The Long Bio
Rabbit Official CBS Biography - Circa 1976
RABBIT doesn't play to an audience...it takes them by shock tactics! And it's new CBS album "Too Much Rock 'n' Roll" has captured this technique on record. From the first thundering foot stamp, Rabbit and award winning producer Peter Dawkins, create an atmosphere of urgency and revolt which is basic to its style of Brute Rock. (what the fuck is brute rock?)
On record Rabbit take rock to a new level with intricate and tight arrangements based on a compulsively heavy but flowing rhythm style. To this they add two head-shredding guitars, each of which has enough tonnage of raw guts to move even the most sterile listener.
The third layer is vocals, which vary from the almost sweet four part harmonies to the searing solo style of Welsh singer Dave Evans. The band prides itself on the fact that it can reproduce everything it does in the studio on stage and still carry out its violently contortionist stage act. The band's physical presence is heightened by its light and effects show, which is as tightly co-ordinated with the music as each member's choreographed gyrations. On stage the Brute Rock theme is over-powering and the prime force in this is its lead vocalist.
Dave Evans makes no apologies for the unveiled aggression of his voice, movement and song lyrics. "Rock and violence are closely connected," he says, "I used to try to strangle my aggression on stage - but since I've been in Rabbit I've found it impossible. When you play music like ours, you've got to be honest enough to realise that violence is a part of everyone's personality - and they want to turn it loose. Kids in today's world - especially girls - are told not to. That's why we use shock tactics."
Dave commits his whole - mind, body and energy - to each performance and the result is saturation level rock. "Our music is nothing if it isn't taken to the limit, " he says. "If we can't let go, how can we expect our audience?" For Dave "letting go" is pushing his body to the point of agony and his voice to the extreme of forcefulness.
But guitarist Mark Tinson looks at the band's ability to stun from a different angle. He began his musical career as a child pianist but by his early teens his interest in guitar and heavy rock superseded Chopin and keyboards. His musical studies have left a stigma of intricacy on the group's compositions and production. "The classical composers were really into the same thing as us. They just couldn't admit that escapism is what it's all about and they didn't have the electrical power - or the personality - to push their audience to the heights of a rock experience." Mark sees himself predominantly as a composer and arranger, but his lithesome stage act and intensely raw guitar are an intrical part of Rabbit's live act. He also controls the band's on stage production effects and sings many of the harmonies.
The most recent addition to the band is lead guitarist David Hinds, his solo's peak the Rabbit sensation and his strong singing adds force to the band's vocal arrangements. "Like the rest of the band, I think rock and roll should be taken to the extreme," he says, "Too much rock'n'roll drives you crazy, like our song says, but everybody is grasping for that insanity. I try to play my solos so they tear my head apart - and I hope they do the same to the audience." David's cherubic looks contrast with the band's tough image - but his music is definitely brutish.
Bass player Jim Porteus tends to take a more intellectual view of the band's aims. "I see the whole group thing as being tied up with the revolution that every adolescent goes through," he says. "Rock is a revolt, from school, from repressing parents, from mediocrity - for us, 'Too Much Rock'n'Roll' is not only a satisfying sensual phenomenon, it is survival as individuals. For our audience it is a meter of the depth of their own feelings...we can ship up more emotion in one hour than they can release in a month in suburbia."
Revolt is not new for drummer, Phil Screen, when he was 16 he ran away from home to join the navy. He stayed long enough to get a few tattoos and a boiling resentment of authority. "The navy decided I was crazy, so they sent me to hospital - a shrink told me to play drums for therapy - and I've been playing my way to sanity ever since."
Rabbit is heavily committed to a vigorous timetable - covering shows and clubs in Sydney and Melbourne over the next couple of months and in September will be commencing an incredible three-month journey through the country areas. They're looking forward to playing as many gigs as they can fit in because they're into the Australian scene and like nothing better than turning on an audience.
Another Bio I found trolling the net.
- Formed: 1973
- Style: Glam rock.
- Original line-up: Mark Tinson (g, v), Jim Porteus (b, v), Phil Screen (d), Greg Douglas (v)
- Rabbit albums: "Rabbit" (CBS, 1975), "Too Much Rock'n'Roll" (CBS, 1976)
- Dave Evans album: "Dave Evans and Thunder Down Under" (Reaction/RCA, 1986).
Newcastle (NSW) band Rabbit originally formed as a three-piece performing material by the likes of Alice Cooper, The Who and The Move, plus tentative originals in the same vein. In 1974, Greg Douglas joined as lead singer. The more outrageous Dave Evans, who had just been ousted from AC/DC, replaced Douglas as lead singer in October 1974. Evans was known for his self-proclaimed `rampant heterosexuality' and over-the-top theatrical performances. Rabbit adopted a thumping brand of commercial glam-boogie (somewhere between US groups like Kiss and Brownsville Station) and the members decked themselves out in bare-chested silk blouses, spandex leggings and stack- heeled boots.
Rabbit swiftly became Newcastle's foremost rock attraction. The climax of the band's shows came with Phil Screen's spectacular fire-breathing displays (à la Gene Simmons from Kiss). The band moved to Sydney and soon rivalled Hush in the glam stakes. Rabbit signed to CBS and issued the album "Rabbit", which produced two singles, `Lady La Di Da'/`Marvel Man' (October 1975) and `Running Bear'/`Let's Go Rock'n'Rollin' Tonight' (December). With the release of the album, Dave Hinds (ex-Father Mouse, Hot Ice, Marshall Brothers Band and Highway) expanded the band's line-up by joining as lead guitarist. Rabbit followed up its tentative debut with the Australian glam-rock apotheosis (or nadir, depending on your viewpoint), "Too Much Rock'n'Roll". The album produced two hard-rockin' singles, `Too Much Rock'n'Roll'/ `Shake that Thing' (February 1976) and `Wildfire'/`Bad Girls' (July). Rabbit appeared on the ABC-TV's pop show Countdown, and set off on a national tour with the Ted Mulry Gang.
In early 1977, founder members Mark Tinson and Phil Screen left the band. Only Screen was replaced (by Barry Lytten) and the band continued as a four-piece. Rabbit issued one more single, a cover of "Paul Revere and the Raiders" `Let Me'/`Kiss Me Goodnight' (July 1977), but by the end of the year was on shaky ground.
Album Review 'Too Much Rock'n'Roll'
Vicious Kitten, Issue 9, Nov/Dec 1998
Why is it that collectores of records will pay massive amounts for Australian progressive rock (i.e. laid-back early 70's music with flutes made by fat stoned dudes with beards), Australian 60's beat or Australian 70's punk, but consider themselves too serious to check out some of the amazing rock and roll made by 70's glam rock-stars in Australia? Take Feather, Finch, Hush and of course the band we are reviewing here - the great Rabbit. What is their fucking problem? The problem is that these train spotting, ant farming collectors are full of shit cause this record, their second, is a killer heavy-rock masterpiece!!
If you enjoyed classic-era Sweet (before they grew moustaches and started suing keyboards) and early Kiss (before they started doing ballads and fake live albums) then you will flip-out over this record. A previous issue of Vicious Kitten reviewed the first Rabbit album and there are a few slight differences in the two albums. "Too Much Rock'n'Roll" was recorded at one of the most famous studios in Sydney - Alberts (AC/DC, Rosey Tatts, etc.) and the sound is not quite as raw as the first LP. The band were joined by an additional guitarist in David Hinds - who after Rabbit went on to join Finch with ex-AC/DC bass player Mark Evans, but that's another album review.
Kiss and The Sweet still appear to be big musical influences on the music. Firstly the front cover...the five band members all dressed to kill in stack heel hell and then the music - the opening intro a chant version of "Too Much Rock'n'Roll" with five pairs of boots stomping!! Then it's straight into "Higher Than A Kite" which starts like "Ballroom Blitz" on speed but comes into its own once the vocals kick in. "...I can hear my baby calling but I can't even see that far..." - cool lyrics or what?! There are a few slightly poppier sounding tracks like "Go Down Screaming" which has a T-Rex-meets-AC/DC vibe to it and "Keep On" (not the Brady Bunch song) yet there's also some hammer-riff classics like "Bad Girls" and of course the title track (which is not unlike the the Kiss song "Deuce" which isn't a bad thing).
As great an album as this is, the best way to experience Rabbit (second only to boarding the time-machine bound for a seedy Newcastle nightclub in 1975) is on a bootleg video which features a 1974 thirty minute TV special where the band plays live tracks from the first LP and also a one off re-union gig from the early 90's. Yes they are all a bit fatter and older but it still rocked as wild as ever - or as Al Bundy once told me "If you've got it, you've got it."
- Steven Danno