Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman: the inside story behind this year's biggest reunion
Yes fans everywhere have been anticipating Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman, featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman, who are touring for the first time since 1990. So, what's in store
“This is the best band line-up I have ever been in.”
Rick Wakeman is certain in his belief of the potential of Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman.
“Honestly, when it comes to Yes-associated bands, I’ve never been involved with anything so good. And one of the reasons is that this has become a genuine band. It’s not just about Jon, Trevor and me. Getting in Lee Pomeroy on bass and Louis Molina III on drums has made this a complete band. We’ll all be travelling together. The three of us will be in a limo, and Lee and Lou will be in a caravan behind us…”
“But we will wave at them occasionally, to make them feel part of it all!” chips in Rabin.
Wakeman and Rabin have an infectious excitement concerning what’s about to happen. And bringing this project to fruition has taken a very long gestation period.
“A big problem has been that I’ve been constantly offered soundtrack work,” admits Rabin. “Just when I thought I had free time for the band, my agent would call up and say that there was yet more movie music work on the table…”
“But it wasn’t just Trevor’s schedule that was difficult,” adds Wakeman. “Jon and I were also busy. So it dragged on.”
In the end, the catalyst for getting the trio to push forward was a sad event in 2015.
“When Chris Squire died in June, it made us stop and think,” sighs Wakeman. “We all realised that time wasn’t on our side, and we had to make the effort to get this off the ground, before it was too late.”
“Jon and I both live in California,” says Rabin. “So we got together to start working out what we wanted to do musically. Then Rick came out…”
“Erm, that’s not ‘coming out’ in any sense other than joining them in rehearsals!” quips Wakeman with a laugh.
Both agree that it was finding the right rhythm section that ensured the band began to take a firm shape. From Wakeman’s perspective, there was only ever one choice to play bass.
“I’ve been working with Lee for a long time, and he is brilliant. More than that, he has a remarkable recollection of how every Yes song should be played. When he first joined my band in the late 80s, we were in rehearsals somewhere in Glastonbury, and at the end of it he politely pointed out that in Starship Trooper I had gotten the middle part wrong. Obviously knowing, or so I thought, the material much better than him I completely disagreed. To prove it, we went and listened to the original recording. And when we got to the contentious bit, I turned to him and said, ‘There you
are, I told you I got it… oh. You’re right!’ So I asked him if there was anything else we’d gotten wrong, and he highlighted a few other mistakes. We call him The Oracle. I am sure when he has sex, he’s thinking of a Yes track!
“Lee is a huge Chris Squire fan. You should have seen his reaction when I introduced him to Chris. He was so in awe of him that he couldn’t talk. But Chris was really friendly, which was great, because the last thing you want to do is meet your idol and find out they’re an arse. For me, he is not only the natural successor to Chris, but he’s taken it all to another level.”
The addition of Lou Molina III has given ARW a powerful rhythm section.
“I knew Lou was the drummer we needed,” insists Rabin. “The only thing was whether he and Lee could work together…”
“But as soon as we saw how the two of them gelled as a team, I turned to Jon and Trevor and said, ‘I think we’ve just become a proper band,’” says Wakeman. “It might be called Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman, but the others are an equal part of what we’re doing. And I have to thank Lee for bringing the average age of the band down. To just 62.2.”
“They’re not hired hands,” attests Rabin, “but a crucial part of what we’re setting out to do.”