This week The Entertainment Engine podcast welcomes legendary Session Musician & Bass Guitarist — Leland Sklar!

Appearing as the backing band on numerous recordings by artists such as Jackson Browne, Carole King, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, and James Taylor plus much more!

Legendary Session Musician & Bass Guitarist — Leland Sklar!

This week on The Entertainment Engine podcast show, we welcome our next guest to the show iconic musician & legendary bassist — Leland Sklar!

Leland Bruce Sklar (born May 28, 1947) is an American electric bass guitarist and session musician.

He is a member of the Los Angeles-based instrumental group The Section, who served as the de facto house band of Asylum Records and were one of the progenitors of the soft rock sound prevalent on top-40 radio in the 1970s and 1980s.

Besides appearing as the backing band on numerous recordings by artists such as Jackson Browne, Carole King, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, and James Taylor, Reba McEntire, the Section also released three solo albums of instrumental rock.

And never one to remain idle his very recognizable bass playing style, Sklar has entered the new millennium with a vengeance, taking on new projects with Willie Nelson, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nils Lofgren, Lisa Loeb, plus much more.

Leland Sklar has been a prominent figure among Hollywood session bassists dating back to the 1970s and ever since.

He also has toured with James Taylor, Toto, Phil Collins and other major rock and pop acts, and recorded many soundtracks to films and television shows.

Photo by John Lyttle on Unsplash

Early life:

Sklar studied at California State University, Northridge. It was during that time he met James Taylor, who invited him to play bass at some venues.

They both thought that the work would be short-term, but soon Taylor’s career took off with his first hit records, and Sklar came into the limelight and was asked to record with other artists.

Sklar has contributed to over 2,000 albums as a session musician

In the late ’60s, he was briefly the bass player of the band Wolfgang, which featured Ricky Lancelotti as their vocalist.

However, their only recordings were unreleased demo tracks. In the 1970s, Sklar worked so frequently with drummer Russ Kunkel, guitarist Danny Kortchmar, and keyboardist Craig Doerge that they eventually became known as “The Section” and recorded three albums under that name between 1972 and 1977.

In 2020, reuniting with several members of The Section, they formed a new group, The Immediate Family, with Leland Sklar on bass, Danny Kortchmar and Waddy Wachtel on guitars and vocals, Russ Kunkel on drums, and musician/producer Steve Postell on vocals and guitar.

The group has toured Japan and released a number of recordings.

Their first, eponymously titled, U.S. album, The Immediate Family, was released in 2021.

The reputation of a fine session player is not held exclusively by the record industry. Television and motion picture musical directors have called upon Sklar for his expertise countless times.

He has played on TV shows such as Hill Street Blues, Knight Rider, Simon and Simon, and also on many motion pictures, including Forrest Gump, Ghost, Kindergarten Cop, and My Best Friend’s Wedding. The list is virtually endless.

To listen to the full podcast episode with Leland, just click on the link below;

Equipment:

Sklar’s favourite instrument is a bass guitar assembled from parts of various basses, consisting of a Fender Precision Bass body, Precision Bass neck which has been shaved down to the proportions of a Fender Jazz Bass and fitted with mandolin wire frets and two sets of reversed position EMG Precision Bass pickups.

It has been used on nearly all of his recordings and he refers to it as the “Frankenstein bass”.

In 2004, Sklar began playing a signature model five-string bass made by Dingwall Guitars.

This was his main bass on tour and was also used in various recordings. The bass uses fanned frets, which result in longer low strings and shorter high strings.

In 2010, Sklar began playing the Warwick Star Bass II, which has since become his main bass in the studio. In 2013, after years of having been a Warwick Star Bass II user, he became an endorser of that instrument.

At Winter NAMM 2016, Warwick announced their Lee Sklar signature bass, based on the Star Bass but with an offset body shape and a forearm contour.

It was a real pleasure to speak with Leland, such a great musician and human being — if you get the chance check out his Youtube channel, I highly recommend it!

By Pete Moore

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Peter Moore

Peter Moore

Peter has lived New York, Los Angeles and London working in the music, film and TV industries for over three decades helping creators realize their vision.

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