Robin Trower life and biography

Robin Trower picture, image, poster

Robin Trower biography

Date of birth : 1945-03-09
Date of death : -
Birthplace : London, England
Nationality : English
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-02-27
Credited as : Rock guitarist, vocalist, Procol Harum

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Robin Leonard Trower, known professionally as Robin Trower, is an English rock guitarist and vocalist who achieved success with Procol Harum during the 1960s, and then again as the bandleader of his own power trio.

Robin Trower began his career in the 1960s with the band Procol Harum, whose enigmatic lyrics and evocative sound typified and exemplified for many an era of experimentation and idyllic hopes. Deeply inspired by the blues as well as his contemporaries, including rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, Trower eventually struck out on his own. In doing so he launched himself on a journey peppered with success and failure, but one on which he always remained true to his own particular brand of rock guitar.

Critical reaction to Trower has varied from laudatory to impatient. In a 2000 review from the Augusta Chronicle, Tharon A. Giddens described Trower's style: "[He] continues to deliver tasty, dense metal blues guitar expected of a Hendrix acolyte." David Sinclair of the London Times wrote, "Thirty-two years after he released his first album, [he] remains cocooned in an artistic bubble that has proved impervious to all outside developments ... since the mid-1970s." For Trower, the critics be damned, it's the fans that count. His loyal fan base has sold out his venues, bought his records, and helped run his website. Trower has more than 30 years of solo performing under his belt, and has released more than 20 solo albums.

Trower was born March 9, 1945, in London, England. He was fortunate enough to be the son of parents with an inherent interest in music. From 1959 to 1963 Trower's parents, Len and Shirley, operated a coffee house in their basement called the Shades, which catered to the burgeoning "Mods" scene---one that focused on fashion, music, and an urban sensibility. Around this time Trower began his career as a musician playing in a rhythm-and-blues-influenced band called the Paramounts. The Paramounts recorded a few singles and then disbanded in 1965.

In 1967 Gary Brooker, one of the original members of the Paramounts, needed a band to perform and tour in support of some songs he had co-written and recorded. Trower and B.J. Wilson, also of the Paramounts, joined Brooker, along with Matthew Fisher on organ and David Knights on bass, to form Procol Harum. Trower played with Procol Harum for a few years, but left in 1971 to go solo. He explained his reason for leaving Procol Harum to Alan Sculley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "I was starting to write more and more material. ... which obviously was all guitar music. There just wasn't the room in Procol Harum for it." Trower went from the moody off-kilter romanticism of Procol Harum to develop his own hard-edged blues-influenced style of guitar playing.

Trower tried forming another band in 1971, called Jude, but it didn't last long, and the format just didn't seem to work for Trower. That was when he decided to become a solo artist. He organized a backup group that consisted of talented and dedicated musicians, many of whom became mainstays of his band. This included singer and bassist James Dewar and Bill Lordan on drums.

In 1973 Trower's first solo album, Twice Removed From Yesterday, was released. It contained the singles "I Can't Wait Much Longer" and "Hannah." It did not become a hit, but the lack of attention wouldn't last long. The following year his album Bridge of Sighs was released. Bridge of Sighs became a hit, and still remains a necessary addition to any collection of early 1970s guitar music. Popular singles from Bridge of Sighs included "Day of the Eagle," "Too Rolling Stoned," and "Bridge of Sighs." His follow-up album, For Earth Below, was also successful. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s he released records almost annually and filled stadiums with his energetic, spiraling guitar playing. Bruce Madden of the Grand Rapids Press described the style that was specifically Trower's: "Trower's solo albums merged blues, controlled feedback, ethereal soundscapes and wah-wah peddle assaults."
While Trower was productive, almost prolific, during the 1970s, by the 1980s his popularity had begun to wane. He continued to produce albums, collaborating with other artists such as Lordan and Jack Bruce. But by the late 1980s Trower felt a need to delve into new material. He had started writing more lyrics and was feeling a need to sing as well.

His journey eventually brought Trower to a crossroads. He wanted to record a blues album, but couldn't find a record company. He explained to Madden, "I couldn't get any major label, or even a minor one, interested in me doing a blues album." That led Trower to the decision to create his own label. In the early 1990s Trower formed the record label V-12. After exploring different sounds throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s that left him unsatisfied, Trower wanted to focus more on the traditional style of blues and its influence on his music.

In 1994 he released 20th Century Blues, a collection of his own works, with Livingstone Brown delivering vocals. Three years later he released Someday Blues. He told Curtis Ross of the Tampa Tribune about his intentions with this album: "How can you top B.B. King, Albert King, and Otis Rush? ... my goal isn't to 'top' anyone, but to draw on my love of blues." Trower described to Madden the satisfaction of working on his own label: "Being able to have my own label is about being able to make the tracks I want to make." He further described what playing the blues means to him: "With blues, I'm trying to get to a place, it's like an attitude, an atmosphere. ... when you hit it---it's the most satisfying thing." With 40 years of performing under his belt, Trower seems to have found a place in the pantheon of rock guitar stars. His talent has remained consistent and so has the adoration he receives from fans around the world.

Trower's album, Living Out of Time (2003), features the return of veteran bandmates Dave Bronze on bass, vocalist Davey Pattison (formerly with Ronnie Montrose's band Gamma) and Pete Thompson on drums—the same lineup as the mid 1980s albums Passion and Take What You Need.

With the same bandmates Trower gave a concert on his 60th birthday in Bonn, Germany. The concert was recorded by the German television channel WDR. It was then released on DVD and subsequently on CD throughout Europe and later the US under the title Living Out Of Time: Live. Trower toured the United States and Canada in the summer and autumn of 2006.
In 2007 Trower released a third recording with Jack Bruce, Seven Moons, featuring Gary Husband on drums.

A 2008 world tour began in Ft. Pierce, Florida on 16 January 2008. Joining Davey Pattison and Pete Thompson was Glenn Letsch (formerly of Gamma) playing bass. European dates began in April. The 29 March 2008 show at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan was released as a double album on V12 Records.

With Procol Harum:
1967 Procol Harum
1968 Shine on Brightly (Trower sings backup on "Wish Me Well")
1969 A Salty Dog (Trower sings lead on "Crucifiction Lane")
1970 Ain't Nothin' to Get Excited About (members of Procol Harum, as Liquorice John Death)
1970 Home
1971 Broken Barricades
1991 The Prodigal Stranger
1995 The Long Goodbye

With Robin Trower Band:
1973 Twice Removed from Yesterday - Certified Gold by RIAA
1974 Bridge of Sighs - Certified Gold by RIAA
1975 For Earth Below - Certified Gold by RIAA
1976 Robin Trower Live
1976 Long Misty Days - Certified Gold by RIAA
1977 In City Dreams - Certified Gold by RIAA
1978 Caravan to Midnight
1979 Victims of the Fury
1983 Back It Up
1985 Beyond the Mist
1987 Passion
1988 Take What You Need
1990 In the Line of Fire
1991 Essential Robin Trower
1992 Live in Concert
1994 20th Century Blues
1996 In Concert
1996 King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Robin Trower
1997 Someday Blues
1999 This Was Now '74-'98
2000 Go My Way
2004 Living Out of Time
2005 Living Out Of Time: Live (Note: Also available on DVD)
2005 Another Days Blues
2008 RT@RO.08
2009 What Lies Beneath
2010 The Playful Heart
2011 Robin Trower at The BBC 1973-1975

With Bryan Ferry
1993 Taxi (Bryan Ferry)
1994 Mamouna (Bryan Ferry)
2007 Dylanesque (Bryan Ferry)

With Jack Bruce
1981 B.L.T.
1981 Truce
1989 No Stopping Anytime (compilation)
2008 Seven Moons
2009 Seven Moons Live (live)

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