That time I asked bass legend Donald “Duck” Dunn why they called him Duck

By Steve Newton

Here’s a fun little 30-second audio snippet that never fails to make me smile.

Back in 1985 I did an interview with bass-guitar legend Donald “Duck” Dunn, who at the time was playing in Eric Clapton’s touring band. Dunn is famous for playing bass with Booker T. & the M.G.’s and for his session work with Stax Records, where he played on albums by the likes of Otis Redding, Albert King, Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, and scores of other music greats.

Throughout the interview Dunn came off as one of the coolest musicians I’ve ever talked to in my 35 years of rock journalism. He was just so damn nice. And not a shred of ego, even though he’d laid down more smokin’ bass runs than most anyone in the four-string realm.

At one point in the interview I asked him how he got his nickname “Duck”. I like the part where he says that his dad called him that all the time–unless he was mad at him. Then it was probably just Donald.

Have a listen:


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