Steve Howe Clarifies His Role In Yes

Yes guitarist Steve Howe recently sat down with Guitar World and talked about Yes, their newest album ‘Mirror to The Sky,’ and so on. When asked Steve about his part in Yes, he mentioned playing the guitar and songwriting:

“Of course, the guitar is something I do quite regularly. [Laughs] So I’m a guitar player, but beyond that, I’m a songwriter. And the way that develops is that I’ll put together some riffs, add some attitude to them and then try to decide if and where they might fit.”

Howe continued by detailing his perception of his part, and he adds producing to the list as well:

“I guess I view my role as someone who brings excitement to the music. Of course, there’s my role as a producer, too. And that’s tricky because I’ve got to ensure that my general overseeing doesn’t interfere with my work as a guitarist. But it’s a funny position because when I’m wearing the producer’s hat, I might go hours or days without talking about guitar.”

In the same interview, when he was asked whether he still chooses guitar to express himself, he answered:

“I think so. But part of the challenge is balancing that with creating music for a world with a shorter attention span than ever before. Then again, things are different now. Back in the ’70s, we toured like mad and didn’t always have success. And then, with Asia, I was part of a massive record that sold four million copies.”

Yes was founded in 1968 and Steve Howe joined the band in 1970 and has been playing in the band ever since. 75-years-old guitarist gave an interview last year and talked about the techniques he use in order to keep his guitar-playing fresh:

“Keeping my playing up to speed is just something; fortunately, I’ve been able to do, and it hasn’t been a pressure. I’ve touched base with ‘To Be Over’ in the past because I wanted to keep that song alive in my spirit. However, looking at ‘Sound Chaser’ has been a challenge. Some of it falls off my fingers easily: some of the very fast stuff that Chris Squire and I played together and also the riff going on behind the main song.”

Steve also mentioned that he always actively plays the guitar, independent from practicing their setlists:

“I’ve never really lost it because I was part of the writing but rehearsing it’s like awakening the history I have with the song. I never was a hard-nosed practice person in that sense but always jammed and improvised with myself. So that’s kept my fingers agile, and of course, the tours have certainly I’ve kept my fingers agile!”

You can read the whole interview here.