Sunday, February 17, 2008


In the early '80s, when the original lineup of Asia - former King Crimson/UK/Uriah Heep bassist/singer John Wetton, former Yes guitarist Steve Howe, former Yes/Buggles keyboardist Geoff Downes and former ELP drummer Carl Palmer - got together, I doubt many people expected them to become pop superstars. Somehow, they were able to curb their prog-rock tendencies and come up with some tight pop songs that made them into MTV stars. They sounded as much like Boston as any of their former bands.

I can't front, I was into their first album. The second one was OK, and after that, the band started splitting up. It's funny how every prog rock band seemed to have these massive revolving door lineups. The band actually went on for years after everyone but Downes left. But last year, the original lineup got back together; this year they'll release a brand new album. And now there's another Asia out there made up of some of the guys that Geoff Downes played with in the more recent lineups! Hopefully, this won't lead to a reality show competition of some sort.

I don't know if I care about the band putting out new music and touring - since I don't have any of their music anyway. But I think it's cool that a band that were dissed by critics before they ever released a note is popular enough to tour more than two decades later. I do hope that Steve Howe and Yes do something again at some point - as far as I'm concerned, Asia is Steve Howe's second band. Or third, really, since none of Asia's songs are as good as Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle." Asia were, however, better than GTR.

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