Before I even get into it, I fully respect that Alan White and Steve Howe are carrying out Chris Squire’s wishes that Yes continue without him. That being said, it is far more compelling for them to disband Yes and move on. This is just my opinion of course.
Currently there are no original members left in Yes. That is not an unusual situation but without either of the band’s “pillars” of Jon Anderson and Squire, what you are left with are a pair of long time members who were either not on albums like “Fragile,” “Close to the Edge” or “90125.” The band thrived without Howe and/or White.
The current lineup of Yes is really more of a tribute to what was rather than being anything new. Current singer Jon Davison is very talented but he is also a copy of Jon Anderson vocally. Billy Sherwood is also very talented and his style of bass playing and vocals are very reminiscent of his good friend Squire. Neither were brought in for a new spin but rather to copy the two key members of the band.
Steve Hackett currently plays old Genesis songs on his tours. He employs musicians and a singer (Nad Sylvan) who are all very talented but of course are there to sound like vintage Genesis. The difference is he does not call the band Genesis. He has no legal right but with Yes, the only thing that separates what they do now from what Steve Hackett does is the legal right to call themselves Yes. It’s legal but is it right?
Alan White’s playing is another reason to disband. He is really a shell of his former self. On the last album “Heaven & Earth,” his playing was basic and very light. Considering the album was produced by a man known for getting a massive drum sound (Roy Thomas Baker), that underscores how much he should consider retiring. Add in that live reviews have supported this fact as well.
Drumming is a young man’s game. Ask Neil Peart or former Yes drummer Bill Bruford. Bruford retired before his skills declined and Peart has either retired or is taking a break currently. He has said that it takes a lot for him to do what he does. Drumming in a band like Yes requires not only precision but lots of power. White has lost a lot off his fastball, to coin a baseball term.
If for some strange reason Jon Anderson were to return to Yes, I would certain consider the band to really BE Yes again. Anderson is currently performing with legendary violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and seems quite happy. Plus, I doubt Howe and White would actually call Anderson unless ticket sales plummeted.
Why should I care if Yes continues as they are? Honestly, as a long time Yes fan, I would rather remember the band as they were with Anderson and Squire, and at the top of their game. I am sure they sound LIKE Yes currently. But I don’t think sound LIKE Yes makes them really Yes.
Would Rush continue without Neil Peart? If Steve Hackett could call his band Genesis, should he? I think Yes should call it a day. Alan White can retire and Steve Howe can do what Steve Hackett is doing. It’s classy and what the name Yes deserves.