John “Rabbit” Bundrick (The Who, Free, Bob Marley, solo)
EXCLUSIVE:Hit Channel had the great honour to talk with a living legend:John “Rabbit” Bundrick. “Rabbit” is The Who’s keyboardist for more than 30 years. Previously he was a member of Free (“Heartbreaker” album).He has also played with Bob Marley,Roger Waters (“Amused to Death” album),Johnny Nash and Eric Burdon (The Animals,War singer) among others. Read below the great answers he gave us:
Which are the current projects you’re involved in?Are you doing any recordings this period?
I’ve just finished doing some Snowy White (ed:Roger Waters,ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist) gigs in Holland and Germany, and will do more with Snowy as time goes on. We get on really great, and have a mutual respect for each others playing.
How you came in contact with Night Parade guys?Did you live in Liverpool like them?
I met them all when they hired me to play keys on their last album. It was a great meeting, and we instantly became friends. I just wish someone with some ‘clout’ would sign them up and give thema chance at the big time. Great guys and great musicians. Rob writes fantastic songs and has a very unique voice. Things are slow for them right now, but they are still plodding on, so fans, you can check them out on my website, www.rabbitwho.com.
How possible a new The Who tour?I know Pete Townshend is recording right now..
Well, it’s all down to Pete an when and if he wants to work again. I know there’s something in the pipeline, but have no details of anything definite. We’ll see…He’s the boss, the rest of us just wait around for him to be active.
Do you think the period you were playing with Johnny Nash was very important for your later career?
It kickstarted my whole professional career as a giggin’ musician. Without working with my dear friend, Johnny Nash, it led me on to other work including Bob Marley, Free, I became the ‘staple’ keyboard player for Island Records in the early ’70s, and branched out all over London to other artists and producers, Glyn Johns (ed:Led Zeppelin engineer,famous rock producer), Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane (ed:Faces,Small Faces bassist,deceased) and Glyn is the guy that introduced me to me, Joan Armatrading, Andy Fairweather-Low, and countless others..Micky Most (Donovan’s “Cosmic Wheels” album and solid session work). Johnny Nash is responsible for all of this, thanks John.
Do you think your solo albums should have received more recognition from fans and press?Many of these are excellent works!
Of course I do, but the problem was that I had no ‘band’ of my own to tour and gig those albums, so really it’s partly my fault for not getting a band of my own, and working the songs Live. I was doing so many sessions for others, and the Studio is where I am the most comfortable, as opposed to the stage, that I never even thought of having my own band. Thank you for the nice comment on their worth.
Do you miss old friends like Paul Kossoff (Free guitarist),Bob Marley,Jim Capaldi (Traffic drummer), and John Entwhistle (The Who bassist)?
Goes without saying, I miss them all everyday, and have pictures of them in my studio so I can get their vibe going here, which inspires a lot of my work. I could have easily been a casualty as well, and thank God for allowing me to continue on with my Life & Career. Long may it last.
When you first met Bob Marley in Sweden,did you expected that you would become close friends?Were you familiar with reggae before meeting him?
When I met Bob in Stockholm in 1971, he was just a songwriter for Johnny Nash, as per the Marley Tracks Johnny used on the “I Can See Clearly Now” album. I’d never heard of Reggae before that, so Bob personally taught me how to do the organ reggae style while we were recording songs for Johnny in Europa Film studios in Stockholm. Bob, and myself were taken to Sweden by Nash to help compose songs for the Film Johnny was starring in at the time. Fabulous days, fabulous days, the best so far……..
Do you have happy memories from Roger Waters’ “Amused to Death” recordings?Was Roger a easy-going person to work with?
Yes, very good memories. He is such a talent to reckon with. His music is the ‘original’ Pink Floyd sound. I did a bit of work on “Amused to Death”, a bit of Hammond here & there, that’s all, but it was a mind-blowing experience to hear ‘that sound’ coming into my headphones as I fumbled along trying not to let the nostalgia and jaw dropping music that I was playing too. Wow !…what an artist that guy is, what a talented, intelligent man Roger is (ed:unfortunately,many Greeks learned the name “Roger Waters” last summer).
Do you like today Eric Burton’s “Survivor” album?It has some great musicians playing there (Alexis Korner,Zoot Mooney,P.P Arnold)..
Yes I do, and you know what?, I’m playing on that album too (ed:that’s why I’m asking for that). Eric covered 2 of my “Broken Arrow” songs on his album a couple of years ago, “Muddy Water” and “Devil Run”…..My Crawler drummer, Tony Braunagel produces Eric’s albums today, and Crawler’s bass player, Terry Wilson, is in Eric’s current touring band. It’s all in the family. Musicians as old as us eventually get to know these old ‘rock stars’, ha ha.
You’ve played with many great musicians. Is there anyone you’d like to work with and hasn’t happened yet?
Uh, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney, too many to list. I’ve met them all several times, but they already have their own keyboardist, like I am the Who’s keyboarist, the others have their own favorite guy they like to work with. Once you’ve worked with a certain band for as long as I have, means I know the in’s and out’s of how they work, live & play, so they can rely on their main man on keys to slot right in whenever the time comes.
Have you ever been in Greece?Send a message to Greek fans.
Nope, but would love to visit. I know Greece is having trouble right now, but hope that the trouble doesn’t ruin the people’s of Greece vitality and energetic outlook on Life. Hang in there you guys, hang in there.
A huge “THANK YOU” to Mr John “Rabbit” Bundrick.