I'll Be The Roundabout. . .

Discussion in 'Archive: Your Jedi Council Community' started by fett, Nov 20, 1999.

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  1. fett Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 1999
    star 3
    I just got the new Yes album (The Ladder)and it freakin' rules! Am I the only 28 year old geek that still keeps up with this band? I continued listening to them after 90125 (Owner of a Lonely Heart)- through Big Generator, Union, Talk, the two non Trevor Rabin albums and I even went back and started collecting all the old stuff. These guys are some of the most incredible musicians of the century, and even though the media has basically forgotten them, I think they're still relevant. They've influenced many other artists as well. One of the main complaints I hear is that it's not the original members anymore, but people forget that Yes has about 10 memebers that have been in and out from the beginnning (with maybe the exception of youngster Trevor Rabin). One of the things that makes this band so interesting is to hear how the members collaborate with different line-ups, and being able to watch their music evolve through the years.

    I have a feeling I'm going to be on my own here.
  2. Kyle Katarn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 1998
    star 6
    I guess that makes you the starter of a lonely thread, eh??
  3. Norman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 1999
    star 4
    fett I can tell you that I've got a friend who loves Yes. It's about all he can talk about. I've never really been able to get into them, though. Sorry.
  4. jedi master wormie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 1999
    star 3
  5. fett Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 1999
    star 3
    Yes is a band that started in the mid 70's (give or take a few years). They are one of the first 'progressive' rock acts to rise to fame. They incorporated jazz, rock, classical and many other forms of music into thier sound. They had a few hits in the 70's and a major hit in the 80's (Owner of a Lonely Heart), but have been virtually ignored by American media because they really can't be classified. They are also one of the only bands I can think of who haven't tried to 'conform' to what's popular- they just always do their own thing and radio be damned. Many people think they've broken up, gone away or are out doing 'reunion' tours, but the fact is that they've been around for 20 plus years and are still writing great music and doing great live shows.

    If you don't have any of their stuff may I recommend the albums 90125, Big Generator, Fragile or the new album The Ladder. But give it some time- they have to grow on you. (Chances are you may not like them if you are not a musician or don't like techincal, 'thinking man's' music- they are not a pop band in the traditional sense.)

    [This message has been edited by fett (edited 11-20-1999).]
  6. Neo-Era Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 3
    I continued listening to them after 90125 (Owner of a Lonely Heart)- through Big Generator, Union, Talk, the two non Trevor Rabin albums and I even went back and started collecting all the old stuff.

    Even went back and started collecting their old stuff? I'll have you know that most Yes fans consider their truly unique 70's material to be far superior to their more commercial 80's pop music. Steve Howe is one of the all-time great guitarists. That guy can simply play in any style (and usually proves it in a single song). He's simply all over the place. And Yes themselves are one of the 5 great prog rock bands of the 70's. The 4 others being Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, ELP (Emerson, Lake, & Palmer), King Crimson, and the much lesser known Van Der Graaf Generator. All these guys rock (and note that they're all British). You can hear their influence in the latter day prog metal bands like Dream Theater and such. Too bad most people don't remember them because they got buried by the punk wave at the end of the 70's. The sloppy, 3-chord ragamuffins. People just don't appreciate complex rock music.
  7. klingklang Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 1999
    star 5
    fett: You are now my new special friend! I've been a huge fan since 1983 with 90125, but it seems to have become unfashionable to be a Yes fan nowadays. I think The Ladder is a great album (it has its flaws--especially the loss of Howe in the mix). "Homeworld" is definitely the best thing they've done since Wakeman's 1996 departure (KTA is highly recommended for those Troopers out there). 2 weeks ago, I saw Yes live a few times and they always put on the most amazing concert. And Keith Emerson was in the audience, so it was really cool!

    But it is true what Neo-Era said about most fans liking the era of Fragile and CTTE. That was a fabulous time in progressive music, but I don't think the band's subsequent releases were inferior (I myself go for Relayer). The band has gone through various stages and members, but I think each album has something unique to offer.

    Plus, it seems that progressive music never really went away, but it certainly has become very independent in the 90s (Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Spock's Beard, PO90, The Flower Kings, and various electronic bands).
  8. Neo-Era Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 3
    One of my favorite things about the 70's-era British prog rock bands is that each one of them had fantastic musicians working in them and that each one of them sounded completely unlike the other and yet they still made challenging rock music that drew on a variety of sources outside of the generic blues riffs used by other rock bands:

    Yes: Steve Howe may very well be the most versatile guitarist out there. Bill Bruford & Alan White have an immense command of the drums. Rick Wakeman is one of the 2 prog keyboard gods from the 70's. Chris Squire is a fine bass player and Jon Anderson's completely surrealistic & cryptic lyrics are unlike anything else I've heard.

    Genesis: Phil Collins on drums, Peter Gabriel on vocals & flute, Tony Banks on keys, Mike Rutherford on bass and the underrated Steve Hackett on guitar. I'd recommend their albums Nursery Crime and Selling England By The Pound to newcomers. Epic tunes like "The Musical Box", "The Fountain Of Salmacis", "Dancing Out With The Moonlit Knight", & "Firth Of Fifth" are classics of the genre. Their career paralleled Yes' as they as became a pop band in the 80's.

    Emerson, Lake, & Palmer: Keith Emerson holds a position in the keyboard community very much like Eddie Van Halen's in the guitar community. They blatently ripped off classical music moreso than the other prog rock bands. I think their songwriting is weaker than the other bands mentioned here because Greg Lake leaned too much towards pop but Emerson's classical influences help balance that out. I'd say their self-titled debut album and especially Brain Salad Surgery are their 2 best albums. "The Three Fates" and the multi-part "Karn Evil 9" suite are fine pieces of music. And I absolutely love their version of "Jerusalem".

    King Crimson: Robert Fripp was the first real avant-garde rock guitar player and must be mentioned when talking about the most original musicians to pick up the guitar. He formed Crimson because he wanted to make music that was "a cross between Hendrix & Stravinsky". Unlike the other prog bands mentioned here, these guys continue to push the envelope and reinvent their sound drastically every decade or so. I'll stick with their 70's material though...In The Court Of The Crimson King is often cited as being the first real prog rock album and is one of the best. Fripp's guitar playing is very low key on that one but the songwriting kicks major booty. Except for the wild avant-bebop of the first song, the rest of the album sounds like a soundtrack for Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings. Folky and very haunting. The title track surely deserves a place alongside songs like "Stairway To Heaven" as one of the top 10 rock tunes of all time. And Crimson's later album Red is an apocalyptic showcase for Fripp's guitar playing. Good stuff.

    Van Der Graaf Generator: These guys are lesser known because their lineup was more eclectic. They included a sax/flute player in addition to the usual lineup of guitar, drums, bass, and keys. Their singer/songwriter, Peter Hammill, is for my taste the best vocalist in the entire genre. His singing is very dramatic and emotive. In fact, I would call him the granddaddy of all those screechy, high-pitched vocalists in the later metal bands of the 80's and beyond (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Dream Theater). If you don't believe me, pick up a copy of VDGG's masterpiece Pawn Hearts and try and listen to Hammill's singing without thinking of Rob Halford. Halford definitely lifted the more extreme aspects of Hammill's vocal style and then became famous with it. And Hammill himself has been very prolific with 40 solo albums to his credit. I highly recommend his The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage as it's great songwriting. The man should've become as famous as Peter Gabriel & David Bowie but his music is less commercial and he's never received the acclaim he deserved.

    [This message has been edited by Neo-Era (edited 11-20-1999).]
  9. klingklang Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 1999
    star 5
    Personally, I could never get into VDGG. But I really liked Hammill's recent work with David Cross' Exiles. But of all those bands listed, I think King Crimson offered the most innovative material. I think it revealed a great deal when Bill Bruford left the comfort of Yes and joined the more avant-garde KC.

    In the meantime, here is some Roger Dean (the artist for most of the Yes albums) for your viewing pleasure:
    http://www.rogerdean.com/paintings/i_pages/img/yeskeys.jpg
  10. Neo-Era Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 3
    I'm just going to throw the prog thread up here...
  11. Lieutenant Piett Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 4
    HALLELUJAH!!!

    Old Progs never die; they just modulate...

    Yes has been so up and down...I too came in with "90125" and subsequently, Chris Squire came to stand as the reason I took up bass guitar. I was overall disappointed by their sporadic and uneven output since the mid-80's, though it did have its moments, methinks.

    Similarly, I bet, my taking to 90125 as well as Genesis's self-titled album in 1983 (not forgetting Asia, of course!) led to the eventual broadening out and reaching-back into their earlier '70's works -- and it just kept getting better and better.

    You know, back when Genesis used to made of musicians. Meaning, Banks and Rutherford gave up, even moreso than {*muttered curse*} Collins. Oy; don't get me started.

    Essential site: http://www.disciplineglobalmobile.com http://www.disciplineglobalmobile.com -- Fripp's record label. His diary's descriptions of the new Crimso album sound like a prog head's heaven.

    I'm 28 also . . . I wonder what it would have been like, though, to have been of age in like 1972-74 -- just think: Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound, Fragile, Close to the Edge, Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, Still Life (VdGG), Mettle, Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin IV, etc. etc. . . . all released within that same timeframe.

    Blows my mind.

    And BTW -- Hammill invented Punk, as "Rikki Nadir". He released "Nadir's Big Chance" while John Lydon was still dreaming up a stagename.

    **Piett**
  12. klingklang Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 1999
    star 5
    DGM's site is the best. Fripp's periodic responses to the Guestbook are always amusing.

    I'm one year younger than LP and fett, and I've always been jealous of those people who were around to hear this music first-hand in the 70s. So I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to see a lot of the prog bands in the 80s; as a result (like LP), I got into each band's back-catalogues. Some of the most amazing music was created back then!

    Oh, and LP, there's rumors about Banks and Rutherford giving up Genesis since Calling All Stations did not perform well in the States. So you can add *the death of Genesis* to your dislike of Collins. Too bad Fish couldn't get that singing gig, but I understand why he passed on it...
  13. Judge Watto Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 1999
    star 1
    Just thought I'd add my name to the list of old Yes fans. But I must confess, I haven't taken an interest in any of their work since 90125. Perhaps I'll take your advice and check out The Ladder.
  14. fett Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 1999
    star 3
    WOW!!!! I'm so happy I'm not alone!!

    I think one unfortunate thing that happened to us '80's' kids is that our tastes lean more toward the pop sound (hooky choruses, memorable, crunchy guitar riffs, etc.)- I've tried really hard not to gravitate towards those things but I just can't help it! That's why for us, I guess Rabin is a much more exciting guitar player- heavier, gutsier, though I think Howe probably is a little more passionate. I've got a bootleg of one of the rare Union shows from Toronto featuring: Wakeman, Keyes, Bruford, White, Squire, Anderson, Howe, and Rabin- (it's insane!!!!) - I gotta tell you guys that Rabin absolutely eats Howe's lunch during an improv section of 'Starship Troopers'.

    My main problem with 'The Ladder' is also the way Howe is buried in the mix. After almost 10 years of listening to Rabin's beefy, full bodied sound, Howe seems almost insignificant. He needs to take a hint from Alex Lifeson - plug it in and crank it up!

    Yes has been the main reason that I've gone back and learned to appreciate 'Fragile' 'Tales' and even the critically lamented 'Tormato'- all great stuff. I got into Rush because of them.

    So glad to see some other Troopers out there!!!
  15. Judge Watto Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 1999
    star 1
    That's so funny! I got into Yes because I loved Rush. A friend of mine figured I'd like Yes since I loved Lifeson's guitar and Pert's lyrics (I was amazed when I first learned that a band's drummer wrote their songs [to be fair, he should really be called a precussion section]).
  16. Neo-Era Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 3
    I also got into Yes because I was a Rush fan first. Rush's golden-era material is rock n' roll enough to catch the ears of classic rock fans but progressive enough to make people wonder where they can hear more rock music that pushes the envelope in the same way.

    I was reading the section on Freedom in my Introduction To Philosophy textbook and came across the Sartre phrase "choosing not to choose" and immediately was reminded of Rush's song "Freewill" (o/~ If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice o/~). I thought it funny and asked myself how many other rock bands could I find making references like this.
  17. Lieutenant Piett Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 4


    Yeah, Peart alludes to Sartre, used to allude to Ayn Rand (he grew out of it, thankfully), and god knows what else. His lyrical skillz are unmatched. (Hammill alludes to Shakespeare ("The Play's the Thing") and Zen texts ("No Moon in the Water"), and Fish used to allude to Hammill!)

    Now of course I'm completely down with Rush but it seems like I'm one of the few people I know who still like their most recent stuff as much as "Permanent Waves/Moving Pictures/Signals"-era stuff. What do you all think of their most recent works?

    I like how they have matured and developed...not afraid to be men in their '40's (like Hammill). I was a bit disappointed in "Test For Echo" overall (songwriting not as strong as usual) but I especially like "Counterparts." Saw 'em on that tour in '94; they hadn't lost their touch.

    Sucks about Peart's recent family tragedies, though. No doubt he's in mourning still, but I hope this doesn't spell the end of Rush...

    **Piett**
  18. IG-64 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 1999
    star 1
    Whoa. I wish I'd found this thread sooner.

    Yes is one of my top 7 favorite groups.

    That being said, I'm quite ashamed to admit that I had no idea that they'd made any albums since Union. Guess who's going to the CD store this weekend?

    I've got 7 of their albums right now: Yesterdays, Yessongs, Fragile, Classic Yes, 90125, Big Generator, and Union.
  19. Lieutenant Piett Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 4
    IG -- Get thee to the CD store indeed! For god's sakes man, get Relayer!

    Check out Yes' Keys to Ascension live CD's released in 96 and 97 (I think). Pretty impressive . . . and full of "besides the usual" live selections . . .

    **Piett**
  20. Judge Watto Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 1999
    star 1
    Lt. Piett, I haven't disliked Rush's newer stuff, but the only album that I've really enjoyed in the last decade was Presto. Well, considering Presto is now about 10 years old, I guess I'm not much of a fan of their more recent efforts.
  21. Neo-Era Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 3
    I don't care for anything before 2112 and anything after Roll The Bones. I've listened to their classic material so much that I've gotten sick of it and decided to listen to their 80's synth music instead. I like Hold Your Fire the best of these with Presto coming in a close 2nd.

    [This message has been edited by Neo-Era (edited 12-01-1999).]
  22. fett Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 1999
    star 3
    Relayer & Keys To Ascension are really great albums if you haven't picked up anything since Union- also don't forget Rabin's masterpiece- the most excellent Talk cd. Again- I can't recommend the new one The Ladder enough. Probably the only Yes album I've listened to nonstop since Big Generator- it's really that good.

    Ok- on to Rush- how can you guys not like Test For Echo???!!!! It's the first time I've heard Lifeson play the guitar like he meant it since Permanent Waves!!!! The main thing that I think is so cool about these guys is that except for the first album, they've had the same line up for over 20 years!! Who else can say that? I do wish they hadn't gone so bananna's with the last live album (3 discs!)- very expensive.

    The amazing thing about Peart as a drummer is that he never does 'overdubs'(playing one part and then going back to record another over the top - to layer things)- unless he can play it live, it doesn't go on the album. In other words, you know all the times you hear a xylophone, hammer chimes, marimba, etc. in a song and the drums are still playing? He's doing that all at once- it's absolutely mind-blowing to watch. He really is a step beyond the average drummer.
  23. Captain Needa Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 1998
    star 1
    Wow! A bunch of Star Wars loving Yes and Rush fans!

    I have to agree with fett, The Ladder is their best work in a long, long time. Like many others, I was introduced to Yes with 90125, where I prefer Changes over Owner of a Lonely Heart. As a percussionist, I prefer the rhythmic feel of the song as opposed to a nearly mindless repeating bass riff. I didn?t care too much for the older albums, until sometime after I was introduced to Rush, which I?ll explain below. But for now? I can?t believe only klingklang has mentioned Close to the Edge! It is the finest example of what Yes is, surpassing Fragile by a small margin. Musically and lyrically, it represents Yes at its best. The Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe album, though not officially Yes, was the first post-70?s work that was similar to their early seventies music (albeit with a more modern sound). If it lacked in anything, it was missing Chris Squire?s bass playing.

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    The first time someone tried to introduce Rush to me, they played 2112 for me. This was about 1983, and at the time was strictly a top-40 listener (where I discovered Yes!). Needless to say, their sound didn?t really excite me (who is this guy screeching about two octaves higher than any man should be allowed? ). Then a few months later, shortly before Grace Under Pressure was released, I heard Moving Pictures and was immediately hooked! I then proceeded to buy every album released (including 2112). I?ve been a fan ever since. I agree with fett, Test For Echo is fantastic! The band?s sound has definitely benefited with Peter Collins back producing (who also produced Counterparts, Power Windows, and the greatly under appreciated Hold Your Fire). Like any of the Rush ?era?s?, the last album before a change in style is the best (2112, Moving Pictures, Hold Your Fire, and Test for Echo). I also like that they?ve been playing instrumentals again. I love hearing them getting down with La Villa Strangiato, YYZ, and more recently Limbo. Their musicianship is simply amazing! Anyway, after getting hooked on Rush, I discovered the older work of Yes.

    It?s unfortunate about Peart?s wife and daughter. The best thing for him would be to continue making music. It wouldn?t make sense if everything he cared about ended.

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  24. Lieutenant Piett Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 4
    how can you guys not like Test For Echo???!!!! It's the first time I've heard Lifeson play the guitar like he meant it since Permanent Waves!!!!

    Ahh, no complaints with the boys' technique, there, fett! (Though I will note that I liked Ged's bass sound better on Counterparts -- his initial return to the Fender Jazz. Don't know if he did anything different, but it doesn't sound as meaty on T4E...)

    I still get into chops and riffage and the like, but over the years I've developed an appreciation of songwriting details -- i.e., more conceptual notions such as completeness of (melodic) line, solidness of structure, and, dare I say, "hooks" that catch me. This is how although I ate, breathed, and dreamt Yes, Rush, '70s Genesis, Fish-era Marillion, etc. etc., throughout them important High School years, I came to appreciate groups like Hüsker Dü, The Church and Lush -- hardly prog-rock chops-meisters -- just as much.

    Rush, in one aspect (a tribute to their versatility) basically know how to write a good pop tune. Now, they will supercharge it and steel-reinforce it -- "high-octane rock" as one reviewer once called it -- but at the core of songs like "Between Sun and Moon", "Turn the Page", "Bravado," "Big Money," "Entre Nous", "Closer to the Heart" and heck even "Tom Sawyer" -- lies a catchy pop tune. IMO, they got hooks. (Hold Your Fire stands out especially in this regard.)
    If there was any respect for a simply good melody these days among popular radio, and if Major Label/MTV marketing execs had brains, Rush would be chartin' hit singles.

    To my ears, upon many listenings, Test for Echo didn't possess this quality -- came up a bit short in the melody department. Not as many hooks, though I did like "Driven". But that's just me. I don't know why I like the stuff I do sometimes; I just go with it.

    Capt. Needa (sir!) -- funny; I always considered Signals to be an End of an Era album -- Grace Under Pressure brought on the new producer, tone, and (yuk) Steinberger bass. "Losing It" is prob'ly my favorite Rush tune.

    I bypassed Yes' Talk album, mainly because though Rabin is a phenom guitarist and singer, I always hated his (relatively) shallow lyrics -- featherweight luv/breakup tune stuff. ("Here is my heart waiting for you...I eat at chez nous." Wha...?)
    Perhaps I'll go check it out now anyway . . .

    . . . what's the verdict here on Yes' Open Your Eyes?

    **Piett**

    [This message has been edited by Lieutenant Piett (edited 12-02-1999).]
  25. Captain Needa Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 1998
    star 1
    Rush's eras seem to be four similar albums followed by a live album. The metalesque 2112 was followed by All the World's a Stage. The hard/prog rock sounds of A Farewell to Kings to Moving Pictures followed by Exit... Stage Left. The synth based Signals through Hold Your Fire was followed up by A Show of Hands, and the return to guitar based Presto through Test For Echo followed by Different Stages. Signals is amongst their best in the "catchy pop tune" category, but the quality of the sound and mix isn't quite right. Everything seems flat; Peart's drumming doesn't drive the band, and you often wonder if Lifeson is even playing at all. Compared to the far superior Moving Pictures, it was a step backwards for them. That's probably why Rush and Terry Brown parted ways.

    Losing It is a nice tune, but then I dig the syncopation of the 5/8 and 7/8 time signatures and changes they often used.

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