Yes rocks on after Chris Squire’s death

Keyboard player Geoff Downes talks about it.

​Some musicians are fortunate enough to be in one famous band. Geoff Downes has played keyboards in three successful groups, one of which is British rock legends Yes, performing at The Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday.

Downes first hit the charts in 1979 with The Buggles’ international hit single “Video Killed the Radio Star.” After his first brief stint with Yes in 1980, the keyboardist formed the supergroup Asia with Yes guitarist Steve Howe, King Crimson bassist John Wetton and Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer. Downes rejoined Yes in 2011.

Despite his lengthy resume, during a recent telephone call Downes was focused on Yes. The band is currently touring in the wake of founding member Chris Squire’s death in late June. Here are excerpts from that conversation.

Q: I know Chris was already sick and wasn’t going to do this tour, but how did his death change things for this summer?

A: “We were obviously all very shocked and saddened when we heard the news about Chris. The treatments didn’t work for his very aggressive form of leukemia. It’s a bittersweet thing to be going on the road. We’re obviously going to miss Chris enormously, but I think his wish would be for Yes music to continue, and we’re going to try and do as best we can.”

Q: Did his sudden passing change the upcoming show?

A: “It’s very important we pay a lot of respect to Chris’ legacy, and that’s one of the key aspects to this tour. Chris was the driving force of Yes since the beginning, and the music affected a lot of people and influenced a lot of musicians. We’ll do our best to show Yes music is still viable. We’re still up and running, and we still enjoy doing it. The key thing is you have to enjoy the music you make.”

Q: You’re out on the road with Toto this summer. Have you toured with the band before?

A: “I’ve met them briefly at different things, but I’ve never actually worked with them before. I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve got a lot admiration for what they’ve done in the past. They’re a terrific band of musicians, very gifted players, so I think it’s going to be quite an interesting combination for a lot of the fans. They’ll see a real special night of music. Toto has some terrific songs and great arrangements, so hopefully people will come along, and they’ll really enjoy it.”

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