Yes, No, Maybe So

Squire claims the band ignores business considerations when recording, but he reveals at least a smidgen of strategic thinking in describing the band's approach to Open Your Eyes.

"There's no competition between Open Your Eyes and Keys 2, just two slightly different approaches to Yes," he says. "Open Your Eyes was designed more around a song approach. We weren't looking to do tracks longer than five or six minutes. We were looking to do that length of Yes style, and it proved correct. We've actually had a lot of airplay for Open Your Eyes. [The title track reached No. 33 on Billboard's Rock Tracks chart, an indicator of radio-play frequency.] Our management says that we're better set up for the next album now than we were before the record came out."

Asked whether management decisions creep into the songwriting process, Squire says that if they do, they do so subconsciously. "It's not like we go into the studio thinking, 'Wow, I really have to make money off this album.' That theory never works. You can drive yourself nuts trying to do that. It's easier to try and please yourself musically and see what you come up with."

Squire claims that, thanks to the band's popularity as a live act, financial concerns are minor these days. "There's a bit of the Grateful Dead in Yes," he jokes. "We make money on these tours. So really, what we want to do in the studio is do a damn good new album. We never really know what direction it's gonna go in until we start doing it."

Considering the highs and lows Squire has experienced with Yes, it's no surprise that he's as nonchalant as he is. Amid all the turbulence, Yes was fortunate enough to have two remarkable runs of success: in the '70s, when "Roundabout" became a radio staple and Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer, Going for the One and Tormato were Top 10 albums; and again in the mid-'80s, when "Owner of a Lonely Heart" became the No. 1 song in the country and both 90125 and Big Generator sold more than a million copies.

The low point for Squire came in 1981, when Yes actually broke up for a short time. During this brief hiatus, Squire and White planned to form a band with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, whose group Led Zeppelin had disbanded after the alcohol-related death of drummer John Bonham. They jammed with Page for months, but Plant was still too grief-stricken, and plans for the band (to be known as XYZ) disintegrated.

For now Yes is in no danger of breaking up, according to Squire. Despite being hitless for a number of years and Wakeman-less for the time being, he claims the band's operations are running smoothly.

"At the moment everything feels good," he says. "There will be a Yes for at least another couple of years, and that's all you can think about [in] any business, really. You hope it goes beyond that, but I can see a pretty bright future for the whole band for the next couple of years."

Yes will perform at Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach with opening act Alan Parsons Live Project on Saturday, August 8, at 7 p.m. The local band Kickback will perform on Coral Sky's Rapids Stage at 5:30 p.m. as the audience arrives. For tickets call 954-523-3309 in Broward or 561-966-3309 in Palm Beach.

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