Take Five With Trevor Rabin
Trevor Rabin is a South African-born composer, guitarist, songwriter and producer.
Rabin learned guitar and piano as youth, and played in a couple of bands as a teenager. His involvement in his first serious band, Rabbitt, led them to become to this day South Africa's most successful band. He left the band to pursue a solo career in the UK in 1978. In tandem with performing, Rabin became increasingly involved in production, working with Manfred Mann, Ray Davies and Jack Bruce, among others.
At this time he linked up with Chris Squire who was in the process of forming his own band. The band grew and eventually, with so many ex-Yes men in the group, including the lead singer Jon Anderson, they resurrected the name Yes.
Rabin's first album with Yes, 1983's 90125, was unlike their previous proggy output and they scored hits with the singles "Owner of Lonely Heart" and "Leave It." Rabin played on further releases Big Generator, Union and Talk, but at the same time he had released one solo album and finally decided to leave Yes in 1995 to concentrate on his own music.
He embarked on a new career, writing film scores, and has since worked on 40 films including Remember the Titans, Flyboys and the National Treasure.
Guitar, keyboards, vocals, production.
Teachers and/or influences?
Hennie Becker, Walter Mony, Schoenberg, Hindemith, Rachmaninov
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
When I first won a classical piano competition, it excited me. Also, I was a big fan of the Shadows. And once the bug got me, it only grew and has never left.
Your sound and approach to music:
I always try and challenge myself and write something new or different, but not for difference sake. If it hits me emotionally and technically excites me, I pursue it.
Your teaching approach:
I don't teach much; I think it's a noble profession and have a high regard for a good player who teaches with patience and dedication, and helps a student become inspired.
Your dream band:
Mutt Lange is a fantastic producer and a close friend of mine. I used to do a lot of sessions with him. Would love to work with him again. Steve Morse and I hung out together with a couple of guitars in my studio years ago. He was great. I'd love to work with him. Also I love Joss Stone.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Playing with Yes in Austria some years back. The show was packed out, and just before we went out, the promoter informed us that he's spent all the money and can't pay us... With the people screaming in the arena, we decided to play it regardless. Dealing with this kind of gutter business put a weird taste in all our mouths; however, the show was fantastic, and we loved it. Quite some time passed, I had forgotten about it. My manager out of the blue came to me and informed me that after major pressure he got most of the agreed deal. Snake of a promoter, can't remember his name, I'd be happy to share it. Not humorous, but not fun. There were worse things that I would rather not mention.
There are a number of places that are dear to my heart. The Forum in LA was by far my favorite in LA, Madison Square Garden, Philadelphia, Quebec, Chicago and many others.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
I would have to say my latest release, Jacaranda. It finished pretty much as I had intended it. There were other albums that I enjoyed, but my creative satisfaction on Jacaranda remains high.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
The first album I remember listening to was my mom's alum by Erroll Garner. The first album I bought was a Cliff Richard record, where I was turned on by Hank B Marvin. I also used to love a record my dad had by Heifetz playing the Paganini caprices. He was a major rock star.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
I think it's different at the moment. I'm exploring different things, formats, ways of recording, merging instruments which have not normally been together. However, the 90125 and Talk and parts of Big Generator and Can't Look Away albums , I think explored some new ground. I knew early on when I wrote the material for 90125 that it would land up being regarded as something new. There are many times I did not succeed, but I do recognize when good stuff is happening.
Did you know...
I love scuba diving, and although I have not done it for a while, I enjoy skydiving. I have a real passion for history and the cosmos. I love gardening , but I suck at it. I hate golf.
CDs you are listening to now:
Verklarde Nacht, by Arnold Schoenberg; (Deutsche Grammophone), conductor: Leonard Bernstein; Symphony in Eb, by Paul Hindemith, conductor: Leonard Bernstein;
All Rachmaninov. Pianist Helene Grimaud. More Rachmaninov Pantera. Dead Sarah.
Desert Island picks:
Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (pianist Helene Grimaud);
Elgar, Nimrod Variations;
Hindemith, Eb Symphony;
Simon and Garfunkel, Bookends;