Legendary Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman has enjoyed five stints with the band — as well as the recently split ARW featuring Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin. In a new interview with Rock Cellar, Wakeman shed light on why the bandmembers are frequently entering and exiting each other's musical lives.
Wakeman, who's prepping a box set reissue of his classic 1999 solo set Return To The Centre Of The Earth, explained, “It was always musical. Yes was never a sociable band. We all had very, very, very strong opinions about things. And we used to argue like crazy. In fact most of the people, if they came along to a rehearsal or whatever, thought the band was breaking up. But that’s what created the music in the long run. Music is all about give and take. On occasions I left when I felt like I can’t give anything to the direction that the music’s going in now.“
He went on to say, “If I can’t give, I don’t want to take back. Equally, when I came back to the band it was because musically I felt, great, I’ve got something to offer and the band’s got something to offer me.“
Rick Wakeman told us that say whatever you will about Yes, when the key members got together, it made a sound that was unique unto itself: “There's very few bands, and Yes is one of them, where you can get five individuals come together, and however they sort of play, it comes out as a really unique sound. There's lots of bands with very good musicians that get together and play — they end up sounding like lots of other bands. But there's a strange thing about Yes: when you put the five of us together, it does produce, y'know, a sound of its own.”