Monday, February 18, 2008

Asia redux (redux)

Just for the record, this post is all Michael Ehret's fault, except for the parts that are all Bruce Rusk's fault.

See, Michael, having read Bruce's and my reviews of the original self-titled Asia disc from 1982, clapped his hands together with glee when he heard the recent news about the four original members of Asia reuniting not just for a tour, but for a new album, titled Phoenix and due out in April.

This naturally led to a conversation on the Vault writers' e-mail discussion list that went something like this:

Funny you should mention the "not-original" Asia... yes, [keyboardist Geoff] Downes kept the name alive for 15 years with no other original members. The main other guy was a bassist-guitarist-vocalist named John Payne, with rotating touring guitarists and drummers. Every so often one of the other original four would play a few shows with Downes and Payne for old times' sake -- I think [guitarist Steve] Howe once played most of a tour in the early 90s while the [guitarist Trevor] Rabin edition of Yes was busy recording Talk.

About two or three years ago, [original Asia bassist-vocalist John] Wetton and Downes got together and made an album -- I think it was called Icon -- and then Yes went on hiatus, so Howe became available, and [drummer Carl] Palmer jumped in too. Apparently you hit it right on the head as far as the "other" Asia -- Downes left them by the side of the road... But that's not the end of the story! John Payne and the other two guys who were current in Asia at the time have now formed a band named -- I kid you not -- "Asia Featuring John Payne." As opposed to the Downes-Howe-Wetton-Palmer edition of Asia, which is technically known as "The Four Original Members of Asia."

See, it isn't just progressive rock MUSIC that's complicated...!

1 comment:

Bruce said...

As usual, Mr. Warburg used his editorial acumen to soften my less than tactful statement that Downes "threw them under the bus."

However, it was not beyond our esteemed editor to liken the rebirth of this prog-rock debacle to "a train wreck". I for one am gleefully awaiting the impact with shovel and hefty trash bags in hand.