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2017 Kane County Chronicle Best of the Fox

Former Yes frontman to perform in St. Charles as part of AndersonPonty Band

Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 12:30 p.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

The members of the band Yes were heralded as musical innovators in the 1970s for fusing rock with classical music.

Former Yes frontman Jon Anderson continues to seek out new musical adventures, recently teaming up with pioneering violinist Jean Luc Ponty to form the AndersonPonty Band.

The band is touring in support of its CD/DVD "Better Late Than Never" and will perform at 7:30 p.m. May 11 at the Arcada Theatre,105 E. Main St., St. Charles.

Tickets start at $39, and can be purchased at the Arcada's website, www.arcadalive.com.I had the chance to talk to Anderson about the upcoming show.

Q: I know that you had approached Jean-Luc back in the '80s wanting to do something with him. Why did it take so long to finally do something together?

There's always something else to do. I was on the road with Yes for 35 years, so that took up all my life.

We're both in our 70s, and we're more excited about life and music than ever.

Q: What is it about what Jean-Luc has done in the past that made you want to work with him?

He's worked with the best. He worked with [people like] Frank Zappa and Al Di Meola. He performed with all these great musicians.

Q: I know that "Better Late Than Never" features performances from your September 2014 show at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado. The CD features new versions of Yes songs along with new songs and some of Jean-Luc's songs as well.

As far as what you tried to do with the Yes songs, what was your idea in re-working them? To me, "Time and a Word" kind of has a Jamaican feel to it.

To just enjoy them. There's no point in trying to sound like Yes ... I wanted to do the songs in a new way and a fun way.

I've being doing a reggae version of "Time and a Word" in my solo shows. People enjoy it.

Q: What was the chemistry like working with Jean-Luc compared with working with members of Yes?

He's an incredible musician. We're brilliant friends together. He's like my brother.

I used to have that connection with Chris Squire, and I used to have that with Steve Howe. But times change. Life moves on.

Q: Speaking of Chris, everybody was shocked upon hearing of his death. I imagine it must have been shocking for you as well.

When I heard he was really sick, I got in touch with him and thanked him for a lifetime of making music together. And we both agreed that without each other, we wouldn't be doing what we are doing.

I was so blessed with having him in my life.

Q: I know you reunited with Rick Wakeman in 2011. How was that experience?

It was incredible. I was working with a friend and we were just having a good time and having a good laugh on stage. And we were very, very good together musically, because we're professionals.

Q: Do you see yourself reuniting with any other members of Yes in the near future?

No, just Trevor [Rabin] and Rick. That's enough.

Q: I know you will be teaming up with Roine Stolt for the album "The Invention Of Knowledge," which will come out in June. How did that collaboration happen?

Well, we met two years ago on a progressive rock boat trip out of Miami to the Bahamas. I went to see this band called Transatlantic, a very, very good band. And I met the guitar player, Roine.

Last year, we started working on the music. I really knew what I wanted to do, and we just finished mixing it, and it is sounding very, very special.

We only met once two and one-half years ago, and we met just four days ago in L.A. to do a photo shoot. So, we did everything through the Internet. Oh, the wonders of modern technology.

A lot of people are really, really excited about the album. There are 17-minute and 23- minute songs on the album, as the way music sometimes should be.

The songs shouldn't always be just three- or four-minute songs just for the radio. People who have heard it say, "This is so Yes."

Q: So, you like being able to expand a little, not just feel like you have to put out a three-minute hit?

I was always interested in long pieces of music, like "Close to the Edge" and "Tales from Topographic Oceans."

Music is a journey.

Eric Schelkopf writes about the arts and entertainment scene in Chicago at http://thetotalscene.blogspot.com. He also is an employee of Shaw Media.

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