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Yes Is The Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales) Hardcover – May 14, 2013

3.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marc Weingarten is the author of The Gang That Wouldn’t Write Straight: Wolfe, Didion, Thompson, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution and Station to Station. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Details, The Village Voice, and many others. He is also the co-producer of the documentary God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, as well as television's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. He plays drums and sings in the band California Wildebeest and lives in Malibu with his wife and two daughters.

Tyson Cornell is the founder of Rare Bird Lit, a marketing and publicity firm. He has worked with over ten thousand authors, including John Updike, James Ellroy, Carol Channing, Chuck Palahniuk, John Waters, and many more. He has also toured extensively throughout the United States, Japan, Europe, and the Middle East playing music to audiences big and small. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the artist Alexandra Infante, and their two children, Solaris and Vesper.

Rick Moody is the best-selling author of Garden State, The Ice Storm, The Diviners, On Celestial Music, The Black Veil, Demonology, and others. He lives in New York.

Charles Bock is author of the debut novel Beautiful Children was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year for 2008, and won the 2009 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives New York with his daughter.

Seth Greenland is the Pushcart Prize-nominated author of The Bones, Shining City, and The Angry Buddhist. He is also a writer/producer of the Emmy-nominated HBO series Big Love. He lives with his wife and children in Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rare Bird Books, A Barnacle Book (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985490209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985490201
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Yes Is The Answer is a joyous and enjoyable collection of writing about rock music from England (mostly), from the late 60's to present day (but mainly '70s). Touching on music from Soft Machine, Yes, Genesis, The Incredible String Band, Eno, Peter Gabriel, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Todd Rundgren, Robert Wyatt, Be Bop Deluxe and many many others, this collection of twenty one essays celebrates music that has often been dismissed by critics but still resonates with many music fans across the globe. The book is intelligent, humorous,illuminating and awfully fun to read. The writers are well aware of the critical disdain that much of this very popular music has received over the years. Those who own recordings of many of the works discussed will be running to their collections for fresh listenings; those without a home collection will be going online to buy or listen to the music. The book is even up to date enough to have inserted a mention of the very recent passing of the great Kevin Ayers, co-founder of Soft Machine, in March of this year. NOTE-the book is very well edited by Marc Weingarten and Tyson Cornell, not Mr. Andrew J. Mellen. A different Andrew Mellen contributes an essay re the band Yes to the book and somehow the credits were jumbled.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is an interesting mix - some of the articles are more to bury prog rock than to praise it. And I felt some of the reviewers/critics were more pompous and pretentious than the prog rockers they were burying. If you're a big fan of prog rock, and different bands (ie not just "Yes") then you will find this book of interest. If you're just, say, a Genesis fan, and only interested in reading about them, then you will find maybe two or three articles about them (well and one Peter Gabriel). It's basically reminisces of prog ie what it specifically meant (good or bad) to the writer growing up, rather than trying to be an objective review.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As someone born just at the right time, I love prog and punk rock equally, but mostly listen to jazz any more. How's that for weird?? But I do carry the torch for 70's prog, and to me, very little in life beats the joy of listening to Side Three of the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway!

This book brought me to a happy place. I hope it does for you as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of books about rock, but never one so lazily assembled, so transparently tossed together for a quick buck.

The book is a collection not of serious, in-depth reflections about prog-rock artists and music, but mostly just a bunch of personal history/memoir essays focusing on how each author was introduced to the music of some prog-rock band. (SPOILER ALERT! First exposure to Yes/ELP/Genesis/King Crimson/etc. was through the cooler, slightly older kid next door. And this is supposed to be some sort of revelation?)

Some of the authors are rock writers, some not, but the writing in general is even lazier than one might expect from third-tier rock writers. One writer goes on and on about how bad Jon Anderson's lyrics are, singling out "Yours Is No Disgrace" for particular scorn. He suggests the lyrics are meaningless, yet Anderson has previously said they're directed at soldiers drafted for the Vietnam War. Even if the author didn't want to do a quick web search, it seems to me that one might put together "1971 ... song with numerous military references ... gee, I wonder if this is about Vietnam?" And did it ever occur to the author that Yes might have wanted the lyrics to be more evocative than literal, to better fit the more abstract nature of its music?

Here's another example: The guy who writes about Todd Rundgren says Todd played all the instruments and did all the backing vocals on his first three albums. C'mon, is it really THAT hard to look at the credits on the CDs? Or, for God's sake, to hear the horns and FEMALE backing vocals on side 4 of Something/Anything?

I had assumed that my time as copy chief of Spin magazine would have exposed me to the worst that music writing had to offer, but I was wrong. This is a new low.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book itself points it out -- that prog rock is completely neglected in rock history coverage. This is a really well done book that hopes to change that! I gave several copies to prog-rock zealot friends and they loved it.
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By paul on February 10, 2015
Format: Hardcover
This is a collection of writers with various skills who each focus on a particular prog band that they enjoyed when they were young. Several focus on the same bands-Genesis, ELP, YES. Each tells the same basic story. "It's embarrasing to admit but when I was young, I liked (insert prog band here) alot. An older friend or brother introduced me to said band. My friends and I (typically introverted losers who bonded through this band) would lay around getting stoned and listening to said band. As I matured, I realized said band's music was pretty silly and I moved on. I sometimes look back fondly on those times but thank god I grew up!" I personally found this book incredibly insulting particularly after the foreward claimed to be presenting writings of fans proudly describing their love of progressive rock. Add this to the list of subpar writings that continue to give prog rock a bad name. Most books on this topic are either written by gushing fanboys or people who just want to put prog down as silly or pompous. Both are quite annoying. This book is just a waste of time.
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