Guitarist Jeff Skunk Baxter

Guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, born December 13th, 1948 in Washington, D.C., celebrates a birthday today!

Jeff Baxter played electric and acoustic guitars, slide guitar and pedal steel guitar as a member of two of my favorite bands, Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers.

On Steely Dan’s first three albums…
Can’t Buy a Thrill 1972
Countdown to Ecstasy 1973
Pretzel Logic 1974 – guitar solo on “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”

With the Doobie Brothers…
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits – pedal steel guitar on “Black Water”
Stampede – guitar solo on “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)”
Takin’ it to the Streets and
Minute by Minute

Jeff also played pedal steel guitar on “South City Midnight Lady” from The Captain And Me album.

You can also hear Jeff Baxter’s session work on Time Loves a Hero with Little Feat and
Hissing of Summer Lawns with Joni Mitchell.

Baxter has also worked as a session guitarist with Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Sheryl Crow and Carly Simon. He has toured with Linda Ronstadt and Elton John, and produced albums for The Ventures, Carl Wilson and Nazareth.

Wikipedia has some interesting info on JB…

In 1990, Baxter joined John Entwistle, Joe Walsh, Keith Emerson and Simon Phillips in an abortive supergroup called “The Best.” The group released a live performance video in Japan before disbanding. Several of those video are on YouTube.

In 1991 Jeff Baxter produced a great video documentary about the guitar, with interviews and jams with other guitarists, such as Mark Knopfler. Baxter’s also got some great guitar instruction videos out there.

Baxter continues accepting studio work; his most recent work involved tribute albums to Pink Floyd and Aerosmith. He also occasionally plays in The Coalition of the Willing.

Currently he has been working as a defense consultant and chairs a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense.

Baxter has been quoted as saying his unconventional approach to thinking about terrorism, tied to his interest in technology, is a major reason he became sought after by the government.

“We thought turntables were for playing records until rappers began to use them as instruments, and we thought airplanes were for carrying passengers until terrorists realized they could be used as missiles.”

Baxter has said. “My big thing is to look at existing technologies and try to see other ways they can be used, which happens in music all the time and happens to be what terrorists are incredibly good at.”

About.com has a great online profile and discography about Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

Monday, December 13th, 2010
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