Guitarist Steve Howe to retire from Asia; new album forthcoming

The band Asia has announced that guitarist Steve Howe has relinquished his position in the band, in order to concentrate fully on his work on other projects. Sam Coulson will take Howe’s place in the lineup; the new lineup is slated to perform at the Sweden Rock Festival later this year.

The new lineup of Asia

The band also announced that a new studio album, “Valkyrie,” will be recorded in 2013 via Frontiers Records. Tour dates also are being planned.

“Myself and the band wish to thank their fans for the enthusiasm shown during the original members’ reunion,” Howe said in a news release. “I will continue with Yes, and with my trio and solo guitar work. I wish my friends continued success”.

Asia 2008 promo photo

Asia guitarist Steve Howe (right) is retiring from the supergroup Asia. The band’s other members, (from left) drummer Carl Palmer, keyboardist Geoff Downes (top) and vocalist/bassist John Wetton) will continue to record and tour.

In 2006, the original members of Asia — Howe, bassist John Wetton, keyboardist Geoff Downes and drummer Carl Palmer —  reunited for a U.S. tour, which was followed by four world tours and several continental tours. The reunited band has played more than 300 shows and released three new studio albums, three DVDs and a number of live albums. The track “An Extraordinary Life” from 2008’s “Phoenix” album, was chosen as the theme music for the TV show “America’s Got Talent.”

“Asia is ready to take its next steps along this remarkable road. We cannot wait to perform again for the fans and also to unveil some of the new material, of which we are very proud,” Wetton said.

Downes and Palmer expressed that they are looking forward to the band’s next chapter — and next decade — in music. The new lineup is slated to perform at Sweden Rock 2013.

Asia formed as a supergroup of stunning pedigrees, bringing together songwriter and lead vocalist Wetton (King Crimson, UK), Downes (Yes, The Buggles), Carl Palmer (Emerson Lake and Palmer) and Howe (Yes). The band’s self-titled debut album was the biggest-selling album in the world in 1982 and monopolized the No. 1 slot in the Billboard charts for nine weeks. With its hit tracks, Asia also made its mark on MTV. The band’s work perfected the use of videos that encompassed stories and messages, examples being the work for “Wildest Dreams,” “Only Time Will Tell,” “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” and “Don’t Cry.” “Heat Of The Moment” is still a classic-rock radio fixture and has been used in TV shows shows and films including “Cold Case,” “South Park” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

 

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