Rock & roll heavyweight tells FBPO about his new “Raised in Captivity” CD and reuniting with the original members of Asia
Exclusive interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
October 31, 2011
John Wetton is a legendary rock bassist, singer and songwriter, best known for his tenure with King Crimson, Asia and as a solo artist. His latest album, Raised in Captivity, was released in 2011.
FBPO: Congratulations on your new album, Raised in Captivity. Your fans seem to be pleased, not only with the quality of the songwriting, but also with the variety, ranging from all-out rock to power ballads. How would you describe the album?
JW: I’m very pleased with the response to RiC. It was made from scratch to completion in one month, so it is a lot rougher around the edges than previous solo albums, but the feel and intensity are much more instant and accessible.
FBPO: Billy Sherwood appears to have played a prominent role in the release. Would you care to comment on your relationship?
JW: Yes, the record was made primarily with just the two of us, with soloists added later. I played keyboards, acoustic guitar, plus all the vocals. Billy took care of electric guitars and drums and we shared bass duties. Billy’s production captures the essence of the energy of RiC and his musical and engineering skills highlight the extremely melodic textures of the music.
FBPO: Japan seems to hold a very special place in your heart. Why is that?
JW: I love the people, the culture and the country, but above all, Japan has always been very loyal to me. I feel the same way about her and I hope this relationship will continue for the foreseeable future.
FBPO: Tell me about your experience with Excalibur. You must be pleased with the new box set release.
JW: Yes, Excalibur was a terrific experience for me. Working with Alan Simon, who is a class act, and all the other performers on Excalibur II was a privilege. I got what was, to me, the best song in “Lugh.” I recently sang on two songs for Excalibur III, to be released in 2012.
FBPO: How does it feel to be back with the original lineup of Asia, with Geoff Downes, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer?
JW: We’re in our seventh year of re-formed touring now, so it doesn’t feel “new,” but we’re all a little older, hopefully a little wiser, and our attitude to the band – and to each other – has changed to one of positivity and altruism. The good of the band comes first and we enjoy our time together now
FBPO: What’s the secret to keeping a band going strong for so many years?
JW: When we first formed Asia, in 1981, we were more concerned with our individuality. The big difference today is that the individuality is seen as a strength, whereas in the beginning it was seen as a threat, as the band struggled for identity in the wake of its progenitors. Today we feel no such pressure. The next album will be our third studio album since 2006. We have released two full-length DVDs and embark upon our seventh year of world touring. We know that no other combination of people has ever clicked under the Asia banner. It only works with these four people, so we’d better get on with it!
FBPO: What lies ahead for your career? What else can your fans look forward to seeing and hearing from John Wetton in the future?
JW: I have a busy touring year in 2012, as a solo artist, with UK (Eddie Jobson and Terry Bozzio) and with Asia. It is Asia’s 30th anniversary, so lots of good things will be happening. I will also be working with Steve Hackett, but my first date as John Wetton will be in the Midlands of England in January 2012. After that, I’m off to Tokyo and Osaka.
FBPO: What would you be if you weren’t a bass player?
JW: Just a singer/songwriter.