"Leadership, in my mind, is involvement and I've always prided myself on being involved. I jump right into the thick of everything, always throw out suggestions and goof around with everybody to keep the energy level high.
When I started playing all of this was so new. We didn't really have any peers to look towards. When I first started going in the studio within six months I was one of the A-list guys.
As things evolved I'd be in there with a Larry Knechtel or a Hal Blaine, Thomas Tedesco. A lot of the old "wrecking crew" guys.
I looked up to them because they had been doing it for so long and we're so successful at it. All those guys had that same energy and I just kind of jumped right into it.
I wasn't really emulating anybody it's just that the atmosphere was so comfortable. I wasn't sitting there like a neophyte scrutinizing everybody.
When I was working with Clarence (White) when he got killed. We were in the studio for about a week and we came in one day and they said, Clarence had been killed by a drunk driver." He was changing a tire on his car and a guy ran into him. He was such a beautiful person and player. That's happened to me several times. It happened to me when I was working with Percy Faith doing one of his "Orchestra" albums. Percy died in the middle of the project.
Whether I was playing with Gene Clark or Crosby I was already such a "Byrds" fan that anytime you got to play with one of those guys you sat back and were like, "I used to go see that cat at The "Hulabaloo." I still am an Uber fan because I have such respect for those players. That's one of the oddest parts of my whole career. In my heart of hearts and in my mind I'm just this dorky guy from the San Fernando Valley and than I'll wind up at a gathering and Clapton's there and he comes up and says "Hey Lee, How Ya Doing?"
By Leland Sklar
from archives of Jake D. Steinberg