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20 Oct 2011

Happy Birthday, Ben Babylon!!!!

"She packed my bags last night pre-flight / Zero hours nine a.m. / and I am gonna be high as a kite by then", Jack Rabbit's whispering. Long journey today to the stars. Explain us the purpose of this tour along, basically, UK and US. I guess you have special guests with you, tonight. Ahh! Ok! It's Ben Babylon's Birthday and you have some people wanting to share time with him. That's ok, Rabbit! And also there's the release of the first single of the album. Wow!! We're ready for what you got.!!!

John Jorgenson
Liverpool, UK

Currently touring UK with his band. After a few gigs in Scotland, he performed a benefit concert in Stockport for his friend Stuart Fraser Thompson's Memorial Foundation, who passed away earlier this year. Andy MacKenzie featured and played a few gypsy jazz duets with him. Wednesday night playing in Liverpool, then Friday in Milton Keynes and finally back to the US on Saturday. Hi John, I am sure you know about the release of Ben Babyon's new album, early next year.

"I am already very proud of Ben, as his father is, for the way he is going for his music! To be this driven and accomplished at such a young age bodes well for a very good future. I look forward to seeing Ben develop as an artist and performer, and I think I speak for the many fans and supporters that he already has! Bravo Ben!"

Kiki Dee
Derbyshire, UK

Tourin' with Carmelo Luggeri in Europe. Since they first started working together 9 years ago, Carmelo and Kiki have been on a journey that has not only resulted in beautiful music that speaks straight to the heart, but also on a road of growing and learning for the guitarist and vocalist. They are equally at home doing an acoustic arrangement of a known song or experimenting with Indian drones and tablas. Also, the Fontana Years has been released featuring Kiki's first recordings from the 60's on CD for the first time from the 60's on CD for the first time. You know about Ben, right?

"I realize he is Guys son and I am wishing Ben all the very best with his music and Love and happiness in his future".

Charlie Morgan
Nashville, Tennessee

Still with playing regular shows with Orleans, and the Rock & Pop Masters (RPM). RPM visited Iraq/Kuwait last year, playing 5 gigs for the troops. His studio, in the Nashville house, is going strong: since the succesful album with mexican Manuel Mijares, a number of Latin artists have asked to do the same treatment for them. Also he'd developed a drum game "App" for the iPhone and iPad: Drums Challenge.

"Ben, I know you are embarking on your first major album project. This is both exciting and probably a little nerve wracking! I just wanted to wish you "good luck" - have fun, put your heart into it (as I know you will), and if you need any help or advice, please don't hesitate to ask!"

Natalie Jackson aka Kudisan Kai
Boston, Massachusets

The range of artists with whom Kudisan includes Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Joe Cocker, Saliva, Mary J. Blige, and Powerman 5000. She can be heard in a host of television and radio commercials, as well as movies like Dreamworks El Dorado, Disney's Dinosaurs, Ali, and John Singletons Dark Blue, working with top-rated music producers such as James Newton Howard, John Powell and others. Kudisan, who also teaches in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music, had released her own Hard Rock EP entitled Confessions.

"I am really excited for Ben's first debut album. He is truly a gifted musician. I can hear Elton and his dad's influences throughout his artistry. His message is powerful and I think he is destined to becoming a true star".

Kathryn Keats

She continues to write and record and is completing a new CD she is co writing with producer, Narada Michael Walden. Keats has created a theatrical concert playing such well-known venues as Yoshi’s Jazz Club, Oakland, Ca., Knitting Factory, Los Angeles, the Bitter End, NYC and the Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley, Ca. It is a theatrical concert filled with joy, humor, and a ton of love. Also, she is working on book about her experiences in hope to inspire others.

"I am so happy for Ben! His first CD is, no doubt, going to be amazing! What a brilliant light!"

Ken Stacey
Los Angeles, California

Ken was in the last season of American Idol as a vocal coach, vocal producer and arranger. Ken was instrumental in putting Scotty McCreery through the first round of judging during season 10 and helped Scotty find his upper range which played a key role in his success on the show! Also, Stacey collaborate at the University of Rock and Roll, which features a variety of musical education programs by world-class musicians from Rockers Collective.

"I am very proud of Ben! I know he carries his Dad's soul in his music. Ben is an extraordinary young man who has taken his God given talent to great heights because of his hard work and passionate commitment! There are many, many people who find Ben a true inspiration! I wish him so much success... he deserves it!"

Bill Trudell
Mar Vista, California

"I like to write sometimes, but now I'm in the studio 6 days a week writing songs and producing new artist for film and television". Trudell also co-own a few on-line companies and A new song from Michael Thompson/ Billy Trudel "Don't Take This Love", a little soul with a pop edge, is available to download. Trudell performed live with Ben Babylon and was quite surprised:

"I remember walking into Guy Babylons studio to work on a song for an up coming gig we were doing to raise money for the school, Davey and Guys kids went to. I was told that Guy and Kathy's youngest son Ben would be performing the song Baba O'Reilly with me and thought, what a cute idea it was to have him play with us. When Ben came into the studio to go over the song, I sat a watched him play and my jaw hit the ground. He was amazing, a star in the making. And now to watch him grow into this young man ready to take on the world, only makes me happy. I wish Ben Babylon all the best there is in this world of music. Ben, you are a true musician, a wonderful son to your mom and dad and will always be my friend. You have truly carried the torch for your dad, and I know he is there with a very proud heart watching you become everything he wanted you to be. I look forward to hearing all your music for many years to come. Big hugs to my brother".

Fred Anderson
Los Angeles, California

Ben Babylon's publicist. Also a writer, producer, media consultant: "I am not a musician, but I know what I like, and I like Ben Babylon's music! I recognized his talent the first time I heard "Goodbye Superman," and he just keeps getting better" says about Ben, while adding: "He writes and plays with the passion of a rock star and the discipline of a classical artist. He has the self-confidence he needs to succeed, without being arrogant. It is an honor to be associated with him and his mother, Kathy, and I am proud to call them friends". No one could describe best Ben. Could you share something about the recording session, Fred?

"I had the privilege of being in the studio with Ben during one recording session, when Nigel Olsson came in to lay down drum tracks for the song "Contradiction". It was an honor to be in the room with such a rock legend as Nigel, and to watch him work. Jesse Johnstone was engineering the session. He is very meticulous, and he has a great sense of humor. To be around these professionals, in the very studio where the late Guy Babylon created so much of his own music was humbling. It was a day I will never forget, especially whenever I listen to "Contradiction".

"Contradiciton", the first single of the album, available on itunes for Ben's Birthday.

"I have only heard a few songs that are going to be on Ben's album. "Contradiction" has a great melody and excellent, hard-driving guitar riffs by Davey Johnstone. I really think people are going to love it. Another song I like is "No Goodbyes On the Road," which was inspired by something that Ben's father used to say. "Us" is a fun, very fast song, which I think will surprise many people. And, of course, I have always been impressed by Ben's epic tribute to his father, "Goodbye Superman." I have not yet heard the new version that will be on the album, but with members of the Elton John Band backing Ben, it is sure to be spectacular".

Marlena Jeter
Las Vegas, Nevada

Marlena has recently released "Serenity", an EP which consists of 7 songs, and it was written, arranged, produced & performed by herself. Recently she’ve also been working with Timothy Schmit from the “Eagles”, getting ready to begin touring with him again in December 2011. Marlena has also been a consultant for several Los Angeles based production companies, as well as film projects.

"I'm happy to hear that Ben is about to release his first album. I can't comment on the album itself as I have not yet heard it. What I can say is that once I heard this young man perform, I believed he had a big career ahead. He has so much of his father's touch & talent, & I could hear the Elton John influence... What a combination! It is my opinion that Ben Babylon has something wonderful to share with the world. I send my best wishes to Ben for a successful musical journey!"

Davey Johnstone
Las Vegas, Nevada

Elton John returned to Las Vegas for a three-year headlining gig at Caesars Palace. He was set to perform about 16 shows scheduled through October, on a new show titled "The Million Dollar Piano. At his side, long-time guitarrist Davey Johnstone, was remembering about Ben Babylon's recording sessions.

"On a day off in Germany during our Elton John summer tour, our bassist Bob Birch called and asked if I would put some guitar on one of Ben's tracks. Birchy had already put bass and drums on the song. Our gear was on the way to Berlin, so I went to the local music store to beg the use of a guitar! The guy said, "We do not lend guitars here!" Then the owner who had been at our show the previous night said, "It's cool, Fritz, he's Elton's guitarist!" I still had to pay a $100 deposit for a cool Strat, then I walked back to the hotel, knocked on Bob's door, and we jammed for an hour on Ben's song. Who needs a studio when you have Bob Birch's Mobile Rock Palace!"

Nigel Olsson
Las Vegas, Nevada

Nigel is so special for Ben too. The original drummer of Elton's band has been doing occasional session work, donating his time to various charitable causes and races vintage cars in California, where he lives with his wife Schanda and his son Justin.

"Ben is a true vision of his Dad GUY. He has a long way to go to fill the shoes of a true genius ( His DAD ) but he has the faith Joy and inspiration that will take him to new heights So honored to be part of HIS life. Love you Ben Always. Love Uncle Nigel XXXX"

John Mahon
Las Vegas, Nevada

As Nigel and Davey did, as well as Bob Birch, Mahon was on the recording sessions of the album and Jack Rabbit asked about his impressions to that experience. So, John, what you would like to share with us?

"I just recently played drums and percussion in my studio for a song called "Learning". It's a short concise song and was fun to play. I played drumset and some tamborine, shakers, bell tree, and a little African drums too. Earlier in the year we went to the Babylon's home studio and recorded 2 or 3 songs with Davey Johnstone and Bob Birch. I played drums on those songs. We asked Ben to make some chord charts for the songs because he is young and a bit inexperienced. It's fun to play with him because he is very happy to make music all the time. Songs I would like to talk about? Well, we recorded "Goodbye Superman", and "No Goodbyes On The Road". The first is a song about Ben's dad Guy Babylon and is quite a little masterpiece. It was very fun to play. "Goodbye's" also comes from Guy in way. Guy did not like to say goodbye when we were at the airport getting in our cars to go home. He always would say "there's no goodbye's on the road" - meaning we'll see each other again soon".

John, you have the honor to close Jack Rabbit's journey. Do you have some encouraging words for Ben Babylon, just for him, about the career he’s beginning?

"I think Ben will have a great career in music. He's a good piano player and is writing some interesting songs. He is getting out and playing with musicians which is something any serious musician needs to do. It is very difficult to develop a music career - much more now than in the past because record sales are so low from illegal downloading. If you download songs without paying the musicians for them they can never make a living from making new music for you to hear. I hope Ben gets to see a new business of music in his future".

Thanks so much to all of the guests invited here for their collaboration. All they agreed to do that for Ben as a surprise, so their wishes for Ben are the best way to close the journey.

Me and them, we would like to tell you, Ben Babylon,

we wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY,

and we're ready to buy your new single as soon as it is available. Special thanks to the greatest Fred Anderson for his help, for his work, for his generosity. And finally, to the lovely Kathy Babylon, thanks so much for your efforts, for being there, for being such an extraordinary person. Jack Rabbit!!!! You have to run to the record shop, check out i-tunes, whatever you prefer, but you must have this record, ok?

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