Bill Payne on Greasy Tracks

An interview with Little Feat and Leftover Salmon keyboardist Bill Payne was aired on the June 6 edition of Greasy Tracks which featured all Payne-related music.


Not just another band from L.A.: Little Feat formed in 1969 and featured drummer Richie Hayward (left), keyboardist Bill Payne, bassist Roy Estrada and guitarist Lowell George. (Michael Ochs photo)

To listen to the feature, here’s Hour 1, Hour 2 and the playlist.

Payne, who will be doing a rare solo show on June 11 at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville, discussed his recent joining of the Boulder, Colo.-based Leftover Salmon, his work-in-progress solo project, an insight to session work he’s involved with and of course, some interesting Little Feat stories and the latest developments on the Feat front.

Payne joined Leftover Salmon as a full-time member last fall as the band was recording its recently-released CD, High Country which includes “Bluegrass Pines,” a collaboration by Payne and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and a cover of Little Feat’s “Six Feet of Snow” from the Down on The Farm album. Payne and Hunter have co-written 20 songs together over the past few years.

Light the song with sense and color: Bill Payne (foreground) and Leftover Salmon perform at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, Calif., in 2014. (Michael Kaiz photo)

Light the song with sense and color: Bill Payne (foreground) and Leftover Salmon perform at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, Calif., in 2014. (Michael Kaiz photo)

When it comes to the Little Feat songbook, Payne is all over it, having written or collaborated on some of the group’s best-known tracks: “All That You Dream,” “Cat Fever,” “Day Or Night,” ”Front Page News,” “Gringo,” “Let it Roll,” “Snakes On Everything,” “Tripe Face Boogie,” “Truck Stop Girl,” “Strawberry Flats,” “Somebody’s Leavin’,” “Oh, Atlanta,” “Walkin’ All Night,” “The Fan” and “Time Loves A Hero.”

His appearance at Bridge Street is wedged between gigs he’s playing with Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, followed by a tour with Leftover Salmon. Later this summer, he’ll be out with the Doobie Brothers for about a month.

Formidable Feat

Formidable Feat: Little Feat featuring Bill Payne (left), Paul Barrère, Lowell George, Richie Hayward, Kenny Gradney and Sam Clayton at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles in 1973. (Michael Ochs photo)

In 1969, Payne along with guitarist Lowell George and bassist Roy Estrada — both fresh from a stint with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention — formed Little Feat in Los Angeles with drummer Richie Hayward who had played with George in The Factory several years earlier.

The original line-up released two albums, the eponymous debut in 1971 and Sailin’ Shoes a year later. By 1972, guitarist Paul Barrère and percussionist Sam Clayton joined the fold while Kenny Gradney replaced Estrada on bass. Between 1973-79, they would release five studio albums and the in-concert offering, Waiting for Columbus, widely regarded as one of the best live recordings ever.

George passed away in 1979 and Hayward in 2010.

While best-known for his work with Little Feat, Payne has been a go-to


Renaissance man: Bill Payne is known best as a musician, but he has a knack for taking stunning photographs. (Bill Payne photo)

session player and a touring sideman. Over the years, he’s done hundreds of sessions — as a player or producer — including work with the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Buffet, Art Garfunkel, Chico Hamilton, Carly Simon, J.J. Cale, Robert Palmer, Pink Floyd, Valerie Carter, Bob Seger, Linda Ronstadt, Toto and dozens of other artists.

A number of tracks featuring Payne as a session player were featured on the program.

Payne is currently working on a solo project, his first since Cielo Norte (Hot Tomato Records) in 2005. He continues to pursue commercial photography and writing.

Greasy Tracks, the longest-running soul- and blues-based program in the state, airs Saturdays 3:30-5:30 p.m.

One thought on “Bill Payne on Greasy Tracks

  1. EUGENE Mcfadden on said:

    as a new east coast roadie for little feat in the seventies ( feats don’t fail me now era) we tried to improve the selection/amplification of BILL PAYNES stage setup. We got a stinging reprimand from Lowell and nearly fired for our efforts. The issue was no changes period unless Lowell decreed them. HOWEVER, the short stint of working for the FEAT out of the baltimore area was immensely enjoyable and the music was GREAT. THANKS LITTLE FEAT. Great to see you all still providing music for us all. GO BILL, trying to keep track of you as best I can. We have three good music venues here in medford oregon. two outdoors and the Ginger Rodgers/craterian theater. Maybe some day—

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