Trevor Rabin Biography
Trevor Charles Rabin (b. January 13, 1954) is a South African musician, best known as the guitarist and primary songwriter for the British progressive rock band Yes from 1983 - 1995, and since then, as a film composer.
Rabin comes from a family of classical musicians in Johannesburg, South Africa, where his father was lead violinist for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Educated at a public school in Johannesburg, he took formal piano training before discovering the guitar at age 12. 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 later arranged and conducted for many artists in South Africa.
Trevor 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 bands, The Conglomeration and Freedom's Children. The latter group were older musicians whose songs questioned the South African government, especially its racial policy of apartheid. 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.
In 1974 Trevor Rabin formed his first major recording group, Rabbitt along with Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Robot (bass guitar) and Duncan Faure (keyboards, guitar, vocals). Rabbitt actually began just prior to Rabin's year of military conscription in 1974, but it really took off in 1975 after their onstage popularity at Johannesburg's "Take It Easy" club spread by word of mouth. Their first single, released in 1975, was a cover of Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath. It later appeared on their debut album, Boys Will Be Boys, which featured original songs penned by Trevor Rabin.
Rabbitt's second album, A Croak and a Grunt in the Night, was released in 1977. Trevor Rabin would go on to win a South African music award for his co-production on the album. Momentum 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. After recording one album without Trevor Rabin, Rabbitt disbanded that same year.
After moving to London in 1978, Trevor Rabin recorded his first solo album, Beginnings. It was released in England simply as Trevor Rabin, with a slightly different track listing. 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.
Along with a budding solo career, Rabin began working as a producer and session player. Some of his prominent work included South African vocalist Margaret Singana ("Where Is The Love") and fellow South African expatriate, Manfred Mann and his Earth Band. Rabin still found time to record his second album Face to Face, touring the United Kingdom in support of Steve Hillage in early 1980.
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 criticized Rabin's music for its hook-ridden ballads but still gave his first two albums moderate ratings for their overall technical qualities.
Neither of Rabin's first two solo albums found any commercial success. With the growth of the Punk scene in the late 70s, power-pop and hard rock music had fallen out of fashion in England. Trevor Rabin began looking for more fertile ground for what would be characterised in the U.S. as Album Oriented Rock AOR.
In 1981 released the album, Wolf, co-produced with Ray Davies of The Kinks. Manfred Mann's Earth Band members Chris Thomas and Manfred Mann also made vocal and musical contributions to the album. Wolf also marks Rabin's first collaboration with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and 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 Trevor Rabin moved to Los Angeles and signed with David Geffen. Rabin 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 early demo recordings developed later on 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 also auditioned with the prog-rock supergroup Asia, featuring former Yes members Steve Howe and Geoff Downes.
Following the 1995 tour, Trevor Rabin resigned from Yes to become a soundtrack composer.
Trevor Rabin had served as guitarist-composer for one of progressive rock's flagship bands. Yet, after 14 years of recording, he only appeared on three and one half albums. However, the Rabin albums have sold more than all other YES albums combined. Since Rabin's departure, the band has changed its keyboardists four times. Significantly, none of the later Yes albums have enjoyed much success, despite the return of the "classic" line-up. Their worldwide fan-base remains quite vital, however.
Trevor Rabin has been a U.S. citizen since 1991. In 1996, he visited his native South Africa and performed Yes and Rabbitt songs during the Prince's Trust Concert. 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. Most recently, aside from his film work, Trevor 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.
Trevor Rabin has scored over 2 dozen films which include Con Air, Homegrown, Armageddon, Enemy of the State, Jack Frost, Deep Blue Sea, Gone in 60 Seconds, Remember the Titans, The 6th Day, The Banger Sisters, Kangaroo Jack, Bad Boys 2, The Great Raid, Exorcist: The Beginning, National Treasure (2004), Coach Carter and most recently Snakes On A Plane and Flyboys (2006).
Along with many Grammy nominations and one win, Trevor Rabin also has received eight BMI film score awards, and has received a lifetime achievement award from the Temecula Film Festival. He has been married for two decades to Shelley Rabin. They have one son, Ryan Rabin, who recently began his own career as a rock drummer in the band "The Outline", signed to Fearless Records in Los Angeles.