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Jon Anderson at Rockin' on the Riverfront, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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There's no stopping Jon Anderson, even at 74 years old.

The British-born singer and songwriter, who now resides in California, co-founded Yes back in 1968 and, after several tenures in the band, has been on his own since 2008. Earlier this year he released "1000 Hands: Chapter One," resurrecting and finishing off recordings he started 30 years ago -- with help from several of his Yes bandmates and other friends. He's also part of a band with more former Yes mates, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman, and is working on a memoir.

"There's too many dreams to fulfill," Anderson says by phone. But a breath later he promises, "They will all come true eventually..."

Anderson credits producer Michael Franklin with getting him to go back to his tapes from 1990, when the project was being called "Uziot." "Michael Franklin called me up a couple of years ago and said, 'What happened to those tapes?' I got them and we took the tapes and put 'em in the oven and baked them and they sounded fantastic. So over the last two years we had these wonderful musicians come in and add (parts) and (Franklin) did a great job in production, and that's where this came from. It took a long time developing, but it came out great and I love it."

The title of "1000 Hands: Chapter One" indicates there's more to come, of course. "There is," Anderson says, "but I'm not sure what it is. I have all kinds of ideas. I've written a 30-minute piece of music which didn't fit on this album, so maybe we'll put it on the next album. Will the next album be the same as this one? No, it's got to be more, I don't know, more...adventurous."

Anderson's collaboration with Rabin and Wakeman, which adopted the Yes name itself during 2017, following the group's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction -- in competition with the current lineup of Yes -- is planning a final tour during 2020. "It's a long story," Anderson says of the decision. "Life happens when you least expect. You expect things to go on a long journey, but then people have the life they want to live and go through and it just doesn't work out. I get emotionally frustrated for 10 minutes and then, OK, I've got to get on with my life. I've been through so many changes with Yes -- I mean, maybe 20 versions of Yes, and every one's been fantastic. But it was always chaos in there for some reason."

Anderson is "halfway through" a memoir titled "Survival and Other Stories," part of a two-part process. The first was finished in 1987 but never published, and now he says "I've got 30 more years of stuff to write. It'll take another year or two to write the 'up until now' part." Anderson has also been working with an illustrator he met in Las Vegas who provided material for the first book. "It's a question of how you put it out. You get in touch with agents and stuff like that and it becomes a little too much like business, so I don't like it."

Anderson has been recording recently with his son Damion, who's based in London, and he credits his prolific nature to "just the fact I still love making music every day, creating. I treat it like an adventure. I never get tired of creating."

Jon Anderson performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 at the Chevrolet Rockin' on the Riverfront series on the plaza behind the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Admission is free. gmrencen.com.

Web Site: www.gmrencen.com

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