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GPS biography
GPS arose out of the ashes of the 90's incarnation of ASIA. John Payne had been the bass player and lead vocalist for ASIA for almost 15 years starting in 1992. Drummer Jay Schellen and guitarist Guthrie Govan had also joined the band later on and played with them until 2006. In 2006, Geoff Downes decided to reunite with the original ASIA and the remaining members Payne, Schellen and Govan teamed up with SPOCK'S BEARD's Ryo Okumoto on keyboards to form the band GPS and record the album "Window to the Soul".

Although occasionally straying into AOR territory, the band took a much more progressive approach to writing and playing than their former band. In 2008, the band resigned with Inside Out/SPV for a three-album deal. A new record was to have been released in Spring of 2009. However, Payne was permitted by Geoff Downes and the other members of the original ASIA to perform and record under the name ASIA FEATURING JOHN PAYNE. The band is currently touring under that name with new guitarist Mitch Perry and ROCKET SCIENTIST's Erik Norlander on keyboards. A new album is planned soon.

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Buy GPS Music

Two Seasons: Live in Japan 2Two Seasons: Live in Japan 2
Gonzo Import 2013
Window to the SoulWindow to the Soul
Inside Out U.S. 2006
$4.70 (used)
Two Seasons: Live in Japan Volume OneTwo Seasons: Live in Japan Volume One
Multiple Formats
United States Dist 2013
$13.51 (used)
Saturday Rolling AroundSaturday Rolling Around
Extra tracks
Talking Elephant 2006
$38.89 (used)

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GPS discography

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GPS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.57 | 51 ratings
Window to the Soul

GPS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GPS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GPS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GPS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GPS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Window to the Soul by GPS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.57 | 51 ratings

Window to the Soul
GPS Neo-Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Every Proghead should venture outside his musical comfort zone once in a while, and for me that would mean embracing anything related to the ersatz Progressive Rock of bands like ASIA, including this short-lived offshoot group organized by John Payne.

The backstory is confusing, but worth a quick summary. Payne was of course the replacement for John Wetton when the bassist left Asia in 1991, and for a decade-and-a-half was the most consistent steward of an insecure lineup (a timeline of the revolving door personnel roster looks like a modern art collage). But when founder Geoff Downes reassembled the original supergroup in 2006, Payne was left out on the curb, and together with Asia's other orphans formed this sibling band, the name of which was a fortuitous acronym of the first letter in each player's surname, minus Ryo Okumoto: a late addition on sabbatical from Spock's Beard.

A lot of the music on the group's only studio album was in fact leftover material intended for the next Asia session: muscular Neo-Prog fueled by near-toxic levels of undiluted testosterone, only occasionally softened by Okumoto's sensitive keyboard work. For a middle-aged guy, listening to the album is like going through puberty all over again.

There's nothing complicated here, or even remotely challenging. But Payne and company enjoyed one advantage over their superstar forefathers in the first Asia: they lacked the classic Prog credentials of John Wetton, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer, and couldn't be tarred with the same knee-jerk accusations of commercial sell-out.

That fact by itself gives the GPS project more legitimacy, despite their music being cut from essentially the same broad cloth. The gruff melodic range of Payne's singing was better suited than Wetton's to the bombastic power chords on display here, although I wonder how Payne was able to maintain that studied rasp over his long career without damaging his voice: check out the opening verses of "I Believe In Yesterday", before the song ascends to a rousing instrumental climax.

Elsewhere the music moves from an incredibly punchy title track to the macho romanticism of "Written on the Wind", with lots of catchy and aggressive riffing in between ("The Objector"). Too bad about all the boilerplate Pop-Metal digressions ("New Jerusalem"; "Since You've Been Gone"; "Taken Dreams"), which hold the album down like a six-string ball and chain.

After this single effort, and a belated two-volume, four-CD "Live in Japan" package (so far, not yet updated to the band's page here at ProgArchives), GPS was absorbed back into an alternate 'Asia Featuring John Payne', a compromise possibly brokered by the same legal eagles advising the new Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin doppelgńnger Yes.

In the end I have to admire the band's considerable instrumental bluster, their formidable chops, and the perseverance of an underdog like Payne in such a cutthroat business. The GPS album is well worth a spin for Asia fans in particular, but also from musical vegans like me willing to expand their aesthetic tastes with an occasional bite of red meat.

 Window to the Soul by GPS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.57 | 51 ratings

Window to the Soul
GPS Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars As far as Asia concern, I do not actually pay attention about their albums after the original member was just Geoff Downes. But when I had this GPS album for the first time it blew me away at first spin especially with its rocking opening track 'Window To The Soul' (6:57) which demonstrates excellent vocal and stunning guitar work. Combined with Spock's Beard's keyboard player this track sounds even better. The second track 'New Jerusalem' (8:26) even has much better composition in terms of complexity as well as melody. The second track sounds really prog with inventive keyboard as well as stunning guitar. Oh wait ... John Payne vocal is also powerful and I really like when he sings here at second track. The third track 'Heaven Can Wait' (8:03) is quite tricky as at first part the music sounds like a slow rock style with simple composition. But as the music rolls there are great transition pieces and interlude with complex structure even though it returns back to mellow style through excellent work of Ryo on keyboard.

I dare to say that in terms of composition, the music of GPS is much better than any album that Asia has ever released as most of Asia albums are AOR or straight rock music. GPS is different; they explore their musical skills into areas where Asia has never entered into it. In fact this album by GPS provides Howe-standard guitar playing in Asia context. Look at the track where it starts with acoustic guitar fills in 'Written On The Wind' (6:54). AT first listen it reminds me to Michael Schenker's MSG kind of music - but it's actually different as the music moves to the next segments.

Overall, I find this album by GPS is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Off course this album is not as complex as Yes or ELP but for sure it's more complex and attractive than Asia in general. Through this excellent album Payne seems like prove himself to Downes that he can form a band better than Asia. I'm satisfied with this album, really. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Window to the Soul by GPS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.57 | 51 ratings

Window to the Soul
GPS Neo-Prog

Review by robbob

2 stars GPS

A name to be well placed.

But are they really in the right position?

Sorry i think in this album I find a total disorientation of the band.

First 3 or 4 songs quite good in a good neo prog related rock ...and reminds me the best albums of Asia with John Payne like Arena ...but the next song...sorry but they take me to the worst far related to prog Asia albums the last ones...

Quit boring album with so good musicians ...what a waste of talents...

Ryo Okumoto / Keyboards..a bad step for him ..but now in the excellent Spocks Beard.

So .... now i understand why this was their only album...because they really didn,t have a prog rock music GPS.

For collectors/fans of John Payne,s Asia period.

 Window to the Soul by GPS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.57 | 51 ratings

Window to the Soul
GPS Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After reading South Side Of the Sky┬┤s review of this album I went looking for this CD. After all, I liked Asia with John Payne and the prospect of an album with such great musicians as two former Asia members (guitarrist Guthrie Govan and drummer Jay Schellen) and with the participation of Spock┬┤s Beard keybordist Ryo Okumoto, promised great things. And I was not disappointed. In fact, apart from a couple of Okumoto┬┤s synth solos (more on the fusion side), Window to The Soul could be easily mistaken for a long lost Asia record. And a very good one by the way! In fact, I┬┤d put it shoulder to shoulder with Payne┬┤s best efford with that group (Silent Nation).

All tracks are good, the production is excellent and the band is really smoking. I really don┬┤t understand why PA labeled it as neo prog. There is nothing like that here. What we have is the usual AOR/melodic rock with a few prog hints here and there, played by skillful musicians and sang with passion and conviction by Payne. Prog related would be much more fitting, I guess. So I┬┤m warning you: if you┬┤re looking for neo prog stuff, forget it. On the other hand, if you like catchy, melodic tunes with great hooks, jump on it! Maybe the best feature on Window To The Soul are the strong compositions, with not a single weak track on the entire CD. Best songs: New Jerusalem, Heaven Can Wait and Written On the Wind.

Rating: if this was an AOR/melodic rock site, Window To The Soul would be a five star CD. Since PA is not and there is so little prog on the album, I can┬┤t do it. However, due to the high quality of the songs, the excellent perfomances and the brilliant production, a less than 4 star rating would be unfair. Definitly recommended to any Asia or melodic rock fan. Like the previous reviewer said, GPS should not be overlooked. A very good surprise.

 Window to the Soul by GPS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.57 | 51 ratings

Window to the Soul
GPS Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Good Prog Super-group

I feel a little bit sorry for John Payne. After having served as the frontman of Asia for some 14 years and recorded five studio albums with that band (for which he co-wrote much of the material), he was dumped to give way to the reunion of the four original members (John Wetton, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, and Geoff Downes). After that Payne formed a little super- group of his own together with two other ex-Asia members in guitarist Guthrie Govan and drummer Jay Schellen, and keyboardist Ryo Okumoto of Spock's Beard fame. This became GPS (for "Govan, Payne and Schellen", I suppose?)

Window To The Soul was the new band's first release and it comes across as a more progressive version of Payne-era Asia. The final Asia album featuring Payne, Silent Nation, already showed signs of a more progressive direction on several songs, but GPS takes this a little further. More space is allowed for instrumental work-outs and Govan and Okumoto shine on tracks like the eight minute plus New Jerusalem and the title track. The material is strong and melodic, the production values are high, there is a nice balance between rockers and ballads, and the musicians involved are highly professional. I get the feeling that they were more at liberty to do what they really wanted here, not being constrained by the Asia-name and the expectations that brought with it. I am certain that GPS will appeal more to Prog fans than Asia's output, but the difference from Asia is still primarily one of degree, not in kind. If you hate everything Asia ever did, I doubt that this would win you over.

John Payne is an overlooked singer, from an overlooked period of Asia's long career. Sadly, GPS's Window To The Soul is similarly overlooked. I am surprised to see that I am the first to review this album. I hesitated between three and four stars, but after having heard the album repeatedly over several days I conclude that it has a staying power deserving of a higher rating. Admittedly, not all the songs are great (Since You've Been Gone is as generic as its title indicates), but the few weaker moments are somehow better disguised here than on most Asia albums.

The latest news has it that there is a new studio album in the making that will be released under the name "ASIA featuring John Payne" and include Erik Norlander on keyboards. I suppose that is the end of GPS, but hopefully the Prog-spirit present on Window To The Soul will be carried over into that version of Asia and thus outshine the original line-up's recent works (like the dull Omega).

If you like Payne-era Asia, and desire a Prog-touch, GPS's Window To The Soul is for you

Thanks to the doctor for the artist addition.

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