We sat down to talk about Topographic Drama (Tales from Topographic Oceans and Drama, the band’s astounding new live album from the 2016 tour of America) and found Yes’ powerhouse drummer well along in his back surgery recovery and eager to get behind the kit once again.
Tales From Topographic Oceans and Drama are two bookend albums for you, career-wise, because it was your first, playing Tales in the studio and it was the end of a phase of Yes with Drama.
I was just the new kid on the block when we were making Tales From Topographic Oceans. First off, I got to know it really really well because we rehearsed for three months at Manticore. It took us three months to write it. Chris and myself were working closely together. So I guess I got to know the rest of the guys pretty well. Even Steve and Rick had not really been in the band for that long by then. So I guess we were all getting to know each other. And I think that’s what helped me with a lot of the music, because the band was having some good international success. We did not just have to play hit records all the time.
So we started writing these pieces of music with Jon (Anderson)’s idea of it being a story and a concept album. And we built it up to be longer and longer.