An interview with Yes, December 10, 1971

yes patchby Frank Urbaniak

As a sophomore at Lafayette College I became program director of the college radio station, and Larry Fast (Synergy) became the general manager.  We had access to early releases and concert passes in one of the great periods in progressive music.  To generate better distribution for college stations, I published a newsletter called The Rolling Paper that we distributed each month on campus and to all record labels.

We were fortunate to interview our three favorite bands between 1971 and 1973-Yes, Genesis on their first US performance at Lincoln Center, and King Crimson on the second Larks Tongue tour through the Bill Bruford connection with Yes.

We met and interviewed Yes at Dickinson College in 1971.  I had seen Yes the previous summer supporting Jethro Tull ($5) with Tony Kaye and had been blown away by the energy of the band.  By December the Yes album was taking off, and Fragile had arrived that week as an import from Jem Records.  We requested an interview through Atlantic Records, and received a warm welcome from the band members who were delighted that we were holding import copies of Fragile in the US.  For the next several years we were fortunate to have backstage passes to more than 20 Yes shows at area colleges, and later at the big arenas like Madison Square Garden and the Spectrum in Philly during their prime including several shows with Bruford on drums prior to his departure.  We watched the band grow from being third on bills (Yes, King Crimson, Procol Harum ) to headliners for the Close to the Edge through the Tales from Topographic Oceans tour.  Larry built a strong connection with Rick Wakeman through electronics and keyboards, and he went on to build some sequencers for him over the next few years. My connection was forged through and over beer, as Rick and I shared a fondness for brew.  I was but a lightweight while Rick’s consumption of Budweiser was unrivaled and eventually unsustainable.

I thought it would be fun to revisit this interview 40+ years later and have condensed the original piece, but not changed the content. Continue reading “An interview with Yes, December 10, 1971”