Steve Howe Says He Didn’t Want To Play Like Eric Clapton Or Jimi Hendrix

Yes guitarist Steve Howe recently talked about being influenced by bands and other musicians in the industry. He mentioned that he didn’t listen to Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to avoid being influenced by them because he wanted to have his own style.

Howe began practicing guitar at the age of 12 and joined Yes in the 1970s. Thanks to his guitar and songwriting skills, the band gained commercial and critical success. Howe recently revealed that he always aspired to have his own style, and unlike his contemporaries, he didn’t want to be like the influencers of his time.

In his recent interview, the guitarist stated that everyone listened and wanted to be like Clapton and Hendrix, but he tried to avoid that for himself. Hendrix and Clapton’s influence was worldwide and impeccable. Howe opened for Cream and Hendrix previously, so it was easy to be inspired by their techniques and skills. Since he wanted to have his own style, he was more influenced by Chet Atkins who was inspiring because he didn’t copy anyone else.

Here is what he stated about not wanting to be influenced by Clapton and Hendrix:

“…That happened to me with the guitar in the late ’60s. There was Hendrix, and there was Clapton, and everyone was playing like that, but I said, ‘I’m not going to play like that.’ I don’t need to copy that because that’s not me. It was all around. You couldn’t escape Cream or Hendrix.

I played with both of those acts in the ’60s. I opened for Cream, and I opened for Hendrix. I saw them in person. I knew them a little bit, and that was enough. I was certainly wasn’t going to suddenly say, ‘Well, that’s where I should be going,’ because it was already happening. So I was always on the lookout to stay as original as I could as a guitarist. Chet Atkins was my main influence, and he was certainly not a guy who copied anybody else.”

Steve Howe remained with Yes until they disbanded in 1981. The band reunited in less than a year, yet, Howe was not involved in the new line-up. He later returned to the band in 1990 briefly and then in 1995 full-time. The guitarist also gained success with his solo career by releasing 20 albums and also collaborated with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Martin Taylor, and Queen.