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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Farewell to The Fish

Chris Squire has died. Just last month the announcement came that he had AML, a rare and deadly form of leukemia. His fans hoped for the best, that somehow he'd beat it or at least be with us a while longer, but AML is a fast killer. I hope his passing was easy.

Not everyone knows who Chris was. He was the co-founder (with Jon Anderson) of Yes, the legendary Progrock band. At the announcement of his illness Chris sent regrets that he wouldn't be on this year's Summer tour, the first time in Yes' 47 years that he'd be absent. There is much online about Yes and Chris, anyone interested can find their entire histories. Youtube has all the Yes albums as well.

This feels like losing an old friend. With his death, and Jon Anderson not in the band anymore, to me it's the death of Yes as well. All things must pass, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

From Wiki, on his nickname: "Chris Squire was commonly known by his nickname, "Fish", and the name is associated with many of his works including his solo record, Fish Out of Water, and the solo piece "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" from the 1971 Yes record Fragile. The name has multiple origins, not least of which is the heteronymic meanings of "bass", describing low frequency sound or the bass guitar as well as the fish. Additionally, Squire's astrological sign was Pisces. Further, in the early days of Yes' career, he once accidentally flooded a hotel room in Oslo, Norway, while taking a shower, and Bill Bruford gave him the nickname. On the 2007 documentary "The Classic Artists Series 3: Yes", Bruford says that the nickname arose because Squire spent long periods in the bathroom while they shared a house together in Fulham."

He was a close friend of Greg Lake's for almost 50 years, going back to their being roommates in London when they both were starting out and finding their first successes.

Chris played bass like nobody else could. He wrote songs we'll have forever. I'll treasure that moment when he smiled wildly and gave me a protest fist as the cops carried me off in Madison Square Garden all my days. 

Farewell. RIP. Thanks.


Munir said...

I am sorry for the loss. My Prayers will be with with his family and friends.

Elephant's Child said...

Gone - but definitely not forgotten.

Geo. said...

A fine tribute to a fine musician.

Anonymous said...

Can't say I'm familiar with the man or his music but always sad to hear of the loss of a creative individual.

klahanie said...

Hi Laura,

Chris Squire, one of the all time greats in the prog rock genre. A genre that has not been fully appreciated. A great musician in one of my favourite bands.

Indeed, thanks Chris. Your music and the memories will live on forever.


Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Nice tribute, Laura.

But what I'd reeeeeally like to hear more about is when Chris Squire actually acknowledged you with a raised fist when the police were toting you out of Madison Square Garden. I'm totally intrigued...

Austan said...

The outpouring of grief over Chris' death is amazing. I had no idea he was so loved, but hope he knew. There are 32 pages of fans' tributes on the Yesworld site, and counting.

The Madison Square Garden story for Susan: It was Yes' 10th birthday tour, 1978. My friends Lisa and Valerie and I headed to MSG with 7 dollars between us. We chased a scalper around the corner onto 33rd St and got him to give us 3 tkts for the 7$ (I know, but we were young and wild college kids- and tripping on blotter). What we didn't notice was that the tkts were for the next night. We still got thru the checkpoints and into the Garden with the crowd, and then realized the tkt stubs had the wrong night so of course we had no seats. So we kept moving. One of the MSG cops pinned us out and we ran, but a couple other guards were in on the chase and they caught us. The guy that had me tried to fireman carry me but I went dead weight and he started dragging me away. So I turned to get up on my feet and there I was, right in front of Chris Squire, next to the revolving stage, struggling to get this guard off me who had me by the shirt. Chris looked right into my face and had this huge openmouthed sort of delighted smile, and I beamed right back at him. I gave him what's now called a fist pump and he returned it, still smiling. The cop grabbed me around the ribs from behind and hustled me down an exit to a hallway where another MSG cop had my 2 friends. That one started walking us all to an office or somewhere, and my friend Lisa and I just turned around and ran. We got back into the arena and by that time kids were rushing the stage so we joined them. A few minutes later, by some miracle, Valerie joined us. We watched the rest of the concert right down front.

Afterward when we went to hang out in our neighborhood, one of the guys we knew was telling everyone about our getting hauled off, he'd seen it all. We stayed up all night watching the auras around the trees, laughing and retelling the story.

I saw Yes at MSG 4 years in a row in the 70s, but the other nights were much more legal and normal. Still excellent shows, but I never got down front to the stage for those shows, and never had such a memorable night as this one.

Oh to be young and wild again...