Alan White Dishes On Two Versions Of Yes

By Rami Abou-Sabe

WZLX caught up with Yes drummer Alan White to chat about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the band, fallen bassist Chris Squire, and why there is two versions of Yes.

RELATED: Geddy Lee Opens Up About Playing With Yes At Rock Hall Induction

White joined Yes in 1972 and is one of two members to play with the group consistently since that time. Until his 2015 passing, founding member Chris Squire was the only other constant.

Chris Squire and myself, we kept this band going for pretty much 43 years,” White said, protective of the group and legacy he will leave behind. “In July I will have been in this band for 45 years nonstop.”

Over the 50-year history of Yes, the band has undergone a number of lineup changes. The most notable departures include founding lead singer Jon Anderson (2008) and keyboardist Rick Wakeman (2004).

In 2016, Anderson, Wakeman, and former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin united as ARW. This year, the three former members will tour as Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman. Meanwhile, White’s version of the band with classic-lineup guitarist Steve Howe will continue to tour as Yes, like they’ve done for years.

“Well, it is a little bit confusing,” White admitted. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve always been in Yes – I’ve never been in anything else. And you know, we’re just carrying on as Yes.”

When pressed on whether Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman touring as Yes will bother him, White seemed indifferent. “I really don’t mind. It’s two different shows, what we do and what they do. So I don’t know… We’re touring this year, and they’re touring a little bit later this year.”

“We know it’s a little bit confusing. But in our minds… I’ve just been doing the same thing, and so has Steve [Howe]. We keep on doing what we’re doing. We don’t have to say anything or prove anything different than what we do.”

Howe, White, Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman all shared the stage at the 32nd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, but White hasn’t ruled out a more permanent reunion in the future.”There’s a possibility way down the line here,” he speculated. “The next tour is the 50th anniversary of the band, so who knows what will happen then.”

The version of Yes with White behind the drum kit kick off their Yestival tour August 4th in Greensboro, NC. Tickets and tour dates can be found here.


One Comment

  1. Paul Watson says:

    One change needed. Peter Banks was the original Yes guitarist, not Steve Howe. But congrats to Alan!

    1. Rami Abou-Sabe says:

      Thanks for catching that, Paul! We’ve updated the article.

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