You may well ask…
In the UK, we would call Tormato a ‘Marmite’ Yes album – most fans either love it or hate it (much like the yeast-extract spread). As it was the first progressive Yes music I ever heard, it’s been lodged in my brain since 1983 and I love it. Therefore, I’ve been obsessed with finding out everything I can about it.
Once I had started on this mission, it quickly became obvious that delving into the creation and distribution of the album would uncover a wealth of fascinating material and insights, relevant to Yes fans whether or not they like Tormato.
There are fascinating twists and turns in the story of how the album turned out the way it did and I have hugely enjoyed doing some serious detective work to find out all sorts of hidden information from some of the people who were there at the time.
Beyond the tale of the creation of the music, though, I’ve managed to speak to people who understand the equipment used by all band members and the recording techniques at both Advision and RAK studios. Some of the knowledgeable and generous people my co-host Mark and I have spoken to are (in no particular order):
- Steve Howe about the recording process and playing Tormato songs live today
- Rick Wakeman about the instruments he used on the album and producing the album
- Fernando Perdomo about Steve Howe’s guitars
- Miguel Falcão about Chris Squire’s bass setup
- Chris Dale about Rick Wakeman’s keyboards
- Brian Kehew about the remastering of Tormato and its master tapes
- Peter Wooliscroft about recording the album at Advision
- Colin Elgie about the artwork for the inner sleeve and the cover of Don’t Kill The Whale
- Dave Watkinson about the RAK studios recordings
- Chris Kimball about Alan White’s drums
- James Gardner about the harpsichord Rick Wakeman uses on Tormato
- Jim Halley about the photo shoot for the cover artwork
- Barry Plummer about the photos he took at RAK studios
- Rob Brimson about taking the photo of Yes Tor for the album cover
- Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis about the Tormato cover artwork
- Derek Dearden about his Yes connections and the instrument he created for Alan White
The research I’ve undertaken has led me down many unexpected and instructive paths from which I have learned a great deal about YES, the musicians on Tormato and the processes, frustrations and triumphs of recording a rock album in the late 1970s.
I hope you’ll enjoy the journey as well.