He helped make prog-rock monsters Yes MTV stars in the Eighties, and he’s scored dozens of high-octane Hollywood blockbusters. But what Guitar Planet readers actually want to know is…
What was the final film score by somebody else that knocked you out? —Norm Balford
Oh, boy. You know, I feel there’s a cue in the  film Witness named “The Constructing of the Barn.” That’s some thing I liked a lot. Witness is that great film by Peter Weir, starring Harrison Ford. I need to almost certainly have a a lot more present 1 than that to mention, but I do don’t forget that piece of music as impressing me a fantastic deal.
Have you ever turned down a film score simply because you actually hated the story? —Rick O’Brien
I am afraid I can not say which film it was, but yes, I have. It was an action film that just did not go anyplace, and the dialogue wasn’t excellent. I keep in mind going to see the film, and I guess the director read my face pretty properly since he mentioned to me, “Well, we’ve just lost our composer.” It happens often. You read a script that you feel is not the greatest, but due to the fact the director is an individual you appreciate functioning with, you are going to have a tendency to go with it. A lot of occasions the image does turn out wonderful, but at times it doesn’t and I’m disappointed by the end.
Are there any guitar parts Steve Howe performed that you just can’t replicate? —Sally Mertel
I wouldn’t say “can’t replicate.” I remember Chris Squire saying to me when we went on the 90125 tour, “You know, there’s particular songs we’re going to have to do, but then there are optional ones that we could or couldn’t play. I’ll give you a list, and you can choose which ones you want to do.” He was quite sort about that. I chose some songs and worked out a different way of performing them. I genuinely did not want to just replicate Steve’s components otherwise, you’re a session player or a hired hand. I always wanted to try and do it in a way exactly where I could re-represent the music my personal way.
I detect far more of a blues influence in your solos than in Steve Howe’s playing. How important was the blues to you growing up?” —Alan Kowal
It’s funny, but I don’t think American blues influenced me considerably. I feel it was a lot far more the regurgitation of the white blues bands in England, like the Yardbirds. Guys like Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton have been critical to me. I also liked Peter Green a fantastic deal. It’s exciting to me—the British guys genuinely did anything with the blues. It wasn’t just a copy. It was a restructuring of the complete format.
If you could’ve joined any other band than Yes, which a single would it have been? —Tim Steer
Let me think about that…I never know! [laughs] I’ve honestly by no means considered that. Probably Mahavishnu Orchestra, though who knows how that would have gone? I like John McLaughlin and Chick Corea a lot. When that band very first came out, I genuinely got into them.
You had been a teenaged star in South Africa in your band Rabbitt. How awesome was that? —Guitar Pete
It was quite excellent, even though it was really strange due to the fact it had never been completed ahead of in South Africa. The 4 of us just type of lived in this bubble, and we thought that’s just what this job was. When I left Rabbitt to go to England and pursue music, I thought I’d have the identical success, and I was woefully shocked. But Rabbitt’s good results wasn’t overnight. I was working extremely heavily as a session musician even though that was going on. I would do sessions in the day, and then we did month right after month residencies at clubs. It was really hard work, but when it happened, it just happened.
What are the relationships like between all the past and present Yes members? Are the guys in Yes upset that you and Rick are going on tour? —Chris Gallen
I genuinely don’t know. It is not one thing I concern myself with, so I never know and I don’t care. It is not some thing I spend a lot of time thinking about. The only guy I speak to fairly usually is Alan White, who has always remained a quite close buddy. Alan and I don’t have any concerns at all.
I really like the demo of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from your album 90124. A lot of cowbell on that. Have been you influenced by Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Worry the Reaper”? —Roscoe L. Jenkins
No. [laughs] I’d have to say no to that. There is a lot of cowbell on the demo, but I guess that just sounded correct to me. When we recorded it with Yes, it was kind of a conscious point to take out the cowbell since I wanted it to be a lot cleaner—I wanted the drums to be quite crisp. I did that demo on a very unsophisticated method, and I’d had to mix issues in a particular way to preserve on recording. Undertaking the Yes album, there have been certain parts from the demo that were loud and unbalanced, but I type of liked them. We kept these ideas intentionally.
I assume you have a lot of guitars, but do you have a certain preferred? —Antonio La Penza
I have 3 favourite guitars: My old Fender Stratocaster, and then I did a signature model with Alvarez numerous years ago, which I nonetheless play, and I’ve just not too long ago carried out a new signature model with Washburn, which I also love playing. I use it largely in the studio. I possibly won’t be making use of it on any of the songs we’re performing on tour.
What’s the story with that one particular Strat I usually see you play? —Leo Trinsty
Oh, boy, that guitar goes back a extended way. I have to have been 15 or 16 when I got it, and it’s stayed with me considering that. I don’t forget really clearly throughout a Rabbitt concert, at the end of a show, I threw the guitar fairly challenging to my roadie. He was in fact a bit of a fucker, and he mentioned, “I’m not catching that!” The guitar dropped and the neck broke. That wasn’t great. I utilized a Telecaster neck on it for six months even though the original neck was being fixed. We’ve been via wars together, that guitar and me. The neck nevertheless has a little piece of wood, like a stent, on it.
What’s the most cash you ever spent on a guitar? —Samuel Bader
Oh, God. I’m not like some individuals who spent silly amounts on guitars. I think I spent about $ 8,000 on a brand-new Gibson 400 Super Custom. It is a great guitar, but I do not know if it was worth the income because I decided I wanted to get another one just like it to take it on the road. I ended up receiving a Washburn copy of it, which I truly prefer.
I am a huge fan of your album Jacaranda. Your preceding solo album was 23 years prior to that one particular. Will I have to wait another 20 years for the next one? —“Big” Mike Moody
[laughs] The answer to that is certainly no. The wait will not be quite that long. But the factor that makes me sort of smile is when individuals say, “You have not completed an album for 20-odd years,” and they do not take into account the dozens of soundtrack albums I’ve completed. There’s lots of very good stuff on them, but for some reason they’re not looked upon as rock albums.
I adore the final Yes album you did, Talk. How did the guys take to you being in the producer’s chair for that a single? —Melissa Malloy
Jon Anderson was totally into it and loved it. Tony [Kaye, keyboards] and Alan have been entirely fine with it, too. Chris was a little apprehensive at 1st, because we had been genuinely close—he didn’t want something to get in the way of our relationship. But I feel he realized quite early on that that wasn’t going to be an issue, so it was fine. They all got into it. I think the worry was that I was carrying out the album on a technology that had never ever been done just before, and it was type of time consuming. Men and women had to stand around and wait, so I think it frustrated some of them. But the finish result was one thing they were all fairly satisfied with.
On your upcoming ARW tour with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, will you concentrate on a particular period of Yes, or will you feature bits from the complete catalog?” —Adam Wilkens
We’re featuring stuff from the complete catalog, and we’re truly attempting to strategy the songs fresh and do them differently. We do not want to just pull the records and say, “Okay, right here it is. Let’s find out it.” Certainly Jon, Rick and I know all the stuff and can play it, but we’re really attempting new approaches to do it, so it is got a new point of view. I feel it’ll be exciting for everybody.
Do you ever show pictures to Rick Wakeman of him in the capes and gowns in the Seventies and ask, “What the hell had been you pondering?” —Ed Santangelo
[laughs] There is no purpose to show Rick all that stuff. He’s the 1 constantly telling the jokes. Honestly, he’s got to be the funniest musician I’ve ever worked with. He takes almost everything in stride.