Ooriginally from Ottawa, Telemann played the local circuit in the mid 70’s and quickly gained a reputation for their slick combination for a harder-edged melodic style. They eventually settled on the ‘big rock band sound’ with singer Les Nadeau, guitarist David Aplin, Dave Kirby on keyboard, bassplayer Ron Smith, and Scott Jefferson Steck on drums. Last to join the troops was Toronto guitarist John Albani. By 1979 they’d moved on to the Toronto circuit and replaced Kirby with Les Paulhus and Smith with Chris Brockway on bass, who’d been lured away from his band Rhinegold, which featured Lawrence Gowan. They carved a niche for themselves over the next year or so and their ‘quasi-heavy Styx’ sound doing a lot of Kansas and Journey covers and some original works.
They were noticed by Michael Rosen while playing in 1980. He and Elliot Steinberg were starting up a record label, signing them to Attitude Records, and would go on to be the only group to do so. They began recording with Paul Gross at Toronto’s Phase One Studios on Dec 8 (the day John Lennon was assassinated), and were signed to CBS for distribution the next spring. But before it could be released they struck a deal with MCA instead. After convinced to a name change, which the band had to buy the rights to from a friend of their managers (?!?!?!?!), their self-titled debut was released in Canada only the spring of ’81 amid much hype in the general Toronto area, due in part to Bugs Bunny artist Chuck Jones designing the band logo. It was a keyboard-guitar oriented sound and “Any Way Any Time” became the first single.
The album was re-released a year later, this time entitled WROUGH AND WREADY and available worldwide. “Any Way Any Time” was again released as a single, which did better the second time around due to the big label’s backing. Largely written by Albani & Nadeau, other noteables from the record included “Don’t Say Goodnite To Rock and Roll”, “Pushin On” and the second single “Back Home”. The band began touring across upon release, which was getting respectable FM airplay in the Ontario/Northern US area, but the general direction of where their music was going saw Aplin, Paulhus and Steck all leave following the tour which included back-up dates with Black Sabbath. Aplin appeared on Lee Aaron‘s debut later that year.
Wrabit’s next album was TRACKS, still in 1982. Much heavier than it’s predecessor, Gross again produced it, featuring new members Gerald O’Brien on keys and drummer Gary McCracken, who’d left Max Webster the year before and had also toured with Klaatu. The first single “Don’t Lose That Feeling” cracked the Top 40 while the band was on another North American tour, which featured sharing the bill with Rush on the Canadian leg of the tour. They got news that the album was selling better in Japan than at home, prompting the release of “Don’t Stop Me Now” as the next single. A hastily put-together tour of the Orient followed where they scored big with rock-starved audiences everywhere they went.
With new drummer Gary Craig and Lou Pomanti on keyboards, whose credits included working with Triumph, Four Horsemen and Santers, WEST SIDE KID was released in 1984. Serving up another healthy dose of keyboard-backed guitar-rock, the now single-axe attack provided by Albani was most evident in numbers like “Piece Of The Action”, the lead-off “Waiting” and the title track. The band embarked on another attempt at conquering the masses, but their appeal was losing favour, as the synthesizer-driven 80’s were in full swing and their seemed no room for Wrabit’s style of melodic art-metal.
The tour was short-lived, with growing tensions in the group leading to their breakup before year’s end. Albani would go on to become Lee Aaron‘s main writing partner for the next decade before setting up Toronto and Nashville’s Landshark Studios in the mid 90’s. Brockway would also work with Lee Aaron, as well as form Hanover with Aplin for one record before moving on to Big Smile. MCA re-released WROUGH & WREADY and TRACKS on CD in the late 90’s as Japanese and American imports.