So just who are YAK anyway?
YAK were formed following the collapse of cult band Acid Fantasy who toured in & around, but mostly in, Toot Hill village hall in Essex between '78 & '81. Although "the Fantasy" never made it big, never in fact gigging at all, it is interesting to note that following the demolition of the said village hall, a themed housing estate has now been constructed on the site - albeit on a different theme.
The Drummer, John Wynn was determined to move on, and soon got together with old school chum and ex-Blohm und Voss guitarist Robin Hodder. The keyboard player from the Fantasy was contacted, & together with bassist Simon Snell from Theydon Bois, the 4 piece took shape.
Playing was initially at the River Way rehearsal studios in Loughton. However after John's mother's neighbours complained, operations were moved to a detached property on York Hill - on the proviso that Robin's parents were out. A few recordings exist of the early rehearsals at York Hill, and these have been carefully archived away for quality reasons. These early recordings are now available to the specialist YAK connoisseur reasonably priced from Ruskin Studios, Northampton although a medical certificate will be required before these can be purchased.
The music was initially a mix of rolling stones covers, well one anyway, the first few bars of several Santana tracks & ruthless jamming mainly in the key of A ...& occasionally D minor. Then the YAK ideas and riffs started to emerge. These were a radical departure from the till then standard time signatures, as musical ideas in 7/8, 5/4 & 3/4 time emerged. The bands followers, mainly Nigel Astell & Andy Nettleton were enthralled by the new sounds - so much so that they were later moved to relocate respectively to America & Arabia.
Rehearsals were regular, occurring every few weeks in Loughton & even on two occasions in a remote cottage in the depths of the Suffolk countryside - incidentally the cottage has since been re-developed into a housing estate.
Finally in 1984 after about 4 or 5 "YAK" ideas had been practised to some degree the band split after a bitter row over whether it really was necessary - let alone practical - to play in 37/8 time. In protest, Robin retreated to his college town of Northampton where he lives now. Sy Snell moved to Walthamstow and John disappeared from my contact for many years. Thanks however to the internet and the investigative IT excellence of Mr Snell, John has been re-discovered living on Mars.
During the meanwhilst, I have tried to keep the kept the "YAK" concept alive, and have over the past 20 or so years made a number of multi-tracked taped recordings of most of the Yak musical ideas, with the long term ambition of one day actually finishing them off & releasing them on CD - ha ha
Martin Morgan Feb 2004
More recent history
Following the release of the 1st album in February 2004, we decided to get back together & have a "jam". Sadly Sy Snell was unable to join us & so we drafted in the services of Max Johnson on Bass. We spent a weekend in Nottingham playing at a rehearsal studio & the session was recorded in Lo-Fi - the highlights of which were released in 2005 as the live album "Does your Yak Bite?"
The following year we had another Jam at a remote cottage in Rutland with the same line up. A 2nd live album was released being the highlights of the weekends recording. This one was called "The Rutland Chronicles".
Even more recent history
I had planned to record another studio album - the same way as I had recorded the 1st album with me doing all the music, and whilst doing this I set the new pieces streaming up on the newly created Yak Myspace page. In the latter half of 2007 I was contacted by a drummer called Dave Speight who had heard the material and wanted to work with me. Dave was already playing in a number of bands - namely "Harmony in Diversity" which is Peter Banks' band. Peter was the original guitarist with YES. Dave was also playing for Whimwise, the band of Nick May - Nick was the guitarist with the ENID for several of their albums. Finally Dave was also working with 'Yesterdays' the Hungarian Progressive Rock Band.
So together with Gary Bennett on Bass (Dave & Gary have worked together for years) we started to record the new album as a three piece.
The 'Journey of the Yak' album was recorded between April & October 2008 and Mixed & Mastered in October. The album was released on14th November 2008.
Really right up to date history
"Quest for the Stones" was based on an idea I had initially had in my youth, but it was not until 2005 that I started to work on some of the melodies and themes that would later become the music for the album released in 2015
Recorded between 2012 and 2014 the album again features Dave Speight on drums and Gary Bennett on bass together with an array of keyboards & synthesizers now hosted at the SABRE factility in Essex.
Martin Morgan yaksongs.com 2015
To get hold of a YAK album, simply hit the PayPal button below & send a donation to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary - say in the message which album you want.
The suggested donation per album is £10, but if you want to donate more you can. All funds donated go towards the feed costs of the 400 rescued animals - Nothing goes on "expenses" or "salaries" as there are no paid staff there - just Fiona Oakes who looks after the rescues
If you are outside the UK please add a few pounds to cover the impact of the postage as the postage costs have escalated ludicrously in the past year or so
If you would rather send a cheque (drawn on a UK bank) thats fine too
Just send me an e mail & I'll get in touch with details of where to send the cheque etc :)
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