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Rick Wakeman: 'The YES name should have been shelved when Chris Squire died'

Rick Wakeman © Getty

Rick Wakeman believes that the YES band name should have been shelved after the band’s bassist, co-founder and sole constant member Chris Squire passed away in 2015.

Wakeman had five separate tenures with Yes between 1971 and 2004 but refused to be involved in the band’s return to touring in 2008 when Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White hit the road with vocalist Benoît David and Rick’s son Oliver.

The current incarnation of YES - Howe, White, Geoff Downes, Billy Sherwood and Jon Davison - announced a May and June 2020 UK tour just last week.

Three years ago, Wakeman joined forces with Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin initially as ARW (Anderson Rabin Wakeman), however ahead of the March 2017 UK tour this moniker evolved to YES feat. ARW.

In a fresh interview with Rolling Stone, Rick Wakeman explained that he was adamant he didn’t want the group to be called ‘YES’.

“I’m a funny old fellow,” Rick said. “I have quite moralistic views. When Chris (Squire) died, he was the only founding member still left in the band. He’s the only guy that had been in every incarnation of YES, through thick and thin.

“I felt with so many different band members in and out that when Chris passed away, the decent thing to do would be to say, “OK, we’re putting the name YES on the shelf. That’s it.”

Rick continued: “We (ARW) can still play YES music. Steve, if you want to have a band, play YES music. Jon, you can too. Anyone that has been in the band is fully entitled to play YES music, but do it under a different name.

“There’s nothing wrong with it, but it degraded the name and the word and the music by what happened after Chris died. We did end up going out because promoters wanted it as YES Featuring ARW, but it just confused people. They had no idea who they were going to see and what was going on.

“It was wrong and I was very against it, I will admit. But we’re going to do some farewell shows next year and they are going to be ARW. It may be ‘ARW Performing an Evening of Yes Music.’ That’s fine. But not YES in the name of the band.”

YES will be performing performing the 1974 album ‘Relayer’ in its entirety together with other classic progressive rock gems from the band’s distinguished musical history on their summer 2020 tour.

The tour dates are as follows:

MAY 2020
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall – 26th
Nottingham Royal Concert Hall – 27th
York Barbican – 29th
Gateshead Sage – 30th
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – 31st

JUNE 2020
Birmingham Symphony Hall – 2nd
Manchester Bridgewater Hall – 3rd
London Royal Albert Hall – 5th

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