NME Interview by Steve Clarke 1973
There’s this feeling of energetic youthfulness about John Bundrick, better known as ‘Rabbit’. He says he’s the ugliest dude in town – but I’ll just say he’s got ‘buckteeth’, hence the nickname. Rabbit has been a member of Free since Andy Frazier quit. But, Free alone isn ’t enough to satisfy Rabbit’s music making appetite. As well as playing keyboards on just about every third album Island release, and making guest appearances on other record companies albums, such as Donovan ’s ‘Cosmic Wheels’, Rabbit has also just completed his first ‘solo’ album, “Broken Arrows”, due for release by Island at the beginning of May. Did he think he added much to Free? - “Yeah, I do. I don’t think I’m the reason for any new success they might have, but I like to feel that I’ve added something special to the group." - Rabbit’s position in Free is not an easy one to define. Did he consider himself a fully-fledged member of the band? - “Gee wiz, with me that’s a very general thing, being a member of a band. Y’know, I do a lot of other things too. I’m a member of Free when they want me to come in with them, but I don’t rely on it. I like not to have to depend on It.”
Rabbit’s introduction to music was at the age of seven, when he took piano lessons. After a few years, he found himself looking for a simpler kind of music. - “Classical music was getting to be too much to handle, technically, so I turned to Country and Western piano, a-la ‘Floyd Cramer’ style piano playing.” - He discovered Rock music while in High School. He names his biggest influence as The Recording Studio. - “There’s been a lot of influences, but the Studio has to be the ‘Big One’. It’s been like a second home. I feel I can gather my sanity there. On stage I’m inexperienced, but in the ‘Studio’ ‘Free’ aren’t as experience as I am. They’ve done a lot of albums, but they haven’t experimented very much. They haven’t gone out of their way to make it possible to use different facets and areas of the studio. Session musicians are open to anything. It ’s what being in the studio is all about. You see, I like to work for people and to also watch them work. I learn from them in order to help myself work. I ’m totally dependent on other people and how they go about their methods of working. I mean, when you go into a studio, you know you ’re there as a ‘tool’. You’re hired because ‘they’ have an idea. A producer has an idea, and he knows he can’t do it but that ‘you’ can. He doesn’t want you to come in and control the idea. That’s what he’s being paid to do.” - Did he ever think he wants to do his own thing all the time, and not play on other people ’s records? - “It’s possible”.
On his solo album, ‘Broken Arrows’, he says – “Broken Arrows” is about a land where people used to live, and everything that they had lived for has been broken into ”. - Did he feel strongly about the Red Indian problem? – “Not strong enough to get heavy into it. It’s just a regret that I feel. They’ve become a ‘relic’ of history. The only thing that people know about Indians is what they see on TV ”. - Rabbit is a real and very fresh talent, as a songwriter particularly, but his good soulful vocals and deep knowledge and flair on keyboards make him a very serious performer.