This is a very bad September 11, 2001 where more than 3,000 people unwillingly kissed their asses goodbye.
And this is a good September 11, 2001: which you can listen to over and over again and think positive thoughts to help ease or block out the ghastliness of those terrifying moments that kept one nervously glued for hours on end through radio and television on that terrible Tuesday morning.
Yes’ first studio effort for the 21st century, Magnification had the misfortune of being released in the UK on September 1o, 2001- just a day before terrorists sucker punched the US with a few hijacked airliners. I had just started a temp job with Warner Bros when the unfathomable event occurred. While I was getting ready for that morning just after the first plane and everyone in the house getting ready for work in the house with me thought it was just another one of those unfortunate fluke accidents. No sooner than I was boarding the bus to work and on my way to the studio was when the second plane hit. When I got off the bus and approached the studio lot, security guards were mounting barricades around the perimeter of the lot. Every entrance was being blocked off and everyone was being told to go back home. When the coast was clear and the city of Los Angeles wasn’t attacked, everyone, my co-workers, and myself were like walking on eggshells throughout the remainder of the week.
I was lucky enough to latch onto an advance copy that was sent to me via Germany by a friend who was associated with Inside Out Music. Matt Goodluck was on the ground floor when Inside Out was a record label just forming in both here in the US and in Germany. The label specialized in bands whose roots are planted firmly in progressive rock of which I has been a staunch supporter for nearly almost all of their releases (although I’m more of a Kscope Music label kind of guy these days). The favorites of that time for Inside-Out included The Flower Kings, Ayreon, Asia, Jadis, IQ, Spock’s Beard and most recently, Carptree. There used to be days when the I’d look forward to Matt’s packages of promo discs and in reciprocation, I’d send Matt a few Daredevil or Howard the Duck comics his way via the store I used to manage in North Hollywood called Rookies & Allstars. Matt, being within the crux of the record business was able to secure an advance copy of the new Yes disc – probably through Steve Howe’s management dropping off some at the office (Steve’s solo discs were distributed through Inside-Out) and I had my copy at least a month in advance of both the Europe and months ahead of the December 5th US ship date.
And I was sure glad I did – because coincidentally enough, the lyrics to Anderson’s songs – We Agree and The Spirit of Survival are eerie enough as it is as if Maestro Jon A’s mind was strong enough to channel clairvoyant powers through his consistent peyote pandering to predict the tragic events of the twin towers crumbling to rubble. What’s even more shocking: the band had completed a series of 3 shows in New York City the night before all pandemonium broke loose in which they got out just in the proverbial nick of time.
Although some days you may feel that the gods have forgotten to switch on the light, here is a cozy little beacon of hope from Wikipedia to help you glide you along:
Magnification is Yes‘ first album of the new century and their second using a live orchestra (the first being Time and a Word from 1970). It marked the band’s last studio album to date with vocalist Jon Anderson.
Released between the departure of Igor Khoroshev the previous year and Rick Wakeman‘s fourth return in 2002, it is the only album in the band’s history not to feature any keyboardist, and the only one involving only four Yes members
Following the departures of guitarist Billy Sherwood and keyboardist Igor Khoroshev, and Rick Wakeman‘s decision not to rejoin the band, remaining members Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White decided to fill the keyboard role with an orchestra, and hired film composer Larry Groupé to compose and conduct original orchestrations and musical bridges.
The album was re-released in 2002 as a limited and numbered 2-CD set with alternate artwork; the second disc contains three live performances and a CD-ROM track with an interview, video of “Don’t Go,” and a live video of “The Gates of Delirium”. This album also features the song “Can You Imagine”, in which the main vocals are sung by Chris Squire with Jon Anderson on backing vocals. This Squire-penned song was originally recorded in 1981 as a demo entitled “Can You See” for his aborted XYZ project.
Apart from the traditional Yes themes of spirituality and relation to nature and divinity, the album also addresses personal issues (Jon Anderson’s relation with his daughter Deborah in “Don’t Go” and political issues (the war in Bosnia in “We Agree”, the plight of drunk-driving youth in “Spirit of Survival”). Magnification was reissued as part of the box set Essentially Yes in 2006.
Magnification received a warm reception from critics and fans, although not on the level of older albums such as Fragile or Close to the Edge. It reached No. 71 in the UK and No. 186 (wow!!) in the US during a chart stay of 1 week.
SONGS / TRACK LISTING
All songs written by Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White.
|2.||“Spirit of Survival”||6:02|
|4.||“Give Love Each Day”||7:44|
|5.||“Can You Imagine”||2:59|
|7.||“Soft as a Dove”||2:17|
|9.||“In the Presence Of
|10.||“Time Is Time”||2:09|
The Japanese version has a bonus track of “Long Distance Runaround”
The 2002 bonus disc included:
|2002 Bonus Disc|
|1.||“Deeper (In the Presence Of) (Live)”||11:18|
|2.||“The Gates of Delirium (Live)”||23:47|
When it was re-released in 2004, you got a bonus disc that was just a tad slightly different:
|1.||“Close to the Edge [Live]
|2.||“Long Distance Runaround [Live]”||3:44|
|3.||“The Gates of Delirium [Live]”||22:41|
So get them off of e-bay while they’re hot and discontinued:
After the departure of the only traces of young blood in the band, Igor Khoroshev and Billy Sherwood, Yes returned to the studio, this time to record with an orchestra in lieu of a keyboardist. Instead of looking for a replacement (although the Swiss Poodle Spaceman, Patrick Moraz was even considered for a return engagement ) – the band considered the idea of returning with an orchestra, not used on a Yes album since 1970 when Time and A Word was released. Both fans old and new were dreading this idea or prospect of using an orchestra to fill the vacant keyboardist spot. Oddly enough, the idea did seem to work out ok. My favorite tracks on the album is “Don’t Go” and “Give Love Each Day.” It’s far from anywhere near an original statement, other than wearing its Beatles influence openly on its sleeve even down to the “All You Need Is Love” trumpet flourishes at the end. Also, of great importance on this album is the last of the XYZ jams (you know that super-group that was supposed to happen between Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Chris Squire, and Alan White?) shows up courtesy of Chris Squire entitled “Can You Imagine.”
The band was not only backed by a 60-piece orchestra, but specific parts and arrangements were written by notable film composer Larry Groupe and executed by the orchestra, sounding as if the orchestra was a permanent band member. On tour, however, the band hired a session keyboardist, Tom Brislin, (who now works a manuscript transcriber for Keyboard Magazine ) as the orchestra alone could not faithfully reproduce some of the classic material. Unfortunately, I had to miss out on this tour in my area due to financial restraints (I was a little strapped for cash at the time) when the band made its first ever appearance at the Hollywood Bowl. However on the tour’s encore run in the summer of 2002- I was fortune enough to catch some of Magnification performed live when Curry eating Capeman Rick Wakeman came back in the fold (yet again). That’s when things were right as rain when I was hired by Warner Bros to work in the scripts/studio services MIS department.
Alright – I’m going to deviate as far from the blog I originally wrote in 2004 as far away as I can because it’s a run on sentence ranting mess.
2001 was an incredible year for me. It was a time of creativity unfettered a thousand fold for me. I’ve decided to hold off on all talk about how my own comic book called the Deposit Man materialized and was a good seller for me in its beginning years. Basically the premise or the pitch concerns an unknown humanoid entity wakes up in the afterlife not having a remote idea of who or what he is or why he is different from everyone as he possesses a body composed of pure television snow and test patterns that transmit televised images onto his body. Along the way, he learns he’s in the employ of God and is dispatched through strange neighborhoods to serve eviction notices to certain residing undesirables “who have somehow gotten through the main gates by the misfiling of paperwork.” I sold it to convention goers at small press gathering such as APE as an alternative to Spawn – if Spawn had starred in his own situation comedy, that is. People ate it up initially. I had sold out my first two appearances, one as pilot try out in some cheap Xerox print run of some anthology title called Malice that was distributed through some pimply face kid’s Florida basement called Death Comics, that somehow was lucky to be solicited through Diamond Comics back in 1999. Even though the book sold on the merits of a wonderful cover by children’s book illustrator Jillian Suzanne, the quality of the product looked like a steaming turd lit afire by a butane torch , plus it wasn’t enough to match the powerhouse debut of the first official one shot comic book entitled The Deposit Man Kaleidoscopic Medicine Freak Show that nearly sold half its’ printed run at its’ premiere over at the 2001 Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. I’d to think that it was the brilliant marketing strategy of our action figure and toy supplier at Rookies & Allstars, Mark Capuano. He fronted up half the money and arranged the design, logo, and printing and I’d also like to think it was because of penciller/inker/letterer acute Mort Drucker inspired craftsmanship of Revolutionary Comics alumni, Larry Nadolsky that sealed the deal (based on original designs by Ben Fogletto). Not to go into too much of a rant this go around – I vow to discuss further my comic book origins in a separate blog chapter after the conclusion of these Yes Logs.
Towards that same year close to the holidays – Mark Capuano, Larry Nadolsky and I released our sophomore effort, The Deposit Man Survival Guide to the Afterlife, which didn’t do as good as its’ predecessor at the following year’s show. Incidentally, I utilize two Yes references in this issue, “The Second Attention” from the ABHW song, “Themes” is referenced as the town newspaper in the afterlife, and “42nd Screamdown” is the name of the gay bar that the Deposit Man tries to save from being demolished so that a fancy Planet Hollywood type of restaurant franchise can be put in its’ place. I delicately lifted that reference from the song “On the Silent Wings of Freedom” from the Tormato album.
All this success with the books was going to my head, it wasn’t long until I was focused on turning my creative attention to writing scripts at any spare moment I could and then sending them off to Canada to have Larry pen and ink the pages. I neglected writing anything more for the Comics Buyers’ Guide and some other fanzine I was involved with called Comics Effect. It was strictly comic book scripting from here on out.
But despite my new-found success, with the printing of the comic books, being hired by Warner Bros, still tragedy and bad timing always seemed to have the devil’s semen on its’ breath.
My mentor who I helped with at the store and who’s house I lived in for nearly a decade (I moved out in 2004, which will be mentioned heavily in the next chapter) had a step son who tragically passed away in his sleep due to an overdose of back medication pills in the living room. This episode would need its’ own blog chapter all to itself to fully feel the impact that this had on all our lives, including my surrogate sister, Rebecca (who help edit my first two official Deposit Man books) and my niece, Olivia.
That day of December 15th ended up with me not getting any sleep for I was waiting the rest of the night, (he passed away on a Saturday night on a rare occurrence that I happened to be home and in bed early because I wanted to go to a local area comic book convention the next morning) for the coroner and paramedics to arrive. The coroner didn’t get to my house until 4 in the morning, because there were only two on duty that night and they were both covering a deadly gangbanger drive by incident all the way over at South Central. But imagine with a city the size of Los Angeles, it can only afford a budget for two coroners.
Next Monday we approache the finish line with a series of five new blogs as I recount the faithful time I met a best friend for life while waiting in line for Yes tickets to a show and a signing at my local Tower Records in my tribute to the Ultimate Yes collection.