Episode 31 with Greg Phillinganes (Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, etc..) 

My guest today is Mr. Greg Phillinganes, one of the most recorded keyboardists (both session and touring) of all time. Originally from Detroit, at age 18 Greg's musical abilities were captured on a demo tape which ultimately landed him the gig with Stevie Wonder. This proved to be a life changing opportunity and Greg ended up playing on the iconic record Songs in the Key of Life (including the song Isn’t She Lovely and other classic tracks.)

From that point on it has been an amazing musical journey for Greg. His volume of work and recording credits are huge- to say he has worked with the best would be an understatement -just a few- Michael Jackson, (he played on Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad and classic Jackson 5 tracks as well, ) 3 out of 4 Beatles-  George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Phil Collins, Mick Jagger, Toto, Herbie Hancock and many, many others. He has served as Music Director for many top artists including Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, as well as TV shows -(Vibe), the Grammy Awards and so many others. 

I met got to know Greg in 2008 when we both worked with Boz Scaggs and hit it off immediately. We would frequent cigar bars, share songs and had a great time touring together. 

In this interview which was conducted in Aug of 2018 in Los Angeles at Greg’s house and then in his car (I tagged along to a chiropractors appt. so I could maximize time!), Greg tells all- SO many great stories. He also talks about what it was like that day in 1975 when he auditioned for Stevie Wonder and demonstrates the songs on his keyboard. I then ask him about M. Jackson, Clapton, Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly” and much much more. This is one of my all time favorite episodes that I’ve ever done on Riff Raff- so I hope you will enjoy!

Recorded Aug. 2018, Los Angeles.

2 comments

  • Duncan

    Duncan Lafayette

    Awesome interview! Y'all talking about the gig in Pompeii in 2016, Greg apparently showing you on his phone pics from the gig, showing you how he was lit for the beginning of Shine On. So while I'm listening, I pull it up on youtube and see it all! Thanks so much for these podcasts.

    Awesome interview! Y'all talking about the gig in Pompeii in 2016, Greg apparently showing you on his phone pics from the gig, showing you how he was lit for the beginning of Shine On. So while I'm listening, I pull it up on youtube and see it all! Thanks so much for these podcasts.

  • Loretta

    Loretta ATX

    Enjoyed this RIFF RAFF episode with Greg Phillinganes, whom I was not familiar with before this interview. Thanks to ‘Sugar’ Shane Theriot.

    Enjoyed this RIFF RAFF episode with Greg Phillinganes, whom I was not familiar with before this interview. Thanks to
    ‘Sugar’ Shane Theriot.

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