A series of essays wherein I explore the numerous musical identities of my favorite musician: from child prodigy to teen idol to guitar hero to singer/songwriter to award-winning in-demand film composer.
Featuring news/updates and commentary/analysis of Trevor's career and associated projects.
Comments are disabled but please feel free to contact me at rabinesque.blog@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Time-travel Tuesday: Ever an idol.

(With thanks to the rockrabbitt_ Instagram account for bringing this to my attention.)

It's generally rare to see Trevor memorabilia from this era on the open market - as our favorite cover boy appeared in the January 1979 issue of Afrikaans entertainment magazine Patrys, we can surmise it was to promote Beginnings and indeed the cover caption roughly translates to "Trevor Rabin is a Rabbitt no more."  Of course long-time fans are aware this particular photograph is from the same photo session as the one which graces the back cover of Trevor's solo debut.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

...and that's no jive!

A very Happy Birthday to the Maestro, Mr. Lucky Thirteen, with much love and the hope that he is spending his 65th surrounded by family and friends and celebrating in style.

I imagine (as I haven't gotten there myself quite yet) that one could experience the veritable gambit of emotions upon turning 65, such as is (comically) displayed below.  We all know what an utterly fascinating face it is, especially in this particular context of being human rather than a celebrity, rock god or guitar hero.

He is all these things - he is Our Trev and we wish him the very best always.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Media Watch: a part of living history

As always with much gratitude to my friend and colleague-in-blogging The Groovy Archives (who as of this month is celebrating five years on tumblr) for her curating acumen, here is video of an interview with Trevor conducted the same day as ARW's 2018 performance at Humphrey's By The Bay (which of course was my show), now featured as part of NAMM's Oral History Program archive on their official website.


Monday, December 24, 2018

holiday wishes

I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season, whatever tradition you observe all around the world.  Wishing you peace and joy and happy times with those you love.  Thank you as always for your support and patronage.  Here's hoping 2019 brings us new adventures with the Maestro and better times for all.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Media Watch: it's one less

This past week the Yes Music Podcast tackled yet another release in Trevor's oeuvre, the 2003 compilation 90124, featuring demo'd versions of future YesWest songs as well as solo-orientated tracks from the pool of songs Trevor brought into Cinema when he first joined.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Wotta Guy (but not that guy, necessarily)

Spotted on Twitter: I have to admit, when I saw this tweet my initial reaction was: "Really?  This was debated?"  Because I've been active in Yes fandom for many years now and I've never taken part in a debate regarding Trevor's involvement with or influence on Def Leppard.
To start with, what this person is referring to is Trevor's name listed in the "Wotta Guy" section of the album credits.  His presence on that list is very likely attributable to two things:

-1- A long-standing friendship and working relationship with the producer of the album, Robert John "Mutt" Lange.  As long-time fans are aware, Trevor worked with Mutt extensively during their formative years in the South African music scene.  Mutt emigrated to London around the same time that Trevor did, although previously Trevor claimed that Mutt went there first, and encouraged the members of Rabbitt to come to London and allow him to produce their second album but they declined.  During Trevor's years in London one would imagine they had regular contact and we also know that Mutt's ex-wife Stevie Vann contributed backing vocals to Trevor's third solo album Wolf.

-2- At the time in which Pyromania was being recorded in London, Trevor was also in London working with what was to become YesWest on 90125.  So it's easy to imagine that there was social contact during that period.

And now for my speculation/editorializing:

-3- Is it possible that Trevor was one of The Leppardettes who are credited with backing vocals?  Perhaps, but there's never been any indication that he participated in the actual recording of Pyromania.  So to potentially infer that the sound of Pyromania was somehow an extension of Trevor's sound because he receives a namecheck in the credits is a case of incorrect attribution.  It is abundantly clear that Def Leppard's particular musical idiom, beginning with High 'n' Dry, is a direct result of working with Mutt Lange who possesses a signature style of stacked choruses, anthemic hooks, and an overall densely-layered kind of AOR feel.  And furthermore I would infer that Trevor's love of stacked choruses likely originated directly from working with Mutt.

But speaking of Pyromania, here's something which I did debate in Yes fandom, at the very least...

Back in 2009 a Yesfans member who goes by the name of Earl Grey conducted a series of informal interviews with keyboardist Tony Kaye, and what follows is Kaye's claim regarding his role on Pyromania.  But Kaye is not included on the "Wotta Guy" list in the credits.

(I will note that I have kept the original formatting from the interview intact.)

TK: ...I, along with Rabin, originally wanted Mutt Lange to produce 90125, but Mutt was too busy working on something else at the time...
The Def Leppard album, 'Pyromania': Which I played on, by the way.
I actually did the keyboards on the album.
As a producer, Lange was such a sweetheart of a guy, and such a pleasure to work with.
And there was none of the tension that was happening in the 90125 studio.

EG: So, if Lange had been at the controls of 90125, it might have been a better experience for you?

TK: Who knows how it would have turned-out with Mutt.
But, working with [him] was such a positive experience.
Particularly what he had me doing.
There were actually no 'keyboards' per se on 'Pyromania': What he had me doing was playing the guitar parts on the synthesizer.
I was doubling the guitar parts, we were multi-tracking everything with the guitars on top.
The synths were playing what the guitars were playing, in exactitude, ...so you ended-up with this great wall of sound.
But then, there were no actual keyboard parts in-between.
It took hours and hours, finding the guitar parts I could play with one hand, and then, multi-tracking them.
And that's how we got that BIG sound on 'Pyromania'.

EG: T.K. and Def Leppard. Who knew? Certainly not I!

TK: I don't think anyone knows about that. There aren't any keyboard credits on the album.

However,  Kaye is not the only musician to make this claim and in fact at the time the interview was posted on Yesfans some readers responded to note that Thomas Dolby has been the one revealed as "Booker T. Boffin" who is credited with "Other Keyboards" on the album.  Several months prior to the interview with Kaye, an interview with Dolby was published wherein Dolby did assert the claim.
Keyboards by “Booker T Boffin” on Def Leppard’s Pyromania: was that you then, and if so what other pseudonyms have you used over the years?
Yes, Pyromania and also parts of Hysteria. I didn’t really want to get tarred with the heavy metal brush, and the feeling was quite mutual—hence the pseudonym. It came about because Mutt Lange’s a great guy that’s not afraid to try odd things out."
Others have cited Dolby as the mystery keyboardist as well, including engineer Mike Shipley in a 2013 interview and Def Leppard co-manager Peter Mensch.

So I would posit that if anything need be known, that particular claim of Kaye's is the "truth" which should be uncovered regarding the making of Pyromania.  Maybe someday someone might ask one of the Leps for their recollection - as Mutt is notoriously reclusive I'm willing to bet we won't be hearing from him.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

#tbt: One of my favorite things!

With much gratitude and thanks to the DrTomoculus channel on YouTube for coming through with my request from a few years back...here is his "remastered" version of Beginnings, the original release of Trevor's first solo album on RPM from 1978.  As I discussed in my essay on the album from last year, there are differences in the mix* and sequencing between Beginnings and Trevor Rabin (as well as different/additional songs) and if you've never had the opportunity to hear the original then you owe it to yourself to give this a virtual spin!

* "Live A Bit" is the best example of how different the mix can be.  The original version is a revelation when compared to the version on Trevor Rabin.