Leland Sklar may be a bass guitar legend who’s played with some of the biggest names in the music business, but when Covid-19 struck, he was forced to hunker down just like the rest of us.
Lockdown has turned the 73-year-old into a prolific video diarist, but when his friend, songwriter and producer Gussie Miller, got in touch and asked him if he’d mind playing bass on a cover of Philip Bailey and Phil Collins’ Easy Lover that she was working on, he was faced with a problem.
“I’ve always been busy enough that I’m one of the guys that has never had a home studio. Or done any home recording at all,” he says. “When I would get home from work, I had so much to do around the house that I never really dedicated anything to recording. Plus, I have enough friends with home setups that if something came along, I would just go to their house and do it.”
This of course, hasn’t been an option recently, so Sklar was forced to find an alternative solution. This turned out to be nothing more complicated than an SSL 2+ audio interface plugged into a MacBook running GarageBand.
This simple setup enabled Sklar to record the track, which now has more than 300,000 views on YouTube.
The project has also turned Sklar on to the idea of making more home recordings, with one of the members of his new band, The Immediate Family, helping to get him up and running.
“The ‘new kid on the block,’ our guitarist, Steve Postell, who I’ve only known for 15 years, walked me through all the settings on GarageBand and how it all works,” he says. “I’m really a newbie at this.”
Despite his lack of experience and relatively low-cost recording rig, Sklar is pleased with the results he’s getting - as are those he’s working with.
“Everybody that I have recorded anything for has contacted me and said, ‘It sounds great!’ And I’m running totally flat,” he confirms. “I’m not doing anything in GarageBand; I just plug my bass in. As a way for my bass to get into a recording, it’s an excellent tool.”
Discussing how the pandemic has changed his working life, Sklar says: “Like everybody else, I’m finding new paths. And I ended up with a tool that seems to be exactly what I need to do the things I was thinking about doing. The SSL 2+ interface is the perfect tool for imperfect times!”