nato il 20 dicembre del 1956 a New Windsor nel Maryland (USA), e morto improvvisamente per infarto
il 2 settembre 2009 (Los Angeles), mentre nuotava in piscina. Ha iniziato la sua attivitÓ
musicale in California, collaborando a spot, jingles pubblicitari e
iniziative, tra cui quella con gli Iron Butterfly. Nel 1989, entrato in
contatto con il solito Davey Johnstone, fu richiesto a far parte del gruppo
John come tastierista. L'anno successivo partecip˛ anche lui al
Warpipes, insieme a Dave Johnstone, Nigel
Olsson e Bob Birch, che sarebbe diventato il futuro
bassista della Elton John Band. Da allora Ŕ presenza stabile nei tour e in
quasi tutti gli album di Elton. Ha avuto un ruolo predominante nella produzione
dei musical scritti da Elton John e nella realizzazione della colonna sonora The
Muse. Nel 2000 ha
vinto un Grammy Award come co-produttore dell'album del musical
dell'Aida. E' stato il tastierista live di Elton con ben 1351 show al suo attivo, fino alla sua improvvisa morte,
avvenuta nel 2009.
Elton John, in occasione della sua scomparsa, ha dichiarato:
"I am devastated and heartbroken at the death of Guy Babylon. Guy played
over 1000 shows with me, and we worked together on The Road To El
Dorado, Aida, Billy Elliot, Lestat and Gnomeo and Juliet, as well as on
"He was one of the most brilliant musicians I ever
knew, a true genius, a gentle angel - and I loved him so much. David
and I send our deep condolences to Kathy, Max, Ben and Jessica, to
Guy's parents, to Kathy's parents and to all his immediate loved ones."
Guy a Verona il 7 luglio 2009, una delle sue ultime apparizioni live prima della morte improvvisa
da yamaha.com 2006
Longtime Elton John keyboardist Guy Babylon recently saw the culmination of
three years' hard work on the musical Lestat, for which he was musical supervisor.
Lestat, a new Broadway production that opened in April 2006, is based on
Anne Rice's best-selling novel Interview with the Vampire, with songs by Sir
It's not Babylon's first foray into the theatrical world; he also worked on the Elton
John/Tim Rice reinterpretation of the opera A´da, and won a GRAMMY« Award
in 2000 as co-producer of that show's soundtrack album.
has accompanied Elton John for years, but he considers himself a
musical-theater novice. "But I don't necessarily see that as a
weakness," he says. "Na´vetÚ is great—it's part of
what I tried to bring to this show."
For Guy, Lestat's biggest challenge was simply the amount of time it demanded.
"It just never ended!" he laughs. "A show like that is a constantly evolving process.
One thing always hinges on another—for example, the music might get changed,
not because it isn't working as music, but because it's not working with whatever
is going on onstage."
Babylon started work on Lestat in 2003, when Elton John began composing the
score. "He'd come into the studio early and write a song, and then I would spend
the rest of the day creating an arrangement," he recalls. "Elton's guitar player,
Davey Johnstone, was also involved in that process. So it was basically Elton,
Davey, and me in the studio with an engineer. We made pretty elaborate demos of
all these songs. In fact, if you listen to the demos from beginning to end, it sounds
like an album."
Guy also had a hand in crafting arrangements for the final production. "Since I
was with Elton when he wrote the songs, I had first crack at the music," he
explains. "But overall, I'm just a small part of a team of people. We all did
whatever it is we specialize in to make the show as good as possible. I was one of
three orchestrators, along with Steve Margoshes and Bruce Coughlin. I also
worked with an assistant programmer, John Roggie. But Lestat's music director,
Brad Haak, really had the most creative input."
As a longtime user of Yamaha Motif keyboards, Guy knew they'd be perfect for Lestat. "I've been using them from the moment they came out," he says. "I use two
Motifs in my setup with Elton. And since I was in charge of synth programming for Lestat, I decided to use the Motif there too. I used a combination of the Motif's
internal sounds and some sampled ones that I put together myself. The sound of
the Motif is so embedded in this show. I couldn't imagine doing it with any other
The show relies on four Motifs, plus a fifth one for backup. "We have three keyboard
players, and a percussionist who also plays the Motif," Babylon explains. "Jason
DeBord mostly plays the piano parts. Andy Grobengieser plays strings and other
orchestral sounds. JosÚ Simbulan plays a potpourri of harps, synths, harpsichord,
and other things. And our percussionist, Thad Wheeler, plays sampled timpani,
chimes, marimbas, and so on. Now, these guys have played all kinds of keyboards
in all kinds of Broadway shows, and they're absolutely raving about the Motif."
Babylon also praises the keyboard's ruggedness: "One of the things I like most
is the quality of the Motifs. They're built so well, and the keys feel so solid
under your fingers. For Lestat, I felt like I'd never have to worry about the Motifs
Guy is far from idle post-Lestat. He has an ongoing role in Elton John's Red Piano
Concerts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and he recently worked with Sir Elton on
an upcoming studio album. "It's called The Captain and the Kid," says Guy. "It's a
sequel to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, 30 years on."
Babylon and Elton John bassist Bob Birch also scored a recent HBO documentary
about tennis legend Billie Jean King. Once again the Motif played a major role: "We
worked on the music in hotel rooms around the world while touring with Elton. I'd
have a Motif sent up to my room, and compose and record with it and my laptop
computer. I do a lot of my programming on a soft synth called HALion, from
Steinberg, and then translate the HALion files into Motif files."
Whether recording and performing with Elton or at work on musical productions
like Lestat, Guy knows the meaning of the words "team player." "It's important
to mention all the people who have worked so hard on Lestat, in particular,"
he notes. "These are the guys who really made it happen. It's definitely not a