TR+ Extended Interview – Welcome Back: Jon Anderson
The former Yes vocalist and the electric violin virtuoso join forces – at last – as the AndersonPonty band.
His helium-high voice was one of the unmistakeable trademarks of legendary prog band Yes; Michael Jackson was a big fan of his music with Vangelis, and he was once laughed out of town for mooting what, years later, we’d know as Kickstarter.
Jon Anderson has now joined forces with electric violin maestro (and former Frank Zappa collaborator) Jean-Luc Ponty in The AndersonPonty Band, his first proper group project for years. They’re embarking on a tour in support of debut album Better Late Than Never, a spirited, nearly-live set of brand new material and buffed-up versions of some old classics.
Didn’t Jean-Luc Ponty first approach you to do something back in the eighties?
Yeah. We kept bumping into each other. He’d worked with Mahavishnu Orchestra, who are one of my favourite bands of all time, and we talked about it back then. It was really good to meet somebody where we sort of knew each other from another time. But it took a long time for us to organise ourselves and get together.
Hence the album title. So how did the collaboration eventually materialise?
I was working with a musician friend in Oregon a few years ago, and Jean-Luc had played on the track we were doing. I thought, Oh my gosh he’s still amazing, better than I remember, and that’s when I thought we have to make this happen. I downloaded a couple of his tracks from the seveties and eighties, sang some ideas over them, sent the MP3s to him, and he loved it.