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Why I Love: Scott Schorr on Yes

You only need to read the ‘about’ section of the website of music producer / video editor / arranger / songwriter / beat maker AND founder of Lazy Bones Recordings (newest release – MFTJ’s My Mom’s Getting A Horse), Scott Schorr to be in awe. Tony Levin, Alan White, Marco Minnemann, Jordan Rudess and Mike Keneally are just some of the legendary names he can list on his huge CV. At heart though, he’s still a fan and he loves Yes. Here’s why.

yes
YES

Far and away, my all-time favorite group is YES. More specifically, the classic line-up (with both Bruford and Alan White) from 1971-1978. From the YES Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer, Going for the One and Tormato, I learned so much about recording, melody, musicianship and all that’s possible in songwriting.

I first heard them as a young teenager in 1976. From the initial notes of Starship Trooper, I was hooked. No music had ever touched me or made me more emotional than all those Yes albums. I remember hearing And You And I for the first time and crying like a baby. Seriously. I was so moved I couldn’t believe that such a beautiful song could be written. I devoured each and every one of their albums from ’71-’78 and studied every last note and lyric, analyzed Eddie Offord’s production, and gazed at Roger Dean’s artwork and the liner notes for hours on end. Every time they came to town, I would buy the shittiest/cheapest ticket to their concerts (usually at the LA Forum) and then snake down to inevitably the first or second row. I probably saw them 10-12 times by the time I was twenty years old!

To see these geniuses re-create what they had done in the studio in a live setting was mind-blowing. Never did I imagine that five guys could have such an emotional and spiritual impact they had on millions of people.

A sublime And You And I from the Yes Symphonic (band + orchestra tour in 2001)

Once I heard YES, I knew what I wanted to do with my life: be a songwriter and record producer.

There are some life-altering events that happen in life and this is one of them: I spent my formative, teenage years in Malibu, California. My friend happened to live up a canyon and right below his house lived…Alan White! Being a drummer and rabid YES fan, this was beyond surreal. I used to stand on my friend’s balcony for hours listening to Alan rehearse in his garage. One day, he left his garage door open and I snuck down to stand in front of his house (I guess I could have been considered an OG stalker.) I looked in the garage and saw his beautiful, multi-colored curved shell drum set he used during the Tormato tour. Of course, it had the Yes logo on the kick drum. Next to the kit was this bad-ass Harley Davidson with the Yes logo painted on the gas tank. Wow! I could not believe what I was seeing! A total dream come true. Right there and then, I said to myself – “I will work with this man one day.” (However, I never did meet Alan in person during this time; just listened to my favorite drummer jamming for hours and hours.)

Flash forward to years later, and I had produced Tony Levin’s Stick Man. We enjoyed working together and wanted to do another album. (Meeting Tony was also another event changing moment as I was a massive Crimson fan growing up.) I proposed a trio project and Tony asked who I would like to be the drummer. Without hesitation, I stated – “Alan White!” I reached out to Alan through MySpace and he answered me back! All those childhood memories came rushing back. Levin Torn White was born that day.

I went to Seattle to record Alan. I was beyond nervous that I was working with my hero but I did everything I could to hide that nervousness. We got along great and it’s surreal to think that he’s become a dear friend (along with his super-cool wife.) Through Alan, I’ve had too many YES experiences to count: drinking with Chris Squire and Alan after a show, taking a van with the entire band after a soundcheck, watching Jon Davidson’s first show in New Zealand while sitting next to Alan’s wife, going to rehearsal in LA for the album, Fly From Here, and many other unforgettable YES memories.

I guess sometimes dreams do come true.

Our thanks to Scott for writing his views and sharing his personal experiences on a band we (well…some of us…) love at At The Barrier.

Scott Schorr recently released his second album with Mike Keneally under their MFTJ moniker. You can read our review here, and an in-depth interview with Frank Zappa alumni Mike Keneally, here.

Scott Schorr, a coffee and an interesting T shirt…

MFTJ: Website / Facebook

Scott Schorr online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

Check our Why I Love archive here.

You can follow At The Barrier on Twitter here, and like us on Facebook here. We really appreciate your continued support.

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