Seventies prog-rockers Yes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Friday night. Before the ceremony, Rolling Stone caught up with Yes’ guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White who were in good spirits to be at the legendary event showcasing the band’s legacy with two of their biggest hits: “Roundabout” from the early Seventies and “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from the early Eighties.
You’ve been eligible for a number of years, so finally getting the recognition must be nice. Is this something you’ve been wanting for a long time?
Howe: You can’t really want … Well, I mean people do want this. I think you just wait your turn, you know? If it happens, it happens.
White: Just wait your turn. But, you know, I think all of these bands are pretty deserving of it. You know, they’ve done well in the business. Have a lot of fans.
Are you excited to be playing with Jon Anderson and everybody again?
Howe: Yeah, you know, it’s an experience. It’s not something we’ve got any plans for in the future even though … occasionally people say there are. But we don’t know about that. We’re just happy to do this. We’re doing this because we’re asked to do this and it’s an honor to do this.
Do you wish that there were other Yes members that were inducted?
Howe: It could’ve been broader; it could’ve been much broader. Yeah, we’ve been doing the album series with Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood and Geoff Downes, so we’re very much a continued process for the last nine years.
What do you have planned next?
Howe: Well we’ve got a summer tour. We just announced the first 17 dates and it’s looking really good. It’s called “Yestival.” And we’ve got Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer doing an ELP tribute, so it’s proggy. Of course Todd Rundgren’s great for that. So, it should be a nice run.
Rush’s Geddy [Lee] and Alex [Lifeson] are inducting you. Can you tell me about that? Are they friends of yours?
Howe: No, we haven’t crossed that path a lot, but we’re very flattered that they’ve loved Yes for so long, and they’ve come along to induct us.