Groove – Episode #111: Jon Button

Jon Button

This Alaskan native – with a biography as rich as his bass lines – Jon Button has plucked, slapped, and strummed his way through the music industry, leaving a mark on genres spanning from pop and jazz to rock. His journey from the icy landscapes of Fairbanks to iconic stage with The Who, reads like a bass clef narrative of dedication, skill, and the relentless pursuit of musical excellence.

Jon’s story began at the tender age of four, with a piano as his first companion, setting the stage for a lifelong romance with strings. It wasn’t long before the bass guitar caught his fancy (he was only 7 years old), propelling him into a world of jazz, blues, and beyond. By 14, Jon was already a familiar face in local bands, showcasing a talent that transcended his years. His high school accolades, including making the All National Orchestra and Jazz Band, were merely the prologue to his storied career. The Berklee College of Music’s summer program was an experience that honed his innate abilities and led him to the University of North Texas – a crucible for his burgeoning talent – where he played in their Grammy-nominated top jazz band. But the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles beckoned, offering Jon a playground for his musical ambitions. In the City of Angels,

Jon’s bass became his passport, navigating through gigs that spanned commercial scores, movie soundtracks, and tours with music royalty such as Sheryl Crow, Shakira, and, ultimately, The Who. During our conversation, Jon delved deep into his musical philosophy, reminiscing about the early days, the exhilaration of playing with music icons like Sheryl Crow and Roger Daltrey’s solo band, and the lessons learned along the way. He emphasizes the importance of versatility, reliability, and the art of networking — a trinity that has served as the bedrock of his career.

Jon’s narrative is punctuated by his current tenure with The Who, a chapter that he describes with a palpable reverence (it’s not easy to follow in the groovesteps of John Entwistle and Pino Palladino). His playing on the Emmy-winning score for Batman Beyond further highlights his adaptability and the broad spectrum of his musical prowess.

Enjoy the conversation…


  1. 00:00 – Introduction and Background
  2. 16:59 – Early Music Influences and Education
  3. 25:10 – First Big Break
  4. 33:47 – Auditioning for Roger Daltrey’s Solo Band
  5. 36:48 – Opportunities with Roger Daltry and The Who
  6. 39:09 – The Who’s Touring Schedule and Pino Palladino
  7. 41:36 – Playing with Drummers like Keith Moon and Zak Starkey
  8. 44:34 – The Excitement and Unpredictability of Playing with The Who
  9. 46:14 – Joining The Who and the Audition Process
  10. 47:19 – The Legacy of The Who and John Entwistle
  11. 48:20 – Evolution of John Entwistle’s Bass Sound
  12. 52:05 – Approach to Playing The Who’s Songs
  13. 56:52 – Keeping Busy with Recording Sessions and Practice
  14. 58:38 – Evolution of Playing with The Who
  15. 01:00:22 – Working on Batman Beyond
  16. 01:02:05 – Highlights and Songs Jon Wishes The Who Would Play

Get Groove - The No Treble Podcast in your inbox.

Get the latest Groove episode in your inbox (about once a month).

Share your thoughts