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8 Jun 2008

Guy Babylon Fansite. Interview with his owner: the great Jan Kemp

Guy Babylon has been touring with Elton since 1988. Apart for Davey and Nigel, is one of the oldest of the band. He's an incredible musician, an orchestral wizard as Elton definated sometime. I was wondering if it was a website about him and... it is!! It's an incredible website, all about Babylon, on: I have the honour to interview his owner. Hello Jan, thank you very much for the acceptation.

In truth, I really love your website, Jan. We can read: "This is a fan site in appreciation of the talents of Guy Babylon, keyboardist for the Elton John band". He is a talented boy of course, with a solid formation. How could you define Babylon as Keyboardist?

Guy is a multi-keyboardist, he programs a number of keyboards to represent strings, bass, horns, etc., as well as use of the synthesizers, to re-create the rich orchestral sounds of Elton's earlier works, as well as to fill in on more modern recordings. He plays four separate keyboards at a time, using not only the four boards, but also his feet! He is highly respected in his field and continues to amaze me as I watch him play!

Great!!! How Davey Johnstone met Babylon? I think it was on a Davey's self-produced session but, what's the story of this meeting and how he got in Elton's band?

As Guy has told it, Davey was producing a band called Jace, which Guy had previously worked with. The band had asked Davey if it was alright to invite Guy to play keyboards on the session and Davey said yes. Per Guy, he and Davey got on well during the session, but he didn't talk to him after that, until about a year or so later when Davey called to ask Guy if he would be interested in doing some live stuff with Elton. As Guy often says, his motto is to always be ready for anything, so he jumped at the chance. Can you even imagine Elton's band today without Guy?

Fantastic! Is Guy Babylon he's real name? In the 1989 World-Tour, in his presentation, articulist wrote "he insists that's his real name". Is that so?

Yes, he is listed in his high school yearbook as Guy G. Babylon.

I figured! What's the process of the rehearsals? I mean... Elton give them free hand to work? Are the band preparing the songs before Elton come in? Who decides the songs of the set lists and if Elton isn't in the rehearsals... who sings?

Guy has previously mentioned that there isn't much rehearsal - the current band has been together for quite a long time and works well together. I believe for the Captain and the Kid tour, the band rehearsed a couple of days, and Elton joined them for one or two days, and off they went on the road. Davey is the musical director, he and Elton discuss the songs for each tour, but Elton is the boss and ultimately decides what stays in the set list and what doesn't.

Wow! What is Babylon doing when he's not touring? He's an impressario, is he?

Guy is definitely a keyboard impressario! Unfortunately for Guy, he doesn't have much free time and Elton is constantly touring. He does have his own recording studio and per Davey Johnstone, Guy and Davey have been working on some material that we hope to hear sometime in the near future! Guy also enjoys bike riding, swimming, and music!

Explain us, please, what we could find in your great website. I really like "Music", with all his discography, and the variety of photos you have. It's very complete website, with all the information we need. He co-wrote a song with Ken Stacey called "She Is", an incredible ballad. I didn't know that.

Thanks so much, I try to keep the web site current, so if Guy is touring with Elton, I like to include some news and photos from the tour. I am also in touch with Guy about a few items to add to the site, although he is quite busy and on the road, so it may be a while before he is able to do that. In the meantime, if you see Elton in concert and are able to get some photos of Guy, I would be happy to post them on my web site! Regarding the song Guy co-wrote with Ken Stacey, Ken plans to release his new album this summer, so keep an eye open! Ken's web site is and I am sure he will post details as soon as the album is released. The song She Is was recorded by Guy in his studio and I have heard it, it is a beautiful song. As you may remember, Ken was briefly a member of the Elton John band, playing acoustic guitar and singing backing vocals.

Oh, finally, could you tell me which are your favourite top five Elton's songs, in running order, for my AllSongsList, please?

Hard to pick five songs, with Elton's huge catalogue! But here goes:

Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Philadelphia Freedom
Blue Eyes

Thank you very much for sharing with us your time, Jan. A really pleasure to chat a little with you. I will never forget that. Is there something you would like to say to the eltonites?

Thanks so much for the opportunity, I hope everyone stops by to learn a little more about Guy, he usually stays in the background but he is a huge talent and definitely deserves some recognition!

Thanks a lot!!

You're welcome. Lovely experience!!!

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