Danny Kortchmar – biography
(updated 12 Oct 08)
"By his own definition, Danny Kortchmar more than qualifies to be called an artist. You can call him a consummate craftsman who’s learned all the skills necessary to bring a good song to life on vinyl. Or call him a master musician who has made the recording studio his ultimate instrument. But whatever you do, just don’t call him "laid back"".
"Don Henley's Sidekick Produces
the Perfect Beat" Music/Sound Output
Danny Kortchmar was born in
Sometimes credited as Danny Kootch or Dan Kootch or Dan Kortchmar or Kootch (following his teenage nickname), in the early sixties he met James Taylor on Martha’s Vineyard and they began to play folk gigs locally. With Kootch on guitar and James on harmonica, the vocal duo did pretty well, winning the occasional hootenanny contest.
He then emerged as a member of
With the Kingbees, he released three singles on RCA, "What She Does To Me/That Ain't Love" , "On Your Way Down The Drain/Rhythm And Blues"  and "Lost In The Shuffle/Hardly (part 3)" .
None were successful and the band (which included also Joel "Bishop" O'Brien on drums, John McDuffy on vocals/organ and Dickie Frank on bass) broke up in the fall of 1966, not before being lucky enough to back Peter and Gordon, the "Everly Brothers of the British Invasion." (Peter was Peter Asher).
In 1967 Kortchmar and O'Brien
started a new band, The Flying Machine, with Zachary Wisner on bass and
Kortchmar's old friend, James Taylor on guitar and vocals. They were signed
to Euphoria later that year and only released one radio single, "Night
Owl" , peaking at #102 on the national charts. The label never
released their album and the band soon broke up.
Asher was now head of A&R at the Beatles label, Apple Records. He invited James to play his song and he liked them. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were among his first fans.
With the Flying Machine "in
pieces on the ground" (immortalized in James Taylor’s song "Fire and Rain"),
Danny spent six months as a sideman to the Fugs in the
late ‘67, both on
record and in concert. The Fugs were another
After that, he was the last
guitarist for the dimming Clear Light. It was Danny’s gig with Clear Light that got him out to
In 1968 Kortchmar moved to
After The City disbanded, Adler encouraged King to go solo and Kootch and Larkey remained part of King’s studio back-up group during her highly-successful solo career.
Thus Kortchmar started doing
session work in
In the meanwhile he reunited
with O'Brien and Larkey forming the psychedelic band Jo Mama, along with
Ralph Schuckett (keyboards) and Abigail Haness (vocals). They released two
After their break-up, Danny had
settled into the security of an in-demand
In 1973 Kortchmar made one of his most important step away from session work, releasing his first solo record, the amazing "Kootch".
He then formed the Attitudes, a
"space funk" quartet with other four well known
But for the greatest part of the Seventies, he remained a member of the west coast session family, playing on many major albums in the '70s, including those of Crosby & Nash, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King.
In 1980 he completed his last solo album, "Innuendo" on Asylum Records.
His gradual transition from session player to producer started with Louise Goffin, Carole King's daughter, in 1979. In 1981 he joined Don Henley’s band releasing one of the most famous and prolific collaboration. He was the co-writer and co-producer of most of Don Henley’s solo projects "I Can’t Stand Still" , "Building The Perfect Beast"  and "The End Of Innocence" . Since then he has been keeping on producing other records (Neil Young, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel to name a few) as well as continuing his session work (Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne).
With his friend Jackson Browne,
he co-wrote some songs, most notably the "Fast Times at Ridgemont
High" soundtrack hit, "Somebody’s Baby"  and "
In the ’90, he produced a whole generation of new musicians, as
Kortchmar is still touring, doing session work, and producing records. Recent productions include Hanson’s "Underneath."
In 2004, Danny started to play with his new group, the Midnight Eleven, formed by guitarist Zonder Kennedy, drummer Joe Bonadio, guitarist Danny Kortchmar, vocalist/harmonica player Mark Grandfield.
In November 2005, they have completed their first album “Midnight Eleven”.
Two years later, Danny produced “The Walk” , Hanson’s fourth album, while he reunited with Charlie Karp for their third album as Slo Leak, “New Century Blues”  on Icon Mes.