Going back to the Spock's Beard entry of last week, the PP Guru mentioned that John Payne had formed a new band called ONE with the remaining exiled members of Asia, to make room for the original members to reformulate. Well, according to John Payne's website, that band is now called GPS. It has come to John's attention that there is already a band with the name of ONE.
Of course, the PP Guru says bullocks to all that- who's the one with the star power anyway? The name was probably snatched up by a couple of 9th graders playing Zep or Pink Floyd cover tunes in dingy high school recital halls for school dances.
But the PP Guru supposes that John knows best.
Like the PP Guru says - it's another boring useless correction.
Dot your i's and cross your t's when reporting this to the....
John Payne was the lead singer and bassist of Asia from 1992-2006. Payne was mainly a session musician, mainly on guitar, before joining Asia in 1992. He was considered for a position in the ELO Part II project on guitar and vocals. When asked to join Asia by Geoff Downes, he had to learn the bass guitar fast, including all of Asia's hits.
Payne and Downes continued together as Asia for several years, but without a stable line-up around them, until they stuck with Guthrie Govan (guitar) and Chris Slade (drums) in 1999. The same line-up existed for over five years, until Chris Slade was replaced by Jay Schellen in late 2005. In February 2006, Downes and Payne separated: Payne, Govan and Schellen formed a new band, GPS, while Downes joined a reunion of the original Asia line-up, including John Wetton. The two camps remain in dispute of ownership of the Asia name.
Asia Studio Albums featuring John Payne
- Aqua, 1992
- Aria, 1994
- Arena, 1996
- Archiva 1, 1996
- Archiva 2, 1996
- Aura, 2000
- Silent Nation, 2004
|Genre(s)||Rock, Progressive Rock|
|Members||John Payne |
GPS is a progressive rock group formed in 2006 by John Payne (vocals, bass), Guthrie Govan (guitars) and Jay Schellen (drums). These three had been working together in Asia when the fourth member of Asia, Geoff Downes, joined a reunion of the band's earlier line-up, dissolving the then current line-up. Payne, Govan and Schellen announced the formation of a new band in February 2006 to be called One. However, after discovering another rock act with the same name, the band changed its name to GPS, named after the Global Positioning System.
The band plans to release an album called Window to the Soul around August 2006. (The album was originally announced as One with a May release date.) Keyboards on the album are by Ryo Okumoto of Spock's Beard. Live dates in autumn 2006 are also planned.
|Genre(s)||Rock, Progressive Rock|
|Members||Geoff Downes |
|Past members||Mandy Meyer |
Asia began with the apparent demise of Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the two flagship bands of British progressive rock. After the break-up of King Crimson in 1974, various plans for a supergroup involving bassist John Wetton had been mooted, including the abortive British Bulldog project with Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman in 1976. In 1977, Bruford and Wetton were reunited in UK, along with guitarist Allan Holdsworth and keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson. Their self-titled album was released in 1978. By 1980, after UK's demise and Wetton's departure from Wishbone Ash, a new supergroup project was suggested involving Wetton, Wakeman, drummer Carl Palmer and (then little known) guitarist Trevor Rabin, but Wakeman walked out of the project shortly before they were due to sign to Geffen and before they had ever played together. In 1981, Wetton and guitarist Steve Howe started working and writing together, Howe having come out of the break-up of Yes in early 1981.
Howe and Wetton were soon joined by Buggles/Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes. Carl Palmer joined the band later in the process. Trevor Rabin was considered for the group and some demos were recorded with him, but he dropped out to accept an offer to join Chris Squire and Alan White in what became a new Yes and the other Asia members decided to stay as a quartet.
The band's early offerings, under the auspices of the record empire of David Geffen and the A&R of John Kalodner, were considered disappointing by music critics  and fans of traditional progressive rock, who found the music closer to radio-friendly AOR pop. However, Asia clicked with fans of such early-1980s arena acts as Journey, Boston, and Electric Light Orchestra. Rolling Stone gave Asia an indifferent review , while still acknowledging the band's musicianship had been a cut above the usual AOR expectations.
Asia's eponymous debut album enjoyed considerable commercial success, spending nine weeks at number one in the U.S. album chart. The singles "Only Time Will Tell" and "Heat of the Moment" became huge Top 40 hits, with the latter cracking the Top Five, and remaining a stadium favourite at U.S. sporting events.
The tracks from the Asia debut have stood the test of time and are played on classic rock stations throughout the world today. The Asia debut has become legendary in the genre of classic rock. "Sole Survivor" also received heavy air play on rock stations across the US.
The US tour also did extremely well, selling out every date on the '82 and '83 tours, while the MTV channel played their videos on heavy rotation. Billboard named the Asia debut as album of the year.
Asia became known as pioneers of phase two of the progressive rock era by avoiding long winded forays that included, to at least a greater extent than phase-one, enough commercial polish to attract radio airplay outside of album-rock circles. Yes' 90125 and Big Generator, ELPowell's Touch and Go in 1986, and the GTR album would all follow in the Asia debut album's footsteps.
However, neither the second nor any following Asia album repeated the chart success of the first. The power ballad "Don't Cry" entered the Top Ten in 1983, while "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes," a fan favourite for John Wetton vocal performance, charted inside of Billboard's top 40. But Rolling Stone panned "Alpha" as an over-produced commercial album , while others lamented that Howe and Palmer were effectively reduced to session musicians. However, many Asia fans favour Alpha over the debut. The tracks "Eye To Eye" and "My Own Time" became huge fan favourites. "Open Your Eyes" and "The Heat Goes On" became concert staples. Alpha received indifferent reviews from various critics, while still attaining platinum status. Alpha reached #6 on the USA Billboard album chart.
John Wetton and Steve Howe quarrelled over the direction of Asia. In 1983, Wetton left the group briefly, while ELP frontman Greg Lake replaced him for the highly publicised "Asia in Asia" concert in Japan, which was the first concert broadcast over satellite to MTV in the US, and later made into a home video. (Some fans had initially seen Wetton as an intended Lake sound-alike to shore up band's prog-rock credentials and appeal.) Asia reformed with Wetton to start work on their next album, but Steve Howe soon left. However, Howe would enjoy brief and very minor success with GTR, another supergroup formed with Steve Hackett of Genesis, produced by Downes.
Astra to the USSR(A quick revision here; the only credited song for Meyer in Now and Then is "Am I In Love?" and this song was from the Astra sessions. I don't think he reunited with the band to record this song.)
The third Asia album, Astra, was not as commercially successful as the first two. Geffen cancelled the tour due to lack of interest. Howe's replacement, Mandy Meyer of Krokus, provided more of a hard-rock guitar approach. The band enjoyed a modest hit single, "Go," with Meyer's guitar heroics center stage. In 1985, this Asia line-up ended, although Wetton resurfaced with a 1987 solo album, Wetton-Manzanera, based on Asia material. Asia were also credited with a contribution to the Sylvester Stallone film soundtrack to "Over The Top", although Wetton was the only band member involved. Wetton formed a band line-up without Downes for a short tour in 1989; keys were played by John Young. Unlike Wetton's later anger at Asia continuing without him in the 1990's, this project was viewed favourably by other Asia band members.
Asia returned to the studio in 1989 with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Astra guitarist Meyer and other musicians (see discography below) and released "Then & Now". Pat Thrall joined Downes, Palmer, and Wetton, on tour who performed classic material and even King Crimson and UK songs. The band toured the former Soviet Union in 1990 to play in front of 20,000 ecstatic fans, two sold out nights, while Then And Now featured their previous hits and new singles. "Days Like These" charted briefly in 1991, generating a small amount of MTV airplay. Asia received the RIAA gold album award for Then and Now. A DVD and CD can be bought of the Asia concert in the USSR. John Wetton left in 1992 to focus on recording solo albums, none of which have yielded any hits. As Asia looked to turn a new corner without Wetton, it soon became apparent that as a significant commercial entity, Asia, too, would fade.
The Payne eraPalmer did not record for Aqua. All the drum sounds were re-recorded from previous works. They merely did this to credit Palmer and made it seem as if three of the original members were still around. His picture in the album was not even a studio picture like the rest of the band (including Howe), it was taken and enlarged from an ELP promotional photo.
Downes found a new lease on life with Asia by teaming up with vocalist/bassist John Payne. Enlisting new musicians, he led Asia through to the present day. The comeback album, Aqua (1992) featured sessions from Steve Howe and Carl Palmer. Many have complained about the Steve Howe and Carl Palmer photos in Aqua. They were not members of Asia anynore, simply guests, but the photos gave the impression to many that they were still Asia personnel. Palmer and Howe made minimal contributions to Aqua. Others saw this as simply having the new members appear in a photo with the old for acceptance. Downes' environmentalist single "Who Will Stop The Rain?" attracted some radio attention, but the "Aqua" club tour featuring Howe (whose presence was heavily promoted) was well received by most of the band's supporters, with Howe only taking the stage halfway through the show. However, the tour was successful enough to warrant the band's continuation.
The group released Aria in 1994 and Arena in 1996. Aria featured former Danger Danger and then future Megadeth lead guitarist Al Pitrelli, who would leave Asia during the short Aria tour. This underscores the fact that the keyboard-driven band often faced trouble keeping a regular guitarist. Furthermore, Arena featured three different session guitarists, including Ian Crichton of Canadian prog rock band Saga. In the late 1990s, Downes and Payne opened the Asia vaults, releasing the double-disc Archiva, a collection of unreleased tracks recorded during the first three Downes/Payne albums.
In 1999 there was talk of a reunion of the original lineup (minus Howe). This did not take place and John Payne continued to carry on Asia with Downes uninterrupted. Wetton and Palmer did, however, get together to form Qango, although the band was short-lived.
The 2001 Aura album showed a return to progressive rock form, but without recapturing the commercial success of the first album. No Asia album was able to capture the success of the debut or Alpha.
Marking a departure from convention, for the first time a studio release was not titled as a single word starting and ending with the letter A. 2004's Silent Nation (name influenced by the Howard Stern vs. FCC incident) picked up some unexpected exposure on the Internet. The band now had a more stable line-up of Geoff Downes, John Payne, drummer Chris Slade and guitarist Guthrie Govan. (Govan and Slade had both guested on Aura.) Billy Sherwood and Jay Schellen also assisted with early sessions for the album, although neither appears on the final recording. The album managed to chart better than 1992's Aqua.
There was an acoustic tour featuring only Downes and Payne. In early 2005, the full band toured in Europe and the Americas, playing settings ranging from small clubs to medium-sized arenas. In August 2005, Slade left the group to be replaced by Schellen. The new band started work on an album, tentatively entitled Architect of Time, for release in 2006.
Meanwhile, Wetton and Downes had released some archival Asia material under the name Wetton/Downes and they then reunited to record an album, accompanying EP and a DVD. The album Icon was released in 2005.
On 1 February 2006, after the news had been trailed on John Wetton's website, Steve Howe's website announced that the original line-up are planning a CD, DVD and world tour to celebrate the band's twenty-fifth anniversary. While Downes' website confirmed this, Carl Palmer was initially more cautious. In a number of announcements in January and February, he denied any specific plans for touring or recording, while conceding that the four men have been discussing the possibility.  
In May 2006, Carl Palmer announced in an in-studio appearance on U.S. cable channel VH-1 Classic that the original lineup of Asia would tour the United States - the territory in which the group enjoyed its greatest success - in late summer of that year. Palmer stated the set list would include the entire Asia album, and that band members would likely "throw in" selections from their respective earlier projects (specifically giving "Roundabout" as an example), to give younger fans a sense of where they had come from prior to forming the supergroup. The drummer, who was also promoting a new album of classic progressive rock material re-interpreted without vocals or keyboards, said that once the agreement had been reached, everyone was eager to move forward on the project in advance of the anniversary. Palmer modestly added that, should the tour be a success, a live DVD release could mark that anniversary in 2007.
Work by the ongoing band with Payne, Govan and Schellen has been shelved. The partnership between Downes and Payne was announced to have been dissolved on 24 Feb. Payne, Govan and Schellen have formed a new band, initially to be called "One", now called GPS. 
Many musicians participated through the years, especially during the 1990s, when the band consisted essentially of Geoff Downes and John Payne plus an ever-changing set of guests. The current lineup is uncertain given Palmer's comments about reunion plans, but may be the same as the original lineup, highlighted in bold.
- Geoff Downes - keyboards and background vocals (former member of Yes and The Buggles) - founding member
- John Wetton - bass and lead vocals (former member of King Crimson and UK) - founding member
- Steve Howe - guitar and background vocals (former member of Yes) - founding member
- Carl Palmer - drums (former member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer) - founding member
- Greg Lake - bass and lead vocals (former member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer)
- Mandy Meyer - guitar and background vocals
- Pat Thrall - guitar and background vocals
- Al Pitrelli - guitar (former member of Savatage and Megadeth and current member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
- Michael Sturgis - drums
- John Payne - bass and lead vocals
- Aziz Ibrahim - guitar
- Tomoyasu Hotei - guitar
- Elliot Randall - guitar
- Luis Jardim - percussion
- Guthrie Govan - guitar
- Chris Slade - drums (former member of AC/DC and Uriah Heep)
- Jay Schellen - drums (former member of Hurricane and World Trade (band), current member of Conspiracy (band))
Other musicians joined and left after a short time, without recording any material with the group. The most notable collaboration of this kind was the participation of Greg Lake in the "Asia in Asia" concert in bass guitar and lead vocals. Yet more musicians played as session, guest or live artists without formally joining Asia. Some of the names include Simon Phillips, Steve Lukather, Ian Crichton, Ant Glynne, Scott Gorham, Vinny Burns (touring guitar for Aqua), Tony Levin, Vinnie Colaiuta.
- 1982 - Asia (Downes, Wetton, Howe, Palmer) #1 US, #15 JP
- 1983 - Alpha (Downes, Wetton, Howe, Palmer) #6 US, #4 JP
- 1985 - Astra (Downes, Wetton, Meyer, Palmer) #67 US, #15 JP
- 1986 - Aurora (Japanese-only EP) #66 JP
- 1990 - Then & Now (New tracks: Downes, Wetton, Lukather, Komie, Meyer, Gorham, Palmer) #114 US, #24 JP
- 1992 - Aqua (Downes, Payne, Howe, Pitrelli, Palmer, Glynne, Phillips, Gloker) #21 JP, #51 GE
- 1994 - Aria (Downes, Payne, Pitrelli, Sturgis) #20 JP, #89 GE
- 1996 - Arena (Downes, Payne, Sturgis, Ibrahim, Randall, Hotei, Jardim) #48 JP
- 1996 - Archiva 1 (Downes, Payne, Howe, Pitrelli, Gorham, Glynne, Dessent, Sturgis, Glockler, Nye)
- 1996 - Archiva 2 (Downes, Payne, Pitrelli, Randall, Gorham, Glynne, Dessent, Palmer, Sturgis, Glockler, Thornton, Hayman, Nye, Jardim)
- 1999 - Rare (Downes, Payne)
- 2000 - Aura (Payne, Downes, Howe, Crichton, Randall, Thrall, Govan, Slade, Sturgis, Colaiuta, Jardim, Levin)
- 2004 - Silent Nation (Downes, Payne, Govan, Slade) #77 GE
- "Heat Of The Moment" (1982) #4 US, #1 US Mainstream Rock, #90 JP
- "Sole Survivor" (1982) #10 US Mainstream Rock
- "Wildest Dreams" (radio only) (1982) #28 US Mainstream Rock
- "Only Time Will Tell" (1982) #17 US, #8 US Mainstream Rock
- "Here Comes The Feeling" (radio only) (1982) #40 US Mainstream Rock
- "Time Again" (radio only) (1982) #43 US Mainstream Rock
- "Don't Cry" (1983) #10 US, #1 US Mainstream Rock, #76 JP
- "The Heat Goes On" (1983) #5 US Mainstream Rock
- "True Colors" (radio only) (1983) #20 US Mainstream Rock
- "Daylight" (radio only) (1983) #24 US Mainstream Rock
- "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" (1983) #34 US, #25 US Mainstream Rock
- "Go" (1985) #46 US, #7 US Mainstream Rock
- "Too Late" (1986) #30 US Mainstream Rock
- "Wishing" (1986) didn't chart in the US
- "Days Like These" (1990) #64 US, #2 US Mainstream Rock
- "Prayin' 4 A Miracle" (promo) (1990) didn't chart in the US
note: no singles charted in the US from this point on
- "Who Will Stop The Rain?" (1992)
- "Lay Down Your Arms" (promo) (1992)
- "Heaven On Earth" (1992)
- "Little Rich Boy" (1992)
- "Crime Of The Heart" (promo) (1992)
- "Love Under Fire" (promo) (1992)
- "Back In Town" (promo) (1992)
- "Anytime" (1994)
- "Summer" (promo) (1994)
- "Military Man" (promo) (1994)
- "Turn It Around" (1996)
- "Wherever You Are" (promo) (2000)
- "Estoy Listo Para Ir A Mi Casa" (limited edition mail-order) (2000)
- "Long Way From Home" (2004)
- "What About Love" (promo) (2004)
Although Asia has not recaptured the success from the early Eighties in its later years, the band's legacy endures, and occasionally Asia references are found in the media. Some of these references are not altogether flattering; Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank," features Professor Bobo (played by Kevin W. Murphy) singing part of verse two from "Heat of the Moment". In one episode of the South Park cartoon, Eric Cartman and the United States Congress sing "Heat Of The Moment" a capella.
Asia's hits and some deep tracks from the debut can be heard today on various classic rock stations around the world and on Satellite radio like XM's channels 46 and 8. In 2005, DJ Manian's club remix of "Heat Of The Moment" was released to nightclubs.
Asia is mentioned also in the dialogue of The 40-Year-Old Virgin. In a running joke, one character says to another character "Know why you're gay? Because you like Asia." The movie also used "Heat Of The Moment" in its soundtrack.
- List of bands named after places
- Progressive rock
- One (rock band) - spin-off band (now redirected to GPS)
- Roger Dean - graphic artist, responsible for most of the Asia and Yes album covers.
- Rodney Matthews - fantasy artist responsible for some of the album covers during the 1990s.
- Asia World
- Geoff Downes Web Site
- Original Asia Fan Site - this website was built in 1999, when the original Asia reunion was attempted.
- Fan news site
Links to reviews on progressive rock focused sites
Links to reviews on general album review sites
Boring without images - eh? Later tonight - Typhoid Mary examined - Sparks