Health concerns have sidelined Asia singer-bassist John Wetton from the group's upcoming touring schedule -- including next months' Yes-hosted Cruise To The Edge and dates opening for Journey this spring.
Wetton, who was diagnosed with cancer last May, issued a statement on Wednesday (January 11) saying that he's bowing out of the dates "on the advance of my medical team...I will soon be starting a new medical chemotherapy procedure, under which I will not be able to fly."
Billy Sherwood, who replaced the late Chris Squire in Yes, will fill in for Wetton through April 4, and Wetton writes that, "While I am naturally disappointed to miss the beginning of what I know will be an historic ASIA tour, I am intended to return to the stage with Asia later in 2017, dates soon to be announced. I know this decision will be in the best interests of my health and our fans, in the long run."
Wetton also canceled his performances as part of the rock opera Excalibur in December.
Asia drummer Carl Palmer tells us that Wetton's illness has caused him to revise some of his plans with the group as well:
"We're just all praying for him and hoping he comes through. I wasn't going to be making the next Asia album anyway because I was a bit concerned about the direction of the band. It was getting a little bit too middle of the road. I didn't realize that John was this ill when I made this announcement to him, so obviously I'll review that. If he can record at all I'll look at the situation again. But I do understand he's having problems with singing and things, so unless that's corrected we won't be able to do much at all."
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.