Billy Gibbons Guests on New Album by David Letterman’s Bass Player
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When Will Lee, David Letterman’s bass player and an in-demand session musician, started cutting tracks for his new solo album, ‘Love, Gratitude and Other Distractions,’ he had plenty of famous names to lean on for special guest assistance — including ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons, who lent his guitar and vocals to a cover of ‘Get Out of My Life Woman.’
“It was really strange how the whole thing happened,” explained Lee in an interview with For Bass Players Only. “One morning I woke up with that song in my head for no reason, and when that happens you can’t think of anything else until something startling happens. It’s like having the hiccups — you have to be startled out of it. I had my engineer coming over that night to work on some other tune, but the phone rang and it was Billy Gibbons, saying he was in town and I was like, ‘Oh s—, what are you doing later tonight? Want to come over and sing “Get Out of My Life Woman” with me for my record?’ And he goes, ‘I got a terrible cold, I want to get this recorded before it goes away,’ unlike any other singer I’ve ever known. Sure enough, I understand what he means. When you hear his performance, it’s like, ‘Oh s—, let me get a cold!'”
Gibbons isn’t the only high-profile guest star on ‘Get Out of My Life Woman'; the song also features the distinctive piano of the song’s composer, Allen Toussaint, who’s seen it covered by everyone from Lee Dorsey to Iron Butterfly and the Doors. Toussaint and Gibbons are just two of the many well-known friends Lee called upon for the record, which finds him stepping out from his role as Letterman’s bassist for the first time since 2006’s Charlie Parker tribute ‘Bird House,’ and recording some of his own original songs for the first time since 1993’s ‘OH!’ LP.
“I’ve known everybody, and I think I’m familiar, not with their limitations, but with what they can bring,” Lee told For Bass Players Only. “A lot of these guys are way underused. Everybody is, really.”