||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
Trevor Rabin live with Yes in 1994
|Birth name||Trevor Charles Rabin|
13 January 1954 |
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Genres||Progressive rock, pop, rock, classical|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer, film composer|
|Instruments||Guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, vocals|
|Labels||Chrysalis, Capricorn, RPM, Voiceprint, Elektra, Varèse Sarabande, Hollywood, Jet, Atco, One-Way|
|Associated acts||Yes, Rabbitt, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Mr. Mister, Roger Hodgson|
|*Westone Pantera Trevor Rabin Signature
*Custom Fender Stratocaster
*Alvarez Trevor Rabin Signature
*Washburn Parallaxe PXMTR20
Trevor Charles Rabin (born 13 January 1954) is a South African born musician, best known as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the British progressive rock band Yes 1982–1994, then as a film composer.
Rabin was born into a family of classical musicians in Johannesburg, South Africa, where his father Godfrey was lead violinist for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and also a lawyer. Educated at Parktown Boys' High School in Johannesburg, he took formal piano training before discovering the guitar at age 12. He joined one of his first bands, The Other, when he was 13. His parents encouraged his talents toward rock music, although Rabin would maintain his interest in classical music throughout his career. Rabin also briefly studied orchestration at the University of Johannesburg and trained to be a conductor; he later arranged and conducted for many artists in South Africa.
Rabin's early influences included Arnold Schoenberg, Tchaikovsky, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. He also dabbled with progressive and heavy rock with his first band, The Conglomeration, as well as joining the prominent anti-apartheid rock band Freedom's Children for a year in 1972. During this same period, Rabin became a highly sought after session guitarist and bassist, playing with many jazz bands in South Africa. When Rabin fulfilled his obligation to the South African Army at age 19, he served with the entertainment division.
Rabin formed his first major recording group, Rabbitt, along with Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Robot (bass guitar), and Duncan Faure (keyboards, guitar, vocals). Rabbitt evolved from The Conglomeration prior to Rabin's year of military conscription in 1973. The band started to gain popularity in 1975 after appearing at Johannesburg's "Take It Easy" club. Their first single, released in 1972, was a cover of Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath", which later appeared on their debut album, Boys Will Be Boys released on Jo'Burg Records in 1975. The album features original songs mostly penned by Rabin.
Rabbitt's second album, A Croak and a Grunt in the Night, was released in 1977. Rabin went on to win a South African Sarie music award (that country's answer to the Grammy Awards) for his co-production on the album, and the band won a Sarie for Best Contemporary Music Artist in 1976 and 1977. The band then gained with a short-term record distribution deal with Capricorn in the United States, but Rabbitt were unable to tour abroad because of continuing international disapproval of South Africa's apartheid policies. As a result, Trevor Rabin decided to leave South Africa. Rabbitt went on to record the album, Rock Rabbitt without Rabin before disbanding in 1978.
Rabin recorded his first solo album Beginnings in 1977 featuring Trevor on all instruments save drums. After an initial South African release on RPM Records it was re-sequenced with new material and given a different cover for release in England and the US simply as Trevor Rabin (Re-issued on CD in 2003 by Voiceprint Records under the original title). While some songs were reminiscent of Rabbitt, Rabin's guitar playing was more prominent as it would continue to be on his successive solo albums.
Beginning in 1977, Rabin fronted various disco-oriented studio projects, including Disco Rock Machine, which released two albums Time To Love and Disco Rock Machine 2 in South Africa and continental Europe as well as The Tee Cee's and Slang. Rabin acted as producer, arranger, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player for these projects.
Rabin relocated to London in 1978 after establishing the production company Blue Chip Music and struck an international deal with Chrysalis Records.
In transition: the UK and Los Angeles
Along with a budding solo career, Rabin began working as a producer, having already began his career as a session player at age 16. Some of his prominent work included South African vocalist Margaret Singana ("Where Is The Love?"), fellow South African expatriate Manfred Mann and his Earth Band, and Wild Horses, featuring former members of Thin Lizzy and Rainbow. Rabin still found time to record his second album Face to Face, touring the United Kingdom in support of Steve Hillage in late 1979.
Face to Face had the melodic guitar style of his first solo album, but also took a more hard-edged approach on such songs as "The Ripper" and "Now". Rolling Stone's first edition of their Record Guide criticised Rabin's music for its hook-ridden ballads but still gave his first two albums moderate ratings for their overall technical qualities.
With the growth of the Punk scene in the late '70s, power-pop and hard rock music had fallen out of fashion in England. Neither of Rabin's first two solo albums found any commercial success. He began looking for more fertile ground for what would be characterised in the US as album-oriented rock (AOR).
In 1981, he released the album Wolf, co-produced with Ray Davies of The Kinks. Manfred Mann's Earth Band members Chris Thompson and Manfred Mann made vocal and musical contributions to the album. Wolf marks Rabin's first collaboration with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and session drummer Simon Phillips. Following the release of the album, Rabin severed ties with Chrysalis Records as he felt they did little to promote the album.
In 1981, Rabin moved to Los Angeles and signed with Geffen Records. He briefly recorded new material with a rhythm section consisting of future Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and bassist Mark Andes, who would later join Heart. Some of these demo recordings developed into the Yes songs "Hold On" and "Make It Easy".
Although Geffen Records dropped his contract in 1982, Trevor Rabin kept composing material for his projected fourth solo album in Los Angeles. As a keyboardist, he also considered touring as a session player for Foreigner. During this time, Rabin auditioned with the prog-rock supergroup Asia in the run-up to their first album. Prior to that, Rabin was to have been part of a proposed supergroup with future Asia members John Wetton and Carl Palmer and also ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
Rabin's career stalled briefly after Wolf. While in London, he met bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White, longtime members of Yes, who had experienced their own difficulties following the apparent demise of the band in 1981. Liking one another's ideas, Rabin, Squire and White began collaborating under the name Cinema in early 1982. Later on they enlisted original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye to complement their live performances.
Produced by yet another former Yes member, Trevor Horn, what was to become the 90125 album came together over eight months in 1982. During his time in Los Angeles, Rabin had written several songs that formed the project's nucleus. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" evolved into a riff-oriented song that Horn seized upon as a potential single. Atco Records liked the group's demo, but raised the question of whether they needed a separate vocalist. Horn was invited to join Cinema for this reason, but the producer refused Squire's offer.
With the question of a vocalist still up in the air, Squire encountered longtime Yes vocalist Jon Anderson at a Los Angeles party and Anderson expressed interest in hearing what Cinema were working on. Squire acquiesced, and Anderson was so impressed by the songs he heard, especially "Leave It", that he joined the group very late in the recording of 90125, contributing vocals and lyrics to the mostly already-written songs. Now featuring four former members of Yes (not even counting the producer), the band and record company (over Rabin's objections) chose to revive the Yes name rather than call the project Cinema, a name which in any case was already in use. The new Yes would meet with critical and commercial success, though not without some harsh criticism from fans of earlier incarnations of the band.
Both "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Leave It" became major hits, with "Owner" being the band's only #1 single in most major markets including the US. Along with heavy airplay of several other tracks, this helped propel 90125 to six million sales between 1983 and 1985, making it the most commercially successful of all Yes albums. Yes also received a Grammy award in 1984 for the instrumental "Cinema". The band toured behind the album, in a series of well-received concerts across Europe and the Americas. In England and North America, many younger fans were introduced to the earlier Yes catalogue because of the success of the 90125 album and its popular singles.
Rabin almost did not make the 90125 tour, because of a swimming accident in Florida just before the 1984 tour kicked off. According to interviews from the period, Rabin was injured severely when a large woman hit his midsection while jumping into a hotel swimming pool. He endured an emergency splenectomy and returned to Yes in time to begin the tour.
9012Live debuted as a live album and video package, taken from the group's 1984 shows in Edmonton, Canada and Dortmund, Germany. On the former recording, Trevor Rabin contributed his acoustic guitar solo, "Solly's Beard". During this time he also appeared as a session guitarist on Frankie Goes to Hollywood's debut album Welcome to the Pleasuredome, also produced by Horn.
In late 1985, Yes began recording its next album with Trevor Horn, but the production became bogged down due largely to personal differences among Anderson, Squire and Horn. Eventually, Rabin assumed control of the project, with Horn resigning as producer well before recording was complete. Rough tape demos have emerged with Trevor Rabin singing lead vocals on "Final Eyes" and "Rhythm of Love."
Big Generator emerged in late 1987, with singles "Love Will Find a Way" and "Rhythm of Love." Both were modest chart hits compared to the singles from 90125, though the album sold very well. The song "Shoot High, Aim Low" featured a dual lead vocal between Rabin and Jon Anderson. The 1988 Big Generator tour of the US missed several dates after Rabin collapsed from influenza.
After the tour, Anderson left Yes for the second time, though his departure would prove short-lived. Trevor Rabin expressed a guarded neutrality over the split between Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, who briefly led rival groups consisting of Yes members. Squire held the Yes name, which now encompassed himself, Rabin, White and Kaye; Anderson formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe – a line-up he felt better represented Yes. A lawsuit between Arista and Atlantic Records ensued.
While this legal wrangling was in progress, Rabin completed his fourth solo album (which was to be his last for over 20 years), Can't Look Away, released in 1989. The album's lead single, "Something to Hold on To", earned a Grammy nomination for Best Short Form Music Video and topped the AOR charts for two weeks. But despite some positive reviews, and extensive marketing from Elektra Records neither "Something to Hold on To," nor Rabin's anti-apartheid ballad "Sorrow (Your Heart)" managed to crack the American Top-40 charts. Also during this period, Rabin performed on several other albums as a session musician, including Bonham's The Disregard of Timekeeping and Mr. Mister's Pull, though the latter was destined to remain unreleased until 2010.
Trevor Rabin toured between 1989 and 1990 with drummer Lou Molino III (one of Rabin's best friends and a featured player on his soundtracks), fretless bassist Jim Simmons and keyboardist-composer Mark Mancina. The nationwide Can't Look Away tour attracted a modest number of Yes fans, and has since been documented with 2003's Live in LA, featuring interpretations of '80s Yes material, as well as highlights from his Wolf album. Rabin's solo band also performed an instrumental version of a 90125 outtake, "You Know Something I Don't Know". On this tour, Rabin also unveiled part of "Lift Me Up", which would become the lead single for Union. If this indicated any plans for a fifth Rabin solo album, these would be overtaken by further Yes-related events.
In late 1990, Chris Squire's Yes line-up (still including Rabin) had been jettisoned by Atlantic Records after creative differences. During an interview with Mike Tiano in 2003, Trevor Rabin expressed considerable disdain for Atlantic Records executive Derek Shulman (one-time frontman of progressive rock band Gentle Giant) who damned Rabin with faint praise as "the one who writes the hits."
Rabin would find himself once again in precisely that position when he received a call from Jon Anderson in 1991. After a gold album and lucrative tour, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's second album for Arista had encountered a creative block. Anderson asked Rabin for creative input, but after Can't Look Away, Rabin did not have much new material on-hand. Even so, he submitted a demo of three songs, thinking the record company would select one. Instead, all three were accepted: "Lift Me Up", "Saving My Heart" and "Miracle of Life".
Arista subsequently made what Rabin later described as a "42nd floor boardroom decision," and brought both Yes line-ups together—although at no point did the recording of Union simultaneously feature all eight members of the touring group, and its sessions were augmented by a small army of session musicians. Rabin only appeared on one-third of the album, although two of his songs were released as singles – "Lift Me Up" and "Saving My Heart" – which were also performed live on the tour, on alternating dates. Trevor Rabin expressed dislike of the Union project, but still took part in the supporting tour, where he developed a lasting friendship with Rick Wakeman, often accompanying his keyboard performances onstage.
The eight-person line-up did not survive the end of the tour. Steve Howe and Bill Bruford were the first to leave, the former at least partly due to unwillingness to share the spotlight with Rabin; and while Wakeman was very interested in working with the band and especially Rabin, he could not commit to dates. This effectively left Yes with the same line-up that had recorded "90125" and "Big Generator". 1992 and 1993 featured a series of negotiations between the short-lived Victory Music (not to be confused with a Chicago-based indie alt-rock outfit called Victory Records) and this so-called Yes West line-up. Phil Carson, responsible for Emerson, Lake & Palmer's comeback in 1992, invited the Yes 90125 line-up to record a third album. Rabin had also hoped the next Yes project would have involved Wakeman, but owing to managerial problems, the plan fell through in 1993.
As Victory Records' budget could not include an outside producer, Trevor Rabin undertook the mission. During sessions, he used a then-innovative digital hard-disk recording method now in common use in many studios. Although some Yes fans, and even Rabin himself, have criticised the limitations of digital sound, Talk made music recording history with its technical achievements.
Talk featured the final collaboration between Rabin and Jon Anderson, who had hitherto completed the last few albums after the principal writing. While "Endless Dream" would become something of a fan favourite, the album and tour did not fare particularly well commercially. Only reaching No. 33 in Billboard, Talk achieved the weakest sales of any album Yes had released in over 20 years. Despite live exposure on Late Night with David Letterman, both "The Calling" and "Walls" failed to catch as singles during the height of the popularity of alternative music. The 1994 tour in support of Talk, though generally well received by those who attended, fared only a little better than the album, with some venues full and others at less than half capacity. While some fans—and Steve Howe—employed the press and Internet to blame Trevor Rabin's influence, certain tour dates were simply given low promotion by radio stations. Despite this mixed performance, numerous bootleg recordings exist, because the Talk concerts were simultaneously broadcast on FM radio frequency—allowing Yes fans to make high-quality tapes. Trevor Rabin went on record as being supportive of this particular form of music-sharing.
Ultimately, the Talk tour ended on 11 October 1994 amid recriminations. By the end of the following year, Rabin had left Yes and, except for a small number of special events such as a tribute to Horn, has not played with the band since. He did, however, finally get to work with Wakeman, contributing lead vocals and guitar solos to "Never is a Long, Long Time," from Wakeman's Return to the Centre of the Earth in 1999.
In 2008, Trevor was contacted by Yes members and their new management inviting him to tour with the band in the later part of the year. "I appreciate the invite and miss the excitement of playing live. Unfortunately, my schedule just does not allow for it this year," Trevor was quoted as saying.
Since 2011, Rabin has periodically been reported to be collaborating with Anderson and Wakeman on a new Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin album. The trio unsuccessfully attempted to recruit Bill Bruford to drum on the album. At one point it was hoped the album would be completed by the end of 2011 with a tour the following year, but all three musicians' busy schedules have prevented this from happening; there has been no announcement of a release date as of March 2014.
Following the 1994 tour, Trevor Rabin resigned from Yes to become a soundtrack composer.
Trevor Rabin has been a naturalised US citizen since 1991. In 1996, he visited his native South Africa and performed Yes and Rabbitt songs during the Prince's Trust Concert. In 2003 Trevor Rabin released demo versions of pre-90125 Yes compositions and solo work, entitled 90124, as well as Live in LA, recorded at the Roxy in Los Angeles in late 1989. In 2004 Rabin performed in aid of the Prince's Trust with Yes at the Wembley Arena in London, where he served as lead guitarist and lead singer. The show was a tribute to producer Trevor Horn. The concert DVD is called Slaves to the Rhythm.
Trevor Rabin has scored over three dozen films which include: Bad Company, Con Air, Homegrown, Armageddon, Jack Frost (in which Rabin appeared onscreen in two scenes), Deep Blue Sea, Gone in 60 Seconds, Remember the Titans, The 6th Day, The Banger Sisters, Kangaroo Jack, Bad Boys II, The Great Raid, Exorcist: The Beginning, National Treasure, Coach Carter, Glory Road, Snakes on a Plane, The Glimmer Man, Flyboys, Gridiron Gang, Hot Rod, The Guardian, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, 12 Rounds, G-Force, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Along with several Grammy nominations and one Grammy win, Trevor Rabin also has received eleven BMI film score awards, and has received a lifetime achievement award from the Temecula Film Festival. His composition "Titans Spirit" from Remember the Titans has been frequently featured in NBC's closing montage and credits for their Olympics coverage. It was also played following United States President-Elect Barack Obama's speech upon winning the 2008 US Presidential Election, and served as the backdrop for the ensuing celebration. Rabin also composed the theme for TNT's coverage of the National Basketball Association in 2009 and the theme for NCAA's March Madness in 2011 (the latter being a remix of the longtime CBS college basketball theme).
Rabin composed the score for Disney's Mission: Space attraction at Epcot.
Trevor Rabin appeared in an instructional guitar video titled Instructional DVD for Guitar • Trevor Rabin, for Star Licks Productions.
On 9 July 2010 Rabin accompanied Yes for the first time in 6 years at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and played the encore, "Owner of a Lonely Heart".
On 23 June 2011 Rabin was awarded at the 26th Annual ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards in the Top Box Office Films category for The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Rabin's all-instrumental solo album Jacaranda was released on 8 May 2012 through Varèse Sarabande. Rabin plays all of the instruments himself, with the exception of drums, for which he brought in noted jazz/rock drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, longtime Rabin drummer and collaborator Lou Molino III, and his son Ryan. Tal Wilkenfeld plays bass on track 3 and Liz Constantine is the vocalist on track 6.
On 28 June 2012 Rabin was presented with the Henry Mancini Award at the 27th Annual ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards. Rabin also performed Owner of a Lonely Heart with his son's band Grouplove.
Rabin names Bernard Herrmann as his favourite score composer. He has named Arnold Schoenberg as one of his favourite classical composers, and him and other classical composers – Beethoven, Sibelius, Elgar and Tchaikovsky – as influences. He names Jimi Hendrix, Steve Morse, Jeff Beck, and John McLaughlin as his favourite guitarists.
Rabin has been married for over three decades to Shelley May. They reside in Los Angeles and have one son, Ryan Rabin, who was a drummer for The Anthem and The Outline, and is currently in the band Grouplove.
- Boys Will Be Boys (1975)
- A Croak and A Grunt in the Night (1977)
- Morning Light (maxi-single) (1977)
- 1972–1978: Limited Souvenir Edition (EP) (1978)
- Trevor Rabin (1978) original title for ZA release Beginnings (1977) (re-released 2003)
- Face to Face (1979)
- Wolf (1980)
- Can't Look Away (1989)
- Live in LA (2003)
- 90124 (2003)
- Jacaranda (2012)
- Margaret Singana – Where Is the Love (1976) – Producer, arranger
- Manfred Mann's Earth Band – Chance (1980) – Producer
- Wild Horses – Wild Horses (1980) – Co-Producer
- Manfred Mann's Earth Band – Somewhere in Afrika (1982) – Guitar
- Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome (1984) – Guitar
- Jon Anderson – 3 Ships (1985) – Guitar
- Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Liverpool (1986) – Guitar
- Lisa Hartman – 'Til My Heart Stops (1987) – Guitar
- Marc Jordan – Talking Through Pictures (1987) – Guitar
- Bonham – The Disregard of Timekeeping (1989) – Bass, Background Vocals
- Seal – Seal (1991) – Guitar
- Paul Rodgers – Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters (1993) – Guitar
- Michael Jackson – HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995) – Guitar
- Various Artists – Crossfire: A Salute To Stevie Ray Vaughan (1996) – Guitar
- Tina Turner – Wildest Dreams (1996) – Guitar, Background Vocals
- Mark Mancina – Twister (1996) – Guitar (Track 7: The Hunt: Going Green)
- Various Artists – Merry Axemas Vol. 2 (1998) – Guitar, Keyboards
- Rick Wakeman – Return to the Centre of the Earth (1999) – Vocals, Guitar (song 12: "Never Is A Long, Long Time", with the London Symphony Orchestra)
- Roger Hodgson – Open The Door (2000) – Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals
- Don Harper's Oceana Orchestra – Dream and Variations (2009) – Guitar on "Where Do We Go From Here"
- Mr. Mister – Pull (2010) – Guitar, Bass *material recorded in 1989
- "Movie Geeks United! podcast: Composer TREVOR RABIN". Podcastdirectory.com. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "Weiss, Arlene R. "Interview with Composer, Guitarist and Recording Artist Trevor Rabin."Guitar International"". Guitarinternational.com. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "Rabbitt". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "Boys Will Be Boys". All Music Guide. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "Croak & a Grunt in the Night". All Music Guide. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "SA Charts 1969 – 1989". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- Brian Currin (25 May 2003). "Time To Love – Disco Rock Machine". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- [Say Yes! by Rick Wakeman]
- Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes by Chris Welch, 2002
- Mike Tiano (22 August 2008). "Conversation with Trevor Rabin". Notes from the Edge.
- "Grumpy Old Rick's Ramblings September 2011". RWCC. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Henry Potts. "Where are they now? – Yes". Bondegezou.co.uk. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "Trevor Rabin: Jacaranda". Varesesarabande.com. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Trevor Rabin-News". Trevorrabin.net. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Trevor Rabin Honored at ASCAP Film & TV Awards by Bruckheimer, Yes' Anderson, Roasted by Turteltaub". Billboard. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- Benarde, Scott R. (2003). Stars of David: rock'n'roll's Jewish stories. UPNE. pp. 274–278. ISBN 1-58465-303-5.
- Berkwits, Jeff. "Owner of a Jewish Heart." San Diego Jewish Journal. September 2004. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- Official website
- Official MySpace page
- Trevor Rabin at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview (8/06)
- Fan news site