By Martin Popoff

Before we get to a few comments from Asia's Geoff Downes, the official press release reads something like this:

"Classic Rock Productions presents The US Classic Rock Festival 2002 on October 5th/6th at the Patriots Theatre At The War Memorial in Trenton, NJ. Acts on the bill include: URIAH HEEP, ASIA, NEKTAR, FOCUS, MOSTLY AUTUMN and KARNATAKA. See for more. For one magical weekend, Trenton New Jersey is the place to be for connoisseurs of great rock music. Over the course of this amazing weekend, fans can savour some stunning music performed by some of the greatest names in the history of rock. The common factor for each of the bands on the bill is the ability to create sonic masterpieces of grace and beauty while still preserving the ability to rock out with the best of them. Uriah Heep have now sold over 30 million albums and are still rocking round the globe led by founder member Mick Box. Asia enjoyed worldwide success with a string of memorable hits including the classic 'Heat of the Moment'. Nektar are the legendary masters of the acid rock audio visual experience. Focus defined the spirit of progressive rock, while newcomers Mostly Autumn and Karnataka represent the next generation of the classic rock movement."

Just before heading overseas our way for this two-day festival, I caught up with Geoff Downes for a few comments and an update on Asia. "We've done some extensive writing, here in our studio, which we also run as a business," answers Geoff when asked about a new Asia studio album. "And we're going to go in in the new year to start recording stuff. I think we're returning to more of a rockier direction. The last couple of albums have been quite mellow by comparison to some of Asia's stuff. I think we're just going to sort of beef it up a bit on this one (laughs). No song titles or anything yet, because they tend to develop lyrically last. We start out with musical ideas, and then the lyrics, after."

I asked Geoff what we can expect from the Asia set in Jersey this weekend, beginning with a question concerning the recent history with respect to North American exposure. "Well, we did some fairly extensive stuff last summer, not the summer just gone, but summer last year. And I think we're going to do do some fairly heavy stuff next summer. But this year we really concentrated more on Europe. We're doing the UK again, and we did the UK at the beginning of the year and then we did Europe fairly extensively. So next year we're going to concentrate on North America."