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Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

5:19 PM - Dec 18, 2008 #1

Garnering musicians from the Eric Clapton , Paul McCartney and Michael McDonald bands , Taylor has surrounded himself with established artists who are well known in their own right. Each artist and each instrument is showcased in at least one song . The "band" itself is a finely tuned instrument and it works to compliment Taylor's vocal style . Not too loud, not to soft , this band is JUST RIGHT!!


Nathan East: A View From The Best Seat In The House

By Chris Jisi ... ay-97/4568

"Bass players have the best seat in the house," contends Nathan East. When you consider the up-close-and-personal views he''s had of such artists as Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, and Babyface, it''s easy to understand what he means. Of course, Nath

"Bass players have the best seat in the house," contends Nathan East. When you consider the up-close-and-personal views he's had of such artists as Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, and Babyface, it's easy to understand what he means. Of course, Nathan--an easy-going sort famous for his big smile and even bigger bass pocket--is really talking about the role of the instrument. "We bassists are equally involved in the rhythm and the harmony, and we have the ability to support as well as to step out front. From a creative standpoint we can color the music in so many ways."

East's understanding of these aspects, as well as the responsibilities that go with them, are the keys to his amazing 25-year career. On his Los Angeles home turf, he's a first-call session bassist with over 1,000 albums and numerous jingles and soundtracks to his credit. On the road, he's held it down for rock royalty, pop divas, and jazz geniuses. In addition, he writes, sings, produces, and has a solo career in waiting--all of which can be heard in his work with the contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay.

East is one of many great bassists who hail from Philadelphia. Three years after his birth there on December 8, 1955, his family moved to San Diego to accommodate his father's job as an engineer designing aircraft for General Dynamics. Though all of the East children--five boys and two girls--grew up surrounded by aviation and the sciences, music was always in the house as well. Says Nathan, "We had a piano my dad would fool around with. He could play 'Stella by Starlight,' and my mom could read music and play, too. The first music I can recall hearing was Vince Guaraldi's 'Linus and Lucy.' I remember going to the piano to try to pick it out."

Though Nathan played cello in junior high school, it was his older brothers who inspired his budding musical career. While viewing a rehearsal by his brother David's high-school jazz ensemble, Nathan was captivated by the sound and function of the bassist's Fender Jazz. He notes, "It sounded incredible; I remember thinking, Wow, this guy gets to push all these other musicians along." Brothers David and Ray also sang in folk masses attended by Nathan. "One day there was a Gibson EB-3 bass sitting on a stand at the altar," he reveals. "I picked it up and started playing with some of the band members, and I said to myself, This is absolutely it. I knew then and there that was what I wanted to do with my life."

Equipped with a $49 short-scale Japanese bass his mom bought for him at a pawn shop, the 14-year-old set out to learn his craft and join every band he could. Nathan smiles, "I quickly realized if I stayed on the same note when the chord changed, it made a difference--and that if the chord stayed the same but I changed my note, that made a difference as well. That's how I discovered the common tone and the substitution, and learned how I could control the complexion of the music." Reaffirming his bass bloodlines, Nathan brought his axe with him on family trips back to Philadelphia to visit relatives. Seeking local musicians there, he learned important lessons about groove-keeping and jazz harmony. A car ride up to Manhattan's famed 48th Street netted him his first Fender Jazz Bass.

Back home, Nathan's main training tools were the record player and the radio. "I was playing along with James Brown, Motown, the Beatles, Sly Stone, Cream, Hendrix, and horn bands like Chicago, Tower Of Power, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. I focused on prominent bass parts, which meant I was being driven crazy by James Jamerson, Chuck Rainey, Verdine White, and especially Rocco Prestia, whose lines I couldn't even play! On top of that, I was checking out the fusion and jazz side--Stanley Clarke, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, and Scott LaFaro."

In the midst of all of these low-end stimuli, East got his first big break. "I was in a local band called Power, and we did a Stax revue with their roster of artists. One of the artists was Barry White, and he hired our whole band for a national tour." Only 16 years old (he graduated from high school early), Nathan hit the road as a member of the Love Unlimited Orchestra. Clad in tuxedos, the group played such venues as Madison Square Garden and the Apollo Theater. East's most valuable lesson, however, was learning about the less glamorous side of life on the road. He chuckles, "Barry told us he could pay each of us $250 a week, although we'd be paying for our own rooms and food! We didn't know any better; we were jumping and high-fiving each other right in front of him! We criss-crossed the country in a bus while Barry flew and took limos. Most times we all slept in one or two rooms to save money. We had fun, but it was often brutal."

Upon returning home, East enrolled in the University of California at San Diego, heeding his father's advice to have something to fall back on and fulfilling a promise he'd made to his grandmother to get a college degree. During his third year he declared music as his major and began studying classical upright bass with Bertram Turetzky, a noted player/teacher and the resident music guru at the school. [Ed. Note: Turetzky was featured in Sept/Oct '95.] Three weeks before graduation and a final recital for which he would perform Jaco's "Portrait of Tracy," East received a call from guitarist John McLaughlin asking him to be in New York by the weekend to begin a tour. "Turning him down was one of the most agonizing decisions I've ever had to make," Nathan explains, "but the only thing that kept me from pulling out of school was the promise I'd made to my grandmother. Plus, deep down I felt that if someone of John's stature was interested in me, I was moving in the right direction. I even went ahead and started on my Master's degree when Bertram pulled me aside and told me I'd had enough schooling--that it was time for me to go to Los Angeles and make some money playing."

While waiting for an opportunity in L.A., East got involved in the San Diego club and studio scene. "As luck would have it, Barry White resurfaced with some recording projects. I began driving up to L.A. to record with him during the day, and then I'd come back to play clubs at night." Finally, Nathan decided to move to Los Angeles and end the commuting. In the fall of 1979 he rented a tiny guest house behind an apartment building in Burbank. He laughs, "I remember frequently calling the telephone company for the first few months to make sure the phone worked, because it wasn't ringing!"

On the second day of 1980, fortune smiled on Nathan, who got a call from renowned writer/arranger Gene Page for his first big date: a jingle for Hertz. He recalls, "I walked in and there was Lee Ritenour, Ray Parker Jr., and Wah Wah Watson on guitars, James Gadson on drums, and pianist Sonny Burke. I was a nervous wreck; I told myself, It's now or never, so play your ass off. I had worked with Gene Page for Barry White, and I remembered someone telling me, 'If he likes you and starts to use you, it's worth a quarter-million a year.' Thankfully, Gene liked the fact that I could read music as well as interpret and play a lot of styles, so he started calling me for everything. On top of that, all of the musicians on the date told me I did a good job, and each one of them went out and tooted my horn. So I always say my career started on January 2, 1980, because from that day on I've worked non-stop."

Some 17 years later, Nathan's schedule remains as jam-packed as ever. This year will include lengthy tours with Phil Collins in support of his latest disc, Dance Into the Light, as well as short hops with Babyface in support of his new CD, The Day. In addition, East is recording with Eric Clapton, and he's writing for the next Fourplay project. (The quartet will also tour in support of an upcoming best-of collection culled from their three albums.) Sandwiched in between will be the usual record and film dates. As if further proof of Nathan's busy agenda were needed, he is at last participating in his first-ever BASS PLAYER feature story, accepting an invitation initially extended over six years ago.

Nathan has endorsed Yamaha instruments since 1981 and developed his own signature model 5-string bass, the BBNE2 (modeled after his early 1980s BB415 5-string bass), available worldwide. He has used a custom 6-string version of his signature bass since late 2003, along with a pair of 6-string TRB6P models finished in cherry sunburst and polar white. He also created with Yamaha the NE1 Parametric EQ Pedal otherwise known as the "Magic Box". East is also known for using Music Man StingRay 5-string basses between 1988 and 1994.

Q: You became established in the L.A. studios at a time when the bass scene was in flux.

A: That's right. There was a bit of a void around 1980; Chuck Rainey, Joe Osborn, Carol Kaye, and Anthony Jackson had left town, and players like Max Bennett, Wilton Felder, and Eddie Watkins had pretty much stopped taking dates. Lee Sklar and Louis Johnson were busy. My peers--Abe Laboriel, Jimmy Johnson, Neil Stubenhaus, and Freddie Washington--were all in L.A. a little before me, and they were on their way to becoming established. It was the perfect time for bassists who could read and play. I was fortunate to get a lot of recommendations from people like Abe, [keyboardist] Patrice Rushen, and especially [drummer] Jeff Porcaro. I got tight with all the drummers [laughs], and they've remained good friends of mine.

Q: What were your key early projects in L.A.?

A: The nice thing about being in the Gene Page camp was there was always a big project going on--Dionne Warwick or Johnny Mathis sessions with 60-piece orchestras. I played on Whitney Houston's and Madonna's first records; they were complete unknowns then. I met Quincy Jones while playing at his 50th birthday party, and he started using me. Lionel Richie was the first major artist to make a big commitment to me and use me on everything he did. "Endless Love" was my first gold record; he also wrote "Lady" for Kenny Rogers, and I played on that. The other important artists for me early on were Kenny Loggins and Al Jarreau. With Kenny I did the Vox Humana album and the track "Footloose." I made two records with Al, which is where I met producer Jay Graydon and got to play with [drummer] Steve Gadd. Another key with Kenny and Al was the tours I did with them; that was where I really got my stage chops together, in terms of being up front singing and dancing, and learning about performing live in front of huge audiences.

Q: Wasn't going on the road for extended periods a questionable move for an upcoming session player?

A: In many studio circles, yes--but I've never been afraid to leave town. I've seen too many people who were chained to L.A., and they were generally the ones who suffered burnout. I was fortunate to get away from the scene periodically--and every time I went on the road I'd find my playing would be fresher and more inspired when I got back. Overall, I've been quite blessed. When I first got to L.A., I was given a lot of good advice by older musicians on what pitfalls to avoid. My first accountant told me, "All right, I'm giving you four years in this town." That made me even more determined to achieve longevity! My credo was: show up on time with quality equipment, kick some ass, and leave. I tried to bring the best performance and the best attitude to everything I touched--and I'm thankful the phone kept ringing. I never felt the effects of mechanized music, or keyboard bass, or being out of town.

Q: Over the years, some top bass players have been critical of studio bassists for "sacrificing their artistry" and producing "sterile" music.

A: I think there's plenty to be said for someone who can create with a lot of heart for a wide spectrum of recording artists under the circumstances and pressures of the studio. The bassists who say those things are invariably bandleaders who seem to have forgotten that the nature of the instrument is supportive. I have a solo side, but I pride myself on being an excellent support system--being The Man next to The Man. A studio bassist is simply an artist of a different kind--just listen to James Jamerson.

Q: You replaced Jamerson's part on "Lady" near the end of his career. Do you think part of his downfall resulted from his reluctance to alter his approach and sound, based on his earlier success in Detroit?

A: That may have been one aspect of it--but I think it had more to do with his performances not being up to his usual high standards, because of the personal problems he was experiencing. I remember being called to replace one of his parts and refusing, only to find out later that I had already replaced him on "Lady."

Q: You must have recognized that having an identifiable sound and style can be a disadvantage for a studio player.

A: Absolutely, because the nature of the job requires you to keep up with the shifting tides of music. Also, I figured out early on that if you become the hot guy with the hot sound everybody wants, demand is going to cool off rather quickly. I saw it was far more valuable to have a chameleon-like approach; that's why my concept has always been to do what's right for the song, and no more. I think that has become my trademark, rather than people knowing it's me based on one note or a certain lick, or the tone of a certain bass. Herb Alpert once told me, "Your bass fits so smoothly and easily into the track," and I've always thought that was a great compliment.

Q: Your first big departure from the studio scene was the Philip Bailey/Phil Collins project for which the three of you collaborated on the #1 hit "Easy Lover."

A: I had worked with Philip on his first solo album, and he recommended me to Phil. We went to Europe in 1984 to do Philip's Chinese Wall record, which was followed by my first European tour. After a few weeks in the studio, we had good songs and a good mix of Philip and Phil's talents--but Philip said to me at the end of the last day of recording, "We still need an undeniable hit." So, we sat down and wrote "Easy Lover" in about 20 minutes. It was amazing the way it came together; I wrote most of the music, Phil wrote the lyrics, and Philip wrote his parts. We put down a rough version with the intent of re-recording it the next day, but after hearing it the following morning, we realized that was the take.

Meeting Phil really took my career to another level and changed my perspective forever. Suddenly, I didn't care if I ever got back to L.A.! Through him I met all the English rock legends: the Stones, the Who, Paul McCartney, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Elton John, and--of course--Eric Clapton. Phil produced Eric's Behind the Sun album, which [keyboardist] Greg Phillinganes and I played on. At Live Aid the next year, Eric and I hung out, and he later brought me, Greg, and Phil in for August, which Phil produced. That led to the four of us doing a brief European tour in 1986. Steve Ferrone played drums when Phil was unavailable, and soon after, he joined me and Greg and we became Eric's band.

One of the most enjoyable things about that group was the freedom Eric gave to the three of you, resulting in funkified grooves and jazzy reharmonizations.

Because we were playing the same songs in every show, we constantly tried to tastefully push the music in new directions and make it a little deeper and better each night. The credit, though, goes to Eric; most artists want their music to be played by the book, but he's always looking for a fresh approach. He's like Miles in that he goes in the opposite direction of the flow, he never looks back, and he continually re-invents himself--as he did with the Unplugged album, and later when he put together his blues band. He was also generous enough to give me complete bass and vocal features.

Q: The introduction to "Layla" became one of your playing features, during which you quote Jaco's melody from Weather Report's "A Remark You Made." How did that come about?

A: The impact of Jaco's playing reached far beyond bass players. During one of the tours, Eric had a copy of Weather Report's Heavy Weather [Columbia], and that's all he would to listen to. When Jaco died, we decided to do a tribute. The song "A Remark You Made" touched everybody, so we began fooling around with it during soundchecks, and it ultimately became the introduction to "Layla." Over the years it evolved and even became a major orchestral piece arranged by Michael Kamen, with two or three sections! Each time I performed it I thought of Jaco and other greats who had passed--Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, and later, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Q: In Stevie Ray's case, you were almost involved in the tragic helicopter crash in Wisconsin that took his life.

A: Eric was sharing the bill with Stevie Ray, Robert Cray, and Jeff Healey for a series of concerts at a venue called Alpine Valley. We chartered four helicopters for our band, which we had used the night before. On that night I met a young lady whose father was a pilot, and they offered to fly me to the concert site the next day. I ended up taking the ill-fated helicopter to the show, but I accepted their invitation to fly me back to the hotel in Chicago, and I invited Greg Phillinganes to come with us. Once our two seats in the helicopter became available, Stevie Ray took one and Eric's road manager, Colin Smyth, took the other. We heard about the crash the next morning, and it was probably the darkest day of my life.

Q: You recently played with Eric on "Change the World," a Grammy-nominated song from the soundtrack of the movie Phenomenon.

A: With Eric, it's the kind of thing where we know we'll be playing together in some capacity for the rest of our lives. Right now I'm working on his next album with Greg and Steve Gadd; we recorded one of my songs for possible inclusion, and Marcus Miller is also writing, producing, and playing on some tracks. In fact, I got to sing backgrounds on one tune, and it was a real kick to work with Marcus.

Q: When Eric started his blues band, it enabled you to reunite with Phil Collins.

A: Phil and I romanced the idea of working together on the road over the years, but he was conscientious of my role with Eric. Four years ago, when Eric told Phil about his change in direction, the first thing Phil asked was, "Does that mean you won't be needing Nate, and I can use him?" [Laughs.] For me, it was like being traded from one great team to another. In addition to being a phenomenal writer and vocalist, Phil's at the top of my list of favorite drummers; he puts the groove in a completely different place than you would expect. We got to put down some really interesting African-influenced grooves on his album Dance Into the Light.

Q: You have a jazz itch that seems to be scratched by Fourplay. How did that band form?

A: It was a result of myself, Lee Ritenour, and [drummer] Harvey Mason being in the studio with [keyboardist] Bob James to record his Grand Piano Canyon album in 1990. After we finished, Bob asked if we would be interested in a group concept with the four of us being equal partners and everybody contributing material. He had a band name, and since he's an A&R man with Warners Brothers' jazz department, he felt he could secure a deal. A couple of months later we got together to rehearse, and then we hit the studio. Our original intent was to do it for the fun of it--but our first record sold half a million copies, and it remained at #1 on the Contemporary Jazz charts for six months.

With all of our busy schedules, we have to find a window for recording and a window for touring each year, which usually ends up being about a month for each. It's unfortunate, because if we ever did a world tour or got to go out for a whole summer, the band's popularity could reach new levels. From a personal standpoint, though, Fourplay affords me the chance to be the "artist," and to stretch out in a progressive setting as a writer, vocalist, and bassist.

Q: On the critical side, the terms "happy jazz," "safe jazz," and "fuzak" have been tossed about.

A: I don't know how to describe our music, since it wasn't written to fit any format--but if you're having dinner, it works [laughs]. Seriously, though, we didn't try to put any limitations on the writing or the soloing, and we didn't pay attention to any "safe" labels. On the other hand, we didn't approach it like a straightahead jazz group, and we didn't say, "Let's see how fast we can play." It's more of an ensemble sound and effort with the goal of creating good songs through both individual and ensemble writing and arranging. Live, we do pull out [Miles Davis's] "Seven Steps to Heaven" for the skeptics who think we can't play.

Q: Your other steady commitment is to Babyface. When did you begin working together?

A: I met Babyface on a project he did for Aretha Franklin several years ago, and basically he's been calling me ever since. He is, without a doubt, the most prolific musician/songwriter I've ever been associated with, and his work is always of the highest quality. I believe he now has over 100 Top Five hits! Plus, he's a ridiculous guitarist who plays upside-down and lefty. In the '80s his music was more sequencer- and keyboard-bass-oriented, but his formula for the '90s includes the use of a live rhythm section--usually with myself, Greg Phillinganes, John Robinson, and [percussionist] Sheila E., among others. We've done everything from "Change the World" and other soundtrack songs to Lionel Richie to Face's own roster of artists. Right now we've been doing brief tours in support of his album The Day.

Q: You mentioned a close kinship with drummers.

A: Absolutely; bass and drums are the core of everything in music. Playing relationships with drummers are like little marriages, in that you begin to know instinctively what the other person is going to do, on and off the stage [laughs]. I would have to say Jeff Porcaro was my favorite to play with; there's such a chunk out of my heart and a void in the industry because he's gone. Still, I'm very fortunate to maintain "marriages" with people like Phil Collins, Harvey Mason, Steve Ferrone, Steve Gadd, Ricky Lawson, Vinnie Colaiuta, John Robinson, Jim Keltner, and Carlos Vega.

Q: How do you approach playing with a drummer?

A: I listen to his whole kit and then zero in on his kick and snare. Bass players are the main beneficiaries of drummers' efforts; they support us and give us so much to play off, which is another big part of why I say we have the best seat in the house.

Q: What do you think of the current state of the bass?

A: It's very healthy--although we're moving at a slower pace now because there's less to discover, thanks to the contributions of Jamerson, Larry Graham, Jaco, Anthony Jackson, and others. There's a lot of quality, but nobody has re-defined the bass in a while. More than likely, that person will come along; on the other hand, it may never happen again to the same magnitude--just like there will never be another Beatles.

Q: How do you spend your time away from music?

A: I recently married the love of my life, which has been wonderful. I also enjoy skiing and playing tennis and racquetball. I had the opportunity to act in a McDonald's commercial a while back, and I feel acting would be fun to pursue down the road. But my main passion away from music is flying. Four of us East brothers are pilots, which is an interest we got from our dad. I am an airplane owner, and I must say there is nothing quite like the exhilarating feeling of flying. It's such a release and an escape from the world below.

Q: What's the current state of your long-idling solo project?

A: The working title is Two Faces Of East; it's a collaboration with my brother Marcel, who is a talented songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist. We finally have a demo we're shopping. The material is a pop/rock/R&B blend that features our writing, playing, and singing. We hope to make a statement and do our fair share to keep moving music forward.

Q: What else lies ahead?

A: There's still an instrumental bass album inside of me somewhere. I've always dreamed about sitting onstage in a tuxedo in front of an orchestra, with a white 6-string, and just playing. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a big fan of Pat Metheny; he's one of my all-time favorite artists. I wouldn't mind being the Pat Metheny of the bass--incorporating his style of writing and playing, but from the bass standpoint.

Bass is a universal instrument; I know, because I've been to the four corners of the globe to help prove it! [Laughs.] I have no complaints, though. They say if you love what you do, you'll never work another day in your life. And I love my life.


Chris Jisi


Abe Laboriel, Jr.

Born April 7, 1967 to well known bassist Abraham Laboriel, Sr, young Abe was mentored by the best percussionists and drummers in the business, Abe Jr. began messing around on the drums at age four, and by ten he was taking lessons from drumming great Alex Acu a. Naturally, Abe was also able to watch his father's sessions in action.
He attended the Dick Grove School of Music during his junior year in high school. Graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1993, he has been honored by the National Foundation For The Advancement Of The Arts and Down Beat magazine.
When you meet with Abe Laboriel Jr., you can't help but smile the entire time. It's not just hearing about his success stories, it's that his presence exudes a glow and inner kindness that is both spiritual and contagious. That comes from more than the happiness of a successful career, one that's found the drummer employed by such artists as Paul McCartney, Sting, Chris Isaak, Melissa Etheridge, Jennifer Love Hewitt, k.d. lang, Manhattan Transfer, Natalie Cole, Duran Duran, Dianne Reeves, Justo Almario, Jonatha Brooke, and his father Abraham Laboriel. That kind of contentment comes from upbringing and an inner peace.
Laboriel is a self-admitted workaholic. But when you ask him what the down sides to that disease are, he says with a laugh and a sparkle in his eyes, "I haven't found any yet." Abe does concede, though, that he could use a vacation, having not taken one in about five years. But a career in music is what he's chosen, and it seems that it all just gets better and better.
Abe's enthusiasm and excitement is never-ending. And why should it? He's found himself in some cool situations. With a huge smile on his face, Laboriel recalls the night the band spent at McCartney's guest barn, awakening to the smell of bacon and eggs (probably veggie), then stumbling into the main kitchen to see Paul and his wife Heather cooking breakfast for the band.
He has toured with the former Beatle Abe can barely contain his excitement about the nearly three-hour set when speaking of this experience. "We huddle behind the curtain right before we're going to play and pray before the show," Laboriel reveals, "which is something Paul said he's never done before. He leads us in prayer and says something like, 'God, we want you to take over. Let us have a good time and let everybody out there have a good time. Thank you for letting us be here to do this.' Wow! What beautiful humility, handing it over that way. My dad has always said that music is all around us and it visits us. To be with someone who lives that same philosophy is beautiful."
Laboriel grew up with that philosophy in his household, as well as having music in abundance. His father, session master bassist Abraham Laboriel Sr., has worked with a mind-blowing list of artists and accompanied most of the great drummers of the past several decades. In turn, he infused his son with a respect and love for music--not to mention opportunities that could not be bought.

MD: What do you consider your first break?

Abe: The Steve Vai gig. It wasn't the greatest experience, but it was the break. It was one of the first things I really did on my own, strictly on my own merit, and I can pretty much trace everything I've done back to that gig. Steve Vai led to Seal, which led to every producer in town seeing me play. From there I started doing lots of recording, eventually winding up with k.d. lang, doing her tours for a while. I got the gig with Sting because he saw me play with her. And the producer who hired me for Paul's record was the head of A&R at k.d.'s label. We hadn't worked together, but we met, so he said, "I really thought you were a nice guy. Do you feel like making a record with Paul McCartney?

MD: Personality is a major piece of a successful career.

Abe: Absolutely. Attitude is ninety percent of it.

MD: Where do you think your inner glow comes from?

Abe: Definitely from my family and being loved.

MD: For all those parents of musicians out there, what was the best thing your parents ever did for you?

Abe: They gave me really great guidance, but allowed me to still be a goof-off and an individual. They helped me have confidence in being myself, not worrying what everybody else might think. All that matters is what you feel about yourself. Watching my father and the joy he has was always encouraging. To see somebody who was fully in love with what he does and fully in love with every moment was a great example and something to strive for. What I love about music, and specifically playing live, is you get to see that instant reaction of somebody getting to let go of their day and feel uplifted.

MD: Speaking of playing live, tell us about the Sting experience.

Abe: k.d. had opened up about ten shows on Sting's last tour. We got to hang out with the guys in his band. Manu Katche was Sting's drummer at the time, and he's an amazing guy and an amazing drummer. But there were definitely moments where it looked like he was almost disinterested in the gig. He didn't look like he was passionate about the music he was playing, which is too bad. But you never know what's going on in someone's life.
Anyway, Kipper, the synth/keyboard player and producer of the last k.d. record, was producing trumpet player, Chris Botti, so they called me to play on half of his record--Vinnie [Colaiuta] played on the other half. And we got on great. I guess Sting heard the record and they told him we had fun in the studio, so when Manu decided to leave the gig, I was the guy Sting thought of.
I had just finished recording Paul's record when Sting called, and didn't really know when the record was going to be out and if there was going to be a tour or not. But I knew the Sting tour would only be two or three months. As it turned out, I was able to do the tour. I did the Concert For New York with Sting and Paul, and then the Sting tour started the following Monday. I went from the biggest experience of my life to the next biggest experience of my life. Riding a Wave of Success


DOYLE BRAMHALL II - GUITAR Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar

Doyle Bramhall II is a songwriter, guitarist and vocalist, born on December 24, 1968. Raised in a home filled with the blues and rock and roll sounds that are indigenous to his birthplace - Austin, Texas. His father, Doyle Bramhall Senior, was the drummer for blues legend Lightning Hopkins and a regular collaborator with Jijmmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan. As a consequence, young Doyle , at the age of 16 , was able to tour with Jimmie Vaughan's band as second guitarist.
Charlie Sexton, co-founded the rock band Arc Angels. Doyle and Charlie enlisted the rhythm section from Stevie Ray Vaughan's backing band, Double Trouble, to complete the lineup. The group enjoyed critical acclaim and commercial success.
Following the release of "Jellycream," Doyle's 1999 RCA debut recording, he received phone calls from both Roger Waters and Eric Clapton. Doyle ended up joining Roger Waters for a summer tour while Clapton, along with fellow blues great B.B. King, chose two of Doyle's songs - "Marry You" and "I Wanna Be" - for their collaborative recording entitled "Riding With The King." Upon completion of the "Riding..." project, Doyle, his wife - Susannah Melvoin, and Clapton co-wrote and performed "Superman Inside" for Clapton's album, "Reptile." Doyle's playing is also heavily featured on the album.
The latest offering from Doyle Bramhall II, entitled - "Welcome" - is the purest sampling of Doyle's talents to date. Doyle entered the studio with Smokestack, the band he put together a couple of years ago, and co-producers Benmont Tench and Jim Scott to record the 12 - song set. Joining Doyle in Smokestack is J.J. Johnson on drums and bassist Chris Bruce. Susannah Melvoin contributed background vocals, Benmont Tench pulled keyboard duty and Craig Ross played second guitar.
The album, "Welcome" showcases the diversity of Bramhall's talent; from his songwriting to his intense, soulful vocals and virtuoso guitar playing. Doyle's gravity explosion can be readily heard on such tracks as the driving "Green Light Girl" and the uptempo "Soul Shaker." His dedication to the blues can be felt on tracks like "Life," "So You Want It To Rain" and "Send Some Love."
Doyle and his band are set to open for Eric Clapton on the first leg of a worldwide tour this year.

Doyle is unique , in that he plays guitar left-handed but his guitars are strung as if to be played by a right-handed player. This leaves what would be considered the top string at the bottom of his reach, and vice versa. NOW THAT IS DIFFERENT.

Dobro guitar: courtesy of

A dobro is an acoustic guitar with a metal resonator built into its body. This resonator serves as an amplifier. In contrast to acoustic guitars, the placement of the resonator takes place of the sound hole. Therefore the shape of the guitar doesn’t tend to have an affect on how the dobro’s sound is amplified.
The dobro was invented by John Dopyera in the early 1930s. Dopyera and his brother struck out in the late 20s in search of a way to create a louder guitar. The brothers called their new company Dobro, which meant “good” in their native language.

Dobros sound more like banjos than guitars

Slide guitar: wikipedia

Slide guitar or bottleneck guitar is a particular method or technique for playing the guitar. The term slide is in reference to the sliding motion of the slide against the strings, while bottleneck refers to the original material of choice for such slides, which were the necks of glass bottles. Instead of altering the pitch of the strings in the normal manner (by pressing the string against frets), a slide is placed upon the string to vary its vibrating length, and pitch. This slide can then be moved along the string without lifting, creating continuous transitions in pitch


courtesy of Charles Robinson

Taylor's saxophone and flutist is/was a member of the popular band "Greazy Meal". Their albums include "The Most Beautiful Girl" , 1995 and "Coming Home", 1989. Home has been Minneapolis for Brian ; when not busy playing with Prince and Mandy Moore to name a few.

Brian graduated in 1986 from the University of Minnesota with a degree in music. He is in a relationship and is the proud parent of one child. A Catholic and a Sagittarius, this 6'0" athletic young man, puts it all to work when he steps on that stage. Hailing from St. Paul , Minnesota, we are fortunate to have him "beating the brass" for Taylor .

Brian has two albums out '" Coming Home" release in 1989 and " Most Beautiful Girl" in 1995, both discribed as Jazz Fusion .

While at a Christmas celebration when he was 10 , he picked up a clarinet and could play it immediately. .Taking lessons at school improved his skill and my father ( huge jazz fan) suggested he play sax. He plays bass guitar and guitar as well. I

Brian a huge fan of the 70's pop sax solos. David Sanborn, Lou Marini, TOm Scott. Also love jazz. John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson. I always say that I like any style of music if it is done correctly. I soak in everything I can. Music Music Music!! I love the rolling stones, Fleetwood mac. Pop music, classical. I love melody!

source: TTHC/TMO website and

TIM CARMON - HAMMOND ORGAN , Background Vocals

Tim Carmon was born and raised in Washington, D.C. His career eventually took him to Los Angeles.

As a preacher's son in Washington, D.C., Tim Carmon grew up immersed in the church. Blessed with God-given ability and influenced by his mother and the sounds of gospel music that surrounded him, Tim began playing piano at the age of nine and by the age of 12 was serving as church organist for three different churches, including the one led by his father.

Carmon's obvious talent was spotted by everyone within earshot and he soon became known for his musical versatility. This quickly placed him in high demand by artists in a variety of musical genres, where he has always made sure to make each artist feel like they were at their musical home when working with him.

Feeling the need to spread his musical wings, he eventually found his home in Los Angeles after getting the call to do a record that led to many other musical opportunities, including writing and producing.

In addition to playing keyboards, Tim Carmon is also a drummer, vocalist, and producer. He is a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of Arts. A few of the artists he has worked with include Mary J. Blige, Babyface, Gladys Knight, Kenny Lattimore, Vibe, and Eric Bennet. He has a number of production credits to his name including Vybe’s “Knock Me Off My Feet” and Solid Rock Christian Choir’s “Live in D.C.”
Other projects include arrangements and playing (piano and keys) for the film version of Dreamgirls where he worked with the production team, The Underdogs. His Phunky Boy Productions is also working with a variety of artists on upcoming releases and projects for film and television.

Tim worked with Eric Clapton on MTV’s Babyface Unplugged and joined Eric’s touring band for the 1998 Pilgrim Tour. Additionally, he joined Eric and B.B. King in the studio for the Riding With The King sessions in February 2000.

Tim re-joined Eric’s touring band briefly for some US dates in 2004 when he substituted for Billy Preston, who was ill. More recently, Tim was on the road with Eric for the 2006 / 2007 World Tour.


Trumpet, Flugelhorn

The flugelhorn is a valved bugle developed in Germany. It has a conical bore. The bugle had no valves and therefore could produce only the natural harmonics of the tube. The design pitch was was typically middle C or B-flat. The flugelhorn has a mellower sound than the trumpet.

The flugelhorn's main areas of use are in jazz, the brass band, and popular music,

The flugelhorn figured prominently in many of Burt Bacharach's 1960s pop song arrangements, and more recently in compositions by the indie band popularized in 2006, Beirut (band).

Few folks seem inclined to spend the kind of money (or the kind of trouble) on a flugel that they spend on a trumpet--and for good reason. The consensus, courtesy of Chase Sanborn's Brass Tactics, seems to be that

The flugel is your friend,
The trumpet is your spouse,
Don't mix them up or
You may lose your house.

A high priced instrument indeed.



Jay Leach has an Idol connection as he has worked with Paul ( Idol music producer ) on the show.
Born in Oklahoma City,OK but growing up in Wichita, Kansas. Jay began playing music when my grandmother insisted that he begin lessons on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar shortly after my eighth birthday. He continued playing Steel Guitar until , at the age of 14 , he switched to electric guitar and began playing in local bands.

He came to Los Angeles in the early 70s and began pursuing a career as a professional musician but in 1973 had an experience that would change the course and destiny of my life forever.. He became a Christian and seriously considered becoming a minister, specifically as a Navy Chaplain.

Lucky for the music world, Jay came to the conclusion that music was his calling and door began to open with local rock bands . He met Ted Greene (considered by many to be one of the greatest American guitarist and teachers in history). Ted agreed to take him as a private student on a weekly basis, something he rarely did with his students. This along with going back to school to study music and communication combined with studying sight reading with a symphony conductor really began to pay off. Many new playing chances began to open up leading to the opportunity to become guitarist for Barry Manilow for a year in the late 70s.
Following that adventure , he began recording sessions and during the years that followed several TV shows, some movie soundtracks, jingles, and many Christian albums were part of his musical career. At this point he suffered a I nearly fatal collision with a drunk driver.

Much could be said regarding injuries, rehab, etc. but suffice it to say that one year later to the month of the accident by virtue of God's grace and the prayers of many, he was in the studio recording my first guitar album as a solo artist. Today Jay , continue working as a freelance musician in Los Angeles and travel as a solo artist doing concerts and guitar master classes nationally.

He enjoys camping and fishing with his family, the classic Jets and especially the new F-22, cooking chili, Labrador Retrievers and recently got a red Foxfire and named her Annie, golf, Pool (especially 9-Ball and often plays in tournaments around the U.S. when he travels), working out, and comedy writing.

courtesy of Jay Leach facebook

As an epitaph, Jay says, "... he would want people to say, 'He was a happy, honest man who sought excellence as a musician. As a parent and a husband he was a blessing to his family and his life pleased the Lord.' I feel privileged to be a working musician in L.A. with some of the greatest musicians and guitarists on the planet. I hope to always continue to grow as both an artist and a player and be an inspiration to as many people as possible"
His Industry Credits include:

...TV shows : American Idol w/ Kenny Rogers, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, and Kelly Pickler, several episodes of Touched by an Angel, Matlock, In The Heat of The Night, Murder She Wrote, Jake and the Fatman, cartoon episodes of Lilo & Stich, Hey Arnold, and the Disney Channel's Dumbo's Flying Circus; many TV and radio commercials such as: IBM, Budweiser, Denny's, McDonald's, Nike, Black Angus Steak House, and Mercedes; Movie soundtracks include: Team America, Six Days and Seven Nights, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Urban Cowboy, Smokey and the Bandit III, Big Business, Mars Attacks, Gone Fishin, Tough Enough, A Simple Wish.

...has worked or recorded with Roy Orbison, Barry Manilow, Gladys Knight, John Denver, The Pointer Sisters, and Kirk Whalum; has been session guitarist on over 70 contemporary Christian albums including artists such as Carman, Barry McGuire, and Joni Eareckson Tada; was also the guitarist for the Promise Keepers band. Additionally Jay has major industry credits on Pedal Steel, Dobro and Banjo.

As a Solo Artist he has Seven albums and three guitar books with Mey Bay Publications to his credit.

jayleach myspace

The pedal steel guitar is the latest development in a story that started with the invention of a technique of playing used in Hawaii. in the late 1800s, wherein the strings were not fretted in the normal manner by the left hand, but rather by sliding an object such as a comb or the back edge of a knife blade along the strings at the neck of the guitar. Several persons have been credited with the innovation.


Photo from AP Photo by Mark Humphrey

Sharon White has been married to Ricky Skaggs since 1982; the couple had their own hit song, "Love Can't Ever Get Better Than This" (1987). As of 2007, the Whites are regular performers on the Grand Ole Opry program in Nashville, Tennessee. Their collaborative album with Ricky Skaggs, "Salt of the Earth" won the 2008 Grammy for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Album.


Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

12:15 AM - Feb 27, 2009 #2


Abbey Rd Studio 2

London Born Keyboard,Bass and guitar player,also songwriter and Producer. Album and Single credits include:Anita Baker,Eric Clapton,Michael Mcdonald,All Saints,Spice Girls,Brandy,Will Young,Liberty X,Louise,BB King,Sinead O'Connor,Maxi Preist,Shola Ama,Bebe Winans,Gwen Mcrae,Charlotte Church,Eagle Eye Cherry,Mory Kante,Emmanuel Jal,Taylor Hicks,Alexander O'Neal,Cheryl lynn,Jocelyn Brown,Heather Small,Lulu,Imagination,The Answer and many others. Played live and toured with:Womack and Womack,Alexander O'neal,Innocence,JB's,Michael McDonald,Leon Ware,Steven Dante,Light of the World,Rose Royce,Boney M,and many more. Arranged and played Keyboards on Michael Macdonald's Double Grammy nominated albums "Motown" and "Motown 2" and his Forthcoming album "Soul Speak",played on Eric Clapton's Grammy Winning album "Back Home",Co-Wrote "That's a friend" on Bebe Winans grammy nominated album "Dreams",currently making fourth library album for BMG,third library album for West One,and playing live with Alexander O'Neal and the Funk Jazz Collective.

The Rhodes piano's tone-generating principles are derived from the concept of an asymmetrical tuning fork - with a stiff wire (called a "tine"), struck by a felt-tipped (neoprene rubber-tipped after 1970) hammer, acting as one side of the tuning fork, and a counterbalancing resonating tone bar above the tine acting as the other side. This tone generator kit's vibrations are then picked up by an electromagnetic pickup (one for each tine), and amplified. The pickups' output is fed to an amplifier, which can be adjusted to produce the desired volume.

The sound produced has a bell-like character not unlike a celesta or glockenspiel. Because the instrument produces sound electrically, the signal can be processed to yield many different timbral colors. Often the signal is processed through a stereo low-frequency pan oscillation (which was called Vibrato on the Rhodes front panel) effects unit, which pans the signal back and forth between right and left; it is this "rounded" or chiming sound that is most typically called a classic Rhodes sound, which can be heard on, for example, many of Stevie Wonder's songs. The preamp with vibrato is included on the original Rhodes Electric Pianos and after 1970 ( with stereo panning ) on the "suitcase" models; the "stage" models lack the preamp and the amplified speaker cabinet.

Inspired by one particular and very famous rental piano in L.A., the E-Rhodes, used on hundreds of famous records by many big artists, in 1977 and during the 1980s a set of Rhodes modifications done by a company called "Dyno My Piano" became popular: it made the sound brighter, harder, and more bell-like. It can also be heard on many records from that time. The modifications brings out more of the Rhodes sound and makes it cut through like a grand piano; for instance: when notes are played forcefully, the sound becomes less sweet, as nonlinear distortion creates a characteristic "growling" or "snarling" called "bark" by pianists. Skilled players can contrast the sweet and rough sounds to create an extremely expressive performance.

Leo Fender of The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, then called the Fender Electric Instrument Company, entered a joint venture with Harold Rhodes in 1959, and they produced the instruments for six years. As a result, Rhodes instruments were called Fender Rhodes for 15 years.
Different models of the Rhodes pianos were manufactured. 73 and 88 note versions were available of both the stage model and the suitcase model, which included built in pre-amp with the famous Stereo-Vibrato, amplifier and speakers. Starting in 1980, a 54-key version was also produced. The first model to be produced by Fender-Rhodes was the 32-note PianoBass in 1959. This was followed by the Sparkletop Fender-Rhodes Electric Piano or "Mk 0" (1965), Mk I (1970) and Mk II (1979) which was continuously improved and developed, but housed in about the same construction throughout the years. In 1984, the last year of production, the Rhodes Mk V was released. A total amount of 2000 Mk V's were produced.




Nicky has been an arranger, drummer , producer and percussionist for Michael McDonald. Composing the score, producing and writing for "Rag Tale", which took Cannes, Edinburgh and Toronto festivals by storm, Nicky is multi-talented. Serving as the drummer and percussionist for Eric Clapton . ( yet another Clapton connection ), Nicky also sang a bit of background vocal for The Distance.

Vocals, Guest Appearance

courtesy of All Music Guide

Vocalist Elliott Yamin first gained recognition as the second runner-up on the fifth season of the reality show American Idol. Born in 1978 in Los Angeles to a painter father and former professional singer mother, Yamin eventually moved with his family to Richmond, VA, where he attended middle school and high school. Around the time he turned 14, Yamin's parents divorced, and thus began a period of some personal difficulty for the singer. Already close to 90 percent deaf in his right ear, Yamin was also diagnosed at 16 with type 1 diabetes. In his sophomore year of high school he dropped out and began working at a Footlocker and later as a clerk at a pharmacy. Though Yamin ultimately earned his GED, his focus had already shifted full-time to pursuing a singing career, and he found various performance opportunities including work with a jazz band on a local radio station under the moniker E-Dub.

In 2006, Yamin quit his job at the pharmacy to audition for American Idol in Boston, MA. Singing Leon Russell's "A Song for You" -- made famous by Yamin's personal idol, soul singer Donny Hathaway -- Yamin made it through the first round of auditions and moved on to the second and all-important Hollywood round. A likable performer with a knack for romantic soul ballads and a laid-back stage presence, Yamin was a fan favorite from the start and ultimately made it to the final-three round along with eventual runner-up Katharine McPhee and eventual winner Taylor Hicks. In December of 2006, Yamin announced he had signed a publishing deal with Sony, and he released a cover of Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas" on iTunes. In 2007, Yamin released his self-titled solo album.

Yamin was born in Los Angeles, California, to father Shaul Yamin, a Jewish Israeli of Iraqi Jewish descent, and mother Claudette Goldberg Yamin
A history of ear infections as a child and eardrum replacement surgery at 13 left Yamin with 90% hearing loss in his right ear. He was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of 16 and wears an insulin pump to help him manage his diabetes. Yamin is 5'6 tall.

Yamin first discovered his vocal talent while singing karaoke in his late teens. Although he had not been musically trained, he sang in a local jazz band and in amateur performance forums emulating Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, and Donny Hathaway. He attended Douglas S. Freeman High School in Richmond, Virginia. Dropping out of high school in his sophomore year, he later achieved a high school GED while working at Foot Locker (in their management program), a pharmacy, and as an on-air disc jockey for local R&B radio station WCDX/Power 92 FM, using the name E-Dub — before auditioning for American Idol.

Yamin auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts, singing Leon Russell's "A Song for You",

In 2005, Yamin was featured on three tracks ("Sound Doctrine", "Song of Hope", and "Whatchacomeherefoe?") of Richmond, Virginia gospel musical artist Big Planz's album Sound Doctrine. Four renditions of another song he recorded with Big Planz, "The Storm", were released on iTunes.

In December 2006, Yamin announced a music publishing contract with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. On January 25, 2007, Yamin signed a record deal with Hickory Records, a Sony/ATV-owned imprint set up as a "virtual label," and RED Distribution, a leading distributor for independent record labels in the United States. Yamin has stated that "Sony invested in [him] as a partner" as part of a 50/50 deal, which means that "[they] both stand or fall."

As a teaser, Yamin released the song "Movin' On" from his self-titled debut album on AOL's First Listen and iTunes. His first radio single, "Wait For You", was released on March 13.

As a diabetic, Yamin supports and works as a spokesman for various organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In October 2006, Yamin sang the national anthem at the Dodger Stadium (LA) and cut the ribbon during the JDRF International Walk to Cure Diabetes. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from his Virginia State Fair concert benefitted the JDRF. The Central Virginia Chapter of the JDRF honored Yamin for his commitment to diabetes awareness and research at its 8th Annual Spring Gala on March 1, 2008; more than $400,000 was raised at the event.

elliott yamin my space



courtesy of and Hal.Leonard

Michael Thompson was born on February 11, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York & raised on Long Island. He started playing guitar at age 9, and after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, was inspired to be a musician. All through Jr. High and High School, he had a band with his brother Todd and various friends called Stonefeather. At age 19, he left New York for Boston to attend The Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, M.T. met many of the musicians that he would later work with on the Los Angeles music scene. After going to Berklee for two years, Michael got a gig with a popular local R&B group called The Ellis Hall Group. He toured and recorded with this group for four years. Getting to play funk music was as important in developing his unique style as was his schooling at Berklee. In 1977, Michael met his wife of 28 years, Gloria. In 1979, Michael and Gloria moved to Los Angeles to begin a studio career. Upon arrival, Michael got a gig touring with Joe Cocker. In the first year things were tight, money wise, and Michael had to drive a cab to survive financially. After his cab gig, he did a year-long world tour with Cher, which was his biggest break yet. After that, Michael did a band with Andy Fraser (formerly of The Free) and they recorded the album Fine Fine Line for Island Records. By then, Michael had been honing his craft playing on many songwriters publishing demos and doing any sessions that were offered. Among those gigs, Michael did the popular T.V. show Fame, in which he played on for four years, and Miami Vice for its last season. In 1988, after working to try and get a record deal with his band Slang for several years, he finally got a record deal with Geffen Records and recorded one album entitled How Long under the name Michael Thompson Band (MTB). The singer for this group was Moon Calhoun, who has been a long time friend of Michaels. Also in 1988, Michael got to do an album with the band Animal Logic with Stewart Copeland, Stanley Clarke, and Debbie Holland. This was an important gig for M.T. because it led to working on many movie scores with both Stewart and Stanley as composers. While with Animal Logic, Michael got to tour Europe while having the thrill of playing live on stage with two of his musical heroes. He had always been a fan of Stanley Clarke & The Police were always one of his favorite bands. In 1989, Michael got his first opportunity to work with all-star producer, David Foster. This led to Michael playing on many of David’s hit productions over the next fifteen years. Michael has expressed that working with David has been the single most important element of his recording career. Michael feels that working with David has been an honor and a great learning experience. In the mid-90’s, Michael also started working with producer/R&B singer, Babyface, and got a chance to play on many big hits with him as well. These hits include “Change the World” by Eric Clapton, “Every Time I Close My Eyes”, and the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. Michael was also part of Babyface’s live band for his Live In NYC DVD. In 1995 Michael got a chance to work with Quincy Jones on his “Qs Juke Joint” album, in which Quincy made Michael a ‘special’ guest artist. In 1996, Michael released his first solo album, The World According to M.T. The song “Change is Gonna Come” featuring Bobby Womack received a lot of airplay on R&B radio stations across the U.S. This album was a favorite among guitar players and music lovers around the world. In 2001, Michael received a call from producer Mutt Lange to work on his wife, Shania Twain’s, new album “Up!”. Michael had long admired Mutt as one of his favorite producers and it was a huge thrill to be asked to contribute to that project. Also in 2001, Michael received the “Distinguished Alumni” award from The Berklee College of Music commemorating his contributions to the music industry. That year, Berklee Today, the schools magazine, featured a cover story on Michael entitled Platinum Touch. Michael has been working on his album MT Speaks for four years and in October 2005 will release the long-awaited follow-up to The World According to M.T. The all-instrumental album features artists such as Stanley Clarke, Vinny Coliauta, Nathan East, and newcomers Nathanial Morton (drums) and Sean Halley (bass). Besides his wife, Gloria, Michael’s family includes daughter, Sahara and sons Zach, Jason and Gordon. They have lived in Culver City for 17 years.


courtesy of Erin Fitzgerald

Dennis Caplinger is a multi-talented musician who has toured and recorded with many different artists including Bluegrass Etc., Eric Clapton, Vince Gill, Nickel Creek, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, Byron Berline, Dan Crary, Richard Greene, Chris Thile, Sean Watkins, John Reischmann, Ray Park, Jann Browne, Kevin Welch, Kelly Willis, Ray Price, Rita Coolidge, Buck Howdy, Tim Flannery, Eve Selis and The Academy of Country Music Awards Show Band. His busy touring schedule as Banjoist/Fiddler with Bluegrass Etc. has taken him all over the world and yielded three critically acclaimed albums to date; their latest, “Home Is Where The Heart Is” was voted one of the top ten bluegrass recordings of the year for 1999 by the Chicago Tribune.

A highly sought-after player/producer in the West-coast studio scene, he has worked on countless jingles, commercials, cartoons and movies and has his own production company based in Vista, Ca. Dennis is actively producing and playing on projects for CMH records popular “Pickin’ On” series – featured records he has been a part of include tributes to Eric Clapton, Santana, Creed, Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, Bonnie Raitt, Jim Morrison, Queen, Neil Diamond, Dave Matthews Band, R.E.M., Z.Z. Top, Lynrd Skynrd, Black Crowes, Phish, Dolly Parton, Brooks and Dunn, Lonestar, Lee Ann Womack, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw, Montgomery Gentry, Keith Urban, Tracy Byrd, Leann Rimes, Indigo Girls, Rod Stewart, Nancy Sinatra and Van Halen.

His movie soundtrack credits include “Back to the Future III”, “El Diablo”, “Rio Diablo”, Steven King’s “Apt Pupil” and the current HBO series “Deadwood” among others. Dennis’ playing is featured on the soundtrack of “The Simpsons” and Warner Bros. cartoons “Pinky and the Brain” and “Histeria”, as well as on numerous programs on PBS, A&E, TNN and The History Channel. Recent commercials include “New York Life”, “Supercuts”, “Subway Sandwiches”, “Home Depot”, “St. Joseph’s Aspirin”, “Applebee’s”, “Discover Card” featuring John Lithgow, and “Cingular Wireless”, which Dennis appeared in along with Bluegrass Etc. Dennis has contributed to Banjo Newsletter and can be seen in the October 1999 issue of Bluegrass Now magazine, which contains a feature article on him.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FIDDLE AND A VIOLIN? A violin is a fiddle; a fiddle is a violin. There are no differentiating features period. The only true reason you'd call one instrument a violin and the other a fiddle is the approach...someone who plays fiddle tunes, a fiddler, will address their violin as a fiddle.

Some fiddlers will shave their bridge flat to ensure an easily attainable double-stop (two strings played at once) the set-up may be different on a fiddle...they're still one and the same instrument.
source: Micky a fiddler and violinist ( a little musical humor injection )


Born July 17, 1947, Abe Laboriel Sr. is a Mexican bassist who has played on over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks. Guitar Player Magazine described him as: "the most widely used session bassist of our time
Laboriel was born in Mexico City.
His first recording was at age 10 as part of a "rock and roll" group called "Los Traviesos". After performing in Mexico thru his teen years as both a musician and an actor, he moved to Boston where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the Berklee School of Music in 1972. During that time he recorded with faculty member, famed vibraphonist Gary Burton. He traveled with Johnny Mathis, Michel Legrand, and Henry Mancini and moved to Los Angeles in 1976 to begin a very diverse and fruitful studio recording career .
. ... oriel.html

Article / Interview reprinted from Guitarist Magazine August 2000

Abe Laboriel, one of the world’s most original and influential bassists, talks to Guitarist about his latest duet project, discovering Hip Hop and uniting the generations in music.

In the seemingly fickle environment of the LA session scene, it takes a special musician to stay at the top for more than a year or two. Which makes Abe Laboriel’s story even more amazing. For over 20 years, Abe has been a first call player in La La Land. Starting his LA session career with Henry Mancini, he has worked with the biggest names in almost every style of music - Michael Jackson, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Larry Carlton and Count Basie to name but a few. And he remains just as busy today.

"I’ve been doing a huge variety of things" he says with a wide-eyed smile that suggests he can hardly believe his good fortune to still be working after all the years "film dates, jingles, record dates - including a recent session with Diane Reeves - some live performances, playing in a new mainstream jazz trio with some musicians that I met when I was studying at Berkley, [drummer] Peter Donald and [keyboard player] Tom Ranier. I also continue to be very active in the Christian music scene, touring and recording with Don Moen and Ron Kenoly - doors seem to be opening in many different directions."

In recent years, amazingly without any apparent let up in his busy session schedule, Abe has been concentrating more and more on his own music, and the latest fruit of that new focus is a stunning duet album with long time musical partner, pianist Greg Mathieson. Abe elaborates, "Greg and I just finished a duo record - just acoustic piano and bass - which I’m very excited about and am really looking forward to promoting. It’s going to be ready in about a month or so, and we still don’t have a label, so it’s very exciting doing all that ourselves."

Abe’s more recent focus on small group projects, particularly the Jazz trio and the new duets project suggests a re-acquaintance with the more conversational approach of small group playing.

"Exactly!" he agrees, "The comment we’ve been hearing a lot about the album that Greg and I have done is that it’s very satisfying for people to be able to hear all the stuff that we normally do without it being masked by all the production of a ‘normal’ record. We are very exposed, and it’s powerful." That intimacy spilled over to the recording process, "It was a family project - Greg’s son Miles, and my son Mateo were able to help us with the engineering side of things. Mateo was running the ADATs."

Abe’s bass sound on the album is disarmingly natural, all recorded live with the only processing being a little chorusing on one track - one wonders if his approach has to change when the bass is so exposed?

"No, I approach it the same," he corrects, adding "but the sound that is usually buried in the mix has more room for the detail to emerge because it is not being masked. I was talking with Steve Gadd, and he said that as a drummer he’s aware that he plays more ‘attacks’ per bar than anyone else in the band, so when all of those attacks aren’t there, suddenly what everybody else is doing becomes very critical, and really exposed. The people that I’ve played the record to say that it’s really satisfying to hear."

Anyone familiar with Abe’s playing will know that his unique technique combines bass lines with flamenco strums, fingerstyle picked chords, and myriad slapping and popping techniques to produce a really full sound, so the duet album is the perfect place for those advanced technique to come to the front.

"It is" he smiles, "and both of us are very rhythmic players, so the feeling and pulse is very strong. Greg has been a strong influence in my life with regards to groove and feeling. We often looked at each other when we were recording and started laughing because we started doing very similar things with the same frame of mind. We compliment each other very well."

As well as working on the duet album, Abe is planning another solo album, a follow up to 1995s jazz-funk tour de force ‘Guidum’.

"I’ve been composing more and more, trying to prepare for the next solo album, hopefully by the end of this year," perhaps not surprisingly, give his classical guitar background, Abe’s new material features the introduction of a new acoustic instrument,

"I’ve purchased a new instrument, an 8 string classical guitar, and I’m going to start trying to develop a style that allows me to play bass lines in the Brazilian style - the Brazilians have a 7 string guitar which takes the place of a very active bassline, played in counterpoint to the melody. So I want to develop that style and bring it into the kinds of songs that I write.

"I’m still at the experimental stage. On some of the demos I’m playing 8 string guitar on one track, then a regular bass line on another, and a bass guitar melody on another and the idea of trying to do all three combined might be satisfying so long as when people hear it they can hear the continuity of the parts. It’s a challenge to maintain the clarity when playing that many parts, but I’m very excited about it, good things are coming!"

Abe’s enthusiasm for playing music is undiminished after almost 30 years as a professional musician. One influence that keeps his music so fresh is that of his sons, Abe Jr. - a highly recognized session drummer in his own right - and youngest son Mateo, who is currently following his dad’s footsteps through Berkley music school. Abe expands on their influence,

"Mateo is very knowledgeable about the latest styles that are on the radio, and so his compositions are what I would consider cutting edge. A lot of what he writes really challenges me to not listen from a ‘what chord progression are you thinking about?’ point of view, because he doesn’t think in terms of chord progressions. He thinks in a more linear fashion, and if a line makes sense to him and the next [layer] makes sense, he’s not too concerned with the traditions of justifying what’s happening vertically. I’m beginning to enjoy just writing things that are less conventional, but as a bass player, whenever I work for other people I always think in terms of a harmony."

Mateo’s own influences are a lot of Hip Hop and R ‘n’ B grooves, along with the music that his dad played around the house while he was growing up. Are these more modern urban soul sounds making an impression on the old man?

"Mateo has introduced me to a lot of interesting new music. There’s a guy in England that we recently discovered - Lewis Taylor - and his bass lines are very weird in relation to the melody and the harmony. He seems to have no preconceptions, if he likes it he leaves it alone, without worrying about traditional harmony. It’s demanding for my ear which has to know harmonically, ‘why?’" He laughs, and adds with a smirk "I’ve always believed the cliché that the bass player is never wrong, because all the chords are named from the bass. Now, some people don’t like the name that the bass player can give to their chords, but all the sounds are named from the bass."

"I’m glad that you mention my sons, as one of my great dreams is to encourage the generations, regardless of how painful it might be, to keep sharing with each other their points of view, because something crucial must not be lost in terms of continuity.

"There are a lot of young people who wish they knew how the older musicians do things, and they get desperate as they don’t seem to have a handle on how they do it. And there’s a lot of older people who put the young people down for not knowing, so when is the dialogue going to be encouraged? I want to tell people that although the process can be painful because both sides have to compromise in order to absorb what’s missing, it’s going to be fantastic when young people realize they don’t need to reinvent the wheel!"

Animated at the best of time’s Abe’s eyes widen and his smile gets even wider, indicating that this is a topic very close to his heart,

"It’s like all the people that we respect though the history of music have had very strong foundations. Then when they start doing new things, that we call Avant Garde, it is not self indulgent. That’s what I hope happens to the generations.

"The gulf is not because of the generation gap, but because of the lack of communication. I talk to a lot of young people who wished they knew how to play a lot of older music and I say ‘why don’t you ask? There are people around who can explain it.’ And they say ‘I tried to explain how my music works to my father, and no matter how many times I say it, he doesn’t get it, so I’ve decided that nothing he has to say is valid’ I want to encourage musicians to keep trying to communicate, cause it’s really beautiful to have our ears and our hearts open to other voices."

Nylon Guitar:
The classical guitar, also known as the "Spanish guitar", and in more recent times as the "nylon string guitar" — is a plucked string instrument from the family of instruments called chordophones. It typically has 6 nylon strings (the bass-strings additionally being wound with a thin metal thread). The somewhat similar flamenco guitar is derived from the classical but has differences in material, construction and sound. [1]. The basic characteristics of the classical guitar were established by the nineteenth century Spanish luthier Antonio Torres Jurado.



Born Oct. 7, 1979 ( sound familiar ) in Middleton , Conn, Josh soon became a Florida resident. At age 3, he began his "career" as a guitarist with formal lessons beginning at the age of 7. Aided by parents who appreciated good music, Josh was exposed to live performances at a young age.
As a member of "Josh Smith and the Rhino Cats", he played on many Florida stages in the early 1990's. Following his dream, Josh began pursuing a musical career immediately after High School and has been recognized by critics and fans , nationally, as one of the next great guitarists of this generation.
We relish the opportunity to add to Josh's growing fan base.

With five CD;s under his belt including his latest " Deep Roots" ,Josh has become a sought after addition by many artists who recognize his amazing talent on the guitar.
Josh is acting as the musical director for the Shadow Tour that is showcasing THE DISTANCE. He has become a welcome figure wherever Taylor plays.

Deep Roots



courtesy of

There are not enough words to describe the multi-talents of modest and serious Steve Cropper. He was there quite at the beginning of Satellite/Stax and was the protégé of Jim Stewart. He was one of the first to get the keys of the studio and to be allowed to sit at the control board instead of Jim Stewart. Born in Dora, Missouri, in 1941 he came to Memphis at 10. Grown up in Memphis with school fellow Donald Dunn, he was already playing with the Mar-Keys when Last Night was recorded. He did quite everything at Stax from selling records at the Satellite Record Shop, developping his skills about recording techniques, playing the guitar and sometimes piano on most Stax records and composing the music for innumerable hits such as In The Midnight Hour, Knock On Wood, The Dock Of The Bay, Soul Man and so on.
After his departure from Stax in the early 70s, he created various independant studios and production companies. Today, he manages Insomnia Studios in Nashville, is also well known as a part of the Blues Brothers Band and can be seen in the cult film Blues Brothers and its recent sequel.



Ivan Neville (born 19 August 1959, New Orleans, Louisiana) is a multi-instrumentalist musician, singer, and songwriter. He is the son of Aaron Neville and nephew to members of the Neville Brothers.
He has released four solo albums and had a Top 40 Billboard hit with "Not Just Another Girl" from his first solo album If My Ancestors Could See Me Now. His second single "Falling Out of Love" charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and appeared on=2 0the soundtrack for the John Ritter film, Skin Deep in 1989.
Neville has played with and appeared on several Neville Brother records, as well as his father’s solo records. He contributed keyboards to two Rolling Stones albums, 1986’s Dirty Work and 1994’s Voodoo Lounge as well as being a member of Keith Richards’ solo band the X-Pensive Winos. In 1988, he toured with Richards after recording Talk is Cheap, and was the opening act for the shows, since If My Ancestors Could See Me Now was released.
Apart from appearing on several other artists’ records, including Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Robbie Robertson, Rufus, Paula Abdul, and Delbert McClinton, he was a member of the Spin Doctors, touring and recording on the group's album Here Comes The Bride in 1999–2000, even taking over lead vocal duties when Chris Barron lost his voice. In 2002, he formed his own band Dumpstaphunk and appeared, among other places, on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Through the Tipitina's Foundation, along with other New Orleans musicians, Neville has been active in performing benefit shows in support of Hurricane Katri na charities.
source: wikipedia


Clavinet is an electrophonic keyboard instrument manufactured by the Hohner company. It is essentially an electronically amplified clavichord, analogous to an electric guitar. Its distinctive bright staccato sound has appeared particularly in funk, disco, rock, and reggae songs.
Various models were produced over the years, including the models I, II, L, C, D6, and E7. Most models consist of 60 keys and 60 associated strings, giving it a five-octave range from F0 to E5.

Each key uses a small rubber tip to perform a "hammer on" (forcefully fret the string) to a guitar-type string when it is pressed, as with a conventional clavichord. The end of each string farthest from the pickups passes through a weave of yarn. When the key is released, the yarn makes the string immediately stop vibrating. This mechanism is completely different from the other Hohner keyboard products, the Cembalet and Pianet, which use the principle of plectra or sticky pads plucking metal reeds.



courtesy of

For a generation of bassists and R&B fans, those elements exist as a single thought. In the finale of Hathaway’s classic 1972 album, Weeks—playing a flatwound-strung ’62 P-Bass through an Ampeg SVT—takes a three-and-a-half-minute ride that is a seamless melding of groove, melody, and drama, making it one of the deepest bass solos on record. “Every bass player should own a copy of Donny Hathaway’s Live album,” blues bass maven Tommy Shannon told Bass Player in November ’97. “It’s just about perfection.”
Weeks deserves the renown the track has brought him, but in the past three decades his career has soared far beyond that moment of glory. In the studio he’s worked with a spectrum of pop, rock, R&B, blues, and country icons—artists such as George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael McDonald, Wynonna Judd, and Vince Gill—and onstage he has backed Harrison, Judd, the Doobie Brothers, Lyle Lovett, and Gregg Allman. “I love playing in the studio and I love playing live,” the fiftysomething bassist says. “I just want to play music wherever I can.”
Born in Salemburg, North Carolina, Weeks grew up working in the fields and listening to country, pop, and R&B on the radio. At age 12 he started singing and then playing guitar in a gospel group—learning on a homemade axe strung with fishing line—and when the group began performing alongside big-time acts, he got his first glimpse of an electric bass. “It was a Fender Precision,” Weeks recalled in a May ’90 Guitar Player interview. “I said, ‘Man, that’s it!’”
At first playing a log-like Japanese bass, Weeks honed his bass skills in the early ’60s in a variety of bands and locations, from Alvin Cash & the Crawlers in Buffalo, New York, to Les Watson & the Panthers in Dallas, Texas. In St. Paul, Minnesota, it was the Fabulous Amazers and prog-rockers Gypsy, whose self-titled ’70 album with Weeks on bass has become a cult item. Willie found his ’62 P-Bass at a California pawnshop before heading to Chicago, where he played with a pre-Chaka Khan lineup of the band Rufus before joining up with soul star Hathaway. That gig would change Weeks’s life. “The band was such an incredible musical experience that I just couldn’t get into any music I played after that,” Weeks says. “Finally I said, ‘I’m just through with it.’ I went to Puerto Rico and hung out there for a year.”
It wasn’t the last time Weeks would take a hiatus and then re-emerge at a new level in his career. From Puerto Rico he traveled to New York and then London, where friend Andy Newmark was laying down drum tracks for future Rolling Stone Ron Wood’s ’74 solo debut, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do [Warner Bros.]. After laying trac ks for Wood’s album, Weeks and Newmark went on to do sessions with Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, and George Harrison, playing on the former Beatle’s Apple LPs Dark Horse and Extra Texture and backing him on the ’74 Dark Horse tour.
In the late ’70s and early ’80s Weeks enjoyed a busy stateside studio career and played the Doobie Brothers’ ’82 farewell tour. The death of his wife, however, left him at another crossroads—this time with a young daughter to raise. “I drove to L.A. and started checking out apartments, and I was overwhelmed. I needed more of a family-oriented place. A buddy of mine said, “Why don’t you go to Nashville?” And I thought, Well, why not?
In 1984 Weeks moved to Nashville, where he worked his way onto the A-list of session players, logged steady roadwork with Wynnona Judd, and did a stint with Lyle Lovett. In the past two decades, Weeks’s sessions have leaned toward country but also have included blues, soul, and pop. This year he was guitarist John Scofield and drummer/producer Steve Jordan’s inspired choice for Sco’s Verve album That’s What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles. Employing reissue Fender Precision and Jazz Basses and a 1969 Ampeg Baby Bass electric upright, Weeks brings his typically imaginative lines, weighty tone, and inescapable grooves to classics such as “What’d I Say,” “I Don’t=2 0Need No Doctor,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The album is a fitting tribute not only to Charles but to Weeks, who—speaking from his new home back in North Carolina—sums up his career this way: “Over the years I just wanted to be inside the music—inside the groove.”



A member of the Tullahoma, Tennessee High School Stage Band from the late 70's. Mike Haynes played the trumpet and he later toured with Maynard Ferguson .
Mike Haynes is now the First Call - Lead Trumpet Recording Artist in the studios in Nashville. He has played with Larry Carlton, Michael W. Smith, Michael McDonald and Tony Bennett - just to name a few!


Jim Horn is a saxophonist. He was born in Los Angeles, and provided the raucous sax sounds on the early (1958-59) recordings of Duane Eddy. His tenor sax playing on “Peter Gunn” and other tracks on these early albums is an object lesson in rock and roll sax and together with Bobby Keys and Jim Price he became one of the most in-demand horn session players of the 1970s and 1980s. Horn played on solo albums by all the members of the Beatles, joining Nicky Hopkins in having done so.
Horn also played flute and saxophone on the The Beach Boys’ album Pet Sounds. Along with Bobby Keys and Jim Price he became one of the most in-demand horn session players of the 1970s and 1980s. Horn played on solo albums by all the members of the Beatles, joining Nicky Hopkins in having done so.

courtesy of Josh Anderson for The New York Times

Aubrey Haynie (born on March 27, 1974) is an American bluegrass musician who plays the fiddle and mandolin. In his career, he has recorded three studio albums for the Sugar Hill Records label, all three of which contained mostly songs that he wrote himself. He also holds several credits as a session fiddler and mandolinist.
When Haynie was nine, he began taking fiddle lessons from his grandmother's cousin, a man named Ted Locke. He studied the fiddle, for two years, after which he took up the mandolin. He became exceedingly good at both, and within two years he joined a bluegrass band named the Bluegrass Parlor Band. While he was traveling, he got a chance to meet Chubby Wise, a self-styled "original" bluegrass fiddler, on many occasions. These opportunities enriched his sense of music, and were a great inspiration to him in his younger years. Another major influence on Hayne's music was that of Kenny Baker, whose fiddle albums were some of his favorites. Those familiar with Baker's fiddle style might recognize similarities in Haynie's sound.

In 1990, at age 16, attending the Florida fiddling championships, and competing, Haynie won first place in the contemporary division for the second time, playing Wild Fiddler's Rag and Skater's Waltz.[1]

In August 1996 Haynie lost two violins and a bow, when a lightning-induced fire burnt Tim Austin's Doobie Shea Studios to the ground. Destroyed was $35,000 worth of Haynie's equipment, the bow alone worth $15,000.[2][3]

In 2004 Haynie won the fiddle category at the 39th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.[4]

Haynie has been seen appearing in informal music performances under other musicians' headlines, and earned a living as a session musician.


Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

11:13 AM - Jun 06, 2014 #3


Daft Punk/Eric Clapton/Four Play Bassist Nathan East Shares His Musical Memories

By Craig Rosen 6/6/14

You may not know Nathan East by name, but you've probably heard his music. He played bass on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and much of Random Access Memories. He's been a regular member of Eric Clapton's touring band for years, he co-wrote the No. 2 1984 hit "Easy Lover" with Philip Bailey and Phil Collins, and he's also a founding member of jazz quartet Four Play, who launch an East Coast tour on June 6.

When we had East on the phone recently to discuss the release of his debut solo album, as well as working with Daft Punk, we also asked him to not-so-randomly access some of his favorite musical memories for us.

What is the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it from?

There were two singles that I bought way back in the singles days. One was "Nowhere Man" by the Beatles and the other was "More Love" by Smokey Robinson. Those were the first two records I actually spent my own money on. I'll never forget looking at the labels, the Motown label, and watching that thing spin around, and of course the Beatles and the Apple label, and thinking, "Wow, how cool is this?" That was back in the 45 days. Nobody knows what that is anyore. And I'll never forget when I bought the first Earth, Wind & Fire record. I used to love picking up records and reading every single on the credits. I bought them at Tower Records in San Diego.

What was the first concert you attended, and where?

The Temptations at the Sports Arena in San Diego. I remember seeing them there and Earth, Wind & Fire there. Both just blew me away, how professional they were and this was the big-time. I looked up onstage and just thought, "Wow, how do you get to do that?"

What was the artist/song/video/album/concert that made you go, "Wow, making music is what I want to do too"?

When I was in junior high school, there was a bass sitting in the cafeteria and I started playing the only bassline I knew, a song called "Top of the Stack" by James Brown. After I finished playing, I saw nine girls starring up at me, and that was it. That was a really good indication that this was something I wanted to do.

What song by another artist makes you go, "Man, I really wish I'd written or recorded that"?

We played a song [in April] at a Yamaha corporate event in L.A. and Wynonna sang the Foreigner song "I Want to Know What Love Is." I'll never forget that that song kept us out of the No. 1 spot in Billboard when Phil Collins, Phil Bailey, and I wrote "Easy Lover." It was No. 1 on every other chart in every other magazine, but in Billboard we were No. 2 and the song that kept us out of it was "I Want to Know What Love Is." To this day I always think about that, "Man, one song. We couldn't crack it."

This might be a tough one, because you've played with so many great people, but if you could duet with any recording artist, living or dead, who would your dream duet partner be?

Miles Davis was one of those people on my list that I had never had a chance to play with, who I would love to play with. Living, Pat Metheney, he's another guy; I'm a big fan of his music and it would be fun to play with him in some capacity at some point. If you said you have to handcuff yourself to one musician for the rest of your life, it would be [the late] Jeff Porcaro [of Toto]. He's my all-time favorite drummer and one of my favorite human beings ever.

What has been your unfortunate onstage mishap?

I was playing an outdoor venue with Kenny Loggins in Atlanta called Chastain Park, and I remember the stage had this little runway, and I started walking over to the runway and I tripped over this cable that was taped to the stage. And it just kind of lunged me forward and I looked like I was going to fall into the crowd with my bass and everything. I managed to slow myself down before I ended up killing myself and as I was walking back backwards and I tripped over the same cable and fell backwards, the bass cable fell on the stage; everything started feeding back. It was probably the most embarrassing moment ever, because you can't hide. It was right in the middle of this runway. It was just completely stupid, because I saved myself from falling into the crowd, but then as I was backing up, trying to be cool, I tripped over the same cable again.

Do you remember what song you were playing?

I think it was "Footloose."

That's appropriate.

It was a No. 1 record and it would have been very appropriate.

What's the weirdest thing a music fan has ever done for you or said to you?

I played on a Judas Priest record because the bassist was in rehab and the weirdest thing was they said was, "We can't put your name on the record, because when he comes out rehab we want him to think it's him, plus you can't play too much stuff, just keep it simple."

Do you remember what album it was?

It was around 1987, whatever album that was [1988's Ram It Down].

That's like Spinal Tap or something.

Exactly. Not that many people know I played on a Judas Priest album.

Do you have a special preshow ritual?

Apart from warming up, there's nothing that we have to do. However, a lot of bands, musical situations I'm in, we say a prayer before we go onstage, get our collective energy together and go out and do it.

What's the most unusual thing on your tour rider?

Now everything is about health. You've got water, juice, kale, everything healthy, but back in the day there used to be some other things on the rider that we won't be able to mention. Now, it's a very health-conscious thing. We do yoga and try to maintain our bodies as we get older.

What is your on-the-road must-have?

I never leave home without my iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air. Those are my three must-haves. They help me stay in touch with my family every day.

What's the most surprising song/artist on your iPod or iPhone?

I have everything from John Mayer, Clapton, Metheny, Four Play, nothing too surprising. Bob Dylan; I've played on his records.

No Judas Priest?

No [laughs].

This might be a tough one for you, since you've played with Judas Priest, but what's the one genre of music you'd never try to do yourself, and why not?

I don't have too much experience playing polka or country music, which I enjoy a lot, or classical, but I don't think there is anything I wouldn't try. I was in Japan [in April with Toto], I tried a lot of Japanese music, and I went to China with Bob James once and he had this music that combined jazz with Asian music, so I can't really think of anything I wouldn't try.

Do you do karaoke? If so, what's your go-to karaoke song?

I haven't done much karaoke, but karaoke is really big in Japan and I once came over and recorded about 40 versions of karaoke songs in one session in one day, which is crazy. I think the one song everyone sings in karaoke is [Journey's] "Don't Stop Believin'." That's like the ultimate karaoke song. I was in a restaurant recently in New York and they had [Daft Punk's] "Get Lucky" on there and that was a lot of fun. I had to do it, because after playing on it, I wanted to be a good sport and do it.

What's the most recent album you've purchased?

You're going to laugh at this, but it was actually mine in Tower Records [in Japan]. It was actually pretty expensive, it was 27,000 yen, which is almost 30 bucks for a CD.

Most recent concert you attended?

Larry Carlton and David Key Walker were playing in Japan [in March] when I was there with Clapton, and I was able to catch those guys.

Who do you prefer, the Beatles or Rolling Stones?

The Beatles. They were the first group that heavily influenced me. The Rolling Stones a close second, but the Beatles captured the first spot in my heart.

Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly?

I'm going to say Elvis. I got called to play in the Elvis band that tours Europe to packed arenas with a string section, the original Imperials, and people go absolutely crazy and it was a lot of fun... For me, it's just unbelievable to see the 02 Arena packed and sold-out and the guy has been dead for 30 years. I'm glad I got to play those songs every night. It really touches people.

Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?

Christina Aguilera, because she's such a phenomenal singer.

The Notorious B.I.G. or Tupac Shakur?

That's a good one. That's pretty much 50-50. Maybe Notorious B.I.G., because I liked his themes and the way he approached his music.