Podcast Of The Week: Pino Palladino On Questlove Supreme

How does a lanky Welsh kid become the most soulful and sought-after bass player in modern music?

I’m still asking the question. I still don’t know. 

He doesn’t read music. It’s all “feel.” And it’s all professional network-driven respect. 

He’s a long-standing friend and fellow contributor to projects Questlove’s been on, including D’Angelo’s Voodoo (one of my favorite albums of all time), so hearing them talk to each other – I’ve been waiting for this. 

They talk about where it started. His ‘80s hits as a backing player. How his career includes playing with everyone from Don Henley to Ed Sheeran, D’Angelo to John Mayer, people who make you say “who?!” to THE WHO. Yeah. THE WHO. 

Between the lines, Pino’s “trick” (to the degree there even is one) is in listening to the individual feels of the people you’re playing with.

If you’re not a musician, think about how you talk to other people. How you can have a good conversation or a bad conversation with a total stranger. How you can have a good meeting or a bad meeting with your coworkers. That sense of good and bad, while it has quantifiable aspects, it’s not entirely quantifiable. That’s about as close to a non-musicians explanation of “feel” as I can get.

And that’s the common thread. Pino is a legend because he knows how to find the feel. He knows how to fit in, to make it feel right.

How it can feel right when he’s locked on, dead-straight in time, hitting somebody else’s iconic riffs in a Who show. 

Or, how he can be on space cadet, anti-time astronauts with Chris Dave and Drumheadz stuff (another personal favorite of mine – especially the trio stuff, which they discuss, and even Questlove wants to know how the f*** that band can even exist let alone not fall apart at any moment, and why Pino is the key to it, which Pino then explains perfectly – click the link above if you don’t know). 

Bottom line? Feel.

(I can’t make another bottom reference that doesn’t sound dirty, so just, yeah – bass.)

Feel’s everything, and Pino is a master. Musicians and non-musicians, check this out. You’ll learn something.