Geoff Downes Confused Over John Payne’s Asia
Geoff Downes is confused as to why John Payne formed a band under the Asia title after the original lineup reformed.
But the keyboardist insists it hasn’t caused himself, John Wetton, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer any problems.
Asia Featuring John Payne came about in 2007 after Downes reconnected with the men who started Asia in 1981. The two parties reached a legal agreement over both titles. The original band have released three albums since getting back together, while Payne’s outfit are due to release Americana in the near future.
Downes tells Geeks of Doom: “I don’t really understand why he would continue using that name. I think he could have done something else – but that’s just my opinion. That’s up to him really.
“It hasn’t caused problems. I think people know that if they want to see Asia, the original lineup, they know who it is. I don’t think it’s a problem. I think it’s a very different band.”
The original four members only worked together for a year in the 1980s before a series of lineup changes took effect. Downes believes they didn’t give it “a good enough shot” first time round, and that’s why everyone was ready to reunite.
“Despite a lot of things people said at the time, that it was a manufactured band, it didn’t seem like that to us. We did a lot of work together before we even started the first album – we were in the rehearsal room for nearly a year. We did build up a musical bond that wasn’t going to go away. When we did have that opportunity to get back together, everyone was up for it.”
Splitting his time between Asia and Yes involves two different types of approach, he says.
“Yes has got this huge legacy of music that goes back 45 years. There’s a very, very varied catalogue,” he reflects. “But Asia has always been much more straight-ahead rock – although with certain signature twists here and there.
“I’m not saying it’s necessarily easier to play, because there’s some obscure moves and things to get across. In Yes I’m playing three different keyboard players’ parts – that tends to be a bit more complicated.
“But I enjoy both. Asia has been part of mainstay from the beginning. It’s very important to me.”
Asia tour the UK in December.
Asia UK tour
15/12 Tavistock The Wharf
16/12 Holmfirth Picturedrome
17/12 Edinburgh Queen’s Hall
19/12 Salisbury City Hall
20/12 Birmingham Town Hall
21/12 Manchester Royal Northern College of Music
22/12 London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire