If rave press notices and the acclaim of their fellow musicians were the standard measure of success in the rock world, Little Feat would surely have been enshrined in the pantheon or rock and roll legends a long time ago. The rock media has long hailed them as one of the premier musical outfits in the known universe. Groups as
stylistically diverse as Marshall Tucker and Led Zeppelin have publicly proclaimed the Feats as their favorite band. When Little Feat journeyed to Europe two years ago as part of a Warner Bros. package tour—a jaunt that saw them steal the show night after night from the headlining Doobie Brothers–the Stones made their first public appearance as a group in some five years to catch one of their shows.
And yet Little Feat remains something of prophets without honor in their own land, still slogging around the country playing 3000 seat arenas. The Eagles, Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt have come to epitomize the LA sound and scene but Little Feat is perhaps the quintessential LA band, far more representative of the city’s cultural diversity than the more
homogenous styles of their better-known compatriots. For all their commercial success, the Eagles recall nothing so much as a Schlitz beer commercial. the music a blend of the choicest ingredients honed to a polished technical precision, the lyrics a succession of exhortations to grab for all the gusto you can while living the fashionably desperate life in the fast lane. But beneath the glossy surface, one senses little, if any, feeling in Eagles music. They’re always one step removed from the action, the clinically detached observer cooly surveying the scene with little compassion for the people in their songs.
And while the Eagles roam the canyons and mansions as the balladeers of hip LA, Little Feat chronicles life in the lower-rent districts of the City of Angels from the emotional perspective of the bluesman. Their musical world is populated by truckers, streetwalkers, pimps and other assorted low-life characters who never seem to have their lives quite together. The Feats’ cast of characters are endlessly fighting to make ends meet, attempting to scrape up enough money for a night on the town, trying to get laid and usually failing–perhaps the greatest single, difference between the two bands is the contrast between the smug macho stance of Eagles songs like “Tequila Sunrise” and “Already Gone” and the anguish of Feat numbers like “Fat Man In The Bathtub”–struggling to reconcile their dreams with the disappointments that life brings. The people in their songs really hurt, admittedly in some bizarre ways when filtered through the