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Interview:
Immediate Family's debut EP, 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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If there's ever a band whose members could rest on their individual and collective laurels, it's the Immediate Family.



The quintet -- guitarists Danny Kortchmar, Waddy Wachtel and Steve Postell, bassist Leland Sklar and drummer Russ Kunkel -- are session and sideman royalty, with resumes that include working with half (or more) of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Just a few of their credits: James Taylor, Carole King, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Keith Richards, Warren Zevon, Jimmy Buffett, Don Henley, Keith Richards...You get the picture.



Now, however, they've banded together in the Immediate Family, whose debut EP, "Slippin' and Slidin'," comes out Friday, Oct. 16, with a streaming concert the following night. Though slowed by the pandemic, the group has big plans for the future and, if the quintet has its way, will rank alongside the players' other work...



Kortchmar, 74, says by phone that the Immediate Family came together after he was offered a deal for a solo album ("Honey Don't Leave L.A.") from a record label in Japan. "I thought about who I wanted to play on it, and amazingly Lee and Russ where in town which is very rare. And then Waddy showed up a day later and was able to participate in it. Steve is somebody I've been working with for a few years and he and I worked on the production together and he was invaluable. Before you know it we just realized, 'This is a group. We've got to make this a band.' I'd been offered a gig in Japan to promote the solo album, so everyone went over there and that just solidified the fact it really is a band."



During the 70s Kortchmar, Sklar and Kunkel were in another band together called The Section, but the guitarist makes clear that the Immediate Family bears little resemblance to that group. "The Section played instrumental music. We re kind of a rock-jazz fusion thing, with no vocals or songs involved. And that was a long time ago; We've grown up since then, and I'm certainly more interested in writing songs and playing rock 'n' roll than I am in trying to be a fusion guy. So it's very different music and we play this music very differently than we played the Section stuff."



The "Slippin' and Slidin'" EP features songs the group members have worked on in the past, including Henley's "New York Minute," which Kortchmar co-wrote and co-produced, and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London," which Wachtel co-wrote. There are, meanwhile, another 17 original songs in the can that will be tapped for the Immediate Family's first full album next year. "It's the same concept -- three guitars, bass and drums. We stay within certain parameters. It's got to be rock 'n' roll and it's got to have a certain aesthetic for what we're doing. We like ass-shakers, and the ballads need to be rock 'n' roll ballads. That's the thread that runs through everything, but there's not one particular sound or songwriting style."



Also on tap for the Immediate Family is a documentary film, directed by Denny Tedesco, who also chronicled another Los Angeles session troupe, the Wrecking Crew. "It goes back 50 years all the way to the present," Kortchmar says. "It covers a lot of area and culminates with the stuff from the Immediate Family. We're all very proud of what we've done and to have played with all the incredible people we've worked with. The whole trip has been absolutely wonderful, but none of us tend to dwell on the past. We're more concerned with what's going on now with the Immediate Family. This is just a great opportunity for us to get together and do our own thing. We're not backing anybody else up."



A quick Kortchmar fact; He appears in the mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap," as Ronnie Pudding, bass player in the faux group the Thamesmen. "I knew those cats. I knew Rob (Reiner) a little bit and they needed someone and I kind of had a Beatles haircut at the time. It came close enough to fit in. So I went there and they showed me a 20-minute clop of what they'd already started, and I never laughed so hard in my life. And I said, 'Absolutely. Of course I'll do it.' It was great fun and it's something I can whip out at any time and say, 'I was in 'Spinal Tap'' and always get a big response. It's pretty much the zenith of my career, I'd say." (laughs)



The Immediate Family celebrates the release of its EP "Slippin' and Slidin'" with a virtual concert at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, via stageit.com. Tickets are $15.

Web Site: www.stageit.com

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