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Stereo Embers The Podcast: Alan White (Yes, Plastic Ono Band)

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“Alan White Remembered: You’ve Got To Be Spot-On”

In memory of Alan White (1949-2022), we’re re-airing our chat with him from 2020.

Being spot-on is what drummer Alan White says you have to be when it comes to being behind the kit for a band like Yes. One of the most technically proficient outfits in rock and roll history, Yes are musically precise and that’s why White has been behind the kit with them since 1973. One of the most formidable drummers in rock and roll for the last 50 years, the British born White started playing in bands when he was 13. And over the course of his career he played on records by George Harrison, Ginger Baker, Joe Cocker, Terry Reid and John Lennon. He played live with Lennon as part of the Plastic Ono Band at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival Festival in 1969 and he also had a stint playing live with Steve Linwood. When he joined Yes he also had two other job offers at the same time with Jethro Tull and America. But White said no to them and yes to Yes. Pretty good move. He played on 17 Yes records, and established himself as one of the most innovative, intuitive and muscular drummers around. His playing is a deft combo of finesse and power, that’s as athletic as it is stylistic. Recorded live at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel, back in July of 2019, Yes’s newest effort is called THE ROYAL AFFAIR TOUR, LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS and it’s a beast. A sterling collection that showcases not only the depth and scope of the band’s winning songbook, it features Mr. White tearing it up. In this chat he talks about the magic of Charlie Watts, whether or not you can master the drums and why you’ve got to be spot-on to be onstage with Yes.

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