JOHN WETTON - The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

15. February 2017

John Wetton Asia

JOHN WETTON - The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

Geoff Downes' sentences on the death of John Wetton, which do not conceal the difficult character of his friend, clearly show that the rock guild has not only lost a creative musician, but also a man with rough edges, who often did not mince his words. It is no coincidence that one of his solo albums is called "Battle Lines" (1994). When I talked to him about two years ago on the occasion of the last Asia album "Gravitas", he could hardly stop himself from commenting on the performances of the previous guitarist Steve Howe in the last Asia years after the reunion. Instead of praising the then new guitarist Sam Coulson as usual and keeping silent about his colleagues who had left, there was hardly any need for an energetic question and John started banging his head off.

"We should have known. Also in the original Asia formation he had taken over responsibility far too seldom." He half-heartedly affirmed the demand whether Asia hadn't always been more Downes' and his band, so that even a Steve Howe never wanted to go into the open musical confrontation with them, at least in the studio: "That's only partly true, when I had to leave the band after 'Alpha' (1984) because I was too stoned too often to perform, he could have done something with Asia and the then singer Greg Lake, but instead the management and Geoff asked me if we could come back again because nothing typical of Asia came from them.“

The paths of the later Asians Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and John Wetton crossed already in their youth. John and Steve played Atomic Rooster for Carl's band, but were rejected. Wetton was not yet twenty and had already seven years of musical experience in bands in the region of his adopted home Bournemouth, where he had moved with his family from Derby at the age of ten. But his first album was made with the band Mogul Thrash with the Colosseum guitarist James Litherland. The Progger's only work was published in 1971. "At that time it wasn't that easy to get a record contract, and when you were under contract, they often wouldn't let you out of their clutches," John explained to me years ago about his beginnings as an album artist.

Lest mehr im eclipsed Nr. 188 (03-2017).