Watch Don Henley and James Taylor Sidemen Step Out on Their Own
Danny Kortchmar, Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Waddy Wachtel have played on thousands of albums over the past 50 years. But the veteran session musicians, going under the name the Immediate Family, are now stepping out on their own.
The band will release its self-titled debut album on Aug. 27. You can watch the exclusive premiere of the video for the song "Fair Warning" below.
The quartet first came together in the ‘70s as a group of ace session players known as the Section. Playing together and individually, they left their musical mark on countless classic songs and albums over the years, including hit records by Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley, James Taylor, Bob Seger, Stevie Nicks and others.
With another session vet, Steve Postell, on guitar and vocals, the Immediate Family are prepping for their new album. "Fair Warning" gives a pretty good taste of what fans can expect. The track has a serrated edge to its sound that emerged as a result of a personal challenge Wachtel took on.
“I was determined one afternoon to write one of those songs that had that kind of sound to it, where you put a low D string on your guitar, and you play it nice and loud and ugly,” he tells UCR. “It’s got that nasty sound to it. I was in a zone where I was writing a few things that were of a negative aspect.”
He admits it’s not something he's typically drawn to. “I’m usually writing songs that are a little more positive," he notes. "I never really took that go-fuck-yourself attitude before on a song. So I wanted to see if I could do it. I’m happy to say that I was very happy with the result of that one.”
The group recorded The Immediate Family's 12 songs over three days at Browne’s Los Angeles studio. The album also includes a couple of live tracks pulled from their famous pasts: Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby” and Warren Zevon’s “Johnny Strikes Up the Band.” A tour is expected in the fall.
Wachtel says it’s no surprise they were so productive in such a short amount of time. “We’ve done so many records, individually and together," he explains. "When I met these guys, they had already played on a million hit records. And we were babies then. From then on we’ve done a lot of great work together and [some] really important records.”
He's also thankful to be part of the songwriting process with his bandmates. “To be doing it for ourselves, that’s the surprise,” he says. “Here we are doing it for ourselves, finally, after all of this time. It’s a joy every time we play. It really is.”