No Introduction Necessary
By Noah Hungate
One needs to be careful when throwing around words like “legend.” Much like encores and antibiotics, overuse seriously dulls their impact. In the case of David Hungate, however, we can probably risk it. If 40 years on both the L.A. and Nashville session A-lists, performances on hundreds of hit records, and membership in one of the most successful rock bands of all time don’t add up to legendary status then they need to loosen the entry requirements.
Most of David’s notoriety outside of the studio scene stems from his work with Toto, and if that were all he’d ever done, it would be more than enough to warrant our excitement at getting him to sit down with us.Session legend David Hungate. Photo by Rick Malkin Heck, “Rosanna” alone would do it. Or maybe “99,” simply for proving that you can slap and pop through an entire song while somehow still sounding tasteful and smooth. What the Toto fans may not realize is that he’d been playing master sessions in L.A. for several years before the band was formed, working for such artists as Cher, Neil Diamond, The Righteous Brothers, and Boz Scaggs (check out Scaggs’ “Silk Degrees,” also featuring Toto’s Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro, and David Paich, for something of a band preview). Oh, and he was also on Motown’s L.A. sub list for James Jamerson.
After his departure from Toto and arrival in Nashville, David’s studio career continued to flourish. With none of the lag time that so many L.A.-to-Nashville transplants experience, he went right into recording for country music’s biggest acts. Virtually anyone who has set foot within the Tennessee border after 1980 probably has a recording somewhere with Dave Hungate on bass.
A glance at Hungate’s resume brings together names that few would suspect share only one degree of separation. Chet Atkins and Lou Rawls; Diana Ross and Toby Keith; Alice Cooper and Conway Twitty; Gladys Knight and Hank Williams Jr.; to list them all would take more space than we have (though make sure to follow our link to his AllMusic discography – just make sure to have plenty of free time when you do).
Watch David Hungate’s Video Interview Below!