GURU: THE PP GURU LIVES FOR THE PLEASURE, THE PP GURU LIVES FOR THE GUN!!
The PP Guru opened up a copy of Rolling Stone one day in early 1980 and felt as if his heart dropped into the pit of his stomach and was itching slowly out of his colon. The PP Guru was in his sophomore year of high school attending art classes and music theory courses. He met this kid in art class named Chris Gallo. The PP Guru and Chris Gallo got into a fistfight one time over some unfathomable reason. Kids in high school get into fights for some indiscernable reason that cannot be explained over the ravages of time, but he was sure it was for something really trivial- something along the lines of like having longer hair (which was usually a anti-social crime back then) or for wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt to class. We did however had one thing in common: we both liked Pink Floyd. So Chris's brother had a spare ticket for the Wall concert out in Long Island- Nassau Collisem to be precise. the PP Guru was inivited to ride shotgun and we made up and became friends for a short while until he moved up to upstate New York. Needless to say that Waters and Co was a mind numbing experience would be a understatement, but that's another blog entry for another time. Before Chris packed up to move, his brother realized that he wouldn't be needing their pair of Yes tickets which went on sale nearly a year in advance in anticipation of a new album, so they asked if the PP Guru wouldn't mind taking them off their hands. This was in February, mind you and the tickets were dated for September of later that year back at Madison Square Garden.
Hey, the PP Guru said, does the pope shit in the woods? So now having the tickets within his possession. All the PP Guru would have to do is find someone to go with him.
Yet, when the PP Guru opened up the Rolling Stones to the Random Notes section, he was utterly dismayed to find that Yes, currently in the throes of recording their new album in Paris with sleek producer, Roy Thomas Baker who's shoe polish matches the gleam of Top 40 bands such as The Cars, Queen, and Foreigner announced that the band would be their losing special spiritual advisor, Maestro Jon Anderson and the curry spitting capeman Rick Wakeman for the second time. The PP Guru even remembers the photos showed the two waving goodbyes to their fans.
Wait- Jon Anderson? The lyrical crux and chirpy main vocalist of the band leaving? That's impossible!! How will they survive without their singer who many canonize as the catalyst of the group ever since the band's interception for over ten years now. How would they function as a cohesive unit? If Ian Anderson had left Jethro Tull or Robert Plant walked away from Led Zeppelin (and they had problems of their own at this period of time), those groups' future would surely be in doubt.
Citing low album sales for Tormato, Jon Anderson was feeling the deep rooted neurosis of new wave music angst felt working with Baker, who happened to take one of the demos they were working on titled Dancing Through the Light and managed to make it sound like a ELO disco outtake wasn't helping matters many. Chris Squire and Alan White were also on the look out for outside written sources, and they were listening heavily to a demo submitted to the band by manager Brian Lane which was performed by a songwriting duo called the Buggles. Squire suggested that the new blood would be great for the band. Anderson's response was to get on the first flight back to London, repulsed even by the thought of working with a pair of Wham! wannabees. Wakeman's feeling was that there was nothing left for him in Yes if Anderson was gone, also follwed suit. Like the PP Guru said in his last entry of the Tormato album, the bonus tracks on the remastered Rhino version represented the worst of those sessions. The bonus tracks on the remastered DRAMA originally issued on August 18, 1980 reveals he best of the Baker sessions with the nearly 6 minute track, The Golden Age being the best song that Yes had never released (long sought after by bootleggers and hard core enthusaists) along with the two shorter but sweet and ominious In the Tower and Friend of A Friend. From that point, the relationship with Baker and the rest of the group had dissolved and Squire, White, and guitarist Steve Howe went back to work on new material and took Lane's consideration to task at hiring the duo of the Buggles which consisted of, singer /songwriter Trevor Horn and session keyboardist Geoff Downes to write and perform on the new record.
Two of the tracks, Dancing Through the Light & Everybody's Song recorded in Paris were co-written by Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were slightly rearranged into brand new songs Downes and Horn sharing given writing credits on the reworked versions. Dancing Through the Light was changed to Run Through the Light and sounded more balladly and tender until Alan White's drums explodes like a white star dwarfing- a sound that could have been the architect of Phil Collins's solo hit, In the Air Tonight' which was no wonder since Hugh Padgham is credited as engineer on this album. Hugh would go on to be the successful producer of many future Genesis' and Phil Collins top selling pop albums such as Abacab and Invisible Touch. The other hold out number, Everybody's Song was polished off to become one of the new album's most endearing tracks, Does It Really Happen?
When the PP Guru first heard of the announcement that the remaining members of the Yes had allied themselves with a pair of new wavers, the PP Guru saw red, no not purple, but RED rage & frustration that remaining members of his favorite band would be joined on record with a bunch of pompadour sprouting amateurs, who were in no way close to their calibre of musicanship. This alliance had the stink of dry ice on it. The PP Guru had the prediction that the concert would be cancelled and the album would be permanently shelved - so feeling he had nothing much to lose, by the end of his sophomore year in high school he would ask a very pretty girl to attend the concert with him- a date well in advance that wouldn't be happening until next fall.
Enter Linda Freeman. Linda was the PP Guru's classmate in his Social Studies class. His teacher, Mrs. Uberto used to a Radio City Rockette and boy, she fumed at the thought of world class stoner such as the YOUNG PP GURU would even have the audacity to ask out such a glamourous girl, who had just taken third place in the runner-up to be selected as Miss New Jersey in the Miss Teen America contest, but as luck turned out, Linda knew that he wasn't that much of a doper as the reputation had led her to believe and knew that the PP Guru had a inner artist quality that she could warm up to. And from the moment she told him... YESSSSSSS, the PP Guru knew he had hit the big time. Linda was a prize package, not only did she have brains, but she was blonde with a Swedish background with fantastic looking sweater meats and thighs, and a magnificent wiggle to her walk, AND she had also two older sisters who shared the same attributes (the PP Guru also dated her older sister, Lisa when Linda was not available for a Asia concert). The PP Guru fondly remembers the day when he first asked her out - it was the last week of school and she was wearing this opaguely skin clinging spring dress. As she was walking down the hall adjacent to the Parsippany High School Library, the PP Guru stopped her and naturally just let out all that bottled up tension and simply asked her to the concert. Seeing a set of matching bra and panties through that dress really worked as incentive for him. Surprisingly, she accepted the invitiation, and then exchanged phone numbers and made plans to see each other after our summer vacation was over. The PP Guru mulled it over. He wouldn't have mind pushing up that time table up a notch and asked her if she wouldn't also mind seeing Alice Cooper at the New York Palladium (Billy Squier opened up), his date being just a month away. So it was from that awkward moment onward throughout the rest of his high school years, that Linda Diane Freeman became the Young PP Guru's on and off girlfriend- that was only reduced to spending time going to concerts and maybe some holiday get-togethers. Linda was one to crack open books and do gobs and gobs of homework- while the PP Guru dabbled in writing poetry and stories and wound editing his yearly creative writing class booklet. Linda went to Case Western University to study biology and the PP Guru ventured onward back to California shorty after high school was over (detours along the way to be explained in Tuesday's entry).
Oh high the memory of those see through saffron dress, those pagnant swimsuits and gowns she modeled for the PP Guru... Arrrgghh...! Oh, to be sweet sixteen again.
So when the PP Guru got more details on the new Yes release, he found that things still were looking apocalyptically more gloomier than ever as the new album's release date loomed nearer. Maestro Jon A and Rick wakey-Wake were still M.I.A, but to compensate, he did read that Eddie Offord was coming back to engineer and that Roger Dean would be providing the cover. That at least counted for something. When August 18, did finally rolled around, he got out his Scwhinn ten speed bike and rode down 10 miles down to Morris County Mall in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, the exact same spot where he had seen Star Wars three years earlier and its' sequel, the Empire Strike Back a few months back and bought two copies of the new album (one for PP Guru and one for Linda) and sped back up to his place as far as his PP Guru legs could pump to plunk it down on the crystal needle of his year old stereo phonic system that he bought a year ago, saved up by his paper routes (the PP Guru had reformed from committing too many petty thefts and opened a saving account to buy expensive shit for himself, until his stepfather, in sorely need of A REALITY CHECK ROGER found out about it and pinched some of it to bet on the ponies at the nearest OTR ).
What would the new guys sound like?
Startiing off with Machine Messiah.
Holy shit! Unbelieveable! Trevor Horn almost sounds like JON ANDERSON (cullied with help from Chris's back up vocals). 10 minutes and 27 seconds of dark hellish guitars riffings- almost a precursor to heavy metal in a few places. And Geoff Downes's subtle keyboard flourishes and stinging appreggios playing is a nomination worthy of new prog rock god . White Car is another momentual listening achievement - a short keyboard suite that is no longer than a minute - would be the first Yes song that the PP Guru would learn to play on a keyboard without the accompaniment of a cheat sheet. (The PP Guru once perfomed it on a grand piano that was set up at the Friends of Lulu awards ceremony one year in San Diego. 21st Century Comics owner, Barry Short was so impressed that he had a tip jar set up for him). the reworked version of " Does It Really Happen" also has an excellent bass riff and piledriving percussion from White - in fact, it's Alan White's (or Eddie's superb engineering ) most memorable work he has ever done for the band and this is the prime example of how his skills are presented here.
A unused Buggles idea is the groundwork for Into the Lens, the eight and half minute eccentric piece that opens the second side is regarded as a love tap anthem between the young PP Guru and Linda - the chorus of I am a Camera would be a code for us to let each other know that life was peachy for us back them. The forementioned 'Run through the Light earlier in the post had a different mix than the one that was previewed on radio (the PP Guru prefered the much earlier one- but both are now available on the remastered version) , so the last of the original six recordings ends on the powerful keyboard and guitar heavy riffed "Tempus Fugit" which is represented for the first time live on CD on the new live box set of The Word is Live just released on Rhino Records. Also two unreleased songs from that era which were never recorded , but have been part of their live set "We Can Fly From Here" and "Go Through This" has been sought by the PP Guru for the longest time - are finally made available on the new box set. It's no small wonder, that the PP Guru identified with this album- he considers his favorite album behind Relayer.
Both the PP Guru and Linda took in Yes together at Madison Square Garden on September 6, 1980 (portions of that show are on the new CD box set as well) - the stage was the same as it had been on the previous two tours- with the only exception of Alan White's drum kit would revolve in the counter clockwise direction than the rest of the band did and would be on a seperate riser during the climactic moments during the live rendition of Machine Messiah. Geoff Downes was a wonder to behold - his keyboard work on older material such as Yours is No Disgrace and Heart of the Sunrise were on par with the more trained predecessors before him and he would be one of the keyboard players that would influence the PP Guru to take up keyboard playing as a hobby vocation (the other keyboard player to influence PP Guru would be Tony Banks of Genesis)- however not the same could be said for Trevor Horn, whose future was better cemented in producing Seal and Paul McCartney, was no Jon Anderson, that's for sure. The PP Guru distinctively remembers Horn's voice embarrassingly being tone deaf during certain sections of Yours is No Disgrace. Boy, did the PP Guru wish he had rented ear plugs from the concession stand before Linda and he found their seats in the orchestra pits. Chris Squire wore an gaudy pin-striped suit with purple lens- while Horn wore these hugh yellow framed jobs that wouldn't look out of place on a clownsuit. In fact, Horn wore a red clown suit with big green floppy shoes if he recalls.
Although the dates sold out everywhere, the band did not do so well on their home soil- so management decided that Yes should go into status for a while to rethink its ' future. Steve Howe and Geoff Downes went on to form Asia with John Wetton and Carl Palmer. Rick Wakeman went on make a gazillion more solo albums (what does he have now, like 80?) .Jon Anderson found himself teamed up with Oscar winning Chariots of Fire soundtrack composer Vangelis ( remember him? ) and they made a slew of albums together under the moniker of Jon & Vangelis, which recorded Canada's best selling album of the time, the Friends of Mr.Cairo (no doubt influenced by Jon's love for - watch that word - cinema ) in 1981 which featured a song that disco temptress Donna Summer remade called State of Independance. Trevor Horn became a hot artist producer for Seal, FRankie Goes to Hollywood , and ABC (but recorded one more Buggles album with Downes before calling it kaput that featured another version of Into the Lens but retitled I am A Camera - but weren't in formation when they the Buggles became a cultural icon in the launch of MTV with the promo clip of Video Killed the Radio Star being the first video ever played on that station). Chris and Alan went on to record a Christmas themed song called Run with The Fox and would have a run in with both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to form another super group that never got past the talking stage (although demos with Page exist on the collector's market).
And Linda? Who knows? The PP Guru, when he first moved to LA tried to talk her into coming out, but we just drifted away and just plain forgot each other he supposes. The PP Guru is sad that her children someday will never be his.
Personnel: Trevor Horn- vocals and bass (Run Through the Light), Geoff Downes - keyboards, Steve Howe- guitar and back up vocals, Chris Squire - bass, vocals, and piano (Run Through the Light), and Alan White - drums and percussion. Recorded at the Town House and SARM studios in London. Favorite lyric: History dicating symptons of ruling romance/ Claws at the Shores of the Water upon which we dance - Machine Messiah (Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White)
Left like a dead beaten speed freak to:
|Album by Yes|
|Release||August 22, 1980|
|Recorded||April - June 1980|
|Length||36 min 55 s|
Drama is the eleventh album by British progressive rock group Yes. It is unique for being the only release in the entire Yes canon to not feature long-time vocalist Jon Anderson. In early 1980, after rehearsing music for the follow-up to the tepidly-received Tormato, both Anderson and Rick Wakeman departed the band over creative differences.
Undeterred, the remaining members, Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White carried on, and invited Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles and "Video Killed The Radio Star" fame to join Yes. It was an unlikely partnership, but it worked - for one album, at least.
Recorded that spring and released in August, Drama featured a much harder-edged Yes with a distinct new wave flavor (in no small part due to the two new recruits). Perhaps to ensure that some of the old glory was there, Roger Dean was commissioned to design his first Yes cover in five years, and Eddie Offord, who had co-produced the band in their 1971-1974 heydey, returned to the studio for assistance. Drama fared well in the UK charts, but American audiences weren't so sure, with Drama becoming Yes' first album there in years to not reach the Top 10 or go gold. However, the supporting tour over there was another big success.
Despite this, Squire, Howe and White felt something was missing, and at the end of 1980, they decided to end the group and begin new projects. The band's dissolution wouldn't last for very long, however.
- "Machine Messiah" - 10:27
- "White Car" - 1:21
- "Does It Really Happen?" - 6:35
- "Into The Lens" - 8:33
- "Run Through The Light" - 4:43
- "Tempus Fugit" - 5:15
Drama (Atlantic K 50736) reached #2 in the UK. It also reached #18 in the US during a chart stay of 19 weeks.
Drama was remastered and reissued in 2004 with several bonus tracks.
- Trevor Horn: Vocals, Bass guitar on "Run Through The Light"
- Chris Squire: Bass guitar, vocals, piano on "Run Through The Light"
- Steve Howe: Guitars, vocals
- Geoff Downes: Keyboards, vocoder
- Alan White: Drums, vocals
- Drama, CD booklet essay, Brian Ives, c.2003
- "Top Pop Albums 1955-2001", Joel Whitburn, c.2002
- Progressive Ears Album Reviews
- Los Angeles Times Calendar, May 25th , 1980: THE ANSWER ON YES IS YES!
I was still with Ingrid — amused that my chums were hiding the fact they had scored with Sharon because I hadn't. Rachel's tale is for the year 1976 and another day ... I've nothing to add at this point ... - Sparks