Sunday, April 22, 2007

Chris Squire

Gary Hill @ All Music
Born Christopher Russell Edward Squire, in Wembley, England, on March 4, 1948, Chris Squire's main claim to fame is as the bassist for prog rock super heroes Yes. His start in music, however, came as a child singing in his church choir. His first rock group was the Selfs; he played with that group from 1965 to 1966, before forming the band the Syn. That group featured a guitarist named Peter Banks, with whom Squire would be associated in several bands. The Syn formed in 1966 and remained a group until late 1967. His next outfit was Mabel Greer's Toy Shop, again with Banks. During the course of his work with that band, he became acquainted with vocalist Jon Anderson, who would eventually join Toy Shop for a time. Also during that time, Banks would leave the group, and among those with whom Anderson and Squire would align themselves were Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford. With Banks rejoining, the group chose the name Yes and launched into the beginnings of a very long-lived and storied career.

Yes' journey into the musical spotlight began with the release of two albums in 1969 and 1970 that received a number of critical kudos, but little commercial or radio success. Their third album, however, propelled by the replacement of Peter Banks by Steve Howe and a lucky mistake by a U.S. radio programmer, began to give the band some much-needed exposure. By the time the follow-up Fragile was released, Rick Wakeman had come in as Tony Kaye's replacement and the stage was set. The album, with its single "Roundabout," launched the group (and Squire along with them) headlong into the public eye. There is no question that Squire's unconventional mode of playing the bass guitar as a lead instrument played a pivotal role in that success. Squire became the anchor of the band, sticking with them throughout numerous personnel changes in the 1970s. When the group took a break in 1975 to do solo albums, Squire released what is arguably his best work, Fish Out of Water.

The biggest challenge to Yes cohesiveness was yet to come. Through it all, though, Squire even remained in Yes when Anderson himself, along with Wakeman (for the second time), departed the group in 1979. Undaunted, the remaining members recruited the Buggles (Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn) as replacements and released Drama. Although the album was fairly well-received by Yes fans, the accompanying tour did not fare so well and the group called it quits afterwards. Squire remained working with drummer Alan White throughout the period, which would prove not truly be the end of Yes, but merely a hiatus. First, the duo released a Christmas single, entitled "Run With the Fox." They next began working with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on a project that was to be dubbed XYZ (ex-Yes and Zeppelin). That project, however, would never see fruition and Squire's next undertaking began under the name of Cinema.

Cinema was to have been a new band composed of Squire, White, Kaye, and South African guitarist Trevor Rabin. Their producer, Trevor Horn, suggested they needed an additional vocalist in the group. Jon Anderson was brought in and upon agreeing to work on the project, remarked that with his vocals it would really sound like Yes. The name was thus changed and Yes lived again. The resulting album, 90125, and the single "Owner of a Lonely Heart" would propel the Yes of 1983 to even further heights, scoring successes like they had never seen before. The lineup would release a second album, Big Generator, before more personnel chaos gripped them. This time, though, rather than shake Yes apart, the chaos emerged in a new "super" lineup of the band as an eight-piece group. This grouping of Squire, Anderson, Kaye, Rabin, White, Wakeman, Howe, and Bruford would release the Union album and tour to large crowds and rave reviews. Shortly after the tour, though, Yes was back to its pre-Union lineup. That was the group that released Talk in the mid-'90s.

Squire has also managed to work on several other projects over the years. Among those is an album he released with one-time Yes member Billy Sherwood, entitled Conspiracy. He also worked with Nikki Squire (his wife at the time) on her project Esquire. His bass work has been featured on several solo albums from other Yes members and an album by Eddie Harris. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Chris Squire @ You Tube

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@ Wiki
Christopher Russell Edward "Chris" Squire (born March 4, 1948), is an English musician and the bassist and backing vocalist for the progressive rock group Yes, and is the only member of the group to appear on every album.

He was born in Kingsbury, a suburb of northwest London, in England, and was trained in the church choir as a young boy, beginning his musical career in the church's basement. In 1964, he was suspended from school for "having long hair", and given money to get a haircut. Instead he went home, used the money for other things, and never returned to school.

Squire was fond of experimenting with LSD in the 1960s, until an incident where he had a bad acid trip. He recalls that he spent months inside his girlfriend's apartment, afraid to leave, and it was during this time that he learned how to play bass. He recovered and never used LSD again.

Squire's early influences were diverse, ranging from church and choral music to the Merseybeat sounds of the early 1960's. Squire's first musical groups The Selfs, The Syn, and later, Mabel Greer's Toyshop, would introduce him to his early Yes collaborators Peter Banks and Jon Anderson and to Andrew Jackman.

During his first conversation with Anderson, the pair broke the ice by discussing one of their favourite groups, Simon & Garfunkel (Yes later covered "America") and Squire discovered that he and Anderson were both into vocal groups.

Yes released their first record in 1969, and though the band have had many personnel changes over the years, they have continued to record and tour for over 35 years. Squire is the only original member who has remained in the lineup throughout the band's tenure.

During the band's formative years Squire was frequently known for his tardiness, a habit that drummer Bill Bruford often complained about. Because of this, Squire would frequently drive at unsafe speeds to get to gigs on time, once causing a horrific accident on the way to a gig in West Germany after he fell asleep at the wheel, although miraculously nobody was injured.

As Squire, along with Alan White and Steve Howe, co-owned the "Yes" name at the time, the 1989 ABWH lineup without him (which contained Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe) could not record under that name.

Squire has concentrated overwhelmingly on Yes' music over the years, and his solo works have been few and far between. His first and only true solo record was 1975's Fish Out of Water, featuring Yes alumni Bill Bruford on drums and Patrick Moraz on keyboards and The Syn/The Selfs alumnus Andrew Jackman also on keyboards. Squire was later a member of the short-lived XYZ (eX-Yes/Zeppelin) in 1981, a group composed of Alan White (Yes) on drums and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) on guitar. XYZ recorded several demo tracks at Squire's home studio in Virginia Waters, but never produced anything formal (ostensibly because vocalist Robert Plant, still mourning for John Bonham, failed to get interested). XYZ never officially released any material, though two of the demos provided the bases for two later Yes tracks, "Mind Drive" and "Can You Imagine?". Squire also played a role in bringing Trevor Rabin into the Cinema band project, which became the 90125 lineup. Later, Squire would join with Yes guitarist Billy Sherwood in a side project called Conspiracy. This band's self-titled debut album contained the nuclei of several songs that had appeared on Yes' recent albums. Conspiracy's second album, The Unknown, was released in 2003. In late 2004, Squire joined a reunion of The Syn, subsequently leaving the band in May 2006.

Squire's bass playing is noted for being aggressive, dynamic, and melodic. Squire's main instrument is a Rickenbacker bass (model RM1999, serial number DC127), which he has owned and played since 1965. The RM1999 was a budget, monophonic version of Rickebacker's 4001 stereo bass. This model was imported into the UK by Rose Morris Ltd (hence the RM prefix on the model number) and, according to Squire's official website, was only the fourth bass of its type to be imported into Britain from the United States. This instrument, with its warmth and distortion, is a significant part of Squire's unique sound. Squire obtains his distinctive tone using only the neck pickup of his bass. In fact, according to John Hall (Rickenbacker CEO), the treble pickup (bridge pickup) of Squire's RM1999 is completely disconnected from the bass's circuitry and has been for many years. Another major factor in Squire's sound is a technique known as 'bi-amping'. By splitting the signal from his bass into dual high and low frequency outputs and then sending the low frequency output to a conventional bass amplifier and the high-frequency output to a separate lead guitar amplifier, Squire produced a tonal 'sandwich' that added a growling, overdriven edge to the sound while retaining the Rickenbacker's powerful bass response. He also uses fresh strings for every show.

Squire (who is self-taught) was also one of the first rock bass players to successfully adapt electronic guitar effects such as tremolo, phasing and the wah-wah pedal to the instrument.

Squire's vocals are also key to Yes' music, providing important harmonisation with Jon Anderson's distinctive countertenor.

Chris Squire is commonly known by his nickname Fish, and the name is associated with many of his works (for example his solo record, and his solo piece the fish (Schindleria Praematurus) from the 1972 Yes record, Fragile). The name has multiple origins. First, his astrological sign is Pisces, and he is apparently a believer in astrology. Second, in the early days of Yes career, he once accidentally flooded a hotel room in Oslo, Norway while taking a shower, and Bill Bruford gave him the nickname. He has also acquired this nickname because of the alleged amount of time he spends in the bath tub. The nickname can also be interpreted such that the species of fish, the bass is homonymous to the musical instrument, the bass. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Forever Changing, Forever Learning

@ Global Bass
Most bass players over the age of 35 know of YES. As one of Britain’s most enduring Progressive Rock groups, they remain one of the last few original bands of their genre.

Progressive Classical Rock music as a style arose in the late sixties and enjoyed commercial success well into the early `80’s. Progressive could be loosely described as a perfect amalgam of the fire and testosterone that Rock and Roll offered, melded perfectly with the loftier and sometimes spiritual aspirations of Classical music.

By the mid `80’s, New Wave and Disco had captured the commercial market, and the major labels, no longer able to make a fast and easy buck from these older groups, began to drop them one by one.

Relegated to forming their own labels, or signing onto fledgling labels with smaller budgets and less developed distribution, many ‘Prog’ bands, as they had come to be known, simply chose to call it a day.

YES, however, weathered the storm, and chose instead to infuse new life into the band by inviting South African rock guitarist Trevor Rabin into the fold in the early `80’s.

Invigorated by Rabin’s rock sensibilities and a technique not too far removed from Eddie Van Halen’s, YES released 90125, their most commercially successful album to date. For a while they even courted the interests of AM radio with their hit single OWNER OF A LONELY HEART.

YES today now share the somewhat diminished Progressive field with other survivors like KING CRIMSON and Canada’s RUSH, (a more straightforward rockier group than the others). Another groundbreaker from the same era, GENESIS had long since fallen to the pop influences of Phil Collin’s, vocalist and occasional drummer for the band.

Today a new batch of musicians can claim they fall roughly under the banner of Progressive Rock, including bands such as Marillion, Dreamtheatre and Envision. All very good in their own right, none to date have truly taken up the gauntlet from YES or reached the commercial success of the original wave of Prog Bands.

With the big labels no longer behind the Progressive movement, these bands are however learning to build a following on the Internet. YES, forever changing, forever learning, have followed suit and can be found there as well.


Going back to beginning however, in their early days what set YES apart was their willingness to take chances and break new ground. Completely reworking mainstream commercial songs almost to the point of burying the original intent, that very audacity captured the interest of fans everywhere they played.

CHRIS SQUIRE, their bassist, was on the leading edge of a vanguard that was reshaping what most were used to thinking of as the typical role for bass players. His thunderous Rickenbacker literally soared over the music, mixed louder than we had ever heard before. Everywhere they went, Chris onstage showmanship coupled with that delicious ‘Ricky’ growl set bassists ears to attention!

Chris was also doing something else that was different, something most of us had never heard before. Though we had all seen bass players venturing into the ‘solo’ arena, never, not even with master bassists like John Entwistle and John Paul Jones, had we ever heard such never-ending and convoluted melodic lines, presented on a platter and shoved into your face.

The most miraculous realization about Chris’s playing was that in spite of the heresy he was committing in his role as bassist, swimming in a sea of constant melodious ‘soloing’, he was still somehow always right there, smack dab on the beat.

Whether it was with the jazz influenced BILL BRUFORD on percussion, or rocker ALAN WHITE, Chris inevitably shook up the usual role relegated to the rhythm section, in turn catapulting it to a higher level than ever before attained.

Legions of bassists today owe their inspiration to the new vistas that CHRIS SQUIRE first had the courage to venture into…myself included.


Chris’ Squire’s publicist calls to say that things are running a bit behind. He asks me if I would mind waiting 45 more minutes for The Call. I cannot help but laugh and say "I’ve been waiting for this for 30 years, 45 minutes I can do!’.

You just can’t help it. You build images in your mind of a people you admire. Not only as to what they might look like should you meet them, but also what they might sound like as well. All those years of listening to Chris’s powerful voice backing up Jon Anderson on countless songs somehow lead me to expect a Richard Burton quality to his voice, somehow larger than life. Instead, what comes across on the phone is the voice of just a regular guy with a British accent.

I tell Chris that he has long been one of the biggest influences in my own life as a bass player. Even to this day, I look back on some of the parts he came up with, lines from songs like ‘TEMPIS FUGIT’, ‘SIBERIAN KHATRU’, ‘ROUNDABOUT’, with so many brilliant moments, and I marvel.

These were bass parts that I would have never thought of, lines so unusual, so melodic and so innovative that even today as I look back to some of these songs, with some of them 25 to 30 years old now, they contain parts I still can’t unravel.

One of the greatest attractions to Chris’ playing, aside from that incredible piano-wire Rickenbacher sound he introduced to so many of us, was that the bass parts he came up with were so very ‘out there’ and so different than most of us would have come up with ourselves. One cannot help but ask what led his creative imagination along these uncharted paths. The answer was surprisingly ordinary…

“Well, it was a combination of things really. My influences were everyone who had come before me, which included Jack Bruce, Paul McCartney, John Entwistle and also a bit of Larry Graham from Sly. Kind of a combination of all the people I had listened to.”

I asked what he thought of other innovative bassists the likes of Stanley Clarke and Michael Manring. “Well, they kind of came onto the scene after I did. They took some things even further. Stanley was a pretty accomplished string bass player long before he played bass guitar.”

Have you ever considered tackling stand-up bass yourself?
“No, I’ve never really taken to that. I’ve toyed around, but it was something I felt I never was really as good at as I am on bass guitar. I may as well stick to something I am good at!”

What about fretless bass?

“I like fretless bass and I’ve used them on a couple of different tracks during Yes’s history. In fact I used a bit on CLOSE TO THE EDGE and a bit on AWAKEN from GOING FOR THE ONE. I’ve played around with them, but once again, other people like Jaco Pastorius were so accomplished at that. It seemed to me to be a bit somebody else’s field.”

Are you comfortable talking about the band Esquire?

(Note: for those that aren’t aware of Esquire…in late `87 a new progressive rock band named Esquire released a self-titled album. Nikki Squire, then Chris’ wife, was singing lead vocals, and with the strong influences of her then husband Chris, the tracks inevitably came across with a very Yes-like air. Long multifaceted songs, filled with thick instrumental and vocal tracks, Nikki’s voice seemed reminiscent of a slightly less polished combination of Jon Anderson’s and Chris’ voice, the hero of this story. Even the bass tracks themselves were rife with Chris’s influence).

Am I correct in saying that you and Nikki are no longer together, but at the time you helped her with the first Esquire album? Also how about the most recent one, ?

“Ah yeah! No we haven’t been together since about `86, but I helped her with the first one. I was not involved in the second one at all. I helped them put together some numbers for the first one and I supervised the mix.”

When I first heard ‘Run With the Fox’ in Christmas of 1980 (a single put out by long time YES drummer Alan White and Chris in a brief period during which YES was not in existence), I noticed mixed within the chorus a set of backing vocals that sounded quite feminine. Somewhat like a female version of you. Was Nikki helping even at that time?

“You know what? I think she was! Yeah!”

Did we also hear her on Jon’s album, Olias of Sunhillow as well?
“No (laughs), that wouldn’t have happened.”

Going even further back in time, did one of your earliest bands, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, ever make it into the studio. Is there anything out there for your fans?

“I don’t think so. No we didn’t have any official releases. It was just a holding pattern. It was a band I was in just prior to YES, and it was actually the band where I met Jon Anderson.

Songs like BEYOND AND BEFORE developed from those early years? “Yes”. How about HAROLD LAND? “No, Jon wrote that, but that around the time when we first brought YES together”.

Are you comfortable talking about Bill Bruford?
“Yeah sure”. The reason I am asking is that half the time what we, the public hear, is crap. You hear one moment that one guy wants to ring another’s neck, and the next report is that they are best of buddies. It can get pretty confusing.

“I don’t have any grudge towards him.”

He was, and is one of the finest drummers from that whole era.

“Is he still playing around, he was in a jazz band at one point, wasn’t he?” In King Crimson as well. “Yeah, yeah, that’s right.”

YES’s membership over the years has been many and sundry, has it ever reached the point where it seemed a bit like a revolving door? Somewhat like ‘If you’ve been in YES once, odds are you will be again’? (a la Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe).

(Laughs) It could come across as slightly humorous, but it’s a bit more serious than that. It’s true, people have come and gone, and I guess we never fully close the door on someone who leaves, but we tend to see some people return more than others.

In that light, is it nice to have Steve Howe back again?
“Yeah it’s been great playing with Steve again, and it’s a slightly different animal now. It’s different this time with Steve because we also have Billy Sherwood playing guitar as well. That makes an interesting version of YES.”

Looking back to 1984, to the DRAMA album and to what appeared to many to be an odd choice for new blood for YES, of all people to invite into a serious progressive rock band, you chose the pop duo THE BUGGLES. What brought about that decision?

“Well you know they happened to just walk into our office looking for management representation. They wanted YES’s manager to handle them. It was just a fluke really, being a singer and a keyboard player, just as Jon and Rick were going off to do their solo albums.”

DRAMA in fact turned out to be arguably one of the finer albums YES has released, filled with strong songs.

“Yeah, as it turned out working with them produced a very fine album.”

The critics however sloughed over the album, dismissing it somewhat.

“Amongst the fans, it certainly received its due, but I am not so sure about the record company, whether they believed in it as much as they should have done. They were a bit nervous, because they felt that with Jon and Rick not there, that it wasn’t going to sell. I don’t even think they, (the record label) even knew that THE BUGGLES had a number one single all over the world.” (‘Video Killed The Radio Star’-a pop new wave number that shot to the top of the charts. It was also the first video the MTV played on-air in August of 1981)

One last question about the DRAMA album. The song WHITE CAR seemed abbreviated, almost like song fragments from the Beatles ABBEY ROAD album. Just as it began to hit its stride, it was over and let hanging in the air. Was that deliberate?

“It was a vignette sort of piece, something that Geoff (Downes) developed on the Fairlight really. We are really rushed to do that album. We had a tour that we had obligations to that was coming up and with the personnel change and everything, we just were really up against the wall doing that album. It was a bit of an ‘insert piece’ that helped fill out the album, because we didn’t have enough time really.”

Was it a conscious effort on your part to make sure you were in every incarnation of YES?

“No, it was just a fluke. It was just how the cards fell really. It was not like I was there wielding a stick saying ‘You’re in and you’re out’. Certain people would want to go out and promote their solo careers, and I was just really left there holding the baby! Actually that was more the way it was.”

I had read a quote somewhere that seems somewhat comical that has you saying, “I guess I am doomed to never releasing another solo CD”.

“Well, I’ve been trying to since `74! I was almost there. I was working with Billy Sherwood on something called The Chris Squire Experiment, and we got together to do the OPEN YOUR EYES album. We had new management that said ‘Why don’t you use that track and that track? And that one’s good!’, and before I knew where I was they had taken my album, it was right pillaged! The track called OPEN YOUR EYES was originally called WISH I KNEW and it and MAN ON THE MOON were to be on The Chris Squire Experiment album.

DID the band XYZ actually stand for ‘ex-Yes and ex-Zeppelin? “Yeah it did!”

You also have a bass instruction tape out called BASS INSTRUCTI?
“Which I am not particularly proud of…I felt rather persuaded into doing the thing and I didn’t really want to. I felt that if people wanted to learn anything from me, all they really had to do was come to the show. I found that trying to put it into words was a bit difficult.”

Have you ever had anyone approach you as a student looking for lessons? “People have asked, but it’s not really my calling.”

Have you ever ventured into the arena of bass synth guitars like the PEAVEY Cyberbass or the YAMAHA B1-D module, availing yourself of the hundreds of voices they offer?

“Yeah, they’re good, but you have to realize that people are trying to give me bass guitars all the time, and the odd things is that the more you say ‘No it’s okay, I don’t really need any more’, the more they want to give them to you. So I do my very best to say, ‘No, I am serious, I just don’t need any more.

Do you still feel you have challenges after all these years?
“Yeah, on all fronts really, there are all kinds of challenges really. There’s the production challenge and there is still always the instrumental challenge, the playing.”

Your fan base is somewhat divided into distinct eras of your music. For a band that has spanned 31 years, there are albums and sometimes whole groups of albums that one legion of fans will just adore, and others that leave them cold.

“YES has always been a very hard band to pin down, it’s almost part of our quality as much as anything else. It’s like ‘just when you think you know what YES is’, we change. That is also part of our survival technique as well.” =>>>>>>>>>>>

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