Sounds Magazine Interview

by Rob Telford - 1972

Rabbit is a lanky, misty-eyed Texan who began playing piano because his Mother purposefully steered him into it. “I never did get involved playing with High School bands the way a lot of the other kids did ”, he said through a goofy grin. “It was, like, the thing to do, but I just drifted around and played a lot of different things without settling very long in one groove. I worked for about two and a half years, though, with Johnny Nash and that was the longest time I have stuck with anything.”

Rabbit had heard from his friend, ‘Rebop Kwakuba’, that Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke, of the disbanded group ‘Free’, wanted to do an album and advised him to come and have a ‘blow’ to see how things would turn out. “I didn’t really know them too well. I’d met them a couple of times and got drunk with them, but that was about it. I hadn’t played any music with them at all.”

The ‘Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu, Rabbit’ album took about three months to complete, and Rabbit had written a fair amount of material which showed him to be pretty much in time with the ideas of the rest of the band, and it also proved him to be an exceptionally fine keyboards player and singer.

After this came the reformation of ‘Free’ with Rabbit on keys, Tetsu Yamahuchi on bass, and Simon on drums, Kossoff on guitar, and the re-entry of the fabulous Paul Rodgers on vocals. “I liked all of the past ‘Free’ albums, but only to a certain point. There seemed to be something missing somewhere. I don’t even know what it was, but they just never seemed to top themselves. There’s more space within the group now to be able to play the songs better. Like, there are two guitars with Koss leading and Rodgers playing rhythm and me on piano. There’s just more scope now.”

As far as how long will this rendition of ‘Free’ last, Rabbit says, “It will last until it has finished. Their last band broke up because they’d kinda dried up. They’d been following a direction throughout all the albums, but it was something they couldn't work on forever, so when they reached a certain point, they split. I guess it will be the same with this band.”

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