Chris Squire Takes a Yes Trifecta Live
RR: Speaking of that timeframe, I was surprised that Jimmy Page was recently talking about his collaboration with you in the early 80s. He has remained fairly quiet about so many things that do not relate to Led Zeppelin, that it was nice to hear him give you such a great shout out about your work with him. I was also surprised that a lot of people didn’t realize that your collaboration happened.
CS: Yeah, it was during a hiatus. After the period with Trevor and Geoff and the Drama album, we actually…I think what it was was that we had really been working so hard during the whole of the 70s with all of the albums and tours that we just had to have a bit of a break, and so we definitely went for a hiatus.
During that period, of course, unfortunately, John Bonham had died, and Jimmy wanted to try and get back into playing again. We lived locally to each other at that time, so we gravitated down to the studio that he had bought, I think, from Elton John, actually, in the studio out in the country there. Alan [White] came along, and we were just playing for the sake of it, really, and there wasn’t a big project in mind. But, of course, the more material we started to work on, the more we started wondering whether Robert Plant might come down and sing.
It turned out that it was too early for him after Bonham’s death. He didn’t really want to jump right back into another project, so it kind of just got put on the back burner (laughs) is what happened. There are demos out there, which you are probably aware of, and you can find the four or so songs that we did. A couple of them have actually been re-recorded since then, and one of them we put out on our Magnification album, a song I had written, “Can You Imagine.” That was one of the songs we worked on there. In fact, most of the songs had me singing, and they were things I had written. Basically, Jimmy wanted to get back into playing, so he wasn’t that concerned about who had written what; he just wanted to play. But he brought some stuff to it, as well.
RR: Yeah, a piece ended up on one of The Firm albums with Paul Rodgers.
CS: Yes, “Fortune Hunter,” or something, was what that was called. Yeah, that was initially from our jams. He might have brought that in; yeah, he probably did.
RR: He’s been doing a lot of career overview lately, so I thought it was good that he gave his own thoughts about that unique timeframe and collaboration.
CS: Yeah, I know. He doesn’t talk about it much, but I know he has been recently.
RR: And how about a more recent collaborator, Steve Hackett.
CS: I’m seeing him tomorrow. Well, you know, actually, I saw him on Sunday, as well, for some filming for a documentary that they are making about him. He invited me to be a part of that. I think there is a very good chance with Squackett that we’ll do a second album at some point, probably in very much the same way in which we did the first one. There was no pressure to it; we just got together and started working on ideas. We brought in song ideas that we both had, and it was probably the easiest and most natural thing that I’ve ever done because there were no deadlines for the music, and no record company involved. (laughs) Of course, now there is because of the [success of the] first one [ A Life Within a Day ]. I know they definitely want to have another record from us. We’ll just do it when the time is right. Maybe, in 2014, or something, we might get together and work on another one. Working on that album was one of the most enjoyable experiences with not only Steve, but working with Roger King, who is like the third member of that project, as far as keyboards and production.
RR: Natural and organic and enjoyable describes A Life Within a Day quite well. Again, you were able to work and play within an environment that suits your style. There is a great deal of chemistry between you and Steve Hackett. Had you talked about doing a project like this with Steve for a while?
CS: How it came about was that I made this Christmas album [2007’s Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir ] that I had wanted to do for a few years, a side project, really, with Christmas carols, and some that I had sung as a boy, and some were obscure, and some were better known, and Steve sort of saved my life really because I thought I was going to use a bunch of different guitar players on the album, but when I actually called them to come and do it—Jeff Beck was one who said he’d be interested in doing it, and Brian May had said he’d be interested—they were all tied up doing other projects when I needed them.
Steve came and stepped in and did the guitar for me, and that was the first time I really had anything to do with Steve. I met him a couple of times in the past. I had been to see him when he had his band with Steve Howe, the GTR project, in the 80s. Since the 80s, I hadn’t kept in touch or anything. Jeremy Stacey, the drummer I used on the Swiss Choir album suggested Steve as a good person to approach, and it turned out he was right on. Steve really helped me out with that.
Then, of course, I owed him big time, and I just started working and playing on songs of his, initially under the guise that they were for an album that he was doing. I didn’t know if it was a solo project, or whether it was a project he was going to do with other people, or whatever; I was just playing bass for him, basically, to return the favor. At a certain point, after we had gotten a few of those, he said, “Well, maybe we are just making an album together and we don’t really realize it. We should just look upon this as a Hackett and Squire project.” And that’s how it evolved.
We ended up writing songs together towards the end of the album to put on it, and when it was finished I think we were both very satisfied with what we had.
RR: That satisfaction you felt reminds me of the many times I have seen you in concert. You always seem to be truly enjoying yourself in the moment, and I think that feeling of positivity impacts the band, the music, and the audience, as well. After all of this time, you don’t seem to have hit that roadblock of burn out where you are not enjoying yourself anymore.
CS: (laughs) Well, fortunately, I haven’t had that kind of experience yet. Music is a very important part of my life. Music has a great joy to it for me. It’s almost like it is the best therapy in the world (laughter)—you know for anything. As soon as I get on stage with the other guys, everything starts moving along, and I can’t help but enjoy it. (laughs)
RR: Do you also think back on its positive impact on so many other people, too?
CS: Of course now, as in your interview with me now, there is a lot more of that kind of conversation that I have. Obviously, we have a legacy that has lasted way longer than I ever thought possible, so it’s all good.