Line Out Music & the City at Night

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

RIP "Architect of Prog" Peter Banks

Posted by on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Time and mortality just keep on keepin' on, taking the SECOND English guitar picker in a single week. Last week Alvin Lee, today, Peter Banks. He was only 65. FUCK. Banks is prolly best known as the guitarist in the original lineup of prog dinosaurs Yes. He actually named the band and helped to craft the sound and direction they'd become famous and/or hated for.

Banks' first band, the Syn, was the group that crafted the classic "I'm Grounded." Uh...if that one track was his only known recording it would have been enough to garner him an enduring legacy. After the Syn split he joined a short-lived group called Neat Change. A group known for just one single, "I Lied To Auntie May;" a pop song written by Alan Bown and the Herd's Peter Frampton. When he was tapped by former Syn partner, bassist Chris Squire, to join Squire's group Mabel Greer's Toy Shop and a nascent version of Yes was formed. Y'all, I'm not really a guitar wanna-be worshiper kinda record nerd, but I fucking LOVE almost everything I've ever heard Banks play, especially the first Yes LP, Yes!! That album is a TOP TEN rock record in my house; it's just so fucking beautiful. Its melody and grace are delivered with a calculated force unlike any other album. Like, you REALLY can hear the sike-group-makes-the-jump-to-prog on this album.

Dig, Yes, live, from German TV's Beat Club. Banks' bit ends at the 20:10 mark.

After their next LP, Time and a Word, Banks was sacked from Yes in and replaced with Tomorrow guitarist Steve Howe. Banks went on to play with a handful of other groups, session work, recorded a handful of solo records, and formed groups Flash and Empire. He kept a real low profile in the '80s, returning in the '90s with more solo records.

Also: Anyone who gives the slightest shit about Banks, prog and/or '60s/'70s rock I can't recommend THIS recent Peter Banks interview enough. It's great, candid and full of period details.


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