Asia, a British rock band, was formed in 1981. The group was notable for being a supergroup, as its original members were from various successful progressive rock bands. Asia’s music leaned towards a more commercial rock/pop sound, distinct from the complex progressive rock of the members’ previous bands. They have released numerous albums, experiencing significant chart success, particularly with their debut album “Asia” in 1982.
John Wetton was a founding member of Asia, playing bass and serving as the lead vocalist. He was with the band from 1981 to 1983, and then again from 1984 to 1991, with further stints from 2006 until his death in 2017. Prior to Asia, Wetton played with bands like King Crimson and UK. His voice and songwriting were central to Asia’s sound, particularly on hit albums like the self-titled Asia and Alpha albums. His work outside Asia includes solo albums and collaborations with other artists.
Steve Howe, a renowned guitarist, was part of Asia from 1981 to 1984 and then rejoined from 1992 to 2004, with another stint from 2006 to 2013. Known for his work with Yes, Howe’s guitar playing was a key element in Asia’s early sound, contributing to the success of albums like “Asia” and “Alpha.” Outside of Asia, Howe has had a successful career with Yes and as a solo artist, showcasing his versatile guitar skills.
Geoff Downes, a keyboardist, has been with Asia since its formation in 1981 and continues to be a part of the band. Before Asia, Downes was part of the Buggles and Yes. His keyboard work and songwriting skills have been integral to Asia’s sound across all their albums. Downes also has a notable career outside of Asia, including his work with Yes and as part of the duo Downes Braide Association.
Drummer Carl Palmer, another founding member, was with Asia from 1981 to 1991, and then rejoined in 2006 and continues to be part of the band. Carl Palmer was famous for his work with Emerson, Lake & Palmer before joining Asia. His powerful drumming style has been a key part of Asia’s music, contributing significantly to their early albums. Outside of Asia, Carl Palmer is well-regarded for his work in progressive rock and his drumming technique.
Mandy Meyer joined Asia in 1984, contributing to the “Astra” album before leaving in 1986. Prior to Asia, Meyer was part of the band Krokus. His guitar work on “Astra” added a distinctive edge to the band’s sound at that time. Meyer continued his career with bands like Gotthard and Krokus after his time with Asia.
John Payne joined Asia in 1992 as the lead vocalist and bassist and was a significant part of the band until 2006. During his tenure, Asia released several albums, including “Aqua,” “Arena,” and “Silent Nation.” Payne’s contribution went beyond vocals and bass, as he was also involved in songwriting and production. After his time with Asia, Payne started the band GPS and later formed the group Asia Featuring John Payne, continuing to perform Asia’s music.
Guthrie Govan, a highly regarded guitarist, was part of Asia from 2000 to 2006. His tenure included work on the “Silent Nation” album. Known for his technical skill and versatility, Govan’s time in Asia added a fresh dimension to their sound. Outside Asia, Govan has a successful career as a solo artist and as a member of the band The Aristocrats.
Chris Slade, a drummer, was briefly with Asia in the early 1990s. Before Asia, he was known for his work with AC/DC and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. His stint with Asia was short but showcased his solid drumming style. Post-Asia, Slade returned to AC/DC and has been involved in various other musical projects.
Complete List Of Asia Band Members article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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