ROCK GROUP ASIA
The Authentic (Wetton era) ASIA & post 2006 incarnations of the remaining original line up.
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ASIA rock group. Rock group Asia.
The new ASIA set to embark on 2019 “Royal Affair” Tour with Yes, John Lodge Band, and
Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy. Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal joins line-up as new singer/ guitarist.
Original guitarist and former member STEVE HOWE to make guest appearance each night.
The dragon has risen again. Two years after the band’s critically acclaimed and successful US trek
opening for Journey, an all-new ASIA line-up will return to concert stages across North America as special guests of the YES “ROYAL AFFAIR” tour. The influential British Rock band that rose to the top of the charts with its initial albums and a number of hits including “Only Time Will Tell,” “Heat Of The Moment,” “Don’t Cry,” and “Sole Survivor,” returns with a new line-up that includes founding members Carl Palmer on drums, Geoff Downes on keyboards and backing vocals, and current Yes bassist Billy Sherwood.
Joining the band for the first time is lead guitarist and vocalist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, an acclaimed solo artist and former member of Guns N Roses for eight years. Thal is also in the prog-rock band Sons Of Apollo.
The invitation to join the band came from both Palmer and Downes, after Geoff had worked with him in a project called The Platinum Rock All Stars. “Ron is a remarkably innovative guitarist,” says Downes, “with a multi-range lead vocal ability. I believe it will give our material a whole new dimension.”
Also appearing on the tour with YES and ASIA, will be Moody Blues member John Lodge and his band and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy, with special guest vocalist, Arthur Brown. Founding member and original guitarist Steve Howe will join ASIA on stage each night on the Royal Affair tour to play on a few of the band’s biggest hits and honor the memory of his friend, John Wetton. It will mark the first time Howe has performed with the band since his departure in 2013.
Asia’s debut album exploded onto the music scene in April 1982, featuring Billboard top 10 classics amongst six radio hits. It became the best-selling album in the World in 1982. Featuring Geoff Downes on keyboards, Steve Howe on guitar, Carl Palmer on drums and John Wetton on lead vocal and bass, Asia was the logical successor to their collective bands of the 70s - Yes, ELP, King Crimson, UK and The Buggles.
Asia became one of the most played acts during the first year of MTV. Throughout most of '82, Asia ruled the radio airwaves and MTV, selling out every date on tour as the debut album crushed all the competition in record stores around the World.
The original line-up of ASIA reformed in 2006. It was the first time the four original members had worked together in 23 years. After Howe’s departure, the band regrouped in 2013, with guitarist Sam Coulson and a new studio album, Gravitas, followed. Tragedy struck in January 2017, when John Wetton lost a valiant battle against cancer, just as the band was about to embark on a 43 date tour opening arena shows for JOURNEY. Despite this huge loss, the band recruited old friend bassist Billy Sherwood from YES and completed the tour, triumphantly. In 2018, Coulson left the line-up to concentrate on solo projects, with sincere gratitude from ASIA for his five years of contributions.
"The original members of Asia were progressive musical heroes of mine,” says Ron Thal. “ It's a great honor to be asked to play with these legendary musicians with a legacy of great songs, and also contribute some of my own musical ideas. Very much looking forward to our time on the road together."
“There is a great energy when we step on stage,” says Geoff Downes. “We can feel it and I know the fans can feel it.” For ASIA's long-devoted fans, the band’s return to the concert stage cannot come soon enough.” And Downes confirms: “It is what John would have wanted”.
As Carl Palmer has said in the past: "Performing on stage is where this band truly comes into its element. Seeing the fans reacting to our music is what makes it all worthwhile. It is the fuel that drives this train we call ASIA."
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To see the promotional film about the ROYAL AFFAIR TOUR please visit:
The members of ASIA are available for interviews. For all things ASIA, please visit: www.originalasia.com Follow ASIA on Facebook:www.facebook.com/asiatheband Media Contact: Bruce Pilato Pilato Entertainment Marketing & Media LLC 585-454-2756 •Brucetune@aol.com
Since John Wetton’s passing in January 2017, his family, friends and management have been working on finding a fitting tribute to such a remarkable man and iconic artist. The result of this labour of love is a box set entitled “An Extraordinary Life”, dedicated entirely to John’s solo career. The project has the full support of John’s wife, Lisa, and his son, Dylan, who are wholly involved with compiling the contents.
The set will include definitive, remastered editions of each of his six solo albums, with bonus tracks and artwork selected by John towards the end of his lifetime, and in some cases expanded to two discs:
1. CaughtintheCrossfire 2. BattleLines
An Extraordinary Life will also feature a lavish hardback “coffee table” book written by one of John’s friends, the journalist Nick Shilton. Nick has interviewed dozens of John’s collaborators, peers and associates, both in and out of the music business, as well as friends from his childhood and through all eras of his career, collecting a multitude of exclusive, poignant and wonderful stories along the way.
This box set - a “must have” for every John Wetton fan - will also feature high resolution video tributes as well as unique bonus material. The Official John Wetton website will launch a dedicated webpage entitled “An Extraordinary Life” which will become an ever-evolving digital gathering place for the inner circle of John’s fans.
An Extraordinary Life will be completed during 2019 and initially be exclusively available via Burning Shed ahead of a wider scale retail release. The Burning shed store is now at https://burningshed.com/store/john-wetton
Coinciding with John’s 70th birthday today, Asia begins a 28 date USA tour as special guests of Yes on their Royal Affair Tour, which will premiere tonight in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy and John Lodge from the Moody Blues will also be on the bill. Asia’s new line-up comprises Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes Billy Sherwood, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and a special guest appearance by Steve Howe. John Wetton’s great friend Roger Dean will have an exhibition at each show, including iconic Asia artwork.
To celebrate John’s birthday, and as a teaser to the box set, we release a never before heard fly- on-the-wall of an early Asia rehearsal, recorded exactly 38 years ago today on June 12, 1981. Ricky Nelson has lovingly nurtured this Holy Grail recording, and has created a collage slide-show of rare photos through the decades to remind you of John’s genius. The question arises – what song did this morph into?
Further, Ricky has curated a special video recording of John’s last ever tour singing Asia songs, with the Rock Meets Classic arena tour in March 2015, where John delivers a supreme performance, one of his finest ever versions of “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”. This will be a special release today at 12noon UK time from John’s twitter page [see below].
Dylan Wetton says: “This is helping me come to terms with the loss of my Dad, and is opening my eyes to his genius. It is truly a labour of love”.
Lisa Wetton says: “When you open your box set for the first time, you will know that every person involved with its creation was touched deeply by John Wetton. You will be playing the music that revealed his personal life story, and you will be perpetuating a legacy that was meant to be a shining light for everyone. The physical light may have flickered out on January 31, 2017, but there is an extra radiant star aglow in the firmament today. It is my hope that when you listen, you will still feel the warmth from that light, and hear the Lion roar for generations to come”.
Official Website: www.johnwetton.co.uk
Remembering John Wetton Twitter: https://twitter.com/officialjwetton
Remembering John Wetton Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1377795682293955/
For more information please contact: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgTel: (020) 8450 8882
It's moments like this money can't buy!
Rock group Asia.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John Wetton early this morning. There is so much that could be said about John’s “extraordinary life,” but Carl and Geoff wonderfully capture the feelings of the entire Asia family.
CARL PALMER STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF JOHN WETTON
“With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant. John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music. As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of ASIA to the top of the charts around the world. His ability to triumph over alcohol abuse made him an inspiration to many who have also fought that battle. For those of us who knew him and worked with him, his valiant struggle against cancer was a further inspiration. I will miss his talent, his sense of humor and his infectious smile. May you ride easy, my old friend.
GEOFF DOWNES STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF JOHN WETTON
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart, that I have to report we have lost my dearest friend, brother, bandmate and long term musical collaborator, John Wetton, who has passed away after a long and tenacious battle with cancer. He will be remembered as one of the world’s finest musical talents, and I for one of many was wholly blessed by his influence. It was a massive privilege for me to have worked with this genius so closely on our numerous projects together over the years. His bass playing was revolutionary. His voice was from the gods. His compositions – out of this world. His sense of melody and harmony – unreal. He was literally a ‘special one’.
But John was much more than a gigantic and unique musical talent. He was a supremely intelligent man, marked with his great observations and wisdom about life; all couched within his wicked sense of humour. The wit was dark and deep, only fully perceptible to those on his same wavelength. I was fortunate enough to be able to be on that wavelength, and discover that we had much in common. Many of his personal life experiences were reflected in his lyrical contributions to the songs. His heart was always in the music. That was John, through and through. It was always about – the music.
As a person, he was fiercely loyal, loving and generous, particularly to those he cared about. But he could be as stubborn as a mule or as gracious as a nobleman, depending on the mood that grabbed him on any particular day. There were some who couldn’t read his brilliant mind and complex personality. Some found him charming, others infuriating. But however you found John, there was no denying his rare talent as a musician and songwriter was second to none.
Both of us having been brought up with similar backgrounds in provincial England, we shared a love of many things – sport, and in particular – football, English church music, current affairs, comedy, literature, you name it….pretty much everything that 2 kids from the sticks were exposed to in our youth.
Our planets seemed to be immediately in alignment when we first met in early 1981. There was a laddish camaraderie that grew between us as we became as close as two non-related brothers could be. He was an avid reader and film enthusiast, something he pursued with great interest. This helped inspire him to some wonderful lyrics to the literally hundreds of songs we composed together. Back then, we immediately hit the ground running as we composed much of the debut ASIA album together and forged a formidable partnership which lasted right up until now. It was a wholly natural process for us, whereby we could knock out 2 or 3 songs in an afternoon. They were always greeted with our gentlemanly handshake and smiles once we had wrapped up another one in the bag.
Above all else though, his passion for life was to the fore. The battles he endured throughout were immense and well documented. Firstly with alcohol, which he so resolutely overcame, then open heart surgery and finally cancer, which sadly was to take his life in the end. He once observed to me that this disease is a “merciless assassin”. Just another example of his perception and the descriptive language that he was so richly blessed with. He took all of these battles on board with great bravery and almost a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude, tinged with his inimitable wry wit.
To say I will miss my him greatly is beyond understatement. He was such an inspiration to me. We were planning another album, but sadly he was not well enough to complete it. I feel heartbroken about this, as I knew John thought it was to be one of our finest albums to date. I remain as proud as ever of our Wetton/Downes writing partnership. I am hoping one day that I will be able to finish it, and that it will be appreciated by all those who loved his and our music, and most importantly, a legacy he would have been proud of.
Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the World will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on – the music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops.
Dearest John, may you rest in peace brother.
Please join me in sending our sincerest thoughts and prayers to Lisa, Dylan and the entire Wetton family at this difficult time.”
John Wetton 1949-2017
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Where the seeds of the reunion were planted!
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"Beer, friends and Asia. A great evening"
Member Alfonso Algora
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The new ASIA set to embark on 2019 “Royal Affair” Tour with Yes, John Lodge Band, and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy.
Phoenix, the first studio release of Original Members since 1983.
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