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Pino Palladino, Blake Mills: Bio

Pino Palladino (17 October 1957 in Cardiff, Wales, UK) is a Welsh bass guitarist of Italian ancestry. Palladino rose to public notice playing primarily rock and roll, blues rock, and rhythm and blues music, although he has been lauded for his ability to play most genres of popular music, including jazz, neo soul, and funk. Adding to his eclectic grasp and melodic approach on his instrument, he has become one of the most sought-after session players on the bass in the music industry. He has played on a large number of recordings by some of the world's most successful entertainers, in part, by mastering a variety of techniques on both his late 1970s fretless Music Man StingRay bass guitar and later in his career, adding fretted Fender Precision and Jaguar basses. His playing has earned him custom instruments bearing his name.

Palladino has joined several bands and ensembles through which he is most visible. He joined jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove in forming The RH Factor, a band that mixes elements of soul, jazz, and R&B. He is a member of the John Mayer Trio, and was the first choice by Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to fill the position left by John Entwistle as the current bassist for The Who.

Palladino began playing the electric guitar at age 14. By age 17 he decided to play the bass guitar, and bought his first fretless bass one year later, playing mostly R&B, funk, and reggae within a rock and roll backbeat. His first professional gig was at a local television station in Cardiff, where he began playing in 1978. That same year, at age 20, he joined Jools Holland's band and recorded with Holland on his album entitled, Jools Holland and His Millionaires. Palladino toured with Jools to support the album, which gave him the opportunity to purchase his own Music Man StingRay Fretless Bass. Holland was touring with another new band; the Q-Tips, whose frontman, Paul Young made acquaintance with Palladino whilst they were on tour, who would, a year later offer Pino a place in his own backing band.

Pino Palladino was featured on Gary Numan's 1982 album I, Assassin, in which his fretless bass sound made a prominent contribution to the overall sound of the album. He went on to play fretless bass with a healthy number of high-profile artists that include (on the short list), David Gilmour, Tears for Fears, Pete Townshend, Peter Gabriel, Joan Armatrading, Phil Collins, Chaka Khan and Don Henley.

After vocalist Paul Young landed his own solo contract, Palladino was brought in as part of his backing band "The Royal Family" in 1983 with noticeable chart success with the No Parlez album, and major hit singles both in the UK and Europe. Examples of Young's new found success were the band's cover of the Marvin Gaye classic "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)", which reached No. 1 in the UK singles chart for three weeks in the summer of 1983, and "Love of the Common People". Palladino toured extensively at this time with Paul Young, remaining in the band for five years. 1983 additionally proved to be the year of another ensemble featuring Palladino, Paul Rodgers (formerly of Bad Company, drummer Kenney Jones, along with a rotating cast of other celebrity performers. The band only released one album through Atlantic; The Law, although there were enough out-takes that another bootleg-styled album followed in 1991. Sales were unremarkable, despite the names of those who recorded on the album.

Throughout the 1980s Palladino was noted for his R&B roots on the fretless bass, even when supporting pop and rock heavy performers. One reviewer from Bass Player magazine points to Paul Young's cover of the Bobby Womack/Rufus tune "Stop On By" (on 1990's Other Voices), with its "pre-hip-hop, swung funk groove" as the precursor to Palladino's later neo-soul focus.

In the 1990s, Palladino began to alternate between the sounds achieved in playing the fretless bass to one with frets, as well as the 4-string and 6-string bass. At the time, he was well known within the industry for his fretless bass sound. However, now, depending on which artist he was supporting, and the song to be played, he began gravitating towards fretted bass. He was maturing as a musician, and played with artists as diverse as Melissa Etheridge, Richard Wright, Sir Elton John and Eric Clapton. Also in 1991 he joined Paul Rodgers (of Free, Queen+ Paul Rodgers, and Bad Company fame) to form the band The Law. In the mid 1990's, Palladino played bass for The London Metropolitan orchestra during their recording of "An American Symphony", soundtrack for the movie Mr Hollands Opus.

Palladino supported Phil Collins, as a member of the house band for the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, which played with Sir Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Cliff Richard, and Tony Bennett, among other notable performers. He later wrote that he felt privileged to have been amongst the others on stage in such an event.

In 1999, he began working with Richard Ashcroft, of The Verve, during the recording sessions of Ashcroft's debut solo album, Alone With Everybody. Richard proved to be mightily impressed by Pino's natural bass playing ability;

This Pino Palladino, I can say a Meters record and he can play me the bass line. He can play anything. He's one of the only people in the world who can totally replicate that kind of Beach Boys/scratch/Walker Brothers bass. You can get that sound if you want it, dead on. So it was very liberating working with him.

Pino also joined Ashcroft's touring band for the singer's first major solo outing throughout 2000.

By the mid- 1990s, Palladino had established himself as a busy, highly desirable bassist and a studio worker in many genres, but finally became visible to those artists who played largely left of center, and demand for his session playing grew within a different quarter. Palladino began moving from blues-rock toward neo soul projects. Palladino and Steve Jordan found themselves performing on the same session for B.B. King's 1997 duets CD Deuces Wild. It was the first time soul singer D'Angelo first heard Palladino, who had just switched from a signature sound fretless bass sound to that of performing with fretted basses. The result was an invitation to "use Pino's big, behind-the-beat bass to help cast a neo-soul spell on his Grammy Award-winning Voodoo album". It would not be his first uncredited Grammy performance.

As the word spread throughout the genre, Palladino found an increasing demand within the neo-soul genre. Examples of his bass work in this genre (in addition to D'Angelo) includes Mama's Gun, and "Penitentiary Philosophy" found on Erykah Badu's 2000 CD. Other albums using Pino's sound include 1st Born Second for Bilal, Like Water for Chocolate and Electric Circus for Common. Palladino has been described by Steve Jordan, who got his own professional start playing the drums for Stevie Wonder as having a "deep funk" side and a "melodic" side. Palladino admits, that "Of all my influences, I would say what's always in the back of my mind is early Stevie Wonder, like Talking Book and Innervisions; that music is really in my blood."

Following the death of The Who's bassist John Entwistle in 2002, the eve before the band were to kick off their first world tour in years, Palladino was their first choice to become the band's full-time touring bass guitarist, and by 2006, he was invited to join the remaining original band members in recording their first album in twenty-four years. Pete Townshend, the band's composer, recorded the bassline on the majority of the songs to get the effect he himself wanted, with Palladino doing so on the other six of them. Released in October 2006, the album was named Endless Wire.

Palladino also recently played with The Who at the Super Bowl XLIV half-time show, in February, 2010, alongside other backing artists: Simon Townsend on guitar, Zak Starkey, drums and percussion, and John "Rabbit" Bundrick, on keyboard instruments.

In 2003, Palladino intended to go down to see his old friend Paul Simon and meet Brian Eno for the first time. He was asked to record with them, and had to borrow a bass guitar to play. The result was that he played with Simon and Garfunkel on their "Old Friends" reunion tour and in an interview with Bass Player Magazine he mentions drummer Steve Gadd and percussionist Jamey Haddad "had laid down some great grooves for me to add bass". He had kept the recordings, and by the time that he appeared on the Old Friends: Live on Stage CD and DVD from the tour, he was able to use some of the material. He played on Paul Simon's 2006 release, Surprise.

Palladino has toured in the backing band for Joe Walsh. In 2004 he appeared to be playing with Gary Moore at the Wembley Arena.

Palladino met Steve Jordan in the mid-1980s while both were working as session players on many occasions, which blossomed into a friendship. When their work brought them to the same place, they would meet, usually jam together, and introduce other musicians to one another, forming friendships which sometimes blossomed into good working relationships. Jordan has remained keen about Pino since he met him, and only grows more enthusiastic about his talents, which he describes partly as his love for, and ability to "feel" changes in music, through melodies, basslines, and an amazing connection with genres of nearly every kind. According to Jordan, he'd planned to meet up with John Mayer and Willie Weeks in January, 2005 to perform a benefit concert on a NBC sponsored telethon Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope to raise funds and public awareness benefiting victims in the aftermath of the tsunami that struck southeast Asia. Weeks was unable to make the performance, and Jordan suggested Palladino, who had heard some of Mayer's work, and was willing to come. Beginning a set that included the Jimi Hendrix classic, "Bold as Love", the three all agreed that they experienced such chemistry that they began talking right away about arranging their schedules to record a CD and a tour. The trio released the album Try!, on November 22, 2005. The eleven-track live album includes cover songs, such as Jimi Hendrix's "Wait Until Tomorrow" and "I Got A Woman" by Ray Charles, two songs from Mayer's release Heavier Things, as well as new songs written by Mayer. In addition, Mayer, Palladino, and Jordan wrote three songs on the album: "Good Love Is On The Way", "Vultures", and "Try!". Along with John Mayer on guitar and vocals, and Steve Jordan on drums, Palladino has toured and recorded as a member of the John Mayer Trio, and on Mayer's third album Continuum.

In spring of 2006, Palladino toured with Jeff Beck. He also played with J. J. Cale, and Eric Clapton on their 2006 album The Road to Escondido, alongside other notable musicians, including Derek Trucks, and Billy Preston. It was to be Preston's last work before he died only days afterward.

Influences for Palladino for bass guitar include Motown bassist James Jamerson; Stevie Wonder's keyboard-bass, jazz innovator Jaco Pastorius; British folk/rock upright bassist Danny Thompson; Norman Watt-Roy (of Ian Dury & the Blockheads); Larry Graham; Michael Henderson; Bootsy Collins; Paul Jackson; Anthony Jackson; Doug Rauch (of Carly Simon and Santana), and Billy Cobham.

Pino Palladino is noted for his use of the fretless bass in many 1980s chart records. While it was typical for a bass guitar in a commercial track to have a rather generic sound and stay "playing the low notes" Palladino preferred a different sound (combining fretless tone with an octave effect) and basslines that frequently added chords, lead lines and counter melodies in the higher range of the instrument as opposed to simply the aforementioned "low notes". Typical of this style was his playing on Paul Young's biggest chart hits, in particular his bass solo on "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)". His equipment at that time included a fretless Music Man StingRay Bass 1979 and Boss Octave pedal (OC-2).

The Fender Pino Palladino Signature Precision Bass is modeled after two of Pino's Fender Precision Basses. The body featuring faded fiesta red paint over desert sand paint is based on Pino's 1961 Precision Bass while the neck shape and round-lam rosewood fret board are based on Pino's 1963 sunburst Precision Bass.

Palladino joined Eric Clapton's touring band for 11 dates in the Eastern U.S. and Canada in May 2008. Current work has included work on an with Clapton and Robbie Robertson, and Palladino guested on bass for Amos Lee on his third album, Last Days at the Lodge.

In 2009, Palladino joined with keyboardist Philippe Saisse and Simon Phillips to form an instrumental trio: Phillips Saisse Palladino, an instrumental jazz/funk rock ensemble, which have toured Europe through 2009 into 2010, playing songs that spotlight the talents of each performer, in the manner of many jazz outfits.


Blake Mills is a guitarist, Grammy-winning producer, and recording artist. He is best known as a session musician and vocalist as well as a producer and remixer. Mills has performed on well over 200 recordings with artists ranging from Kid Rock, Dangermouse, and Paulo Nutini to Norah Jones, Lana Del Rey, and Weezer. He began recording as a headline artist with 2010's Break Mirrors, but his breakthrough was with 2014's widely celebrated Heigh Ho. The self-produced album's sidemen included Don Was, Jim Keltner, Mike Elizondo, and Benmont Tench. That same year, he worked with Diana Krall, Johnny Hallyday, Alabama Shakes, and Sara Bareilles. Mills continued to work as a sideman and touring musician with John Legend, Randy Newman, Bruce Hornsby, and Jim James. He reentered the studio to issue his 2018 all-instrumental offering Look.

What No One HearsMills began his musical career as a founding member of Simon Dawes with Taylor Goldsmith. They recorded and released the EP What No One Hears in 2005 and the full-length Carnivore in 2006. After he left, the band shortened their name to Dawes. Mills became a touring guitarist for Jenny Lewis. He also served as a hired gun for Band of Horses, Lucinda Williams, and Julian Casablancas.

Until that time, Mills never really considered himself a solo artist. His first recording on his own, Break Mirrors, was released with the intention of securing more session work and becoming a producer. The end result was widely acclaimed for its overall originality in writing, arranging, and producing.

His strategy worked. He co-produced Jesca Hoop's The House That Jack Built in 2011, and produced fiddler Sarah Watkins' sophomore release, Sun Midnight Sun. Mills produced, co-produced, and/or played on several tracks by several other musicians as well as contributing to compilations. His co-production and performance of "Oh Well," with Billy Gibbons and Matt Sweeney, on the tribute album Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac was considered by many to be the set's highlight.

Mills began recording his sophomore offering, Heigh Ho, at Capitol's Ocean Way studio (the room was built for Frank Sinatra) with a host of guests who included Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, Benmont Tench, Don Was, and Jim Keltner. The album was released in September 2014.

Sound & ColorMills produced Alabama Shakes' 2015 LP Sound & Color, which wound up snagging him a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. He also shared in the record's win for Best Alternative Album of the Year. During 2016 and 2017, he produced albums by Perfume Genius and Dawes. He returned to his solo career in 2018 with Look, an instrumental album recorded while he was learning how to play vintage guitar synthesizers.

Mutable SetAfter the requisite touring and more studio work with Bruce Hornsby, Bareilles, and Andrew Bird, as well as others, Mills reentered the studio in 2019 with a slew of musicians who included Rob Moose, Cass McCombs, Pino Palladino, Patrick Warren, Sam Gendel, and Gabriel Kahane. He crafted Mutable Set, a collection of 11 songs as a soundtrack to the emotional dissonance of modern life. He co-wrote five tracks with McCombs and another with Kahane. The full-length was released in May of 2020...........Artist Biography by Thom Jurek

1 Just Wrong  
2 Soundwalk  
3 Ekute  
4 Notes With Attachments  
5 Djurkel  
6 Chris Dave  
7 Man From Molise  
8 Off The Cuff  

Notes With Attachments, the new album from renowned bassist Pino Palladino and celebrated multi-instrumentalist and producer Blake Mills, is set for release March 12 via New Deal / Impulse!. Initially conceived as a solo record for Palladino, Notes With Attachments quickly evolved into a fully collaborative work centered around the two artists' love for experimentation.

"With a song like this, built in layers, at various points along the road you look around and go: what is this' Where is the composition' Sometimes you end up drawing the blueprints of the house after it's fully been built," says Mills about "Just Wrong." That process touches every song on the record, which typically began with Palladino's own melodic and rhythmic language and developed outward with references shared by the two musicians from West African and Cuban music, funk, jazz, and English folk. 

Initially conceived as a solo record for Palladino, Notes With Attachments quickly evolved into a fully collaborative work centered around the two artists' love for experimentation. "Ekuté" follows debut single "Just Wrong," which Stereogum praised as "a warm, hazy jazz instrumental that takes its time and gives Palladino's bass plenty of room to move" and Aquarium Drunkard called "the sort of song that tempts you to restart it before it even finishes," along with live recordings of "Just Wrong" and "Man from Molise."

Crossover Media Projects with: Pino Palladino, Blake Mills