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.

It’s brutal.

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.

Time Flies.

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…!

I have been a huge ELP fan since the mid-70s. A band I was in in the mid to late 70s used to cover Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression Part 2″ (the famous “Welcome Back my Friends to the Show that Never Ends”) part. I absolutely love “Brain Salad Surgery” and consider it among my top ten albums of all time, so naturally I wanted to cover something from it. “Jerusalem” – meh… “Tocatta” (too long of a crazy electronic drum solo), “Benny the Bouncer” (not really good for a bass cover video), “Still, You Turn Me On…” – nahhh. That leaves me the Karn Evil suite, so I picked the 1st Part of the 1st Impression, and here it is. TBH I am not thrilled playing it headless and I don’t like bass tone too much (some compression would have gone a looooong way), but it’s one of the first bass cover videos I did.

I heard the when Keith Emerson invited Greg Lake to his place to listen to a piece of music for ELP’s second album that Keith and drummer Carl Palmer were working on, Keith played it for Greg and asked his opinion. “Greg took a long draw from his cigarette and said, ‘I think it would be a great track on your solo album.'” Niiiiice. As it is, Greg put the lyrics to it and it became side 1 of their second album, a work caked “Tarkus.” I’m considering doing the whole thing, but for now here is the introduction of “Tarkus” called “Eruption”: