Groove – Episode #3: Leland Sklar
“Who is that bass player with the long beard?” That was my initial reaction when I first saw the video for Phil Collins’ smash hit, “Sussudio”, in 1985. I did not know Leland Sklar’s pedigree as a bass player before that (and, what happened after is a journey of impressive artists and songs that continues to expand to this day and beyond).
Sklar was studying music at California State University in the ’60s, and that was when he met James Taylor. This is the gig that shot Sklar into the limelight and has led him to become one of the top session and live bass players ever. He turns 68 this year, and has no desire to slow down. His list of credits is a veritable who’s who of rock, pop and country (literally from Air Supply to Warren Zevon and everyone in between). He has played on over 2,500 albums and close to 30,000 songs. His melodic grooves and focus on the artist and the song over trying to over-power a song with a bass line, speaks to his mastery of the instrument and how he thinks about the creativity behind the riffs.
In this third episode of Groove – The No Treble Podcast, we talk about how the bass has evolved, the role of the instrument in the songs that he has played on and how bass players can better contribute to a band. Enjoy the conversation…