Dateline: January 2006

Source: The Cleveland Free Times (abbreviated link text)

Soundcheck: Chris Squire: Syn bassist

Interviewer: Jeff Niesel

FIRST FORMED IN 1967, the Syn opened for Jimi Hendrix when he made his UK debut. The band only existed for a short time before splitting, as bassist Chris Squire went on to form Yes. Generally regarded as one of prog rockís finest rhythm men, Squire reunited with original Syn singer Stephen Nardelli last year to issue Syndestructible, an album that recalls the prog rock of the í60s with its esoteric lyrics and lengthy, slightly psychedelic songs. Squire spoke about the band and its upcoming tour via phone from his hotel room in New York, where the group had just started its North American tour with Yes drummer Alan White filling in for Jeremy Stacey, who plays on the album. óJeff Niesel

What do you remember of opening for Hendrixís first UK show?

It was a pretty confusing evening. Crazy, the whole thing. We didnít think we would be the opening act for a band that could play. Weíd seen them rehearse, and they didnít sound too good. It turned out great, because of course they could play.

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton were in the audience. Did you meet all those celebrities after the show?

Yes, but I was pretty young at 18, so I donít remember it too well.

Were you on any kind of drugs at the time?

I donít think so. I was on starvation. That can get you high, too.

How did the Syn get together?

We did it originally as a tribute to Andrew Jackman, who was the keyboard player. He was an organizational kind of bloke. We worked around him. He was also a musician at an early age. He had a lot to do with the musicality of the band. It started out well and once we realized were were pretty good, then we broke up.


In those days, if a career lasted three or four years, that was pretty good.

Do you think of the new lineup of the Syn as a supergroup?

The point about it right now is that we made an album with a very eclectic group of people. It turned out much more extraordinary than I thought it would. I canít use a couple of the guys on this tour. However, the guys who have replaced them are just as good. [Yesí] Alan White is playing drums. I donít have to practice much with him. He knows how to play.

You couldnít get Roger Dean to do the artwork for your album?

Ah, I didnít really ask him. We werenít sure what kind of a project it would be. It turned out to be rather good.

Thereís a very old picture of you in the liner notes. Would you ever wear a striped shirt like the one youíre wearing?

I donít know. Maybe I would. I think everyone has a shirt like that.

You thank the North Street Deli in the liner notes. Is that your favorite deli of all time?

That was funny, because it was across the street from the studio. We just threw that in.

When I hear that opening tune ďBreaking Down Walls,Ē I think of the Beach Boys. Were they an influence?

Yeah, exactly. Iíve always been a harmony man myself. We emulated some of that era. We wanted to make an album that reflected the í60s but was also a 2000 album.

Stephen is an excellent singer. Do you think he has more range than Jon Anderson?

Heís a very different signer from Jon. Jon is a consummate professional. Steve is a guy who after all these years has decided to throw himself back into the arena. I think the songs he wrote while he was not involved in the music industry work in charming fashion.

You hold the legal rights to the name Yes. Have you been involved in every incarnation?

Yeah, from the beginning.

Which was your favorite?

Well, thereís been exciting moments with different musicians. You never know what the next lineup will be. Iím assuming Iíll be there.

Do you play any Yes songs on this tour?

This is specifically to promote the Syn project. Iíd prefer to keep it like that.

But you could play ďThe Fish.Ē

I could, but there are other interesting bass movements to play.

Whatís your best memory of playing Cleveland?

Yeah, I love playing there, and I met Elvis there, too. We were staying at some funky hotel. We were at the Richfield Coliseum and Elvis had done some small show in Cleveland. I got asked to his room, but it wasnít the most exciting moment for me. I got bored and left. Iím just the bass player, and who wants to meet me anyway?

8 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 15
Beachland Ballroom
15711 Waterloo Rd.
Tickets: $25

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