Archive for August, 2010
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We were talking about the Heartbreaker line-up of Free (KKTR plus some
singer called Rodgers) and when I came to transcribe the interview from the
audio I was a bit confused about one of your answers. Here is the context:
* * *
RABBIT: I’m sure somebody must have had words with Paul or someone, about “Okay,
we got a unit now. Let’s get a real singer in and call it Free again. I mean
that’s what I would have thought of it as. Instead of saying KKTR do another
one, maybe get Jess Roden in or something like that, or a proper singer ‘cos
the band’s good, instead of doing that they just got Paul in and called it
Free again. That’s what stopped KKTR in its tracks from becoming anything
and that’s why I’m glad he wasn’t in there then because it kind of gave us
the chance to become a unit of musicians without Paul’s influence. Which was
good, it was a good thing.
AM: And then when Paul Rodgers was involved again..
JB: Yup and when he got fed up with it, he busted it up again. So if we had
stayed as KKTR for example and possibly have Jess Roden sing or an
appropriate singer, then we might have become another version of Free who
was successful, possibly.
* * *
My understanding was that the KKTR/Free sequence was something like this:
Free splits up mid ’71
KKTR album recorded late ’71
Kossoff goes downhill over this period
Free reforms early ’72
Free tours US and records “Free at last” (Kossoff also works on solo
Mid ’72 Fraser quits, Kossoff ill – RKTR (Free) do Japanese etc tour
Late ’72 Kossoff returns and KRKTR (Free) tour UK and record Heartbreaker.
End of `72 Kossoff quits Free!
Early ’73 RKTR and Wendell (Free) tour US
Okay, I love Paul Rodgers’ voice, but he isn’t my hero or anything, and I’m
genuinely just trying to understand what happened. From the sequence of
events it doesn’t seem on the face of it like he stopped KKTR in its tracks
or broke Free up later, given that Kossoff had walked out. I suspect I’m
missing quite a lot here, can you clarify? And what was going on that caused
Kossoff to leave a band with the two people he admired most in, you and Paul
Okay, I think that’s the tricky one out of the way, hopefully the rest are a
bit more straightforward.
You were certainly a big factor in how his playing developed, did you talk
about that, and what he was aiming at musically, his goals and aspirations?
RABBIT – NOT REALLY, IT WAS MORE OF A WINK OF THE EYE, A REALIZATION
THAT WE WERE BOTH AFTER THE SAME THING, AN ACKNOWLEGEMENT
FROM HEAD TO HEAD THAT WE WERE GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
NOTHING WAS EVER SAID, ME & KOSS WERE BOTH KINDRED SPIRITS,
AND WE RECOGNISED EACH OTHER FROM THE START AS JUST THAT,
BOTH CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH, SO WE HELPED EACH OTHER
MENTALLY, AND NEVER GOT IN EACH OTHERS WAY MUSICALLY.
ANGUS…….Did you and Koss have shared interests outside of playing together, movies,
books, etc? Deep discussions about life the universe and everything?
RABBIT – NOPE, JUST DOPE………AS I SAID, WE WERE INTELLECTUALLY CONNECTED..
ANGUS…Did you talk about each other’s playing technique, or comment on specific
recording either of you had made?
RABBIT – YES, WHEN KOSS FIRST PLUGGED HIS GUITAR INTO MY LESLIE
SPEAKER, I YELLED OUT AT HIM, “WOW, THAT’S FANTASTIC!!!”.
HE SMILED BACK AT ME AND NODDED HIS HEAD. KOSS WAS A QUIET
KIND OF GUY…
ANGUS……In the interview with Stephen Rosen in January ’76, Kossoff comes across as
an intelligent, articulate and funny guy, did you see this side of his
personality surface much when you were in Back Street Crawler?
RABBIT – HIS DAD WAS AN ACTOR, AND WHEN YOU REALLY NEW KOSS WELL,
YOU COULD TELL THAT HE HAD ALL THE MAKINGS OF AN INTELLIGENT
PERSON. NOT BRASH, BUT RESERVED, QUIET, AND CONFIDENT IN HIS
MIND. BUT WHEN THE DRUGS TOOK HOLD, HE WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT HIMSELF,
AND HIS INTELLIGENCE WAS DULLED BY THE DRUGS. YOU COULD TELL
WHEN KOSS WAS “NOT AT HOME”.
ANGUS….Is there a particular song where the interplay between the two of you is
displayed best, a personal favourite?
RABBIT- YEP, MY FAVORITE TRACK I EVER GOT TO PLAY WITH KOSS
IS “COLOURS”…..ABSOULTELY BRILLIANT RECORDING THAT TRACK
TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME, ABSOLUTELY STUNNING MAGIC.
ANGUS…….Are there any technical musical things Kossoff did (I’ve heard people talk
about his chord inversions for example) that you can throw any light on?
RABBIT -KOSSOFF IS THE GUY THAT TAUGHT ME HOW TO BECOME
A GUITARISTS ‘KEYBOARDIST’ OF CHOICE.
PAUL NEVER USED THE 3rd IN A TRIAD. JUST THE ROOT NOTE, THE 5th NOTE, AND THE OCTAVE
OF THE ROOT NOTE. EXAMPLE, SAY WE’RE IN THE KEY OF D.
KOSS WOULD PHRASE HIS CHORDAL INVERSION USING D(root note), A(5th note),
and D(octave above the root note). WHEN I FINALLY FIGURED OUT THAT’S WHAT HE WAS DOING,
I GRADUALLY ADJUSTED MY PLAYING STYLE ON THE KEYBOARDS TO HIS TYPE OF INVERSIONS.
LEAVING OUT THE 3rd OF THE TRIAD GIVES YOU AN “OPEN” TUNING, WHICH OPENS
UP ALL THE HARMONICS BETWEEN THE ROOT AND 5th, THUS ENABLING GUITARISTS TO
PLAY WHATEVER NOTES THEY WANT IN BETWEEN THOSE 2 NOTES WITHOUT
ANY CLASHING GOING ON BETWEEN A 3RD ON KEYBOARDS, OR ANY INSTRUMENT
THAT IS USING THE 3rd NOTE.
IF YOU INCLUDE THE 3rd IN YOUR KEYBOARD PLAYING, THEN YOU ARE USING WHAT IS CALLED,
A “CLOSED” CHORDAL INVERSION, WHICH IS WHAT CAUSES THE CLASHES.
THIS CHORD INVERSION IS MAINLY AN ENGLISH THING, AND AMERICAN GUITARISTS
DON’T USE IT VERY OFTEN, HENCE THEIR MUSIC IS FULL FROM THE BOTTOM, MIDDLE,
AND HIGHER RANGES OF THE HARMONIC SPECTRUM.
THE ENGLISH LIKE THAT ‘OPEN’ SPACE SO IT IS EASIER TO BE MORE EXPRESSIVE
WITH YOUR GUITAR PLAYING.
AS IT HAPPENS, THANKS TO KOSS, MY ADJUSTMENT TO PLAYING THE ‘ENGLISH’ WAY IS
EXACTLY WHAT LANDED ME WITH THE ‘WHO’ GIG. PETE LOVES IT THAT I ACTUALLY
KNOW HOW ENGLISH GUITARISTS WORK, AND WHEN I AUDITIONED FOR THE WHO,
THAT KNOWLEDGE & MY ‘JAMMING’ PEDIGREE IS WHAT GOT ME THE JOB.
THANK YOU KOSS………..
ANGUS…… Regarding his playing is there a lesson or some wisdom aspiring players
can take from his approach, do you think?
RABBIT -READ THE ABOVE, AND BE SIMPLE, TASTEFUL, AND SOULFUL.
ANGUS……What are your happiest memories from your time with Koss?
RABBIT – WORKING WITH KOSS IN THE STUDIO ON KKTR, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.
ANGUS…..Okay Rabbit, those are all my questions – thanks for your patience and time.
And again, thank you so much for the wonderful music.