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Why did Rick Wakeman want Larry Fast? – 611

Produced by Joseph Cottrell, Jeffrey Crecelius and Ken Fuller

This week Mark and I are once again indebted to Doug Curran for setting us off to find out more about keyboard innovator Larry Fast and his Tales from Topographic Oceans connections. As you will hear, Larry was involved in the sound of the keyboards on Tales, something I did not realise until Doug posted a happy birthday message to Larry on the YMP Facebook Discussion Group last week. How much did you know about Larry’s connections with Rick Wakeman? Let us know in the comments below.

  • How did Larry and Rick meet?
  • What was it about Larry that Rick likes?
  • What is the Tales from Topographic Oceans link?

Let us know if you agree with us!

Larry Fast & Patrick Moraz at ProgStock, Oct. 2023 – photo from Doug Curran
Doug with Larry Fast @NEARfest 2002

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  • Ken Fuller
  • Jeffrey Crecelius

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from: archive.org

8 replies on “Why did Rick Wakeman want Larry Fast? – 611”

I was a big fan of Synergy back in the day – I still have a cassette tape of “Sequencer” 🙂 I’m familiar with Larry’s work with Peter Gabriel, but was not aware of his Rick Wakeman/Yes connection; interesting stuff!

I’ve been listening to Larry’s work since the first Synergy album in ’75, and interviewed him for my radio show in ’78. I met Larry with Peter Gabriel on each tour from 1977-1983, with Nektar in 2002, with the Tony Levin Band in 2006, and at NEARfest in the 2000s & 2010s when he represented the Moog Foundation with Michelle Moog-Koussa. He’s a brilliant musician, inventor & keyboard innovator, and a very intelligent and friendly man. Here’s a photo of us in 2012.

First let me say this, “Why did Rick Wakeman want Larry Fast? was an excellent YMP I loved it! I discovered Larry Fast via Alison Steele NY DJ in the early 70’s (read about her on Wiki she turned me on to Jade Warrior and many other prog bands). I realize I am much older than you guys so you did not live the moment when Larry’s first album came out.
I purchased Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra when it was released. I was shaking my head with your initial “I found it meandering comment”. You have to realize that in 1975 for Prog Rock aficionados this album was extremely off the charts cool. At the start of the YES concert at Roosevelt Stadium 6/17/76 as Firebird suite played the crowd going totally nuts the concert was being broadcast live over WNEW FM The DJ setting the stage Richard Neer, the excitement building, the DJ says “Larry Fast is in the crowd which is excitement enough on it’s own!” I’d like you guys to listen to the beginning of this and imagine the sheer excitement all my high School friends and I had listening to this on the radio, it was epic! Check our Larry’s mention, I was with a dozen friends and just the mention of Larry’s name had us all saying wow. Enjoy 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9glBGeN3qQ

Thanks Michael. I’m delighted you enjoyed the episode. I listened to that YouTube ‘video’ and it is indeed very exciting so thank you for the link! I’m looking forward to listening properly to Larry’s album this week.

While I enjoyed the well-deserved attention devoted to Larry Fast and his vital contributions to Yes, it was Kevin’s storytelling that grabbed my attention the most and compelled me to comment.

I, too was a music composition student in undergraduate school, one who couldn’t master the piano. I had come late to the written-music party, a self-taught guitar player & prog-rock fan & wannabe composer who started on the flute late in 10th grade (inspired by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull). My flute audition for the music program at the University of Georgia barely squeaked me in, and I remained a dismal sight reader. As a composition major, I was required to take four successive piano courses, and I succeeded in making a B in the first and a C (the minimum) in each of the remaining three. My main strength was, and is, that I have a pretty good ear, and so I seemed to be respected as a composition student. But oh, how I envied those who had the piano skills! Keeping track of all ten fingers at once was beyond me – I had much better success on guitar (by ear) and on flute. My composition efforts might be in earnest, but they always felt laborious and limited.

In subsequent years of pursuits in other fields, I continued to dabble on the side in composing and arranging and performing here and there (including a year as a part-time church choir director). But it was with the discovery of MIDI sequencing, around 1990 in my case, that I found this only-dreamed-of opportunity to hear, at will, my compositional efforts played back to me. The actual sounds were mere primitive approximations in those days, but this didn’t matter so much then. The breakthrough was still huge for a non-piano-playing composer. Eventually I published a solo CD, partly facilitated by this breakthrough.

Kevin, I salute you for persevering! Good luck with the anthems of 2024!

Thank you Greg – it’s amazing to hear that your journey has so many parallels (pun intended) to mine. I’m finding the midi to Logic stuff very frustrating and I’m bound to bang on about it on the new podcast so apologies in advance for that! Is your CD available anywhere?

Thanks much, Kevin. If I understand you correctly, you are a Logic user, which gives us another parallel. I used the Windows version of eMagic Logic for the MIDI portions of my now-20-year-old CD project, long before Apple acquired Logic. And I use the current version of Logic on a Mac Mini these days (finally having more time for such things again, now that I’m semi-retired).

My CD is called Essays & Contemplations and you can find it, most simply, in YouTube. The best track is probably the first one, called Celebration.

I’m currently collaborating with keyboard wizard Pat Strawser on an album project, alongside some of my other efforts. But I’m the slow-moving element in our process.

All the best,
Greg

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