YesGrammy-winning prog/rock icons Yes will play their 1971-72 classic albums Fragile and Close To The Edge in their entirety at Crown Theatre on Wednesday, November 12. SHANE PINNEGAR checks in with singer, Jon Davison.

About to start the US leg of the Fragile/Close To The Edge tour, Jon Davison says that the latter album is honed to perfection after a good workout on the road, unlike the former.

“You know, actually, we haven’t even tackled Fragile yet!” he laughs. “We have all been individually working on it, but we haven’t rehearsed, as a band, any of the Fragile material. Close To The Edge we’ve been performing for about a year-and-a-half, so we’ve grown quite accustomed with that material.”

Born in 1971 – the same year Fragile was released – the softly spoken singer says he was a big fan of the band long before the singer’s position became vacant in 2012.

“Yes definitely were part of my musical journey,” he explains. “My first exposure to Yes was
when I heard them on the radio, and that was Owner Of A Lonely Heart (the US #1 hit released in 1983). Then I went back to the classic years and discovered all the earlier work.

Although he wasn’t involved in the creation of these albums, Davison says he hasn’t needed any special techniques to connect with the material, emotionally.

“I just follow my heart because I’ve always been so enamoured with the music that it’s easy in one aspect, because the inspiration is there. I truly love the music as my own and then on another wave it’s a bit more technical, with the physicality of it.

“I did put a little bit of spin on interpreting things but they are really minor things,” he continues, talking about adapting the music to his personal singing style. “That just comes natural because I’m my own person obviously and my own unique expression is going to come through. I always make sure I’m rendering things accurately in honour of the original – the original albums are the guidelines.”

The tour will also feature some longawaited new material, with the album, Heaven And Earth – only the band’s second original record in 13 years – to be released later this month.

Having made eight full-length records with his previous bands Sky Cries Mary and Glass Hammer, Davison is no stranger to a recording studio and contributed heavily to both the music and lyric writing on the new album. He says it was easy to slip into working with long-term Yes members Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and Geoff Downes.

“I just did what I always do,” he notes. “I wrote out of inspiration and brought it to them not knowing if it was going to at all fit in to the creative flow and mindset. Luckily, the majority of my material did, so I would say that it was very much a natural process.”

In addition to the long-term core of the band, most of whom have been with Yes off and on since the early 1970s (Downes first joined in 1980), producer Roy Thomas Baker – overseer of classic albums by Queen, Journey, Cheap Trick and many more – twiddled the knobs. Davison says he was excited to work with the celebrated veteran.

“Absolutely – I was very happy about that,” he says. “I’ve always been a huge admirer of his. I was quiet most of the time – I would just sit in the back of the control room like a fly on the wall and just watch him work his magic.”

Tickets for Yes go on sale Monday, July 7, from ticketek.com.au.

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  1. Pingback: INTERVIEW – Jon Davison, YES – June 2014 | 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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