“We kind of became a family, and I was almost a sixth member of the band. They were brilliant musicians, but there were never any egos. Nobody was trying to upstage the other person or be a show-off. It was all about the song and the album.
“The band would come in with ideas and bits, but songs were really developed in the studio. After we were done with an album, they’d have to learn everything so they could play it all live. There was lots of experimentation – and editing.
“I worked with both drummers – first Bill Bruford and then Alan White. Bill was a very white drummer, in my opinion. He’s brilliant, but there is a certain feel that I wanted to get. Alan is a very soulful player. He’s slightly back on the beat, but it’s done in the right way. It was tough for him at first to play Yes music because of all the time signatures. It wasn’t until the second tour that he started to gel. When he got it, he was fantastic. He played the hell out of Starship Trooper.
“Jon Anderson wasn’t a great musician, but he would come up with songs, and the band would take them and add their bits to them. He had a very cinematic mind. He would say things like, ‘I hear bombs dropping’ or ‘I hear a waterfall.’ That’s how he would describe musical ideas.
“Bill Bruford didn’t like Jon messing with the tracks once they were recorded. I remember we were trying something – Jon wanted to have some echo in the background – and Bill got up and yelled, ‘Why don’t you put the whole fucking record in the background with echo then?’ But what I learned about working with them was, if somebody has an idea, it’s better to try it than to sit around debating it.
“We did some long songs, but they were great. I never felt that anything was too long. If a 20-minute song holds your interest, then it works. I’ve heard three-minute songs that are boring.”
Offord engineered 1970's Time And A Word. As co-producer and engineer, his credits are The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971), Close To The Edge (1972), Yessongs (1973), Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973), Relayer (1974) and Union (1991). He co-produced 1980's Drama.