The Alan White Interview

By Shawn Perry

Alan White's resume reads like a Who's Who in rock and roll. He's been keeping time for Yes since 1972, but he's also logged plenty of hours backing the likes of Joe Cocker, George Harrison and John Lennon. Indeed, his ability to keep it simple, yet powerful on "Imagine" defies the didactic, radical rhythms of Tales Of Topographic Oceans. It's hard to believe the drummer is featured on both. As the consummate pro, White is still on his game, sitting in with a variety of other musicians and friends when Yes isn't working.

During the summer of 2008, Yes was forced to postpone their planned 40th Anniversary tour when singer Jon Anderson suffered a severe asthma attack and was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure. Rick Wakeman had already stepped aside, and was quickly replaced by his son Oliver, but the possibility of Yes touring without Anderson seemed unlikely. Not quite.

In September 2008, it was announced that White, guitarist Steve Howe and bassist Chris Squire were moving forward with an "understudy" singer and Oliver Wakeman for the 'In The Present' tour. Although Anderson expressed concern early on, the tour eventually gained his blessing, and the group has hit the road, as Squire explains, to "honor the music of Yes for the fans who have waited for the past four years to see us perform." During our chat with Alan White, you definitely get the idea that no matter what happens in the world of Yes, the show must always go on.

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