Artist of the Month

Billy Sherwood – Artist Bio2019-01-30T20:20:23-05:00

Billy Sherwood

Billy Sherwood is mostly known for his time as a member of progressive rock band Yes, for their albums Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) and as mixing engineer for their albums Heaven & Earth (2014) and Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome, he re-joined Yes in 2015.

Sherwood comes from a musical family which includes his father Bobby Sherwood, who was an actor, musician, and big band leader, his mother Phyllis, a singer and drummer, and brother Michael, a keyboardist and singer. His godfather is the late Milton Berle.

Sherwood’s music career started when he joined a band called Lodgic formed with his brother Michael. Billy played bass and sang, while Michael played keyboards and sang back up. Lodgic also included Guy Allison on keyboards, Jimmy Haun on guitar and Gary Starns on drums. They eventually moved the band to Los Angeles in 1980 and recorded their debut album, Nomadic Sands.

Sherwood and Gowdy were asked to come and jam with Chris Squire, Alan White, and Tony Kaye of Yes. Sherwood would go on to co-produce, engineer and mix studio tracks for Yes’s Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2 albums. Sherwood and Yes returned to the studio to record The Ladder. During this time too, Sherwood and Squire started putting the finishing touches on their album Conspiracy, largely based on the Chris Squire Experiment material, which was released while Yes was on tour in support of The Ladder in 2000. Billy also took time to perform on his brother Michael’s album Tangletown, released in 1999. Yes recorded a show during The Ladder tour in Sherwood’s hometown of Las Vegas at the House of Blues. This was released as an album and DVD titled House of Yes.

In 2007, a new band with Sherwood, Alan White, Tony Kaye and Jimmy Haun was announced, called Circa. With the release of their debut album Circa 2007 and a live DVD concert, Circa has played various live dates. In August 2008, Billy Sherwood’s released his third solo album, At the Speed of Life, for which he received an award that year as the best Progressive Rock Producer.

In 2011, CIRCA: returned with a new line-up of Sherwood, Kaye, Bruhns and Connor, while Sherwood released his fifth solo album, What was the Question?. In 2012, Sherwood wrote, produced, arranged and performed on The Prog Collective, an album featuring vocal or instrumental contributions from many of the progressive rock artists he had worked with over the years. He reprised the concept with a similar collection of artists for Epilogue, released in 2013.

After Squire’s passing on June 27, 2015, Sherwood became the permanent bassist for Yes and will also be touring with Asia on lead vocals and bass.

How did you get started playing guitar?
I first started playing drums, then I began playing bass. After that is when I became interested in learning guitar. I was very inspired by Sting at the time who switched from bass to guitar on his 1st solo record, somewhere around 1982/83.

Tell us about your current gigs?
I’m currently the bass player in Yes having taken over for my dear friend of 30 years Chris Squire upon his request. In a strange twist of fate the same thing happened with my friend John Wetton who fell ill…so I’m now currently the bass player/lead singer for Asia. The Asia tour opening for Journey starts thisMonday, 30 shows. Right after that, I go straight into a Yes tour called Yestival, with Todd Rundgrenopening and Carl Palmer’s solo band opening for Todd.

How did you hear about Vintage Guitars?
I saw the booth at the last NAMM show in LA and was instantly taken by the craftsmanship of all their instruments.

What do you like most about our guitars?
I’m currently using the miniature Paul Brett Viator™ 12 string acoustic and I’m loving the tone. It plays great too!! I’ve played it on several projects already, including a Chris Squire tribute record I’m producing.

Any advice for players just getting started?
Practice… I learned by playing to my favorite records. Also, be open to any and all genres of music. Knowledge is key, so listen to everything you can to expand your musical horizons.