Uncle G’s Classic Rock Memories_Peter Banks

3 February 2019 Recommends

Classic Rock Radio (UK) PRESENTS

Uncle G’s Classic Rock Memories

Subject: Peter Banks (1947-2013)

Job Title: Coordinator of The Official Peter Banks Mailing List (Yahoo Groups)

Subject: Book Promotion 

by Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

My fondest memories of this were my actual interactions with Peter. He called my house, more than once. The best things we talked about involved normal everyday living. He had a good sense of humor. A unique way of looking at things. Was on eggshells at first. His reputation preceded him. Could be sometimes, difficult.

This ‘re-print’ (special edition newsletter) is going back almost 17 years ago. These phone conversations Peter and I had, typically lasted over a half hour. Glad I wasn’t paying the phone bill. I would fax him, and this would cost a small fortune. He was in England, and I was in Houston, Texas (USA). Very expensive back at the turn of the century communicating across the pond like that. Peter didn’t seem to care much.

Would be kind of modest when I would mention his work, to him. He told me his 1994 solo ‘Instinct’ was made on a 4 track in a basement or something like that. Like it was no big deal at all. That simply flabbergasted me! We talk about his various playing style(s). I absolutely fell in love with that album (CD), and when first getting it (import), listened to that and nothing else for days/weeks at a time.

In my opinion, anything and everything you can find that’s professionally recorded with Peter Banks playing on it is worth its salt and should be explored if not already. And if you collect, better yet…owning. A lot of his catalog has been recently reissued. Would have been nice if there was this much interest in him while he was still among the living. Excuse me. Just sayin’. Peter’s solo records (instrumentals) are brilliant. I have damn near everything Mr. Banks ever did; on CD. FYI: We’re all adults here. The guitar-heavy instrumentals, are great to have on in the background when having adult relations (sex). Trust me, it’s not a race. Just go with the flow. Get a lava lamp. When after a break and before going into round two, press the repeat button.


Photo: Gary “Uncle G” Brown old fashion, Rolodex; Peter’s card.

Promotion (Extra Extra — Read ALL About It)

This following are statements by Jon Kirkman, and William James (Glass Onyon PR) pertaining to Peter’s autobiography. Right after it was released. I had created a newsletter for Peter, on Yahoo groups. Yahoo was hot at the time. This newsletter, in particular, was posted on YesTalk, a popular ‘group’ that was all about, Yes. Made sense putting that on there; YesFans. Most subscribers were into the classic line-up. Some had noses in the air when it came to anyone else but Steve Howe, as lead guitarist. I was a HUGE fan of Steve’s, as well as Trevor Rabin, and Peter Banks.

It was Peter Banks I was selling. Here’s one thing I ran. I had put together two very interesting people when it came to the subject of Yes’ original guitarist. I asked Jon for a ‘review’, and then Billy for some behind the scene comments. Two years in the making. They would talk on the phone every Sunday night, Billy shared with me. Then he would spend the week transcribing the weeks before conversation, he just had with Peter. Writing can be a lot of work. The results are what makes it worth the effort. Billy (William) is very successful, here in the year 2019. With me, it’s been one step forward and three steps back. The games not over yet.

Found by accident, just recently, I decided on reprinting. What better place than, Classic Rock Radio (UK). For your reading enjoyment, here is Classic Rock Radio’s fearless leader, Jon Kirkman. Also, my friend (as is Jon); William “Billy” James. Back in 2002, a busy book novelist. Did some great ones (Grand Funk Railroad_Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, etc..) including this one with professional musician, Peter Banks, in which I felt (in all honesty) was a good read!

Note: The following is a cut and paste job. Even the links (mostly obsolete).

Also, there seems to be a resurgence going on lately regarding music, that Peter was involved with; Empire (one example).


Peter’s music is certainly worthy of the attention. To add to all that, I give you this:

Yahoo Groups – YesTalk

From: The Official Peter Banks Mailing List

Re: Book Now Available Through Publisher Website!

Message: #12

Hi Everyone, Got a couple items here about Peter’s book that I think you will find interesting:

1.) Review: by Jon Kirkman

Beyond And Before – The Formative Years Of Yes – Peter Banks with Billy James

Golden Treasures Publishing

For the uninitiated Peter Banks was a founder member and guitarist with British rock Band YES.

Peter was with Yes form it’s inception in 1968 and was fired from the band following the recording of the bands second album Time And A Word in 1970.

Beyond and Before tells Peter’s story both beyond YES and of course before YES.

For anyone remotely interested in the British music scene of the late sixties and early seventies, this is a fascinating account of the times the places and the people. For most people however, they will be drawn by the YES connection. Despite the fact that there have now been a number of books about the band most seem to skip over the early days, which is a shame as without those early days YES would not have been able to move forward and become the hugely successful band they now are. I am also sure that most Yes fans are aware of shall we say some issues between Peter and various managements and line-ups of YES. Having said that Peter talks it as he walks it and is refreshingly honest about his dealings both with Yes present and of course Yes past.

It has to be said Peter has an excellent way with words and translating his story and I’m sure Billy James had some input here. This book is a thoroughly entertaining read from start to finish.

It isn’t just about YES though. Peter formed Flash following his departure from Yes and some of their moments of musical mayhem are as intriguing as anything Peter has been involved in. If it is one thing that this book may well encourage you to do and that is to track down the three Flash studio albums and one live album. There is some incredible music to be found on these albums and one possible advantage would be for a record label to reissue the Flash albums. Listening to them some thirty years after their release you may well be surprised at just how much of a part of the early and possibly subsequent YES sound Peter Banks was.

As I have already said this book goes both beyond and before Peters time with Yes and I’m happy to say that the thing that comes across most is that despite having been through the mill in the business called the music business Peter has lost none of his passion for music which started when he was a young boy.

If you’re looking for stories and anecdotes this book is full of them I won’t give too much away but did you know that Peter was asked to join Genesis? Well, I didn’t and that is just one of the interesting stories in this book there are loads more. If you want to find out more you will just have to buy the book. You won’t be disappointed I promise you.

An excellent and thoroughly entertaining book about a musician who is far more influential than you may realize. YES fans will find this book indispensable filling in all the gaps as it were. Rock music fans or casual buyers will merely find it a well written and interesting view of the times in which Peter passed and indeed continues to pass through. It may also serve as a pointer to some incredible music along the way.

Jon Kirkman


2.) from Billy James

Beyond And Before – The Formative Years Of Yes

Written by Peter Banks with Billy James

A few words from the Co-Author…

In 1971, while shopping in a store equivalent to today’s Wal-Mart chain in America. I happened to browse through the record section. I had been given $10.00 from my grandmother for my birthday, and of course, I wanted to buy an album with it. I was in fact intent on buying the Who’s Next album. But by sheer chance, I came across and bought an album called YES. All my friends thought I was crazy to purchase this album from an unknown group when the hot record to buy was Who’s Next. It turned out I wasn’t crazy – I loved the first album by Yes. It was truly something special — the vocals were unique, the songs were at times very Beatlesque, yet the arrangements were rather complex; the drummer had a real jazz influence to his style, and the bass was totally over-the-top! But the one player that really caught my attention was the guitarist Peter Banks. His style was very different and loose, and I’d never heard volume pedal playing before — it had such an enchanting quality — mesmerizing!

A year later everybody knew who Yes was, but sadly the first two albums were all but overlooked. By this time Peter Banks had left the band and was replaced by Steve Howe. In 1974, I stumbled upon another classic album that in many ways would become the template to a lot of my future recorded work as Ant-Bee. This album was Two Sides Of Peter Banks. Well, I obviously knew who Peter Banks was, though admittedly I hadn’t heard that much of the Flash material at the time. But this solo just blew my mind!!! Arguably, it is one of the great musically pioneering albums of all time, and to me, it is the epitome of the term ‘progressive rock’. There is a transcendent quality to this album, which contains some extremely innovative musical interactions between Peter Banks and Dutch guitar legend Jan Akkerman. It is a truly wonderful album!

I have been very fortunate in being able to work with various legendary recording artists from the ’60s and ’70s, and Peter Banks is no exception. For me, it’s been a great honor in helping Peter to write this book. If you haven’t checked out his last few solo CD’s, Instinct, Self-Contained, and Reduction, then you are doing yourself a great disservice — they are excellent albums and show Peter Banks in top form! In 1997 I had the great fortune of having Peter Banks record three tracks for my forthcoming ANT-BEE album Electronic Church Muzik – a dream come true!

Since then, and throughout our two-year interview sessions, I’ve not only become an even bigger fan of Peter Banks, but a friend as well. This book is for all fans of the original Yes, Peter Banks fans, and followers of progressive rock in general. Peter Banks story — the story of a true rock guitar legend, and co-creator of the monster called Yes — can now be told. Enjoy !!!

Billy James




Coordinators Closing Comments

Thank you guys for sharing that with our subscribers. Just got done reading the book myself. A fascinating and enjoyable read cover to cover!

Gary Brown –Coordinator of The Official Peter Banks Mailing List




Bonus Images



Peter Banks (guitar) and Robert Berry (everything else) – Astral Traveler (1995)

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,