“We hit play, and the opening chords of Yes’ Rhythm Of Love sounded exactly like the beginning of the first song on my album. I thought we’d stuck in the wrong tape!” Jason Becker loves Trevor Rabin’s work

Jason Becker and Trevor Rabin
(Image credit: Paul Haggard / Getty Images)

Six years before Trevor Rabin was heard on Jason Becker’s 2018 album Triumphant Hearts, the former David Lee Roth guitarist and soundtrack composer – whose live career was cut short in 1989 by Lou Gehrig’s disease – told Prog about his passion for Rabin’s work, in and out of Yes.

My Cacophony bandmate Marty Friedman and I were driving to the studio to record our solo albums. I was 17 years old and had a little portable cassette player, and someone had made Marty a tape of Yes’ 90125 and Big Generator. We hit play, and the opening chords of Rhythm Of Love sounded exactly like the beginning of the first song on my album, Altitudes. I thought we’d stuck in the wrong tape!

We proceeded to go crazy over all Trevor Rabin’s tasteful, kick-ass, creative licks. We loved the songs and his beautiful tone, too. I was an instant fan. Marty and I loved doing weird and unpredictable shit, but we always wanted there to be some kind of melody in there too. So we really appreciated what Trevor did with Yes.

He’s definitely underrated. He has soul, and I love that he’s eclectic but still feels it all in his heart. On my song Electric Prayer For Peace, I borrowed one of his Yes licks for the end of a repeating horn section.

I have always loved it when players like Jeff Beck and Roy Buchanan played soft, sweet melodies with a beautiful, passionate energy and feel. Trevor can do that too – he can make me tear up! We have the soundtrack thing in common. So often, when I’m digging the music in a movie I’ll find out it is him. 

I do love Steve Howe too, of course. I remember my friend in high school asked me to learn Roundabout. Damn, that was hard! Howe improved my chops and ears, but as for the tunes and what I prefer to listen to, it’s Trevor.

Unfortunately I haven’t seen him live, but I’d love to meet him! I think [2012 album] Jacaranda is brilliant. I’d have preferred a few more beautiful guitar melodies, but it’s still magnificent. His album Can’t Look Away is great too. I also think Yes’ Talk album is brilliant. Maybe that’s the one I’d recommend.

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.