Top row (l-r) : Chris Meek, Tim Morse, Judy Luiz, Jason Reed - Bottom row (l-r): John Teves, Jim Hefter, Jay Leek, Brad Gent
Q & A with the band members of Parallels:
1. Why did you want to be in a Yes tribute band?
Jay: Yes has long been one of my favorite bands. Incredibly inspiring and certainly an influence in all of my musical endeavors. The opportunity to play in Parallels with like minded musicians — not to mention musicians capable of executing such unique and complex music — was a bit of a dream come true.
Brad: I was very fortunate to be able to simulate Jon Anderson's voice and hoped that at some point I could share this ability with other like minded souls.
Jim: I've been a huge Yes fan since Fragile came out in 1971 and, as a drummer, a fan of both Bill Bruford and Alan White. I've always loved Yes music: the intricacies, the melodies, the odd time signatures, the aspirational lyrics, and especially the soaring emotional crescendos. Parallels was a great musical home for about ten years. And even now, it's having a little resurgence after the discovery of some basic tracks we recorded back in 2007, which we polished up with the help and expertise of Craig Long at Paradise Studios.
Judy: I wanted to be in a Yes tribute because the music that YES produced is pure magic. The messages conveyed and the power of the music behind the message speaks to my soul. THE musicians I had the privilege to sing with was also a major draw; so talented!
Chris: Steve Howe has been a huge inﬂuence on me since ﬁrst hearing the Fragile record way back in the day. My early eﬀorts to play his parts on the Yes stuﬀ yielded lowly results. The songs and style did however shape my playing as I was exposed to things such as triads, natural harmonics and ﬁnger style picking. Fast forward a couple decades and my technical side caught up a bit. When asked to play with Parallels, it was a natural ﬁt! Having seen the group a few times, I knew the caliber of the project would be right up my alley!
John: I love Yes (they are my favorite band) and always wanted to have the opportunity to perform their music live either as a vocalist or a keyboardist. I achieved that dream as the vocalist for Parallels.
Jason: I had been introduced to progressive rock a few years earlier, so had always gravitated towards that sound. I didn't really set out to join a Yes cover band, it was quite unexpected actually. I had answered an ad looking for players to jam on some "classic rock", if I remember correctly, and that turned out to be Ron (the first bass player in Parallels). Much to both of our surprise, we both were heavily into Yes, and it took off from there!
2. Why release a CD of a tribute band?
Jim: This CD features two of the basic tracks (Awaken and Future Times/Rejoice) we recorded live as a band and have finished up with some overdubs and Craig's help. It also has some of Tim's re-imaginings of Yes songs and his work in collaboration with Jon Anderson which, unfortunately, did not get an official release. Altogether, the CD includes most of the members of Parallels who dedicated a lot of time to bring this music to life. It's great to hear three of the singers who were with the band at different times. Lastly, but importantly, it gives us another chance to thank our 'fans' - the people who came out regularly to support our live shows. It was a joy and a privilege to share this music with other enthusiastic Yes fans.
3. What are some of your favorite memories of being in the band?
Jay: Pulling off Awaken, Gates of Delirium, Close to the Edge, Heart of the Sunrise and Future Times. All in one show! Our last show with guitarist Jason Reed was a high point. December 2008 I believe. Also the rehearsals. Pulling this massive object out of the sand with our bare hands. At first each piece is daunting. Then you start to get a handle on it. Then you’re actually playing it and having fun in the process. Finally, the great bandmates and fans. Mostly people I didn’t know before, many lifelong friends now.
Jim: Interestingly, my favorite memories do not involve live performance. Parallels gigs were great fun, but they were always logistically challenging and involved lots of other very generous people who worked very long hours for little or no pay. (Actually, the gigs usually cost one or more of the band members money.) And it was rare for all the members to be satisfied with their entire performance or not suffer some technical issue during the gig. They were emotionally rewarding and stroked the band's egos, but required lots of work. More often, for me, it was very enjoyable - and sometimes thrilling - to be in a rehearsal room with a group of like-minded people attempting to recreate Yes music. This music has great emotional power, and performing songs like Awaken (or And You And I, Close To The Edge, or The Gates of Delirium) is like going on a journey. Each time you begin, it's like launching a little boat that will take a certain amount of time to complete its trip, and things will get VERY BIG before you're through! It seemed like a great way to spend some time, like a a very unique hobby. I can still recall the wild guitar and synth solos, and the bass pedals rattling the objects on the shelves in the garage. And contrary to my expectations, I did get the occasional compliment from the neighbors who were involuntary participants in our Sunday afternoon concerts...!
Judy: My favorite memories of performing with Parallels begin with Tim Morse's 40th birthday show. Seeing so many people who may not have otherwise been exposed to YES music, to see them truly appreciate and enjoy and FEEL what we offered that night, was priceless. Going to see Yes with my bandmates is also a treasured memory of mine. Our show for Tim Morse's album release at Harlow's was also a highlight. That show was one of our best!
John: My favorite part of Parallels was being able to play this great music with 4 excellent musicians. Coming in as the vocalist, the music was so perfectly executed that if I closed my eyes it felt as if I was singing with Yes itself. It also challenged me as a vocalist to do justice to the those great songs. The Jean Runyon theater performance were definitely the highlight of my musical career.
Chris: Realizing that I could actually hang with this group musically was very satisfying. Even though the run was very short- it's still one of my favorite gigs to remember and reminisce.
Brad: To be able to perform this music is truly magical, but to share the stage with great people is even more fantastic, after all to share is the greatest gift.
Jason: My favorite memories are of hanging out with like-minded musicians, enjoying the rare and challenging music we were able to perform! Anytime a big piece came together, like Starship Trooper, Gates of Delirium, those were truly inspiring moments. I am thankful for all of them.
4. What are you up to these days? Anything to do with music?
Jay: These days I’m back to lead guitar in my Rush tribute band, Rash. Like Squire’s bass, Alex’s guitar has always come somewhat naturally to me. And I’m too old for the egos and troubles of an original band. Not to mention yet another bunch of stellar and dedicated musicians and great people. I’m also playing bass occasionally with the brilliant fusion composer Dave Lynch. I get to try to be a jazz bassist! Jazz is the thing that really puts you in your place. Never something you “do,” but rather something you practice. Like being a doctor. Lifelong learning.
Judy: Currently, I am singing in a 'deep track' classic rock cover band known as 'ACME Soundtracks'. I have written and recorded lyrics for some fellow musicians, as of late, and hope to get the opportunity to produce some of my own songs in the near future.
John: I have released my own progressive rock album called The Everlasting Dawn. It is heavily influenced by the progressive rock greats of the 1970s. You can hear it at https://johnteves.hearnow.com/ .I performed all the instruments and vocals on the album as well as produced and engineered it. I am currently working on a follow up titled “The Vast Ocean of Being”. I am also working on classic rock album with two gentlemen I met with in the late 1970s on our local East Bay band scene. Tentatively called LLT, it consists of Johnny Lipka on lead vocals/guitar, Larry Litz on guitar, backing vocals and bass and myself on Lead vocals, keyboards, drums and bass.
Chris: Currently still doing the Tribute thing playing Rush music with R50 and Prince music with 1st Avenue Revue. Started to learn King Crimson's Discipline record for a project that ultimately was left unfulﬁlled. Perhaps in the future, another Yes Tribute will present itself in one form or another- I would like that a lot!
Brad: These days I spend all of my time with my 3 young children, they are my spiritual and musical inspiration for now.
Jason: With two young children, I am plenty busy day to day, and I love it! Musically I have been trying to work on classical solo guitar, to what extent I can. Learning those Steve Howe pieces was a great introduction to that!
1. Awaken (Anderson/Howe)
Tim Morse: keyboards, backing vocals, additional guitar
Jim Hefter: drums
Jay Leek: bass
Chris Meek: guitars (including all lead guitars)
Jason Reed: additional guitar
John Teves: lead vocals
Jim: Awaken and Future Times are quite unique and have strong performances by Parallels. We're fortunate to have found these two tracks that we recorded back in 2007. We also recorded some others, like Roundabout, which were lost, but these two songs are more rare among Yes tribute bands, and are perhaps deeper dives into Yes' compositional strengths. They show not only great creativity and talent by all the band members, but they also have layers of depth with tightly interlocked rhythms and melodies between all the instruments. And they're both emotionally satisfying: Future Times/Rejoice has its inspirational military/hopeful themes, and Awaken has its long meditational passage followed by one of the band's greatest crescendo-and-climax buildups of their repertoire.
Brad: Awaken is such a musical and spiritually uplifting song, one of my favorites in the Yes cannon.
Chris: In the late 80's, early 90's I had a ritual of putting on Awaken after a late night gig to wind down so I could actually sleep. I believe the tune to be completely ingrained in my DNA. Probably my #1 Yes tune of the entire catalog.
Jay: Just a gorgeous celebration from beginning to end. A very tight composition for all its expansiveness. Every sound becomes part of a whole that far exceeds the sum of its parts. Not to mention a perfect arc of energy from the delicate introduction to climax to denouement. Quite simply, Awaken is a modern masterpiece of orchestral music, written for rock ensemble.
John: Awaken is the greatest Yessong. It has all the great mystical elements of Yes music as well as virtuoso performances by each of the band members. From the opening piano solo to “Like the time I ran way” every part of the song is powerful and moving.
Jason: Awaken is a moving epic piece among the best Yes has recorded. I love the majestic development of themes, culmination, and soothing coda. Very satisfying to play.
2. Some are Born
Arranged by Tim Morse, Jay Leek and Yes
Tim Morse: keyboards, backing vocals, guitars
Jay Leek: bass
Brad Gent: lead vocals
Jerry Jennings: lead guitar
Jimmy Bagshaw: drums
Tim: After hearing Yes's rehearsal of Some are Born I thought it'd be fun to try and combine their ideas along with Jon's version and put some of our own ideas on top of it. This was after the demise of Parallels so I ended up calling on some friends along with Parallels alumni to create the finished recording.
Jay: Never a favorite of mine in its original form. Without the intent to brag — or criticize the work of Yes — I think we made a solid contribution to the body of work known as Yes music with this one. Of course we did little more than offer some love and creativity to ideas already present in the original. I’m particularly proud of this one as it’s a solid contribution to the cannon, where the others were more simply faithful reproductions.
Brad: Some are born is one of many sonic beauties from one of my favorite Jon Anderson solo albums.
3. Opening Sketches
Arranged/Orchestrated by Tim Morse and Jon Anderson
Tim Morse: keyboards, guitars
Jim Hefter: percussion
Tim: For a short time I was an internet collaborator with Jon Anderson. The initial idea was that Parallels would be Jon's backing band for some shows. Jon was also interested in having me create arrangements for new original music he was writing. Two of the songs were The Knowing and Open (the third hasn't been released yet). The main piece I worked on was Open (which at that time was called Opening). It was a delightful experience working with one of my musical heroes, he is full of enthusiasm and ideas. However, after a few months of working together he asked to put the project on hold; shortly afterwards ARW was announced and then he later finished the work on Open with a local collaborator Stefan Podell. Please note what you hear on this album is sketches of our work together and is not finished work. Having said that, I'm particularly proud of the section that starts around 4:14-4:40 (somewhat reminiscent of the Yes song New Language).
4. Future Times/Rejoice
Arranged by Yes and Tim Morse
Tim Morse: keyboards, backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Jim Hefter: drums
Jay Leek: bass, backing vocals
Jason Reed: electric guitar
Judy Luiz: lead vocals
Brad: Future times lyrically re visits the past but also sparks the imagination for things to come.
Jason: Future Times was one of my favorites to play out of the whole catalog. It has an energy that doesn't let up.
Jay: For me this represents Yes’s final masterwork. It is a kind of succinct Close To The Edge. Many of the elements found in Yes’s greatest work can be found here, distilled to their most potent form. An elegant and perfect example of classic Yes at the very close of the era. And, as bandmate Tim Morse put it, “It was awfully nice of them to write a song around a bass solo!” Indeed it was.
Judy: The songs Awaken and Future Times feel like sacred rituals to perform. I can say that, to sing those two songs, and to be caught in the center of the power of the music, I can only describe as church. Something so much bigger than myself- a transcendence from the physical.
5. Guitar Etude 1
Tim Morse: guitar
Tim: This short original guitar piece felt like an appropriate intro to my version of Onward.
Tim Morse: all instruments and vocals
Tim: I was always interested in doing a cover of Onward, ever since Tormato was released. It's such a beautiful, heartfelt song. I'm dedicating this performance to Chris Squire, Alan White and Peter Banks.
7. Awaken (Adam Holzman Mix)
Adam Holzman: At some point I stumbled across this version of Awaken on FB and offered my services to re-mix. Why? I'm trying to improve my mixing skills, I knew this music, and I was interested in highlighting more of the rock side of the song. Plus the band is completely killing it! Final mastering was done by Craig Long at Paradise Studios, Sacramento. Great job on the mastering! And thank you Tim Morse for letting me crash the party!
Jim: I was quite impressed when I heard Adam was interested in mixing this track. I knew of his musical history and his fusion work but was surprised he'd want to attempt this. And I was blown away with his mix - especially of the drums. Our basic tracks were recorded in a bare bones environment with just a few mics and no muffling or song-specific tuning for the drums. But he dialed in a drum sound that completely captured the live sound of my kit. He brought out the punch and tone of the toms and kick, the clarity of the cymbals, and totally captured the texture and character of my DW Craviotto snare. I'm very happy to have his mix and to include it in this compilation. Thanks, Adam!
John: I thought it was better than the first one. Vocals were more present.