Yes drummer Alan White originally played the keyboards.
"I took lessons until I was about 12, then I switched," White said during a phone interview from Chicago. "My uncle was a drummer and my father was a pianist. So I did a bit of both."Yes - composed of White, guitarist Steve Howe, vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, new keyboardist Igor Khoroshev and guitarist Billy Sherwood - will appear at the E Center Wednesday, July 15. The Alan Parsons Project will open the concert at 7:30 p.m.
Yes emerged from the English progressive rock scene during the late 1960s. That period also featured the Nice with Keith Emerson and Atomic Rooster with Carl Palmer, both of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame.
White, a former member of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, joined Yes in 1972 and replaced original drummer Bill Bruford.
"I was 21 when I got the Ono gig," White remembered. "I began playing drums for a living after one of my professors in college told me I was better at that than architecture."
During that formative era, White decided to take all the elements of his drumming idols, which featured Buddy Rich and Ringo Starr, and put them together in one neat package.
"I put rock and jazz together," he said. "And that was the perfect match for the type of music Yes played."
Yes merged classical music, jazz, rock and fusion and managed to bring meandering melodies to the charts in the '70s. "Roundabout" and "Your Move/All Good People" are samples of songs by Yes during that era.
In the '80s, thanks to a lineup change that featured guitarist Trevor Rabin, Yes hit the charts again with a harder edge.
"Owner Of a Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm of Love" featured that sound. After a semi-successful reunion album that merged members from both eras - simply called "Union" - the band went silent until 1995, when White, Squire, Anderson and Sherwood got together.
"Billy was a songwriting friend of Chris'," said White. "He's been a member of Yes for a few years now. Igor is more a sideman, but he's on tour with us and is a great addition. But if you look at the core of the group, this is the band that played most of the big gigs."