A Few Words About John Wetton

 
 A year ago, one of my heroes Died, when it happened, I was in Chile, I live in the USA, but this time, I was there staying for a year, after an absence of 12.

It was a Hot Summer in the South of Chile, my Native Country, where I spent most of my Schooling and Formation years.

I Had live in Spain for over 7 years, early in my youth, My dad, would help me record Music straight from the TV set, to a one Mono-Cassette device, I was 9, when I landed back, in my home land, and I brought a bunch whole of cassette tapes along, and I was glad I did, everything was different, the TV series I use to watch in Spain, where way different from the ones, the Chilean TV would broadcast.

Although Music was always happening around me, as far as I can remember I was introduced to Music through my Older Sister, she played guitar and sang, and would listen to The Beatles, Queen and E.L.O. cassette tapes, among the many others, there was always American Folk Musicians from the seventies involved within the menu of the day too; Peter Paul and Mary, Cat Stevens, Elvis and from Argentina Sui Generis, were a big part during my growing days.
It was in Talca, this beautiful and, still Spiritual and captivating City, about 150 miles south of Santiago the Capital of Chile, where I met some neighbors and learned about their many other preferences and devotion for bands like: Genesis and Yes, it was then when I first heard of Asia, through a Friend’s, cassette Tape, in which he had recorded a song, from the Radio in Santiago, a song that had been played heavily on radio stations around the globe, It was the single/tune; Only Time Will Tell, that marked me down profoundly, it kind of shaped and benefited my early taste for Music.

I had been listening and absorbing all kinds of Music since I was a Kid: Mexican, Spanish - Italian Pop Singers from the seventies, Flamenco, TV Series Scores, etc, my Father used to listen to German Marching Band’s Music, so I always wanted to explore and pick up as many different styles of Music as it was possible at that time, when there wasn't many sources, like it is right now.

My father would travel due to working reasons, to The Capital City, Santiago, at least once a month, and he would bring me different imported cassettes, some of them where really bad recordings, but some of them where Original Epic, or CBS, Columbia record’s cassette tapes straight made and imported from the USA.

On one opportunity, I had the chance to go to Santiago, it was the summer of 1982, in December, Asia’s eponymous record had been released a little before, I went to a record store, and made sure that this particular song, Only Time Will Tell was in it, the rest didn’t really mattered.

Credited as a sell out, Corporate top market oriented super group, since: John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe, the musicians involved in the “Job” were all previously members of other well known British bands.
Truthfully; Asia’s self titled first album-record, released by Geffen Records, the company responsible for putting their Music and group together and out to the public, Changed the Music Business and inspired other music outlets, happening in the market during the early 80’s.

 Asia, bound two known Styles, shaped back in the seventies, by bands like Deep Purple en Genesis, and putted them together.

The band’s musicians Despite the bad Press given, were 4 of the finest talented musicians at the time, who also fused the more majestic sounds from Eloy, plus hints of Kansas and another Asia, the American band who were their contemporaries and had the same name.

Apart from any speculations or criticism, their music had much to say and it did, it landed number one in the USA, staying there for numerous weeks.

Asia was not only about the hit singles Only Time Will Tell, which had that uplifting keyboard intro, or Heat of The moment, the album cover had the amazing famous oriental Dragon, chasing a pearl, drawing made by Roger Dean well known by his previous work with Yes and Uriah Heep.
The record also features Wildest Dreams, which has no resemblance at all, with the work of any other band, from that period, often compared with Boston or Journey, bands which music Style was awfully baptized as AOR (Adult Oriented Rock).

The aforementioned bands composed mostly songs, within the ABBA structure, while Asia’s Wildest Dreams, holds a powerful and bombastic Instrumental intro, with a metric pattern that reflects the more experimental styles of progressive rock, while Sole Survivor and Time Again, portray that heavier approach, and sound quality,  explored only by the bands, each member had been with before, consequently, giving, the group a whole different and fresher identity, therefore, that influence was passed straight to groups like; Europe and influenced the Progressive Metal style which emerged towards the mid 80’s with bands like Helloween.

The revival of the Band happened in 2006, their former members hadn’t played together since the release of Astra, in 1985, it’s been said, that Steve Howe, was able to rehearse songs for that record, but he left shortly after and was never featured on the recording, instead they hired Mandy Meyer, from Switzerland.

For their 25 anniversary of the release of that eponymous album from 1982 the members gathered secretly, rehearsed and toured, surprising every follower of the band, to add gratefulness to it they recorded three albums between 2006 and 2010, year where they putted out their last record with Steve Howe and John Wetton, the first leaving to continue, with Yes, and Wetton’s untimely passing in January 2017.

But Wetton’s Music is not only Asia, yet how he said it once; "...if you have to put food on the table you have to work any how", and he did, he was a session player for Uriah Heep, Roxy Music, among many other side projects he collaborated with, he was a solo artist as well, and was a pivotal acquisition to Robert Fripps’ King Crimson, with whom he was the front man and bass player, through three of their most seminal records, between1973 and 1974.

As a solo artist he worked with numerous musicians from all kinds of backgrounds including the recently deceased American pop star David Cassidy.

His work is prolific, before Asia’s reunion he meet with his twin composer musician keyboardist Geoffrey Downes creating ICON.

When John Wetton Died, it marked the end of an era, the analog era, in which we grew up, with hopes for the future, dreaming of a life full of uplifting moments, an ideal resembled on that keyboard opening of the song, Only Time Will Tell,  a very similar intro-beginning to that of  Europe’s Final Countdown and Van Halen’s Jump, although the idea, might have been taken from, “In the Dead of Night” Wetton’s earlier band, UK, a group that at one point was going to include Rick Wakeman in it.

The days of good inspiring and well constructed and executed music are gone, and along with it, some of the best musicians in that genre, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Chris Squire, Bowie, Wetton.

Life is short and when someone even much closer to us dies, it makes us reflect even more, yet thank God, we have plenty of good Music immortalized, to be played for ever, to be shared with friends and to be passed to new generations, who are not keen to grow listening to lame new pop trends, back in the day, even commercial music was much more elaborated.

......."the brightest ring around the moon, will darken when I die"......
John Wetton12 June 1949 – 31 January 2017
                                  

Rodrigo Trupp (dedicated to my sister in life Loreto Masot Aguirre ….we will meet again one day)

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