YES LOG 1979: YOU COULDA BEEN A GOLDEN AGE CONTENDER!

3 Oct

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Welcome to a new unwritten chapter of my YES LOG revival project that I originally started nine years ago on another blog which if you took a look at right now it would like look like a fucking cyber tornado (or would that be a Tormato?) went through it. All the original photos posted up to illustrate my text have seem to mysteriously disappear. However, I’m quite happy with the way they  turn up on this wordpress thing a ma jig – they look more neater and organized, that I’m proud to even allow the actual members of the band themselves to check them out (and I do have two ex-members of Yes currently on my facebook – Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood).

So why am I obsessed with reposting these blogs of late?  Well, it seems I’ve been seeking some kind of happy nostalgia in my life to help me ease my mind about some devastating shit that’s happened in my life of late, other than the nonchalant surprise of going through this yearly rigmarole of being employed for a half a year at a time and then spending the second half of it in constant unemployed limbo of where you see me right now. In order to pass the time, I thought of these blogs on the old blogspot site www.purplepinupgurublogspot.com and looking at them now these days, they come across as incomprehensible as I was employing them in the company as a third person, adopting this off the wall persona of a sex crazed guru deviant which I thought  was a good idea at the time when I was originally writing them to make them sort of more entertaining. Now I’m strictly in the process of changing things around from the original text to make them sound a bit informative and commemorative, but still adhering to the original concept of the odd metamorphosis of blossoming into my own life from childhood to teen age adolescent to a full-grown adult now fully well developing into my fifties through the course of every Yes studio album release. These blogs are slated to run through October 24, which is Jon Anderson’s 70th birthday, not to mention the band itself is 45 years old this year.

In the original blogs I only got up to 2001’s Magnification, which was the last full studio album appearance of Jon Anderson as lead singer of the band and I haven’t keep up any of the band’s album releases that followed at a snail’s pace since then . So towards the end of this re-experiment, I’m going to be adding new chapters along the way. There will be chapters devoted to 2004’s Ultimate Yes Collection which is the first official last studio album appearance of Jon Anderson on the bonus disc before he was forced to depart the band due to health reasons. I will be trying to make this chapter available to media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News of this particular entry because I’m to about to make official the death announcement of my best friend who committed suicide earlier last April who had briefly had a touch of fame of his own – albeit not in the way he would have imagined or wanted– as he was a semi-successful songwriter in his own right, even making a footprint in the Yes/Asia annals as an original collaborator of a song written by John Wetton and Geoff Downes that was retooled for an album of theirs which sadly I didn’t put two and two together until it was too late- and my deceased friend never knew about a song that he helped write was used a mere five years ago. Other chapters will be written about 2011’s Fly From Here, and the newly released album which came out a few short months ago entitled “Heaven and Earth” which was produced by the same producer of a lost piece of work from 1979 of which we are going to be discussing right now:

My imaginary proposal for the lost album that I imagined would have been entitled: “The Golden Age”.

Let’s delve into what wikipedia’s take on what this heavily debated topic would be:

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In October 1979, the band convened in Paris with producer Roy Thomas Baker. Their diverse approach was now succumbing to division, as Anderson and Wakeman favoured the more fantastical and delicate approach while the rest preferred a heavier rock sound. Howe, Squire and White liked none of the music Anderson was offering at the time as it was too lightweight and lacking in the heaviness that they were generating in their own writing sessions. The Paris sessions abruptly ended in December after White broke his foot while roller skating in a roller disco.(Nice one, Alan!!) When the band, minus Wakeman (who had only committed to recording keyboard overdubs once new material would be ready to record) reconvened in February to resume work on the project, their growing musical differences, combined with internal dissension, obstructed progress. Journalist Chris Welch, after attending a rehearsal, noted that Anderson “was singing without his usual conviction and seemed disinclined to talk”.By late March, Howe, Squire and White had begun demoing material as an instrumental trio, increasingly uncertain about Anderson’s future involvement. Eventually, neither he nor Wakeman would participate in the finished album.

IMAGINARY TRACK LIST:

7 songs from the Paris Sessions were eventually spread across two releases ( but my theory is technically three ):

1) Dance Through The Light (released on the 2004 re-mastered version of DRAMA) (Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White) Total time: 3:17

2) The Golden Age (released on the 2004 re-mastered edition of DRAMA) (Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White) Total time: 5:58 (my personal preference would have been to save this bouncy number for last)

3) Tango (released on the 2002 five disc collection of IN A WORDYES) (mis-titled on some bootlegs as In The Tower) (Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White) Total time: 3:49

4) In The Tower (released on the 2004 re-mastered edition DRAMA) (mis-titled on some bootlegs as Friend Of A Friend) (Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White) Total time: 2:55

5) Friend Of A Friend (released on the 2004 re-mastered edition of DRAMA) (mis-titled on some bootlegs as To Let You Know) (Anderson/ Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White) Total time: 3:38

6) Everybody Loves You (BOOTLEG ONLY)

7) Flower Girl (re-titled on the 2002 five disc collection IN A WORDYES as Never Done Before) (Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/Howe) Total time: 2:10

But wait – these two songs would had a chance to have been re-recorded and placed on the proposed album:

8) Richard (released on the 2002 five disc collection IN A WORDYES) (Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White) Total time: 3:34

9). Piscasso (released on the 2003 re-mastered edition of TORMATO) (Anderson) Total time: 2:11

And it probably would have been a mighty crapshoot for:

10) Everybody’s Song (an early demo of Does It Really Happen?  (released on the 2003 re-mastered edition of TORMATO (Anderson/Howe/Squire/White) Total time: 6:46

Now, while the Drama versions appear uncut in terms of length, the In A Word versions have been severely edited (probably due to space – every disc in that 5 CD collection is nearly the allotment of 80 minutes a piece) Tango, apart from trimming both of the lengthy verses, has 50 seconds of instrumental cut out from the middle and about 2 minutes of coda are lost! Never Done Before has become 1 verse and 1 chorus – a copy of the same chorus – repeated 3 times! The recorded beginning and end do not show on the ‘official’ release.

Of the four songs on the Rhino Drama, “Golden Age” was cannibalized by both Rick Wakeman (in the track “Maybe ’80” on Rock n’ Roll Prophet) and Jon Anderson (for parts of “Some Are Born” on Song of Seven), while “Dancing Through the Light”, was an early version of “Run Through the Light”.

The traditional story is that, at this point, in Paris, Anderson and Wakeman decided to leave the band. In actuality, the process was more complex. The band returned to their respective homes, unable to agree on a future direction. Squire, Howe and White soon re-grouped and started working on new material, what was to form the basis to Drama. It appears that they had soon further developed “Run Through the Light” and had early versions of “Does It Really Happen?” and “Tempus Fugit”. “Does It Really Happen?” actually dates back further to around the time of Tormato. An early version with Anderson and Wakeman is on the Rhino Tormato as “Everybody’s Song” (although it’s been disputed if it’s actually Patrick Moraz playing the keyboards) .

At some point in early 1980, Squire, Howe and White presented their material to Anderson, although precisely how far they had got in developing it is unclear, and there was some attempt to make a go of things. (There seems also to have been some contact with Wakeman, although he seems not to have met up with the other four.) However, Anderson and the Drama trio could not agree on a musical direction: Anderson did not like their material and they did not like Anderson’s ideas. Moreover, there were divisions in the band of a non-musical kind. Yes’s finances had been worsening as the seventies ended – and that’s where I’m going to leave personal finance information concerning certain band members out of the discussion. I’m writing these blogs as an insight to their music and creativity – not of how much money each member spends in their personal life and for what – but allow me to say this:

Money was already allocated towards a 1980 fall tour in which Anderson and Wakeman were committed to honor at the time before this temporary animosity occurred between the band members. The new untitled album was supposed to be the central marketing product to promote the tour which would have been a new album with Jon Anderson, Steve Howe. Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White. Not Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and two members of a bubblegum pop duo album. That wasn’t the original plan.

So once more to clarify:

Songs: Everybody Loves You, Flower Girl, Dancing Through the Light, In the Tower, Golden Age, Tango, Friend of a Friend:

What happened to these tracks? “Everybody Loves You” was on Song of Seven and “Dancing Through the Light” became “Run Through the Light” on Drama. “Golden Age” was used in “Maybe 80” on Rick Wakeman’s Rock and Roll Prophet. “Tango” and “Never Done Before” (“Flower Girl”) appeared on In a Word. “Dancing Through the Light”, “In the Tower”, “Golden Age” and “Friend of a Friend” appear on the Rhino remaster of Drama.

Songs: Picasso, &  Richard,

What happened to these tracks? “Picasso” was used by Jon in some form on his (as yet unreleased) opera about Marc Chagall and appeared on the Rhino remaster of Tormato.  “Richard” was released on In a Word, in edited form.

The reason I’m fascinated with this particular hotly debated era in the band’s history is that in addition to the seven tracks listed above, there could have been any configuration of songs in the can that could have made it on to the album.

A section I remember from watching the VHS tape of Yesyears has Jon Anderson viciously denouncing these tracks in a backstage interview with Alan White. Anderson even admits there was an attempt to lay down Picasso as one of the tracks, a song he actually liked – even reciting some of the melody by singing some of the words by heart. As on to the subject of working with Roy Thomas Baker, Anderson begrudgingly asks Alan White who was at the room with him at the time, ‘would you have wanted that same kind of drum sound that is all over those Queen/Journey and Cars albums? They all sound the same’ (I’m paraphrasing here since I don’t a working VCR at this time to actually write the quote). White is reluctant to answer.

Another distant memory I have goes back to high school and reading of the unfolding of these fateful events is that it had originally started when Anderson had heard the songs that Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn provided to the rest of the band and refused to work further on the material if they were going to be involved with the writing. Then Rick Wakeman quickly followed suit. I believe that was once reported in a Rolling Stone news brief. I guess the Drama unit really showed them.

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Recently an article surfaced in the pages of Prog Magazine about the aborted sessions as part of a “Heaven and Earth” dedicated theme issue stating other factors were also in play – particularly the studio booked in Paris did not provide the proper atmosphere in which to work in as well as the city itself – it lacked inspiration. The two writing factors between the teams of Anderson and Wakeman vs. the Howe/Squire/White could not come together with any sort of agreement whatsoever in terms of what the album’s direction would be. Anderson wanted more harp playing in some songs while the latter three wanted more punchier material ala “The Golden Age” The factors were so much divided between the two writing halves that Rick Wakeman’s prank playing shenanigans were sorely reduced to chucking peanuts at Alan White’s drums during moments of rehearsals. Arguments and disagreements got so heated that it took it took Atlantic Records head honcho Ahmet Ertegun to fly out to Paris to separate everyone and put every member into corners complete with dunce caps on. Sacrificial lamb producer Roy Thomas Baker was not successful into having the band come to amicable agreements about the music and direction that it was decided just to cancel everything altogether and looked upon as a write off. The stick that broke the camel’s back was ultimately Alan White’s foot injury.

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So trying to piece this all together – my theory of what the album woulda, coulda, shoulda, been with my hypothesis of what I gathered together would have possibly been an album with songs that had a constant theme running throughout pertaining or linking certain historical events with a title such as “The Golden Age” would have seemingly been the logical course.

There are songs such as “Richard” “Picasso” “In The Tower” and “The Golden Age” with lyrics written by Anderson as an insight into the great lives of warriors and the wars they fought throughout medieval times and Al Stewart inspired acoustic forays into telling autobiographical tales of  French painters along with other old fashion pop ditties and rockers sprinkled throughout. The one to drive it all home would be the proposed title track which seethes with all five members in perfect performing unison as it displays some phenomenal bass playing from Chris and some catchy toe tapping memorable synthesizer playing from Rick Wakeman.

And as for ‘Dance Through the Light” my hypothetical inclusion into the mix would be at the time, it could served as a Electric Light Orchestra styled template into some disco influenced writing just to shake up the theme’s monotony. If I remember at the time, ELO were successful in emerging disco sounds amalgamated with classical music when they released their album called “Discovery” that same year. The demo found on the re-mastered version of Drama at least sounds as if Jon Anderson is having a good time with some estranged vocoder effects (Geoff Downes would master the vocoder effectively in the track entitled “Into the Lens” on the Drama album.).

Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White could have easily fought to have “Everybody’s Song” included and it was probably would’ve handed over to Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn to add a different perspective to the mix to give them a more upbeat sound and a mere notch on their creative resume. It wound up on “Drama” anyway as “Does It Really Happen?” of which Anderson originally received a writing credit. Maybe this was the song that Jon Anderson heard that had him fuming,

I also have a theory that Hipgnosis still would have kept the working relationship previously demonstrated on ‘Going For the One” and “Tormato” and still provided the art for the album cover – perhaps utilizing objects of a steam punk styled theme or some medieval cross-pollination within the confides of a modern world while still maintaining the same Roger Dean bubble style logo.

Lastly, don’t let the short running times fool you Tapes I happen to possess of some of these songs are longer. The original version I have of ‘In The Tower’ runs close to 8 minutes – that might have served as the epic piece of the album (‘the big piece’ as Jon Anderson is usually fondly heard as saying).

Madison Square Garden - in the round outside

Madison Square Garden – in the round outside

The summer of 1979 was rather uneventful for me other than getting to see Yes again (on the second leg of the Tormato tour) at Madison Square Garden towards the closure of my freshman year at Parsippany High School in June – this time with both my mom and stepfather’s permission, plus it was on a Friday night so there was no worry of waking up early for school the next morning. Another big highlight for me that year was the saving up of money from all my paper routes and purchasing a big Pioneer stereo component system to play all my Yes, Genesis, and ELP albums under the auspices of my stepfather’s permission. Finally, I could hear all my music in all its’ high fidelity and pristine aural quality glory. With headphones, I could mostly keep out of my stepfather’s mafia styled brill creamed hair and stop yelling at me to turn down that racket and it kept me busy while my mom and my half-sister jetted off to Nebraska to visit my grandmother. I elected not to go because I had gone visited with her last summer on my bus trip back from Anaheim where I was staying with my twin aunts Meghan and Priscilla.

And inside Madison Square Garden Yes In the Round.

And inside Madison Square Garden Yes In the Round.

 

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Nonetheless, it was probably the first time that I sort of got along with my stepfather. He even won a giant beer glass with the band’s logo laminated on it at a booth at the local town carnival and gave it to me. I spent time at the swimming pool with the usual gang of boys near or close to my age such as Martin Nielsen, David Ben-Shimer, and one kid who I heard unfortunately died years ago by the name of Glen Gatsky. At night, usually after my evening paper routes were finished, I’d spend some time at the Jersey City Reservoir that was located behind my apartment complex  surrounded by heavily barb-wired fences and no trespassing signs that always had chinks in its’ armor. Hung out with the some of the local wildlife there such as bears and ferrets, who were prone on following me home – the ferrets, I mean, not Gentle Ben. The geese, however proved to be the most difficult to get along with. They just shit and hiss at you for no reason.

The copy of "In Through The Out Door" that I once owned.

The copy of “In Through The Out Door” that I once owned.

The Summer of 1979 was also the time when Led Zeppelin released their very last studio album, In Through the Out Door before the tragic death of drummer John Bonham. It was my favorite album by them, although I didn’t consider myself a bona-fide fan of them switching my loyalties to the Yes camp by then. It’s particularly my favorite because it’s the first album that allowed multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones to put synthesizers up in the forefront of the mix. “Carouselambra” and “All My Love” remain my favorite all time Led Zeppelin songs. The album concept album by Hipnogsis was another winner in whereas they were issued in multiple editions with different camera angles of the same picture with an inner sleeve in which if you lick your fingers or use a wet cloth on the black and white surface art, it changes color – because it was printed using sepia paper. Plus all copies shipped in a paper bag sleeve as if you just secretly purchased it from my neighborhood Bach’s Liquors in Lake Hiawatha, NJ. so you couldn’t tell which sleeve you were getting.

Which reminds me – my aunt Priscilla wants me to state a correction after reading these series of Yes Logs: she actually graduated from Trenton State College in 1971, not 1970 as I previously noted. So that should have been in the Yes Album entry rather than the Time and A Word entry.

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During the early autumn months when I was starting off my sophomore year, I got to attend a couple of other concerts by myself at Madison Square Garden by Jethro Tull for the Stormwatch tour and Foreigner in support of their Head Games album. The Jethro Tull concert is particularly noteworthy because of the particular area of where I was seated, I could see what was going from the left side of the stage of where Jeffrey Hammond was playing keyboards and I could see what going on from behind the backstage curtain. I had witnessed lead vocalist and flautist extraordinaire Ian Anderson getting injured by some female fan who threw a rose at him and one of its’ thorns accidentally pricked him in one of his eyelids, where it started gushing a good amount of blood, so during band instrumentals, he had to keep scurrying backstage to keep dabbing his eye with a wet towel.

Unfortunately I got involved in more squabbles with fellow Parsippany High School classmates more often as a sophomore than I did as a freshman– usually with those in their junior year – with the exception of a Chris Gallo who I did not get along very well in my art class. We got in a fist fight over some idiot difference in preference to art, but we made up and became friends and he later got me tickets to see Pink Floyd and some tickets for the upcoming 1980 Yes tour that went on sale nearly a full year before they were scheduled to play (see mention above). I got into fights during study halls and gym classes with people who held grudges with me.

Then in the late autumn early winter – some dark and mysterious event crept into my life and I suspect it was a set up from one of these high school enemies of mine – or least one had some sort of involvement of discrediting me for the sake of revenge.

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For one of my paper routes for the Morristown Daily Record, of which I inherited from the previous paper boy who used to drive around in a cool looking customized van had approached me during a time when I was delivering local circulars for the local town pennysaver and some wacky twice a week paper published out of Wayne, New Jersey that I had to shove under people’s doormats when they didn’t want them, had asked me if I wanted to take over his routes for my apartment complex and the neighboring apartment complex called Lakeview Gardens since these particular areas were proving to be too much on his plate for him. All I remember about him was his name was Bob, he drove a customized van, and always had a hot babe with him helping out with the dispersion of newspapers, so I sort of idolized him a bit. I talked it over with my mom, she thought it was a great idea but warned me that I was responsible for making sure the customers paid for their papers and that meant knocking on peoples’ doors on a Friday night. No going out on dates. No concerts unless I got the monies collected and sent in on time. So the Daily Record approved me of taking over the routes and soon, much to my grandfather’s delight (who was a very successful business man in the baking supply industry and as being one-third creator of Bosco chocolate syrup products) I was soon on my way to my first entrepreneur venture according to him.

One collection evening,  something odd was up with one of the female customers I collected a bill from in the Lakeview Garden apartments . She answered the door nearly naked in a torn nightgown (hey, I could see your boobies) one early Friday night around 7-ish and started cursing and yelling at me, “You’re the one!! You’re the one who did this to me. I’m calling the police on you!!” and then slammed the door in my face.

Now what the hell was that all about?

So thinking nothing of it, I just left the bill and return payment envelope at her door and walked over to the next person on the subscription list.

Cut to Sunday morning. After finishing my Sunday deliveries at Lakeview, I’m about to cross through the woods that connected the Lakeview Gardens apartment complex to my Vail Gardens apartment complex until my half -sister’s sixth grade boyfriend (yeah, she’d rein them in that early alright) who ironically was named Bernie ( the running gag being ‘hey, it’s the Bernie and Bernie Show – which was also a nickname for my half-sister Bernadette) came crashing through the woods towards me yelling at me that they are cops at my house looking for me.

I thought it was another one of his jokes that he was playing – like the time when he accidentally kicked me in the groin while I was delivering him his paper

But since he was hanging around outside my apartment visiting my half-sister, he saw the police knock on my door. At first I thought maybe another major brouhaha had erupted at my house again and my mom and stepdad were wrestling with each other to the floor – which could become mighty loud at times, so I couldn’t imagine it could be about me.

It turned out that Bernie was on the level. When I walked in the door there were two uniformed policemen and a plain clothed detective. They wanted to know if I knew a woman named such and such. Confused, I said I think I deliver a newspaper to her.

They looked at me and with an angry tone, the detective then sternly asked me simple and direct:

“Did you rape her?”

Oops, sorry - I didn't mean to put that there.

Oops, sorry- I didn’t mean to put that there.

 

I immediately answered back without pause or hesitation, No – but I didn’t let on that this woman yelled at me for some unfathomable reason that last Friday night.

The scene of the crime.

The scene of the crime.

Plus I was fifteen years old at the time – what the hell did I know about sex at the time, let alone rape? Rape was something I once heard talked about on an episode of All in the Family (good thing Harry Perzigian isn’t around to read that show’s honorable mention – google it for the inside joke) and that’s all I knew about the subject. I was dating some sick in a head brunette at the time named Diane Salaby(?) who used to get frisky with me until she started embarrassing me in front of my mom and then I dropped her around Thanksgiving time of that year. She broke my Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans cassette tape and I didn’t want anything to do with her ever again. (See, I’ve got my priorities in order).

I’ve never forget what followed next, let alone the sight. For some reason, my stepfather had all the blinds and drapes closed, so I guess he didn’t want the neighbors to see the cops being at our apartment – so the plains clothes cop couldn’t find good valuable light source to start reading my Miranda Rights, so he had to bend over to read them in the glare of the television screen that was on. They didn’t believe me – and I stood to be arrested.

My stepfather then immediately jumped off the couch raising his voice to one of the cops “Hey, what the fuck do you think you’re doing? He just told you he didn’t do it. So why are you arresting him!”

The plains clothes detective looked at him flabbergasted.

Then my stepfather rattled off some names of police chiefs and local government officials (and probably some mobsters in the mix) he knew people he had played golf with and before everybody knew it, the handcuffs were being placed back on the officer’s belt.

My stepfather promised the cops,’ I’m going to have a talk with so and so tomorrow morning. This will give you time to find the real guy for the next couple of days – then I will take him to the station myself and you can interview him and have him printed.

Sure enough, my stepfather took me to the station to have me fingerprinted the next day after school, but when it came time for detectives to question me, they told us that the case was now closed. They caught the guy last night. They wouldn’t reveal who the person actually was – but they assured me that he was a dead ringer for me. Had the same type of hair and build, etc; etc.

“See, this is what happens when you don’t cut your hair.” My stepfather chided. But I didn’t fire my usual wise cracking quips at him, I figured this time, I owed him one.

However, the next day at school I overheard a certain junior student by the name of Frank Avalon and a David Baldwin talking about how a certain paperboy they knew got arrested.

At first I thought I walked over and boast to them ‘sorry boys – it wasn’t me.” And then I stopped myself as I heard the name “Bob” being brandied about between them and that their little plan backfired on them.

Bob?

No fucking way. You mean, the paper boy with the customized van, the hot chicks, and – oh yeah – the longish hair? The same guy who passed a portion of his paper route to me?

Yep. That would be the one. It all could’ve been a frame-up, plain and simple.

Next Monday – Meet the new guys amidst the blossoming romance of my favorite idea all-American dream girl who entered my life  and had been in my life since I was in the seventh grade and never really noticed her until I was in the tenth,  and we finally get to the introduction of the long-lost brotherhood of the zany Zullo clan. Lots of Drama ahead on the good old king highway in store for all you loyal Yes Log followers .

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