Here is my bass cover of Yes’ “Machine Messiah,” from their 1980 epic album, Drama. Drama is one of their very best albums, just behind Close To The Edge and Fragile. It is their heaviest-sounding recording, with Alan White really sounding like a hard rock drummer throughout. Chris Squire’s solo at the end of “Does it Really Happen?” is my favorite bass solo of all time. It is epic. And the massive bass on “Tempus Fugit” (see below). Yeah, Drama ROCKS.
Here is my bass cover of “Machine Messiah,” recorded on May 11, 2019. I’m playing my Yamaha RBXJM2 through my ABY with one unaffected channel going to my Scarlett Focusrite 2i2, the other affected channel going to my TC Electronic Nova System with some custom presets I have dialed in – just some parametic EQ settings, some chorus, and a noise gate. The affected signal goes into the second channel of my Scarlett Focusrite, then into my iMac and Garageband, where i use the HiFi Direct bass setting as a starting point. From there I have some custom eq stuff, some more chorus, the NeuralDSP Darkglass plugin and that’s how I get the sound.
Equally brutal was the irony of the only time I saw Yes in concert – the Drama tour of 1980, “In the Round,” with Squire, Howe, White, Downes and Horn. Oh yeah.
About that show.
I didn’t have tickets, I was 15, it was the day of the concert – YES – DRAMA – IN THE ROUND!!! ARGH!
I got a call out of the blue from a guy in one of my high school classes asking if I was going. I told him that I wasn’t, and he said, “Well, I’ve got two tickets, fifth row for tonight.” I said, “Great, but I don’t have a ride.”
He said, “I’ll pick you up at 6:30 tonight.”
I said “HELL YEAH!”
So we went to the concert and it was incredible. Yes were awesome.
On the way back to my place, this guy who out of nowhere made all of this wonderful night happen, said, “There’s a group I’m affiliated with. Maybe you’ve heard of them.”
I thought, “Spidey-senses tingling.”
At a stop sign he took out his wallet and removed a business card. It was for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan with his name printed on it with some goofy title (you know, like “Grand Imperial Buttclops”).
He smiled. “Hang on to this card and give me a call if you’re interested. We’re doing some good stuff.”
Now he got me home without any additional weirdness (another first in my concert going adventures. As I recall he was a big Tull fan, which makes me sad now for some reason. Should I be happy a racist likes Tull? Maybe it might have a positive effect. Better than nonstop Wagner. Maybe, idk.)
I watched him drive off into the darkness, pulled the card out of my pocket and looked at it again.
I didn’t have the heart – or nerve – to ever tell my high school classmate Klansman that he took a Jewish kid to a Yes concert.
I spent the last half of the day today working on my bass cover of Yes’ “Tempus Fugit.” I remember when “Drama” came out – I was blown away by the energy and power of the entire album and still think it is one of their best. This song is great for its speedy bass lines with a good dose of flanger that make the whole song feel like it’s flying at breakneck speed – but it’s actually not that fast to play – it only feels fast, faster then time…!