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“In some ways, some people in our band might be trying to appease people and give them something accessible. Maybe we can give them an album of silence. [Laughs] But I can say that we are more accessible – as writers, that’s what comes to us. I don’t disagree with your comment about Subway Walls. It’s a profoundly good arrangement; we really developed a lot of ideas. I think it shows what weight Jon Davison has brought to us. He collaborated on the music with Jeff as much as I did with him on Believe Again.
“It’s a real mixed bag of writing, and it isn’t all the same, thank goodness. Some of it does lean a bit to close to ‘la la la-la-la,’ but that’s what we are.”
You worked with Roy Thomas Baker, whom you had tried working with in 1979. Was that for the record that became Drama?
“No, no, that wasn’t Drama. We had tons of material that had nothing to do with Drama. All of that material was canned. It was old, Alan broke his foot… We didn’t have the right material for an album, and we didn’t continue making an album. Besides Roy buying a new Trans-Am, that’s all we knew. We left, we didn’t get to know Roy that well – I can’t say that we really know him now.”
Why did you decide to give Roy a call after all these years? Did it feel like there was unfinished business with him?
“Well, like anything, the answer’s too obvious – it’s what we chose. Out of the people we’d approached, and out of the people who came back to us and said, ‘Oh, yeah, I’d like to work with you,’ we weighed them up and took a chance with Roy. Much like when people asked me, ‘How did you pick the group name of Asia?’ I tell them, ‘We had 10 group names, and we took nine of them off.’ [Laughs] That’s pretty much how it works in life. We met Roy, we talked, and that was it. I’m not going to say any more about it.”
Was it an unpleasant experience working with him? You say you don’t know him even now after making a record with him –
“I’m just gonna leave it at that. We still don’t know him that well.
You had Billy Sherwood mix the record. Obviously, he’s somebody you know very well.
“We made the record, and we asked Billy to mix it – we just didn’t feel that it was quite Yes. Billy has a history with the band, and he’s obviously done good things when he was in the band, so therefore we trusted him, with our involvement, to do that. That’s how the swinging roundabout came; we might have been going around with this with Roy Thomas Baker, but that’s not how we finished it. We wanted Billy to bring it back to Yes Central."