It’s been a rough few years in Prog Rock. Yes bassist Chris Squire died in the summer of 2015, both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer passed in 2016 and King Crimson and Asia’s John Wetton died just last month.
Downes shared the spotlight with Wetton as members of Asia and the group was all lined up to tour this year until the singer had to bow out because of health concerns only to pass a few weeks later. Downes told the Sun-Herald, “I was very, very saddened by that. It’s a big blur. I was very, very close to him.”
Asia was working on new material when this all went down but the keyboardist says there will be a new album on the way with material from Wetton. Downes said, “He had a lot of material for it. I think we will definitely do something with it because I think John would like me to do that.”
As for all the rock stars dying so quickly and closely together Downes says they are all at “that age,” adding, “It’s part of life. But it’s been a particularly tough time with losing Chris and my good friends Keith Emerson and Greg Lake at the end of last year. It’s been a tough time. Maybe we just have to say “That’s life” and just get on, you know? It doesn’t make it any more palatable. John and I have been writing songs together for what seems like forever and that’s something no one’s going to be able to take away from me nor John’s legacy.”
Downes is a current member of both Yes and Asia (he was also in the Buggles that gave us”Video Killed the Radio Star” in 1979).
With Yes being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year (only the following members were included – Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White.) Downes was asked if he would like to at least perform this year he said, “I totally will. That’s a good question. Certainly from my standpoint, I would like to. But they cap the amount of inductees that they have. But in the whole grand scheme of things, it’s probably the right choice because I think the ones getting inducted are deserving of it. I think all in all it’s fair.”
Adding, “But that said, I would certainly like to go and I think the other band members in this version of Yes would like to go as well. We just have to play it by ear. If there’s a big objection from Jon Anderson or someone that we shouldn’t be there, then we’ll see what happens. But I’m not certain about the performance yet.” – by John Beaudin
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.