by Alex Kluft, 14 March 2013, Examiner.com
Alex Kluft: How’s the tour going so far?
Alan White: Good. The band’s doing great, and the fans are wonderful.
AK: Does it get tiring playing three albums a night?
AW: Ya, it’s a lot of music, but were enjoying playing the them. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of stuff to do.
AK: When did the band decide to do a tour a like this?
AW: Well, a few bands have done it whether they played one or two entire albums. I don’t know, you have to have two or three major albums at least, and we just decided to do three. It’s actually very satisfying. People are really enjoying it.
AK: What three albums would you choose to tour on?
AW: In the future we could we really pick any of them. These three seem to be the best albums to start with.
AK: How old were you when you started playing drums?
AW: When I was 12, it was only a couple years ago [Laughs].
AK: Who are some of your influences?
AW: I listened to a lot of classical stuff and jazz/fusion. A lot of people, but they all have their different styles so it’s hard to nail down one person.
AK: What was your first drumset?
AW: My first drumset was an Ajax. I only had it for 3 months, then I had a Ludwig. I’ve been with Ludwig ever since.
AK: You were just celebrating 40 years as a Ludwig artist at Namm this year. What has it been like being with the same company for so long?
AW: I’m a true believer of “if it’s not broken don’t fix it.” Ludwigs been great to me, and they’ve always had a lot of good products. They always had what I needed so why change?
AK: What is your current set up?
AW: It’s the same one I’ve been using for quite some time. A Ludwig kit with 6 toms, bass, drum, and snare drum. The sizes are 8”, 10”, 12”, 13”, 14”, 16”. I’ve been using that kind of set up for ages. If you go on my site you can see what it is.
AK: What was your favorite YES album to play on?
AW: It’s a hard question, because every album is different in it’s own way. Relayer was a great album that I enjoyed playing on. 90215 had a lot of memorable songs on it. After that it would be Talk, which is a great underestimated album. The Ladder is another. There’s a lot of them, they’re all different and parts of the band’s life. I enjoyed all of them.
AK: When you joined YES it was on the “Close To Edge” Tour, what do you think was the hardest song to learn?
AW: When I first started playing with YES, I had to learn Close To Edge, and I only had 3 days. There wasn’t an easy song to play.
AK: It’s been 21 years since “The Union” Tour, what was your experience like?
AW: It was great. It was Bill Bruford and myself and two of everybody except Chris [Squire, bass] and Jon [Anderson, vocals]. It was an interesting tour, and a lot of people really liked it. It’s still talked about today.
AK: How many shows a year does YES do on average?
AW: We do quite a lot. We finish this tour then we go to South America. Then we have a summer and tour later in Europe. I couldn’t say how many, but it is well over 100.
AK: Growing up in the U.K., how big of impact did The Beatles have on you?
AW: I was a kid and I used to rehearse to Beatles’ music. I would play along with it and have fun. Obviously they had an impact on a lot of kids. I never knew I’d be playing with Lennon one day.
AK: You had played with John not longer after The Beatles broke up, what do you remember about those days?
AW: I just remember I was pretty young at the time. I was kind of swept away, but I just thought it was normal progression in anybodies musical career at the time. It was only 10 years later I realized It was a part of history. I would just play, and John would say “ Alan whatever you’re doing keep doing it, because it sounds great.” He was a great guy, and I really enjoyed being around him. He kinda took me under his wing. I was like the young family. He would like to use me for playing on his stuff.
AK: What is going on with your band White?
AW: The band is great. We’re working on new material. There’s a possibility of doing a new album later this year. I’m looking forward to that. We’ve written a few tracks.
AK: What is the possibility of Rick Wakeman or Tony Kaye rejoining even for a few shows?
AW: I don’t think so. Rick already settles into his solo career. Maybe in the future we’ll do something where everyone gets on stage together again. Were happy doing what were doing.
AK: Geoff Downes just returned after 30 years.
AW: Geoff is a great keyboard player. He was with the band in the 80’s He knows the band really well and fits with everything going on. He’s a great addition.
AK: In 2.5 weeks you’ll be doing the “Close To Edge” cruise, what do you think of YES having it’s own cruise.
AW: It sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s a bunch of bands playing.
AK: What do you think of doing another YES album in the next year or so?
AW: We’ve been thinking about it and it’s in the back of everybody’s minds right now, since we have a lot of touring to do right now. We will do one in the future at some point