Asia can no longer boast of having all four original members in the band. Guitarist Steve Howe has left the group in order to focus on other projects, including his work in Yes.
Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, Fla.
November 20, 2012
Founded in the early 1980s, in addition to Howe, Asia’s original lineup included Howe along with vocalist/bassist John Wetton, keyboardist Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer. While the band underwent personnel changes over the years, including bringing in vocalist John Payne, the original members regrouped in 2006. Since then, and under a contractual agreement with Payne, there have been two Asias coexisting in the same universe – the band featuring all four original members, and Asia Featuring John Payne.
Of course, Howe also plays with Yes, having originally joined in the early 1970s. In fact, half of Asia’s original lineup was made up of Yes-men before Howe departed, with Geoff Downes playing keyboards in both bands.
News that Howe is leaving Asia comes to us via the guitarist’s website.
“Myself and the band wish to thank their fans for the enthusiasm shown during the original members’ reunion,” Howe said. “I will continue with Yes, and with my trio and solo guitar work. I wish my friends continued success.”
Meanwhile, music website Brave Worlds & Bloody Knuckles reports British guitarist Sam Coulson will replace Howe in Asia.
Howe returns to the road March 1 in Nevada when Yes launches its upcoming tour featuring start-to-finish renditions of The Yes Album, Close To The Edge and Going For The One.