His new solo album may have become a Yes record
In an exclusive new interview with Nicky Horne last night Jon revealed how his new solo album, Survival & Other Stories, was born out of his former band's unwillingness to work with him again.
In 2008 a huge asthma attack led to acute respiratory failure and Jon was forced off the road for nearly a year, and by the time he was sufficiently recovered Yes had reformed without him, recruited a new singer (Benoit David) and had hit the road.
However, Jon revealed to us last night that he was hoping to record a new album with Yes around four years ago but a difference of opinion led to a new solo record.
"They wanted to go into a studio in London or LA, and I said before we do that why don't we connect, send each other music ideas and that's one way of creating music. They just wouldn't do it," he told Nicky. "On reflection it's as though they were happy to do it their way and they weren't willing to be as adventurous as we were in the 70s or the 80s. When I worked with the guys they were so excited to try anything new.
"At that time I was really reaching out to the guys from Yes to write some songs via the internet. But they weren't that interested and it kind of spurred me on to put an ad on my website and I thought well, whoever gets back to me a) they know who I am because they went to my website, b) they want to work with me and c) I'll check out their music. So I got a couple of hundred people to send me their one minute bits of music. I picked out a couple of dozen people and I'm still working with them today.
"The idea of Survival was that I was collecting all these songs and last year I started mixing them and I finished up with three albums of music. I sat down with my wife Jane - and she's a good critic - she helped to produce it with me and there we are, we have an album to release."
Jon also addressed the conflict that occurred in 2008 when Yes announced that they were touring with their new singer. At the time Jon released a statement on his website saying that none of his band mates had been in touch since he fell ill and that "this is NOT Yes on tour".
In his interview last night Jon revealed why he felt the need to release his fairly inflammatory statement.
"The problem was [that] they weren't telling anyone that I was not in the band and they weren't advertising Yes as Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White, which is what we agreed upon if they wanted to go out there. I actually gave them my blessing and said 'If you want to go out there, you've got to make a living. I'm just not ready at this time to do that kind of touring.'
"Then they found a singer that sounds like me - he's a thirty year old version of me. And I thought, well, that's what they wanna do. It's not what I call in my heart what Yes is all about but that's what they wanted to do so I had to say something. I just couldn't really keep quiet. There were people very interested if I was coming into town."
You can hear the interview in full on our On Demand player (click on the green triangle above).