I do have a turntable and about seven or eight thousand albums, but I recently had a flood in my home so they’re all in storage right now, just waiting to be pulled out and dusted off when my studio is rebuilt.


David Westbay
Do you have a favorite piece of classical music?

Alan White: I very much like listening to Ravel. He wrote a piece called ‘Daphnis and Chloé’, that’s from a ballet. The section called ‘Lever du Jour’ (‘Sunrise’) is a really amazing piece of music to play in the morning when you’re waking up, it can just make your day.


Randy Aranki
Did you switch to Ludwig drums from Premier prior to joining YES?

Alan White: I have tried playing a Premier kit but I used to have an AJAX kit for a few months when I first started. Then I tried Premier but I didn’t quite get on with the sound. We went to a drum store in England and I saw this sparkling silver Ludwig drum kit, and I sat down and played it and said “Oh this is it! This is exactly what I need!” My family and my uncle Ken sprung the money to pay for it and I’ve had it ever since. In fact I used that kit on the John Lennon ‘Imagine‘ single and album.


Gilbert Terpstra
What kind of drumkit did you use during the ‘Going For The One’ sessions? It has a great sound in my opinion.

Alan White: It was a Ludwig. It was a bigger kit, not the silver one I used for ‘Imagine’. It had something like 6 toms and a 22″ bass drum and a hammered bronze snare drum. I used a Black Beauty snare drum too. It was a really enjoyable time period when we recorded that.


Mike Sallee
What drum kit did you use on the 1994 Talk tour? That was the best drum sound of all YES tours I’ve seen. 7101994 at The Gorge. 😎

Alan White: In the studio I used a Ludwig kit, very similar to the one I used on ‘Going For The One’. The way that was mixed was really incredible and we spent a lot of time getting the drum sound. YES have always paid attention to detail. That concert at the Gorge will always be a great memory of mine. During the show Jon turned around to face the river canyon and was mesmerized by the beauty. I had to get his attention to turn around and continue singing because we were in the middle of a show!


John Carls
Did you like your North drums? Were they used on any recordings?

Alan White: Well not in the studio itself, but they were recorded live. We used them in ‘Topographic Oceans’ for the drum solo in ‘Ritual’. We used to have a regular drum kit and also the North drum kit and for the solo I’d spin around, the North kit would come up and I’d play the solo on the North kit and then switch back to a regular kit. It was on a little riser that was motorized so you had one kit and then all of a sudden you turned around and there was another kit. That was a lot of fun.


Alan using North Toms during the Going for the One tour in 1977. More information about North Drums can be found here.


Joachim Weber
Which Ride cymbal have you played on “Shoot High Aim Low”? It sounds great!

Alan White: That is a 22 inch K22 Zildjian. It’s a type of a rock and roll cymbal which you can get the detail out of within the music. Cymbals are never a great attraction for engineers. They can get mixed down in a lot of recordings because they tend to get in the road of the vocals but I think their sound is important to the music.


Dave Watkinson
Alan….do you have much YES memorabilia and if so what’s your favourite piece?

Alan White: I’ve got a lot of t-shirts dating way way back to the seventies and hats, programs, tour books, all kinds of stuff. It’s really hard to pick out a favorite piece, but I guess the Grammy we received for. ‘Cinema’ (1985, Best Rock Instrumental Performance) is one of my favorites. It resides on the desk in my office .


Harvey Manning
Thank you for taking questions of all the music you played what is your favorite piece of music?

Alan White: ‘Awaken’ is one of my favourite songs to play. There’s so many YES songs that I enjoy playing. ‘Close To The Edge’, ‘Going For The One’. ‘Don’t Kill The Whale’ is very funky and there are a lot of different aspects of the music, ‘Mind Drive’ is also fun to play, there are many pieces I like to play but a few that I mentioned are exceptional.


Ryan Talbot
Alan, Any more plans for some more Steven Wilson Remixes of YES albums? “Going For The One” is my top choice! 🙂

Alan White: I agree ‘Going For The One’ would be great because ‘Awaken’ is fantastic. It could be quite amazing if it was remixed in 5.1.


Albums available in Steven Wilson’s remix series are currently: The Yes Album, Fragile, Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, and Relayer. Available at Amazon.

Krista Hamilton
Hello, Alan! Glad you’re doing so well after your back surgery. I’m a YES fan at age 19 and I know firsthand that you have several young fans around my age group because I blog online about YES in my spare time. Do you have anything you would like to say to your young fans?

Alan White: I’m quite thankful we’ve got young fans! The music of YES spans about three generations now and to have some of those kids turn up at concerts is fantastic. We do ‘meet and greets’ after the show, 12, 13, 14 & 15 year olds tell us “I love your music so much I had to come and see it played live” . Their parents bring them and it’s such a great feeling to see our music being appreciated by young people. Keep on listening, there’s more to come! I joke with them and say they’ve been brainwashed by their parents playing our music all the time when they were growing up. (laughs).


Kurt Schweizer
It looks like my potential questions are all covered here already. Plus I have asked you some questions in a past clinic. I just want to say that you are my main influence on my own drumming (with Phil Collins a close second). My life would not be the same without you. Thank you for all of your wonderful work and for being a joy to run into each time we have. (Viva la YES!) 🙂

Alan White: Thank you for the compliment. I’ve been playing for a long time and it’s really great to see that it gets through to some people and be told they enjoy what I do. It’s a very satisfying feeling to know you’ve had a positive influence in someone’s life. Thank you very much, Viva YES!


Matthew Silver:
I just wish to say thank you Alan for your continued gift of music and social activism. A lifetime of superlative music and inspiration! One of my favorite drummers!

Alan White: Thanks very much. I don’t think I’d change much of anything that has happened in my career. I’ve been lucky enough to meet great people and play with amazing musicians who’ve had a big influence on me. As far as the charities I support, I think it’s important to give back to the community. There is a nonprofit organization my wife Gigi and I helped start about ten years ago, Music Aid Northwest.

Over the years we’ve raised a lot of money for local schools and musicians. We’ve also passed a law through the legislature for a special “Music Matters” license plate. It costs about thirty dollars on top of a normal license plate fee but all the money goes to support music education programs in schools throughout Washington State where we live.

Every little bit you can do helps, it’s really satisfying to see our plates on cars when we’re out and about.

Read more #askYES Q&As here.

2017-04-03T19:04:14+00:00