Famed session bassist on Phil Collins, Judith Owen and the state of the music industry
Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
April 2, 2018
By David Sands
When it comes to session bassists, Leland Sklar is definitely one of those names. Instantly recognizable by his long white beard, he’s been an established presence on the L.A. scene for decades. His rise to fame came during the 1960s and 1970s playing alongside singer-songwriter James Taylor, whom he met shortly after graduating from California State University, Northridge. Credited on more than 2,000 albums, the roster of high-profile artists he’s worked with includes Jackson Browne, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Cobham, The Doors, B.B. King, Willie Nelson and David Bowie, among others. Over the years, Sklar has frequently collaborated with drummer Russ Kunkel and guitarist Craig Doerge; known collectively as “The Section,” the trio recorded three albums as a band from 1972 to 1977. Sklar has also served as Toto’s bass player at various points in time. In addition to the music industry, he’s made his mark on television and in the movies too, playing for shows like Hill Street Blues and Knight Rider as well a movies like Kindergarten Cop and Forrest Gump.
FBPO’s Jon Liebman got a chance to check in with Sklar about what he’s been up to lately — including gigs and a new signature bass — during this year’s Winter NAMM in Anaheim, California.
Watch our interview with Leland!