Steve Howe steps away from Asia

Prog-rockers recruit new guitarist, plot new record

Asia - Sam Coulson, Geoff Downes, John Wetton
and Carl Palmer
Steve Howe is leaving Asia. The renowned guitarist announced his intentions to step away on Thursday, saying he needs to do so in order to focus more fully on other projects.

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

Moving quickly, Asia has already found Howe’s replacement. They have hired newcomer Sam Coulson, recognized throughout the guitar community as a virtuoso performer. With Coulson in tow, Asia plans to perform at Sweden Rock 2013 and work on a new studio album, titled Valkyrie, for Frontiers Records.
“Asia is ready to take its next steps along this remarkable road,” says Asia’s lead vocalist and bassist John Wetton, known also for his work with King Crimson and U.K. “We cannot wait to perform again for the fans and also to unveil some of the new material, of which we are very proud.”

Keyboardist Geoff Downes, who has also played with Yes and the Buggles, added, “We look forward to writing another chapter in Asia’s history,” while drummer Carl Palmer, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame, chimed in, “We’re all looking forward to the next decade of great Asia music.”

The original members of Asia reunited in 2006 for a U.S. tour, several jaunts across the European continent and four the spanned the world, while also managing to release three new studio albums, three DVDs, and a number of live records. Asia’s exposure grew exponentially when their song “An Extraordinary Life,” off 2008’s Phoenix LP, was picked as the theme music for the TV show “America’s Got Talent.”

One of the biggest-selling super groups of all-time Asia began in the early ‘80s, when Howe, Wetton, Downes and Palmer agreed to join forces. Their self-titled debut album arrived in 1982 and spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It remains one of the three most successful albums, in terms of record sales, in the history of Geffen Records, along with the likes of Guns ‘N Roses and Whitesnake. Their song “Heat of the Moment” was a smash hit, and an MTV phenomenon. Their ability to make videos that combined storytelling with compelling messages resulted in heavy MTV rotation for tracks like “Wildest Dreams,” “Only Time Will Tell,” “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes,” and “Don’t Cry.” And “Heat of the Moment” has appeared in TV shows and movies including “40 Year Old Virgin,” “South Park,” “Cold Case” and “The Matador.”

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