“It’s something I’m absolutely resistant to because I remember the fiasco of the Union tour,” he recently told Classic Rock, referencing the band’s 1991-92 global trek in which eight members of various Yes lineups got together. “It was very, very difficult and out of control. Sometimes I might have thought: ‘Well, one day maybe,’ and one never wants to say never, but basically I can’t see it.”
Since then, a few key members have died (drummer Alan White and bassist Chris Squire), while others, like singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, have pursued solo projects. The way Howe sees it, he’d rather focus on the present.
“I love Jon [Anderson]. I’m a lot older now, and so is he, and the only terms I work on is that I’m happy working on this,” he explained. “I’m not going to take a sudden load on my back that I either don’t need or don’t want. My music’s always guided me, and it’s not telling me to do those things, it’s telling me to go forwards. If it keeps steering me where it is now, then it’s great to have this live and vibrant Yes. I wouldn’t want anything else.”
Howe’s current Yes bandmates are happy to help with this. “I think Steve is finding the current version of Yes to be the one he always wanted, the one he envisaged,” singer Jon Davison, who joined the group in 2012, noted. “So in his latter years, perhaps it’s the last chapter or the penultimate chapter. I think we all want to bring him that joy and satisfaction.”
The guitarist also said he’s aware that Yes, in some form, could very well continue without him one day.
“I would be silly not to think that was most probably going to happen,” he said. “There’s things that have the potential to grow and carry on through the hands of the younger generation. I think maybe I’d have the same spirit that [drummer] Bill [Bruford] has always had – ‘The band can go on.’ The only word of caution is I’d like it to be carried on in the spirit of a progressive rock band because progressive rock is what this is.”
Yes Albums Ranked Worst to Best
We’re counting down all of Yes’ studio albums.