Little Feat: Staying Funky Fifty Years On (Part 1)

Most bands who started in the tumultuous year of 1969 like Little Feat never make it out of that creative cauldron. How many heroes faded away or flamed out and can only be found now on classic rock radio or in dusty record bins? Little Feat is still here.

And while the group lost talented but tempestuous lead singer and guitarist Lowell George along the way – as we learned in the first part of our wide-ranging conversation with renown keyboardist, songwriter, photographer and band co-founder Bill Payne, this ever-evolving collective of artists was able to keep the dream alive, delighting devoted fans with seminal live records like Waiting For Columbus and showing off their signature harmony-rich folk and brassy funk with a new tour while reissuing their beloved records Dixie Chicken and Sailin’ Shoes with never-before-heard material. 

The more you look, the more you see that Little Feat is like a fifty year old best kept secret – the genre-bending band that many masters like Elton John and Robert Plant and even The Rolling Stones love to see live – with songs like “Willin’” being covered by everyone from Linda Ronstsadt to Gregg Allman to The Byrds. Meanwhile Payne has had an epic career playing keys in bands like The Doobie Brothers and expanding his creativity into fine art and authorship. Little Feat has always been that special group that, while never achieving world-wide fame, is always waiting to be discovered anew.