by Mike Mettler
photo by Jason Powell
Founding Yes bassist Chris Squire passed away at his home in Phoenix, Arizona on June 27 of acute erythoid leukemia. He was 67.
“My heart is broken over the news of Chris Squire's passing,” Styx vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw says exclusively to Styxworld. “His driving bass was the backbone and the motor of Yes music, and his style is instantly recognizable. He was a true powerhouse.”
Styx and Yes joined forces for a 22-date summer tour in 2011 that was dubbed the “Progressive U.S. Tour.” On the 2007 Shaw Blades Influence album, Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades covered “Your Move,” one of the most indelible and enduring tracks from Yes’ seminal 1971 release, The Yes Album. In the liner notes toInfluence, Tommy wrote, “This is a combination of tipping our hat to the original, separating it from the second half of Yes’ version, and book-ending it with the original composition.”
Tommy tells Styxworld, “When we toured with Yes a few years ago, Chris became very comfortable with our relaxed backstage vibe. We shared meals and a lot of laughs. But the sweetest thing was seeing him coming out on our stage on the last night of the tour [on August 3, 2011, at the Shoreline Amiptheatre in Mountainview, California] to dance with his little girl near the end of our set.
“What a sweetheart,” Tommy concludes. “It's just unthinkable, him not being on this earth. God speed, Chris Squire.”
Styx co-founding guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young shared his thoughts: “Very sad to hear of Chris’ passing. Along with John Entwistle of The Who, Chris was at the top of my list of great British bass players. His sound was powerful, unique, and he, along with Entwistle and to some degree Jack Bruce, brought the bass out to the front of the mix. It was an honor for Styx to share the stage with Chris and Yes in 2011 as we toured across North America. I cannot say I got to know him well, but it was incredible to hear him every night up close and personal. His hands were so strong that when he high-fived me on stage on the last night of our 2011 tour, he nearly took my hand off! He will be missed.”
On his Facebook page, Styx drummer Todd Sucherman wrote, “Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Chris Squire. We toured with Yes in 2011, and it was so much fun. He came out and danced with his young daughter during our set on the last night of the tour. Condolences to his family and bandmates. RIP, musical giant.”
Styx vocalist/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan posted a photo of one of Squire’s famed basses and added, “I took this photo (fuzzy though it appears due to a shaky photographer) of Chris Squire’s bass as it lay side stage awaiting his hands during our tour with Yes in 2011. Standing alone next to Chris’s bass that day, I stared at it a long time, realizing how much I revered him and this relic. Since I was a teenager dreaming of a life in music, all the wondrous magic he’d conjured from this instrument had made such an impact on my life! Thank you, Chris Squire. May your music live forever!”
Yes’ official statement about Squire’s death stated, “For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes’ most endearing music, as well as his solo album, [1975’s] Fish Out of Water.
“Outside of Yes, Chris was a loving husband to Scotty and father to Carmen, Chandrika, Camille, Cameron, and Xilan. With his gentle, easy-going nature, Chris was a great friend of many … including each of us. But he wasn’t merely our friend: he was also part of our family and we shall forever love and miss him.”
On March 26, 2014, Squire and your Styxologist were discussing Yes’ Heaven & Earth album and how much he admired his father for building the family’s hi-fi system when he was growing up in the Kingsbury area of London, England, and said, “He was ahead of his time, actually.” So were you, Chris. Yours is no disgrace. Rest in peace.