Steve Howe Quits Asia; Band Will Continue On With New Guitarist

The supergroup Asia has announced that they have split with Steve Howe, the legendary guitar player whose work with Yes made him and that band one of progressive rock’s finest ensembles.

In a press release distributed today, the remaining members of Asia, — ex-King Crimson vocalist and bass player John Wetton, ex-Yes and Buggles keyboardist Geoff Downes, and backbeat drum prince Carl Palmer — talked about the split and moving forward to the next phase of the band with a new guitarist.

“ASIA is ready to take its next steps along this remarkable road. We cannot wait to perform again for the fans and also to unveil some of the new material, of which we are very proud,” Wetton said. Geoff Downes said, “We look forward to writing another chapter in Asia’s history”. And Carl Palmer commented and concluded, “We’re all looking forward to the next decade of great ASIA music”.

In a separate press release, Howe spoke about the split as well, which seemed rather amicable:

“Myself and the band wish to thank their fans for the enthusiasm shown during the original members’ reunion. I will continue with Yes, and with my trio and solo guitar work. I wish my friends continued success.”

With Howe, Yes will soon be embarking on a Spring tour, where the prog rock giants will perform in full three of their most notable albums – The Yes Album, Close to the Edge, and Going for the One. During the tour, Yes will hit the high seas when they headline the Cruise To The Edge (yes, it’s YES on a boat!!!).

The news of the split with Howe marks the end of an era for Asia indeed, but the band has already found a replacement for Howe in one Sam Coulson, a new face and talent, who is fresh out of the gate and will make his live debut with the band at Sweden Rock 2013. Coulson has big shoes to fill, and it will be interesting to see how he is viewed by Asia’s rabid fan base, which stretches globally.

Asia found success right away with the release of their self-titled album in 1982, which was a worldwide success and sported the 80s classic single “Heat of the Moment.” The band continued to release adventurous, dynamic albums afterwards and continues that string, celebrating their 30th anniversary last year with a new album (XXX). This year marks the release of their latest album, entitled Valkryie, along with some high profile tour gigs and dates forthcoming.

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