January–1995 – Roll up, roll up, here we go again. Another year in the Life of John Rabbit Bundrick, for you all to get an insight, approve, disapprove, (which some people already have, in a major way), and thoroughly enjoy my bad habits and abominable behaviour in this Rock n' Roll life I have led all these years.
I'm working on my album 'Run For Cover' here in my Home Studio. It's a re-working of my other album 'Same Old Story', and it's a project I'm doing for release by Red Steel Music, via Rob Corich. Rob is a Kiwi, from New Zealand, a cracker of a bloke, a good looker, and a man for the women. But as far as the Record Business, it's 'small-fry'. Still, he cares and does his best, so I'm for it.
I'm living in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and have my studio set-up in my Garage. Let me tell you that many a night of debauchery, drunkenness, and late nights, sometimes 2 or 3 on the trot, happened in this garage, as well as a Hell of a lot of music went down to tape. It was a very productive place to work. No windows, 1 door in and out, soundproofed and I could make as much noise in that garage that I wanted to. It was more like a 'Padded Cell' for the Rab, where he couldn't hurt anybody, and no one could get at me either.
While working on 'Run For Cover', I bought in loads of new gear for the studio, and got my mate Geoff Whitehorn to come up and do the Guitar duties on the album. He did 8 tracks in 1 day. Not bad! Geoff is fast, efficient, very melodic on the guitar, and just a great bloke to have around. I love him to death.
An old friend Sandy Chard, long-time girlfriend and companion of Paul Kossoff, who now lives in Houston, Texas (which is my home town), flew over to visit her family, and while in England her and her new hubby, Al came to my place and spent the night. We had a great time. Sandy is a kindred spirit, and I love her too. Nice to see them both.
February - 'Run For Cover' album is all finished, so my mate Dave Chang, from Nottingham, came over to Mix the album at my place in Grantham. He's cool, and it's best to leave 'mixing' to somebody else who has more knowledge of my studio equipment, cause although I have loads of gear, it don't mean that I know how to work it all. Some things are best left to the 'Pros'. At one point during the mixing sessions, Rob Corich brought himself and the artwork guy, Frank Mcfartland, (I know, careful with that last name), over to listen to the mixes and go over the artwork for the CD. All were pleased, so it was a definite, done deal. All me and Dave had to do was deliver the master mix to Rob, I agreed to the artwork, and the next thing to do was turn the whole thing into a lovely little commercially released CD. The first Rabbit Solo CD since 1972, Dark Saloon, at Island Records. So I'm back on track and getting my stuff out on proper CD's again. Nice one. On February 7th I sent the master Dat mixes to Rob, and he took it from there. Yee-haw!! Also on that day I did a Telephone Interview for 'World Entertainment', which would be broadcast on 'Radio in America on the 8th.
It's the 8th, and another old friend, B.J. Cole came up for a visit. I've know B.J. since 1972, and he is probably the finest 'Steel Guitar' player in all of Britain. He's playing on the KKTR album on a few tracks, and I've done lot's of work with him over the years. Great friend.
On February 25th, a singer-songwriter, Boo Hewardine, came over to run through some of his music with me so I could make chord charts of his stuff. The idea was to see if we were compatible enough for him to hire me to play keyboards on his album.The producer of the record, an old time friend, John Wood, also came along with him, cause we hadn't seen each other in years and years, and because my reputation always precedes me, I think he wanted to see for himself just what kind of shape I was in. Boo played and sang his songs to me on his acoustic guitar, and I wrote down all the 'chord charts' for myself and any other musicians that might be involved in the sessions. We worked from 11am until 5pm. It was fine, and all went well.
On February 28th I trained up to London for the start of the Boo Hewardine sessions. Producer - John Wood..studio-Angel Studios, Upper Street, Islington, London. Session time - 11am to 8pm, Record Company - Blanco y Negro, (Warner Bros. subsidiary), Artist-Boo Hewardine (from Cambridge), Musicians on the session were: bass-Danny Thompson, Guitar-Richard Thompson, don't remember the Drummer, and I played keyboards. Total fee for that day was £600.
March - On March 1st I did the 2nd Boo session, and then it was over. Not too much hard work, and pretty good pay. My total invoice for these 2 days work was: 2 days session fees = £1200. Chord Charts = £150, and the train fare came to £70. So I got paid a total of £1,420.00 for just 2 days work. Not bad hey? I'm not a great fan of Boo's stuff, so when I finally got a copy of the CD, I was a bit disappointed that on the credits that they got the info wrong. Apparently I wasn't the only keyboardist to work on the album, and they obviously didn't to their homework right, and credited some other 'lesser' keyboardist with my hard work, and credited me with some of his less tasty keyboard work. Come on guys, don't you recognise my 'style' when I'm playing Hammond? Oh well, I got the money.
On March 5th 2 CD's of Run For Cover arrived in the Post, so it looks like that CD is gonna see the light of day. Great, it's out! Done and dusted. This month is also gardening month, so on the 12th I got out in the dirt and planted Mangetout peas, carrots, spring onions, and some sunflowers thrown in for good measure, just to hurry Spring along. I always plant my own vegetables. It's a great way to have stuff available right from your own garden, and tasty too. Yeah man!
March 21st, the first day of Spring. Come on, let's have some nice weather. On the 26th I did a session for the Lovely Barbara Dickson, a very well known and respected vocalist in England. She's a doll, and a fabulous singer. I went to Chapel Studios up in South Thorseby, nr. Louth, Lincolnshire to overdub some Hammond on 2 of her tracks for her new album, 'Dark Side of the Street'. Pip Williams, another old friend, was the Producer. I worked from 12am to 4:30pm and got a fee of £500. I have this session marked down in my Diary as "A Great Session", so obviously I had a good time, and the Hammond was doing it's stuff brilliantly.
March 30th saw another session come up. This time it was the turn of the Who's music, minus the Who. It was all about doing The Overture with a 'real orchestra', under the guise of 'Symphonic Who'. Session took place at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London, at 12 noon. Produced by John Astley and Billy Nichols. The musicians on hand were: drums-Zak Starkey, acoustic guitar-Simon Townshend, Electric guitar-Geoff Whitehorn, bass-Phil Spalding, synths-Peter Gordino, piano and organ-Rabbit. Pete Smith did the paying, and I got £557 for the one track, which took all day to record. On the finished album John Astley recorded the London Symphony Orchestra on top of the backing track that us Rock muso's did today. Rock meets Classical. It never really works, now does it?
March 31st, it's Mick Taylor day. I'm doing some gigs with Mick, with Kuma Harada on bass, Snowy White on second guitar and Jeff Allan on drums. Today we rehearse, but Mick never showed up, I wonder why? Anything to do with hang-overs etc? So the rest of us just sat around and jammed, and shot the shit for awhile and then went home. Wasted day really. We were at John Henry's Rehearsal Complex, Studio # 3, 16/24 Brewery Road, London N7, 4pm to 8pm. Oh well, it's only blues, and who really needs to rehearse that!
APRIL - It's time to get down and Boogie'. April 2nd I did a gig with Mick Taylor at the Half Moon Pub in Putney, London. Rip-roaring pub gig. Great!.....me, Jeff Allan, Snowy, Kuma and Mick Taylor in front. Great Balls of Fire, it's Blues Night at the Pub. Yeeeeee-hawww!!! Soundcheck at 6pm, gig at about 9pm. The night went great, up till it was time to drive me and Sue back home to Grantham. We left the gig at around midnight, and as we were approaching the A1 motorway, the fucking Clutch cable on my Renault broke in half, while I was driving. So it's let the car slow down by gently applying the brakes, can't change gears, pull over to the side of the road and call the AA. They eventually arrived some time later, and picked the car up and gave us a lift home. We finally got in at 5:30 pm, and I only got paid £150 for the gig. What a shit ending to a great Blues gig. I guess, though if you think about it, It was a Blues gig, and bad things are supposed to happen with guys who got the blues, so I definitely had them by the end of the night, that's for sure.
On April 4th, it was a gig with Mick again, but this time in Switzerland. This is more like it. I like Switzerland. It's a very romantic place. I left home at 4am to get to Heathrow for the flight over. We checked in at the airport at 6:30am and flew out at 8:30am, arriving in Geneva at 11:05am. It was a Televised show from Arthur's Club, in the ICC Building, 20 Route De Pre-Bois, whatever that means. Soundcheck was 2 to 4pm, and ShowTime was at 10pm, for a 90 minute set. After the show we stayed at the Movenpick Raddisson-Lausanne Hotel, 4 Ave De Rhodanie-1007 Lausanne. The show was really good, and is still broadcast from time to time on the more obscure TV channels. Nice 1-stop Blues gig. Very Nice.
We left for England the next day at 12:05 and arrived at Heathrow at 12:40. Still can't figure that one out. Anyway, I'm home again. I always like being at Home. It's the best place to be.
April. Also this month I started work on my new Solo album, 'Tour Guide'. So Geoff Whitehorn came up on the 6th and 7th to do the guitar duties once again. See, I told you, he's always there when you want him. This time he did 9 songs on the 1st day, and finished the last 4 songs on the 7th, and I paid him £300 for it. He's brilliant!
On the 11th I signed a contract for Tour Guide, again with Red Steel Music and Rob Corich, for a 5 year Licensing deal. Can't be bad. Nice artwork, great music, and during the recording of this album, I managed to get Slesser to come down from Newcastle to do the vocals on it, got Kuma Harada to play bass on it, April 17th, and even got Henry Spinetti to play real drums on it, Sept 11th and 12th, so I got what is really the next best thing to a new Crawler album out of it all, minus Terry Wilson on bass, and Tony Braunagel on drums, but they do live in California, so getting them on was out of the question. Kuma and Henry did remarkably well and I am very happy with the results. I must say that I did approach Zak to do the drums originally, but he graciously bowed out of it. That's cool. I'm a Scorpio, I won't forget... Zak! (ha!)
I think I'm going crazy again though, so on the 12th, I started sessions with a Psychiatrist at the Grantham Health Clinic. My drinking is well out of control again, and I desperately need help. I'm going Mad! April 26th - another psychiatrist session. So far it ain't doing anything. I leave the psycho session and head straight to the Pub. That ain't right is it? Ain't it supposed to be stopping me from doing that?
May 3 - Another psycho session-11am. Come on, do something! On May 5th I did another, 2nd session at Metropolis Studios for the 'Symphonic Who' album. Paid £560. These sessions are going well, I must say. To start with, Pete's music is brilliant, so it makes the job a lot easier. Today we did an orchestrated version of 'Listening to You'. Classic!
May 17th - Another psycho session. The guy just sits there, waiting for me to say something. He doesn't even ask me questions. What's up? We both sit there for an hour, neither one of us talking, and then I get up and leave for the Pub. I don't think this guy is gonna help me much really.
May 31st - Oh well, I might as well go to this psycho session anyway. It's something to do at least.
June 6th- Interview time. Rob Parett came over to inteview me for a big spread in the music magazine 'Sound on Sound' (SOS for short). It was a good interview. Rob is very easy going and brings stuff out of me that normal conversations miss out. Well done Rob. It's for the July issue, I think, but not sure.
June 14 - Psycho session again, but I cancelled this one due to having the Flu. Yeah, right! June 28th - Psycho session at 10am. This time I went, but it's still going nowhere. Instead of going to the Pub this time though, I went home and picked fresh Mangetout peas from my garden for dinner. There's something very therapeutic about gardening. I love it. The Summer this year is also very Hot, so it's nice to be out amongst Nature.
July 6th - My old time guitarist friend Janne Schaffer, form Stockholm, Sweden is in England, so he came up to visit, with his new Blonde Swedish girlfriend in tow. Lovely! While he was here I got him to play a bit of guitar on 'Tour Guide', just for old times sale, and because he is good. He's on the track, 'Get the Feeling', along with Geoff Webb and Snowy White. We had a great visit, sat out in the Sun a bit, worked in the studio a bit, and looked at his girlfriend a bit. Janne is famous in his own right in Sweden as a Solo guitarist, does his own albums, was a big 'session' guy there, and plays on most of the ABBA catalogue, bit I met him when I was there in 1971 with Johnny Nash. Janne was the guitarist that we used for the Nash projects we were doing in Sweden. Me and Janne go back a bit. Great friend, and always helps me out when I there. He even let's me do a bit of keyboards on his solo albums if I happen to be in town when he's working.
July 7th - Another rehearsal at John Henry's with Mick Taylor. This time he showed up.
July 8th - It's Blues Time again, so I'm off to Stuttgart, Germany with Mick and the gang for a gig a club called 'Manufaktur', address is Hammersclag 8, 73614, Schorndorf. We flew out from Heathrow on flight 958 at 8:35am and arrived in Stuttgart at 11:10 Germany's time. These gigs are in small clubs, but being Blues, it really is the right places to play. Hot sweaty gigs. Proper blues stuff.
July 9th - Another Mick Taylor gig. This time we're in Stockholm, Sweden. Joy, oh joy. My second Home. I had a long visit with my girlfriend. She came to the gig at Skanson, 7:30pm, along with her sister, Maud and a couple of friends of theirs. It was great to see them all again. Such a good place to be, is Stockholm. Departed Stuart at 8am. Arrived in Stockholm on Scandinavian Airlines flight SK668, Arlanda Airport 11:25am. It was a nice visit with my girlfriend and friends.
July 10th- Flew back to London, but not home. Tomorrow we're off to Belgrade, Serbia, of all places. Hang on a minute, ain't there a war going on over there? Why are we going there?
July 11th - Oh well, we're here anyway. Might as well get on with it. This time Mick's band is the usual Me, Snowy, Kuma, and Mick, but on drums this time is the Brilliant Juan Van Emmerloot on Drums. He's a Dutch guy that Snowy uses in his own band, so Juan is here this time. Maybe Jeff Allan had more sense than to come here. After all his music business complex is called 'Sensible Music'. Anyway we did a gig at the 'Sava Center'. This gig was odd because, due to the War, once the punters go into the arena, they weren't allowed to leave and go home until the next morning, when the buses were available again to bus them all home. In these times you can't just wander around in the streets in Belgrade. You might just get shot! So, because of this, the gig was scheduled for late show times. We went on at about 3am to do our set. And when the whole thing was over, the audience just sat in their seats. They had no where to go until the next morning, when the buses were due to arrive to carry them all home. Weird!...We went back to our Hotel in Belgrade, but laid low. I didn't even look out of the windows in my room. I stayed glued to the wall at the other side of the room.
July 12th - We are making a 14 hour drive today from Belgrade to Scopje, Macedonia. 7 hours there, 7 hours back, all in a Mini van. Yikes! It was a nice long drive though. That part of the world can be beautiful, but due to the War, as we made the drive, every house we saw had all it's windows blown out, no people were around them, and it all look like devastation. One thing I did notice though is that that area is big on Sunflowers. Every field we went past was choc-a-blok full of the stuff. That's all they grew, it looked like to me. Very Van Gogh, it was. The only people we saw, apart from the soldiers at check points, and some Nato soldiers in strategic places, were a guy selling petrol in glass bottles, standing on the side of the motorway, obviously hoping to sell his gas to cars as they passed on the route, hurriedly trying to speed out of the way of any possible incoming shelling or sniper fire. The whole trip was like being in the Twilight Zone. Surreal or what?! Macedonia was quite nice. We were taken out to dinner after our gig by the promoters. They took us to a fancy, safe restaurant, fed us great, and got me drunk on their local hard liquor brew. Then after we partied a while, we all got back in the Mini van to make the 7 hour drive back to Belgrade. I was bad on the ride back. I took precautions, and made sure I took a bottle or two from the Restaurant, for medicinal purposes you understand. In case we got shot, and needed a last dying swig of alcohol. Truth be told, they were actually all for me. The guys in the back were trying to sleep, but I was still in Party mode, so I got all my Demo tapes that brought with me, opened the bottles, and played 'MY' music and drank all the way back to Belgrade. The rest of the guys went Mad. It was the wee hours of the morning and they were trying to sleep in this cramped mini van, having my 'demos' blasting away. It's a known joke, me and my demos. As soon as I mention 'demos', everybody runs a mile. Ha.
July 13th - We're out of here, safely back home in England. What a Trip the last couple of days have been, but well worth it. Quite an education, seeing all that stuff. But I wouldn't do it again, that's for sure.
August 9th - Psycho session at 11am. I think I need this one, especially after Belgrade and Macedonia. I know it won't do any good, but at least it will appear Sane and Normal after what I've just seen in Belgrade.
August 31st - Snowy White came up to my place to play some guitar on the Tour Guide album, and while he was here I even managed to get him to sing the Lead Vocal on 'It's True'. Great. He's an amazing guitarist, so to get him to sing as well on a track was a real Bonus. Snowy's doing guitar on It's True and Get the Feeling, and a few other tracks as well. Also today, a Big surprise for me, Sue brought home a tiny little Kitten She found wandering around outside of a Fish and Chip shop. We called her Ricky. She's a totally black cat in color. Lovely Kitty.
September 7th - Here comes another Mick Taylor gig. This time we're at Allendale, near Newcastle. The gig is at the Kings Head Pub. Jeff Allna is back on drums this trip.
September 8th - Mick gig # 2 is in South Shields at the Cellar Club. Terry Slesser, singer for Crawler and his wife, Sandra came to the gig. We lived it up, talked about old times, and it's always great to see Sless, always.
September 9th - Today is the day that I got Henry Spinetti to put real drums on my album 'Tour Guide'. Rob Corich booked a studio from a friend of his, named Ian Herron. The studio is located at Burgess Hill, near Brighton, and is called 'Studio 25'. We did drums on all the tracks and it only took Henry 3 days to 'nail' every track on the album. Great work, Henry! He got paid £500 for 3 days work. It was a Rob negotiation with Henry, so I stayed out of the money area. In the end, Henry played drums on all 16 tracks of Tour Guide. Well done Henry. Thanks a million mate.
Septemer 14 - psycho session. I cancelled it. I'm getting dismayed with this guy. He ain't doing me any good.
September 21 - psycho session. I went this time. Give it another shot. I spent the rest of September working on 'Tour Guide' in my studio in Grantham.
October 1 - Slesser comes to sing. Sless came down from Newcastle to stay at my house while he did the vocals on 'Tour Guide' album. We had a great time. He sang great, and we got on like a house on fire. Terry stayed with me until October 4th, when he finished up his last bit of vocals. Fine performances indeed. Thanks Sless. Have a safe Train journey back up to Newcastle. I actually gave him £120 for doing this, since it is a Rabbit solo album and 'not' a Crawler album, it's only right that he gets paid something, however small. Cheers Sless.
October 5th - psycho session. I cancelled again. Fuck it!
October 8th - Today I signed a contract with David Spiers and Keyfax Software Company for my 1st "Master Series" Midi File Rock and Country Piano computer disk. You load these short files into your Music Sequencer, and choose from various piano styles that I recorded as Midi Files. Then you can add them to your own songs, but have me playing on your tune. Nifty, but useless!
October 15th - I did a gig with Snowy White at the Bottom Line Club in Shepherds Bush, London. It was a 'freebie', and a tribute to 'Peter Green'. Me and Snowy just got up and did a number or 2. Whoops! I got a little bit drunk. Don't do it again, rabbit!
October 17th - Slesser came back down to do some more singing on Tour Guide, and to repair some of the previous vocals.
October 19th - This is the Final day of recording work on Tour Guide. It's all done but the mixing. Ready to Mix.
October 23rd - Started working on a Rabbit Classical solo album.
November 1st - Psycho session. I cancelled again. Still working on my Classical album, and I can't be bothered to go.
November 6th - November 12th - I went back down to Studio 25 and helped Ian Herron Mix my album 'Tour Guide'. It went great and the whole trip was a nice break for me and Sue. I really just layed around on the couch, dozing, while Ian did the mixing. It was a cool thing to do. You've produced all this music, and now you can just sit back, relax, and let someone else make you sound good. Too cool man!
November 15th - 'Tour Guide' is a;; mixed, done and dusted and is now being sent off for mastering to CD. Well done Ian Herron. Brilliant job.
November 17th - I sent Rob Corich the Master Dat of Tour Guide to get Mastered properly to CD. I also started working on another album of mine, called 'Mocassin Warrior'. In fact I spent the rest of this year working on Mocassin Warrior.
December 2nd - Psycho session. Okay, let's try it again. I'm still as fucked up as I was when I started these sessions. They ain't doing shit!
December 12th - Psycho session. Cancelled. The car hose pipe broke on the way, so I had to cancell and spend the day getting the car fixed instead. Yipee!
December 14th - 'Tour Guide' was Mastered from Dat today at'CTS' Studios in London. Mike Brown did the business on it, engineering the thing to it's present glory now on CD.
December 20th - Psycho session. Okay man!
December 25th - Merry Christmas to all, from the now insane Rab. I've been signing on the Dole most of all this year, so I ain't really got a 'pot to piss in', as the saying goes.
So you can see that there's been quite a lot of activity this year, although all on a small scale. Loads of Psycho sessions, none of which did me any good at all. I wound up loathing the Psychologist, and my thoughts on him are that he needs to find another job, or just call it a day period, and go sit on the river somewhere and daydream all day. Tour Guide is out and I'm proud of that, and I thank my many friends for helping me out through this whole lop-sided year. Roll on 1996!