Alan White (Yes)

Alan White the drummer and songwriter with the bands Yes, Plastic Ono Band, White, and Circa, was born 14 June 1949. Yes were Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford and went on to achieve worldwide success with their progressive music, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, live stage sets and symphonic style of rock music. They are regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre. They were Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford and released two albums together but began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album and Fragile,which featured new arrivals Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. They achieved further success with the albums Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans. Wakeman was replaced by Patrick Moraz, who played on Relayer (1974).White released his only solo album, Ramshackled, in 1975. White only performed drums on the album and wrote none of the songs.

Wakeman returned to Yes on the albums Going for the One (1977) and Tormato (1978). However Anderson and Wakeman left the group in 1980 due to musical differences amongst the band and both went on to pursue solo careers. Their replacements, Trevor Horn and Steve Downes, featured on Drama (1980) and its supporting tour before disbanding in 1981. Howe and Downes went to form Asia.

Yes reformed in 1982 after Squire and White were joined by the returning Jon Anderson and Tony Kaye, with the addition of guitarist Trevor Rabin. They adopted a pop rock sound and released the number one single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and 90125 (1983), their best-selling album to date, followed by Big Generator (1987). Anderson left and co-formed the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe with the named members in 1989. Following a legal battle amongst both Yes groups, they formed an eight-man band to perform on Union (1991) and its supporting tour. Rabin and Kaye featured on Talk (1994) before leaving, while Wakeman and Howe returned with Keys to Ascension (1996) and Keys to Ascension 2 (1997). Wakeman was then replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who was featured on Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The release of Magnification (2001) marked the first album since 1970 to feature an orchestra. Squire also joined the short-lived supergroup XYZ, (ex-Yes, Zeppelin) which featured Squire, Yes’ Alan White, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

In 2002, Wakeman returned for the band’s 35th anniversary tour. The band ceased to tour in 2004, partly due to health concerns regarding Anderson and Wakeman. Following a hiatus, Yes restarted in 2008 with keyboardist Oliver Wakeman and singer Benoît David. After the release of Fly from Here (2011), which saw Downes returning on keyboards, David was replaced by Jon Davison, lead singer of progressive rock band Glass Hammer, on vocals. Sadly though Chris Squire, died 27 June 2013 at the age of 67, following his battle with Acute Erythroid Leukemia, with which he was diagnosed in 2015. He had been a member of the band’s current line-up alongside singer Jon Davison, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes.

In addition to his drum playing, White has played piano and written music for several Yes albums. Sadly Due to various health problems, White missed a tour with Yes in 2016, with Jay Schellen substituting for him. Schellen and White then toured together into 2017. On summer 2017 touring, White was accompanied by Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe), with Schellen returning to the role in early 2018.

Alan White Has also guested with Seattle band MerKaBa on a number of occasions and White and MerKaBa also had links with another band, Treason. In 2003, White joined sessions for a new MerKaBa album, but these evolved into a new band, called White, and an album’s worth of demo recordings under the name Loyal. As well as Alan, the band consisted of Kevin Currie (from MerKaBa; lead vocals), Karl Haug (from Treason); electric & acoustic guitars, lap steel), Steve Boyce (from MerKaBa; bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Ted Stockwell (from Treason and MerKaBa; keys, guitar). Stockwell left the band and, in April 2005, was replaced by Alan’s former colleague in Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes. A new album, White, was recorded, partly based on the Loyal demos. The album was released in 2006, with a cover by Roger Dean.

The band has played live (with various keyboardists) in the Seattle area. They were due to join the abortive More Drama Tour, scheduled to begin in North America in August 2005, with three acts: White, The Syn, and Steve Howe, with Yes members Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes playing Yes material at the end of the evening (with Currie handling lead vocals). However, the tour was cancelled shortly before it was due to begin. White later joined The Syn touring band for dates in the first half of 2006. Subsequently, White has been working on projects with Billy Sherwood, notably in the initial line-up of Circa, with a third Yes alumnus, Tony Kaye. In 2010, the band White re-emerged after a hiatus with a new line-up of White, Haug and Boyce joined by two musicians from Yes tribute band Parallels, who have previously worked with Alan: vocalist Robyn Dawn and keyboardist Jonathan Sindelman. White also serves as the Grand Marshal at the Issaquah, Washington Salmon Days FestivalOn 28 October 2017, to celebrate his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, White played Roundabout in a halftime performance with the University of Washington Husky Marching Band, also featuring music from Pearl Jam, Journey, and Electric Light Orchestra.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.