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The Rationals

January 8, 2011


January 8, 2011


Terry Trabandt, bassplayer-singer for the Rationals, died in Florida on December 28th, aged 61. Scott Morgan writes:


This is my worst nightmare. i'll live to a hundred and all my friends will be gone. That said, it ain't about me. It's about my friend and fellow Rational Terry Trabandt.


The first time i was aware of Terry he was in the Ann Arbor News with some other guys who were taking guitar lessons. After Steve Correl and I started the band, Steve went to military school, so i had to find some new partners in crime until he got back. I started working with Terry and Bill Figg mostly woodshedding. When Steve got back we convinced Terry to play bass and we had the final Rationals lineup.


We started small, playing mostly private parties and sock hops until we met Jeep Holland. One thing i didn't know about Terry was that he could really sing. If you listen to I Need You, Zip a Dee Doo Dah, or Listen To Me, you can hear the perfect blend of harmonies that Terry and Steve could produce. I think Terry played bass better than guitar. His bass lines were always inventive. I always thought every bass player copied James Jamerson but Terry said he got his ideas from the British groups.


Things really clicked for us after we started working with Jeep, and in a short period of time we were recording, doing television with Robin Seymour and touring. We just kept building on that premise. Our first record was a hit in Ann Arbor, our second sounded a lot like the Kinks and the Beatles, but it was our third that put us over the top. It was the flip side of Leaving Here, Respect.


By now we were so popular in Detroit that the cops were beating girls off our van with billy clubs. I was horrified but it lead to us stopping the show at Cobo Hall and having girls carried away, having fainted at Hudsons Auditorium.


Our friend Deon Jackson said Terry had a "do wrong smile". I think he was kidding. When we played the Grande, Terry did the opening remarks saying he was sorry we had these colds. A typical understatement that Rob Tyner heard as "the sun, the moon and the stars".


Terry was the Rationals just as the rest of us. When we broke up in 1970 we went out in a blaze of glory having just released our fist album in a singles based world, but Terry wasn't ready to give up. We started a band and recorded with Fred Smith, Mike Davis, and Bill Figg which played one show opening for Tim Buckley. Then we moved on to Guardian Angel with my brother David and Tex Gabriel. We got John Sinclair and Pete Andrews to manage us and kept the ball rolling with some new bandmates. That phase lasted a few years and Terry moved to Los Angeles with Fred Smith and I right behind him. He moved back to Michigan and soon headed to Germany where he formed a band. He lived in New York for awhile.


In 1991, we had a reunion that lasted for several years. Terry and I were the last ones in that project until about 1993 after we did one last recording session. After that we decided to put the reunion to bed.


I guess I could say a lot of high and mighty things about Terry but the proof is in the pudding and it's all on record. He was a great musician, my friend, and I'm gonna miss him. See ya soon, brother.


Paul Gilbert



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