Billy Sherwood on Missing Chris Squire and Special Moments on Stage That Keep Him With Us Always

Billy Sherwood of Yes. Photo (c) 2016 Gottlieb Bros.
Billy Sherwood of Yes. Photo (c) 2016 Gottlieb Bros.

When you’re out there on stage performing, are there moments that have caught you by surprise, since assuming the bass role in Yes?

Sure. There are certain moments, and they’ve been different in each tour. For instance, the first tour that we did, it happened for me when we were playing “Owner.” That little bass moment before it comes back into the last chorus, I don’t know why, but every time I played that, I would just picture Chris. Maybe because I did it with him so many times on stage, standing next to him playing guitar when we did that, just made me feel all warm and fuzzy, you know. It was like this is such a Squire moment. He always had that grin on his face when we did it. So on the first tour, that was the little strange moment. It would always hit me that way.

The next tour, the European tour, had one of those moments too. The minute that I played the harmonics in “The Fish,” the hair would just stand up on my arms and I’d have to reassure myself that I’m going to be able to do this. It was an emotional thing. That little chunk of music — I mean it’s just eight notes — but it was a “Wow, this is amazing — what am I doing here?” kind of moment.

And then on this last tour, the one recorded for this album, I had one of those moments when we did “And You And I.” Strangely, playing the harmonica during that acoustic moment in the middle — it just kept hitting me in a certain way, because it was such an iconic Chris moment.

I guess the moments that hit me are the ones that I feel are such sacred ground. I even asked the band if they were sure that I should  play harmonica. I’d say, “That was such a Chris moment right there — maybe we should leave it out.” So I researched some older versions of  “And You And I.” On the Yessongs version, he noodled on the bass through that point, rather than playing harmonica. I mentioned that to Steve. I said I could just do it like Chris did it on Yessongs. I could play some bass riffs instead. But Steve said, “No, the harmonica is lovely. Stay with the harmonica.” So I played the harmonica every night, and just doing that little chunk was always like …  the hair stood up on my arms. So it’s a strange thing. They seem to be coming in different little patches per tour. I’ll let you know what the next one is as we go forward.

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(Part of an exclusive Gottlieb Bros. interview. © Copyright 2017, 2018 by Douglas Gottlieb & Glenn Gottlieb)

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