Guitar Player Online - Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984



Steve Lukather
By Jas Obrecht

From Guitar Player, April 1984 Steve Lukather, rock sharpshooter. He's best known as the guitarist, singer, and co-composer for Toto. But in Los Angeles, a town known for its scores of guitarists, he holds the reputation of being one of the first -perhaps the first -- guitarists to call when a screaming solo or crunchy rhythm part is needed. The list of artists he's worked with reads like a who's who of the top of the charts. In 1983 alone, he played on several Top-20 albums, notably Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down, Olivia NewtonJohn's Greatest Hits, Vol. II, Toto IV, and one of the best-selling LPs ever, Michael Jackson's Thriller. He also saw his band sweep the 25th Annual Grammy Awards, taking honors for Album of the Year and Best Engineered Recording (Toto IV), Record of the Year and Best Vocal Arrangement ("Roseanna"), Producer of the Year (the band itself), and Best Rhythm & Blues Song ("Turn Your Love Around," co-written by Lukather, Jay Graydon, and Bill Champlin). "Even though he's known for being a rock and roller, Steve appreciates what's going on in a lot of fields," assesses fellow studio guitarist Tim May. "He got started around 1977, and came on pretty quickly because he was very strong with rock and roll. People would always call him when they needed a wild solo. He was always real cool, a gentleman. He soon got heavily into record dates -- not because he couldn't do the film or TV, but the record people just grabbed him up. He is probably known more for his solos, although he's a fine rhythm guitar player, too. He's even played rhythm for George Benson [on The George Benson Collection]." For Steve Lukather, the climb to the top began with childhood dreams. He was born in Los Angeles on October 21, 1957, and has lived most of his life near North Hollywood. He started out banging on keyboards and drums, and his father bought him his first guitar -- an inexpensive Kay acoustic -- for his seventh birthday. Buying a copy of Meet the Beatles caused him to set his course in life: "I knew then that I wanted to be a rock and roll star, and decided that I never wanted to give up playing." Steve's mother presented him with a threepickup Astro-Tone electric when he was ten. Armed with a Leo Krebs fuzztone and an Alamo amp, the boy kept busy copying solos from Jimi Hendrix' first albums and Eric Clapton's work with Cream. At eleven he obtained an imitation Les Paul guitar, joined a junior high power trio, and cut his first single. "We were playing Hendrix-type stuff," he laughs. "The drummer's father was an engineer, and he took us in the studios and recorded us. I was singing then, and I sounded like Michael Jackson. I don't even remember what we called the trio." During the next few years, Steve supplanted his knowledge of recording by playing on demo tapes.

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in 1978. keyboardist Jai Winding invited Lukather to his first professional session.because I was playing by myself. private planes. Steve had his first taste of limousines. and Earth. I didn't know how to read a note when I started. 'Call Lukather. were scheduled to accompany Boz Scaggs on his 1977 Silk Degrees tour. or jazz.' This was really a weird thing for a guitar player to do because it is so competitive. Soon he was doing up to 20 record dates a week." In 1977.guitarplayer. David Paich. and the best guy to lay it on was Lukather. and tonal variety in his guitar playing. His reading was his weakest thing. Boz Scaggs' Down Two Then Left. This is because he was a young kid breaking into the studios. so I just basically gave him a lot of my accounts. scales. an overdub date for an album entitled Terrence Boylan. "He got it together for me. Jimmy didn't try to change my technique." Steve's reputation as a flashy soloist with a potent tone spread. to call Steve "the fastest in-and-out studio player ever in existence. He did so much to open my ear to other music.' That stuck in my mind and now I'm pro-everything.shtml (2 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . He injected "Hold the Line" -Toto's million-selling breakthrough single -. and bassist David Hungate. and there it is. at the time one of the foremost studio rockers. Lukather was invited to take his place. keyboardist Steve Porcaro. We're the 'feel' guys who could play the solos and parts. I was shining record dates and getting more involved as a record producer." "Manuela Run. He always said. a fabulous guitarist who had played western swing with Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys in the '40s and jazz with Red Norvo and Benny Goodman in the '50s and '60s.) The band recorded and produced their debut album." Joining Steve in Toto were Jeff Porcaro. It's He received his biggest help from Jay Graydon. "He's a monster of a player. so the lessons always felt comfortable. while other cuts showcased his more aggressive side. (This lineup would remain intact through the first four Toto albums.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 It wasn't until high school that Lukather began taking lessons. The Porcaros. they don't want to give it up. 'Keep your mind open to anything. The event caused Tommy Tedesco. and relationships.the way I held the pick and the whole thing -. he announced that he was forming a rock band with some of his studio buddies. I'm through. Even fellow studio guitarist Lee Ritenour had hired him to play on his solo LP Feel the Night. When somebody has got their little niche. Lukather surprised many observers when. Also at the session were bassist Michael Porcaro and his older brother. He provided melodic solos in "I'll Supply the Love. Steve sang the lead vocals in "Georgy Porgy" and "Angela. like it is mine. http://archive. Hall & Oates' Along the Red Ledge. Olivia Newton-John's Totally Hot. singer Bobby Kimball. Upon his return to Hollywood. and that's what Jimmy's a killer at. afterwards. his credits included performances on Alice Cooper's From the Inside. don't be stuck in a rock and roll thing. he's successful with that band. But we were well-geared for records. but I didn't know anything about bebop or gut-string stuff. Just listen to it all. he was already a good player. in 1978. but he made up for lost time by studying with Jimmy Wyble.with crunchy rhythm tracks and the album's most off-the-wall solo. flash. He had all of the necessary styles of playing to be a good studio guitarist. Hungate was replaced by Michael Porcaro. By the time of his September '79 Guitar Player interview. They'd call me up. I could play pretty good rock and roll. I was on my way out. He was the perfect guy to be next in line. and he obviously did it. the guitarist began applying himself in earnest to studio work. and the other accouterments of bigtime rock and roll. Thus at age 19." and "Georgy Porgy" (playing slide on this last track)." and displayed a seasoned understanding of economy. notes. and before you know it. and I'd say. But it was time for me to split. Toto. Barbara Streisand's Songbird. He was a great player as far as everything. I didn't even know what jazz music was until then. He was already starting to get known. Wind & Fire's I Am. or any form of music. I had built my own way of playing -. When Les Dudek quit the singer's band. drummer Jeff Porcaro. Diana Ross' Baby." Lukather says. LA's number one studio guitarist. Graydon explains: "When I first met Steve. along with songwriter/keyboardist David Paich.Guitar Player Online . Jimmy got me into positions on the guitar. The ironic thing was that he didn't really need my help.

com/archive/artists/luthaker84. and play a tune with the former Beatle. Recorded with a fuller presence. it brought the band the secondever Golden Note Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Music given by ASCAP (the American Society of Composers. Authors." as well as the guitars on "Human Nature. is on Michael Jackson's Thriller. A more straightforward performance video showcased Steve singing the ballad "99. Randy Newman's Trouble in Paradise (also appearing in the video for "I Love LA"). writing songs for the Tubes." The band's surreal video of the title track had them performing in a rat-plagued sewer while a futuristic sword slinger attempted to rescue a distressed damsel. Lukather's rhythm tracks added a new tension. and co-producing a Jim Crane album with Jai Winding for MCA. in 1979. Hydra. Steve and Jeff Porcaro were invited to fly to London last April to appear in Paul McCartney's new movie. Give My Regards to Broadstreet. The LP produced no hits and sold poorly. and Publishers). After all the success you've had as a studio guitarist. which yielded the hits "Roseanna" (with Steve singing the softer vocals) and "Africa. "What an honor to be in the same room with him and be able to hang with him and talk. and his solos became more intense." As a result of the Jackson-McCartney session. He soared through "St. He wrote and sang "Live for Today. I was picking [Beatles producer] George Martin's brain. it makes me crazy!" The natural enthusiasm Steve displays as a player carries over to his conversation as well. Co-producing with Geoff Workman. You won't recognize any of us in the movie. Toto came back with a vengeance with their latest album. the Tubes' Outside Inside. Steve adds that although Crane has two fine guitarists in his band. He is particularly proud of his solos in Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" (from I Can't Stand Still) and Boz Scaggs' "Breakdown Dead Ahead" (from Hits)." He also played on Jackson's hit ballad with Paul McCartney. Toto changed their strategy for their third release. "It was fantastic!" Steve says. George and the Dragon" and provided screaming passages in "White Sister" and the metallic "All Us Boys. Turn Back." More than four million copies of Toto IV have sold worldwide (matching the success of their first album. Toto IV.guitarplayer. In addition." and co-authored "English Eyes" and the title track. and he soloed on several cuts with an abandon more characteristic of heavy metal than studio pop. We're all dressed up in wild makeup and wearing wigs.Guitar Player Online . what's the appeal of being in Toto? http://archive.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 Toto released their hard-driving follow-up LP. the band dialed in a denser. With the exception of Eddie Van Halen's solo. as evidenced in some of the outspoken responses that follow." Lukather received composition credits for "I Won't Hold You Back" and "Afraid of Love. Lukather's thick guitar rhythms were brought to the forefront of the mix." Meanwhile. The album swept the Grammy Awards and finished #11 in Billboard magazine's Top Pop Albums of 1983. notably Peter Frampton's Breaking All the Rules and George Benson's The George Benson's Collection. he couldn't resist adding his own instrumental voice: "I just can't sit there and watch people play. Faced with less-than-favorable critical appraisals of their initial albums. He has appeared on albums by other guitarists. Toto). though. Lukather provided all of the electric guitar and bass parts for "Beat It. giving anti-Toto critics a field day." Steve's projects at the time of the following interview included recording tracks for the next Toto album. Lately he's been showcased on Joni Mitchell's Wild Things Run Fast. more straight-ahead rock sound. Over the years Steve has continued to play on hit records outside of Toto. It was an unbelievable experience." and co-wrote and played piano on "Good for You. each member of Toto continued to work on various session projects outside of the band. "This Girl is Mine. and Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down (adding the remarkable solo to "Running With the Night").shtml (3 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . Steve's most prominent work outside Toto.

"All Right Now" [from Fire & Water] is all doubled guitar. When you get called to a celebrity-type session. I don't want that to sound weird. That's almost 20 years ago. That's become a prominent trait in heavy metal. I haven't been doing many sessions in the last year or so. which is a big complement to him.Guitar Player Online . I couldn't believe it when he made his first album in 1967. and now everybody is copying his stuff. I was very. It's wild. Not in the sense of being arrogant or anything like that. I still double things on our records -. because it's very important just to be able to look at something and interpret it. you go and play. On our first album. freak out and do whatever you want to do. For acoustic guitars. I used to double a lot of things. I've had a chance to work with just about everybody I wanted to. About 90% of what I play is not written out." which happens quite a lot more these days. There's nothing new about that. People are still stealing his stuff. This is stereo at one time. He's like the newest rock and roll guy to come along. Hendrix never doubled a whole rhythm part. will you usually be working with semi-finished tracks? Yeah. like the rhythm parts in "All Along the Watchtower" [Electric Ladyland] and some stuff on Axis: Bold as Love. and I just found out that that sound isn't really happening. I've built my reputation. I come in and play. but not like whole crunch guitar parts. the band is the ultimate. but it must be hard after a while to hear everybody doing a bad impression of him. and the vocabulary of what he played is still very relevant today. I guess they trust me.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 It's a place where I can write songs and play.or two tracks. I can experiment with sounds and stuff I can't do on sessions. and I think everybody should learn how to read. somebody will play something and say. All it takes is to have a couple of hit solos.still is. You can't walk into a guitar store without hearing somebody trying to do Eddie Van Halen. He was one of my heroes -. do you consider yourself a rock specialist? Yeah. In fact. all the fuzzed-out stuff. I really mean that sincerely.just little bits. will you play the same part twice? No. The band is the most important thing to me. In sessions.shtml (4 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . http://archive. "What do you hear?" and I'll come up with a part. But with most of the guitar playing I do. very lucky the get involved in all this stuff. I'll just tell them to save me eight bars and one track -. which is a hell of a thing just to be able to say. which is great because I get to hear the tune right before it's They'll have just about everything done. As far as Toto. but in the sense of that's what I do best. When you record in stereo. Yeah. I guess because I've played a couple of solos on hit records or whatever. That's not take anything away from Edward. I'm overwhelmed by how much work I've done and who I've gotten a chance to work with. Listen to the early Black Sabbath records.Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire. As far as your session work is concerned. but there would be parts where you can definitely hear it. but it always has been. Sometimes they'll say. absolutely. he doesn't sound like Hendrix.guitarplayer. if I talk them into going stereo. He's still the guy. I can read. or Free -. which I like to do most of the time. "Hey. What percent of your working time is spent with Toto? At least 80 percent at this point. I do a lot less reading. he's absolutely a giant. Jimi Hendrix doubled a lot of stuff. I tripled all my rock and roll guitar parts. You can experiment around a little bit if the artist or producer is somebody you know. and people will be calling you all the time. Against guys like Edward [Van Halen]. You ought to listen to Eric Clapton on some of those early Cream albums -.

"Yeah. as far as I'm concerned. you'll hear basically a melodic play off the vocal melody.and the disadvantage. I was a terrible student. He was doing what I wanted to do. Then I heard Carlton. I start repeating myself and getting hung up. and I'll get an idea of the sound. Jimmy Page. I think I basically mix up little jazz influences into rock and heavy metal technique and sounds. was just turn my amps http://archive. They were my heroes. John McLaughlin period in high school." You start thinking like that. I didn't even want to know about most black music or R&B and stuff like that. so I was really flattered when he wanted me to combine someplace in the middle of the track. "Well. which I'll talk over with my tech.that's cool. "Luke. I kept on going. If I have any stylistic approach at all. that's all I listened to. I suppose -.particularly the fingertaps -. He was very basic with me. He said.almost automatically open themselves up for comparison. to be honest. and all those guys. and everything is going to start sounding stiff and sterile. and he'll go out and get the sound. when it doesn't get so labored that I start getting into my own clichés. but in a completely different way.shtml (5 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . because they don't. Jeff Beck. like a climb kind of thing to get out of it." Jimmy was great. a very underestimated guy who plays really tasty stuff all around. Everybody steals." So I just took a couple of Marshalls. It's more like a part rather than a solo. and then I could turn on to Larry Carlton. your reading is a joke. right.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 People who imitate his style -. It was pretty much the second take -. and that changed things. He really taught me a lot. I listen to the tune a couple of times without playing anything. But blatantly stealing the licks -. played it with a little tape slap. I don't go. Get it together [laughs]. I learned so much from it. I was studying with Jimmy Wyble. I'll work a little bit out at the end. which was great.Guitar Player Online . Take that Don Henley tune. Usually I play my best stuff when I plug in and play right away. Is this when you developed your technique? Yeah. because when I went to him I was Mr. just go for it. Turn it up. That's the advantage -. My ears had not adjusted yet. who was brilliant. cranked them all the way up. Buddy. I did learn a lot. and then he'll tweak it out. So musical terms never enter your thoughts? No. You wouldn't listen to Allan and Edward and compare the two in the sense that they do the same thing. and I might suggest. He's an engineer in his own right.of being in a band. I was locked into this "bang your head against the wall" stuff. but look at Allan Holdsworth. why don't we add a little more modulation to the I grew up listening to Hendrix. I just want to be like Larry Carlton one day!" Jimmy would just look at me like. All I did. Like on some of my solos on Toto records. I'll use a pentatonic here to a dorian there. I'll tell him something like I want this kind of flange-delay sound. I'll listen to it. got a stereo effect. Yeah. Could you describe your approach to soloing? I don't really think too much about it. "Yeah. I've certainly done it a few times myself." or whatever." [Producer] Danny Kortchmar is a great guitar player himself. Clapton. "Dirty Laundry. basically. "Well. What thought processes do you go through when soloing over someone's semi-finished tracks? I try not to go through any. and just went for it. Then I went through the Al DiMeola. because you can take the time to pick yourself completely apart. Pentatonic. I just do it. I don't consciously think about it. I never think about it. So you can take that technique and weave it into your own thing. The more I think about it.guitarplayer. But as far as just going for it. the worse I play. When I get to the fifth take. Dick Gall. That stuff I work out. Here's another guy who does that sort of thing.

I can play whatever I want. because it's freer. and that sort of thing. that's what I want to do!" I played around town and got to meet him. The only other person who moved me that much was Hendrix. If you are locked into the blues. which I stole from the bebop cats.guitarplayer. I start playing stuff I never played before. to get from one place to another. Carlton had the rock and roll sound. He broke his E string and pulled it off. You can try to not play the same approach. because when I'm sitting back on my couch and playing without thinking about it. It's almost like a stylistic thing: There are certain things every guitar player does. My mind was messed! I went. and I guess that's basically where I'm at. So I stole everything -. I was into Larry when he was in the Crusaders. Skip strings -. and come up with ideas for licks. How can guitarists avoid repetitious soloing patterns? Don't get locked into blues patterns. you can take it minor or major. In a melodic sense. but I never heard him blow like on Steely Dan's Royal Scam album. He taught me how to get my sound together. Is what you play on your own different from what you play professionally? Yeah.shtml (6 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . There's usually a little bit of it in every solo they play. it's like somebody else enters my body. and he was always very nice to me. no. the worst thing you can do us make a face. I use a lot of chromaticism as well. so you aren't just going through them in the same order -. absolutely. but a little more rock and roll.Guitar Player Online . That's what makes it a style. 2nd.from those guys. going "Huh?" He was cracking up. I don't want anyone to think I'm comparing myself to somebody that good. I'll try to see how sleazy I can get all the way up the neck. He was like Larry. I wish I had recorded it sometimes. but he was playing in and out of changes like a bebop player would. and Jay helped me get in the studio scene. because then all you're thinking about for the next ten bars is how badly you blew it in bar http://archive. having one bend go into another bend. Can you now play everything you imagine? Yeah. I'm going for it. What do you do when you hit the wrong note? I realized it was okay to play a bad note when I saw Larry Carlton at Donte's six years ago. But now I don't play anything like him. and I loved the way he played. I loved the way he snuck in and out. But I did -. if I may honor myself by saying I stole from those guys. I sort of threw it up in the air and caught it. Guitar-wise that album changed my whole life.go from the D string to the B to the G to the much as I could the sense of when I think of something. His sound and Jay Graydon's really affected me. all those classic licks that are a part of every guitar player's vocabulary. I can sing it in my head and play it." Then he took his clippers and clipped off the B and G strings and played a killer solo on the low three strings! I was on my knees with my mouth open. Then I met Jay Graydon. That's what's great about jamming and experimenting.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 up louder than Larry does. too. It's okay to make a mistake. "I'm blowing. and he was blowing through the changes with a fully built solo. I use them. It doesn't matter. I'll goof around with that and maybe apply it to a solo later. "Yeah. 3rd. along with what I stole from all the classic guys.1st. pretty much -. and 4th string. Did any of Carlton's solos stand out in your mind? "Kid Charlemagne" [from Royal Scam]. and will do more than once. Then I heard him hit a bad note. I try not to repeat myself. Just start out slow. and you can get into something weird. and he didn't even flinch. but sometimes it's hard. man." Nobody winced. But don't be afraid to use 9ths and chromatics and weird ways to approach and everybody was looking at him like "Oh. It was like. as a matter of fact.blatantly. See. Take your time and don't be afraid to play a bad note.

It's a http://archive. but playing through some rhythms helps loosen the wrist up a little bit. Inevitably you'll make another mistake because your mind is tripping out. I hold my pick with my index and thumb. I get physically and mentally bummed out. I'll work on it until I can. I can't let myself slide like that. That way your muscles are loose when you start playing. I'll play some of the hard Ted Greene chords and stuff like that. then you go to pieces. Do you do follow any special picking patterns? Not particularly. Then they'll think you did it on purpose. But I found the best way for me to warm up is to play a bunch of chords. I can take longer solos. I wish I had the time to practice daily.everybody has. writing. Sometimes if I'm doing pick harmonics. It's like working out with weights: You don't just walk in and start slam banging 200 pounds. it's like. In the studio I feel a little looser. If I want to go crazy." Do you ever feel like you're getting into a slump? Oh. I can. Do you warm up the same way for studio and stage? Mostly for the stage. What do you do when you haven't played for a while and have to get back into shape quickly? I start practicing a lot of techniques and scales up and down the neck. I don't play that much. whoa. with the pointy end forward. but it stopped me from moving faster. You start breaking the guitar or biting the neck with your teeth! Somebody told me. and when I pick my guitar up.Guitar Player Online . the last thing you want to do is go home and play more music. I don't have that kind of pressure. If I can't play something. I want to take more lessons. I make up my own exercises that are real hard. like a bebop tune.but I'm basically lazy. yeah. Often when you go to a session for somebody. It's legit. How do you warm up? I used to sit down with my guitar and just try to play as fast as I could to get my chops're constantly learning something everyday. What's the longest you'll go without playing? A week. As soon as we get more time. you don't have the luxury of taking the time to go through the routines. Then I can ease into some scales and practice a little bending and make sure it's in tune. I really mix up my technique. I used to rest them on the guitar. man. I go home and practice. After 15 hours a day of concentrating on vocals and stuff like that in the studio. If you are nervous and make a mistake. do it twice. and I can sit back. I'm playing a lot.whether it be singing. My other fingers float. Is there a difference between your studio and stage playing? I can play a lot more live. "Discipline" is more the correct word -. or whatever back to school again.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 two. your chops are up anyway. You work up to it. But if I'm working every day. If you're working during the week. It's usually when I'm producing a record or when we're in the middle of our album and doing vocals for two months or something like that.shtml (7 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . You can psych yourself out as a player -. but not real legit. I'll pull the pick in tighter. "If you make a mistake. because I'm not really a bebopper. But if you're involved in any aspect of music -. I don't know that many of them.

It was all instrumental music." I played a solo at the end which was never rehearsed. we made a live record for Japan as the Greg Mathieson Project.several guys in the band will write a song.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 performance. "Why don't you go up to that G?" and that one note can open up a whole new flow of ideas. We could just take it out. It just doesn't come across most of the time. and you forgot what it was. That would drive me nuts. as a guitar player.people from different backgrounds who do the same thing. I'm not talking about heavy rock and roll tunes -. We're all best friends. In fact. We were playing like all blues. for example. As a drummer." This was two or three years ago and it was the greatest thing for my playing -. especially with a band like ours where there are a lot of studio players -. The solo in "99" [from Hydra] was never rehearsed. man. Jeff Porcaro.ever. man. You play in front of 80 poeple.that's all guitar stuff. We wrote some stuff. a lot of whom are guitar players.shtml (8 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . I almost puked the first night. I was so used to doing everything in 16 or 8 bars that peaked in two choruses. I like to go for it. Mathieson was great. We don't write out charts or anything like that. when you're composing on piano. I never play the same thing every night. In fact. People usually assume that people in rock bands don't really like each other because everybody is so egoed out. How do you compose songs? Most of the time it's multiples -.Guitar Player Online . and go for a bunch of choruses.the low end and the top end -and you can sing over it. what guitar part would I play?" I also get inspired by other musicians as well -. With the way our band works. or real music fans.guitarplayer. he comes up with some of the best rhythm parts and ideas for I might come up with an idea for a keyboard part. He really enlightened me a lot about building solos. He can say. like Jeff Porcaro. "Okay. It's interesting how you get inspired by people. "Hi. We'll just come with the tune and start playing." That kind of attitude sucks. There are a lot of good producers who don't necessarily play. This happens with our band a lot. We'll just play a take. But as far as blowing. and all of a sudden we'll start doing things we've never rehearsed or even talked about. I don't know what I want. All the guys are the same way. I couldn't do that. because the part is important to the tune. so I tend to write simpler things. instead of. Playing there was heavy scene. I took over Larry Carlton's place in this band with [keyboardist] Greg Mathieson. you hear the full range of everything -. "Well. What soloing philosophy do you apply to Toto songs? I try to do what's right for the song. I could probably play a lot flashier on our records. "Where's Carlton?" and I said [meekly]. but I'll know it when you play it. When do melodies come to you? http://archive. There are certain tunes that I'll play like the records. Will you take chances and go outside the realm of what you normally do? I like to do that. I mostly write on piano. and [bassist] Pops Popwell. I'm Steve Lukather.a guy like [keyboardist] David Foster. Plus. musicians. I don't know so much on piano. basically. I tend not to be so flashy. On something like "Roseanna. That's what's so bitchin' about this band. because inevitably they'll ask you to the play the first thing you did. I play a little bit of keyboards. One little idea from even somebody who doesn't know anything about music can open it up. He knows how to talk to me and get the best out of me. Miles Davis tunes. we didn't play any hits or any of that shit. What inspires you? Sometimes the other guys in the band. this was great: I used to play the Baked Potato every Sunday night. and I still had three to go! I'd have to use the wang bar or break the guitar like Pete Townshend [laughs]. Everybody was saying. it was the second take. and that way I'm not thinking so much. But they know how to talk to you.

and tears trying not to make them a cliché or corny. You can try it real echoey or dry. man? There are a lot of other guys who are eager to do this. But it's not always that way. Other times I'll do a date and make them happy. You've got to play what they want. they don't know the pressures." because we all play on a lot of records. There are a lot of people who just let you cut loose. Then I make the mistake of going.from jazz to rock to classical pieces to Moms Mabley sings the blues? Whatever the background of the artist. How dare somebody say that! They don't know what it takes to come in a studio and do a date. I'm not thinking about dough when I'm doing something like that.guitarplayer. They couldn't sing anything. I'm a terrible lyricist. People think we are a bunch of studio jocks who sit here and write out our own parts and read them.into what he is putting out." and fall back asleep and forget everything. The success of Toto IV must have reaffirmed your faith in what you're They don't realize the fact that you go in there and are told what they want you to play. I love to do rock mixes. man. I love stuff like that -.but up until you're ready to record. They think that maybe if I play on it. The time to experiment with sounds is not when you're mixing -. too. I experience blood. whatever his technique. because I've played on hit records. I'd work for free for those people. and tears -. "Why did you hire me. a closet engineer. That's the joy of having your own studio. At least that's where my head was at. not so blatant. I was getting pissed off at these critics." I'm not saying I'm some old fart who's paid a bunch of dues. "What are they trying to say?" We're not trying to say shit! We're trying to make music to make us happy and to make anybody else happy who cares to listen to it."Let's get it up. Some people hold the view that studio musicians are less-than-creative players. That's your job. but I'll walk away wondering. and you make a lot of money and get to work with great people.because that's a real waste of time -. It doesn't matter if it sells any records at all. I can't speak for everybody. "I know I'm going to remember this in the morning. I can wake up in the middle of the night with one. I wish I had the knack to write teenage sex music -. because I haven't. We know about outboard gear. by any means. It doesn't matter if it stiffs. no matter what kind of music it is -.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 They come at strange times. it will http://archive. How can somebody write that any album is a piece of shit when somebody's put his heart and soul into it. it went plywood [laughs]. sweat. The couldn't tune a guitar or play a C scale on the piano. That's all. How have the studio backgrounds of the musicians in Toto aided the band? They certainly have helped in the sense that we all know how to run a console. They've never played in front of people or made a record. microphone selection. I find writing lyrics hard. We started reading and believing bullshit criticisms of us and tried to alter our sound to that. I've also learned how you can overdo or underdo things. We're not doing this to make money. try different delays and whatnot. Our third record didn't do well at all -. The same old Toto shit on every record. People hear you play on something and go. That's not it at all. That's what's so great about being in a band. We can all mix a tune if we want to. "Yawn. man. It's your songs. I'm an echo jockey.shtml (9 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• .to use a cliché -. like anybody who goes to work and does their job.Guitar Player Online . That's why they hired you. we also had a stiff. I'm always keeping my eyes open. it's still somebody putting his blood. I'm honored to do the work. You can take the time you want. and what to use on what. they're great. We take this very seriously. sweat. but I've done enough to know that it's unfair that they will hire me at this point only because I've been proven. which is just be ourselves.the classic sex lyrics. People ask. This is his ass on the line. and we know what everything does and how to use it to its fullest potential. I'd say 90% of them are talentless clods who don't even know what they're doing. Yeah. they've never written a fact. We found that we had been getting away from what we had originally intended to do." but putting it in new way. Even though this is very lucrative. your band. This is a real band.

It makes it easier for you in general." But when you work for somebody else and walk away from that studio. typical studio sausage stuff. the Tim Mays. I got into the studio by doing free demos. the number one guy. man. You can't be too pushy. "Ah. and it doesn't really work sometimes -. I was crushed! And then Graydon told me. I've done a couple. you have to learn how to read at least enough to get through it. which is essential. used to make $25 a tune. "Yeah. Look at the old blues players or Hendrix: These cats couldn't read. He was the cat. and even the players themselves tend to paint too rosy a picture of what studio life is like? No." So people go. "That can't possibly be played. you're costing people loads of money. A lot of people can go. I looked like the mole people. I really respect all of those guys -. that guy punches in all his shit. Isn't it the song that sells? Absolutely. I don't even get into the realm of the Tommy Tedescos. Yeah. My advice to anybody is just play as much as you can. but it certainly can't hurt. You are your own worst critic. magazines. they are going to become a studio player. I wouldn't embarrass myself by sitting down next to Tedesco and saying. I went out and picked it up and somebody had erased my part. it's all right. Reading music might not help you in your career. They'll use the first part of one. There are a lot of great players everywhere. you don't even know if they are going to keep your part. And we're not talking about little Bambi shit -. If you can add something to that song. But I learned a lot about sound and recording. I was the demo king. There could be 80 people sitting there. and if you're blowing a part. Attitude is essential for getting into the studio. Places like G. "Oh. man! That's hard." call him all the time and bug him. you're beautiful.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 contribute to its being a hit. because I've heard guys who can just blow me off. intense work. and those guys that do the real studio work. Do guitar schools. but I was flat in that note. the middle part of another." and you're thinking. either. then you've done your job well. I think what's a little misunderstood is that people from out-of-state will come in and think that if they go through this school. I'm not an incredible reader. that's another thing: You do three tracks of solos for people and they will just put one together. easier for you to put down ideas you would normally forget if you didn't have a tape recorder." Forget it! I'd end up with my underwear stuck to the seat. it happens to everybody.Tim and Tommy and Dennis Budimir. read it first time through. but you certainly wouldn't say they can't play! But if you want to be a studio player. Have you noticed any changes in the studio guitar scene in the last few years? http://archive. "Look. These guys have to anything right now.guitarplayer.T and Dick Grove are very valuable for a learning experience. which was enough to let me know that there is a god who got me through it [laughs]. The first time I ever played on a record. man. The more you hear yourself recorded. People don't buy a guitar solo. There are a lot of great players in these schools. the more you learn about yourself as a player. You have to be yourself. You can't be playing up to some guy: "I love you man.shtml (10 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . Just play. with my eyes out to here! The pressure is intense." You're not always in control of how your part is finally released. "Sure.Guitar Player Online .I. I loved you on this solo. They buy a song. whether it be a top-40 gig or anything. and they didn't put on enough echo.they have to read some music. But learning to read music isn't essential by any means. match you note for note." I figured if Graydon told me that. It's amazing that a guy like me even is working. How can a hard rocker benefit from learning to read music? Any musician can benefit from But it's attitude.

but I can't listen to a whole record of drum machine. and you get a http://archive. But I've been experimenting a lot with them. or cycles per second]. There is a lot more to do with that vibrato bar than people have been doing -. because the band takes up so much of my time. I thought. there is still nothing like the sound of an amp cranked up all the way. "Ah! What I've been waiting for all my life. Sometimes people come to me with new ideas. Do you use open tunings? I'm getting more into them.000 Hz. Dick Gall keeps changing them. How do you decide what guitar tone to use? Do you usually conceive it in your mind first? Yeah. Hey.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 Yeah. all the synth bands usually have a guitar player because there is still nothing that sounds like a guitar. I'm trying to find some new stuff. I'll look into it. even myself [laughs].Guitar Player Online . I got one of the Floyd Rose devices when they first came out. I just basically do stuff for my friends now. an incredible guitarist. It was terrible. He uses it to bend up to things. either. There's another guy. I keep my ears open. I also experiment with some wild minor 11th tuning. but I prefer the real thing. and he designs me things. I try to put as much studioquality stuff into my racks as possible. It's good for real slam-bang rock and roll. And even the drum machines and stuff like that are cool for a while. It's stiff. Do you keep up with the latest developments in technology? I try to.little subtle things. you crank the top at 4dB and then you take 1k and pull 6dB out and add 2dB at 100Hz. Are keyboard synthesizers taking away guitar parts? I don't think so. I'm always trying to find something new. I pulled the low E string off my Fender Esquire and tuned the rest of them G D G B D [low to high]. I haven't really been keeping up with it.guitarplayer. Even if they don't have a drummer or a bassist. Everybody in the world uses them to [imitates sound of a diving airplane]. But I can dig the Thomas Dolby stuff and anything with a sense of humor. I'm looking forward to trying the new Roland GR 707 guitar synthesizer. I'm sorry. Carlos Rios is doing a lot of things. because I haven't been doing that many sessions. What are your views on using vibrato bars? I like them. Like you might plug your guitar in and get a completely cranked sound. I'm a sucker for delays and gadgets. it makes you play nasty. Lee Ritenour used one on his new record. You have to have that tuning to make Rolling Stones songs work. But for me. Dan Huff. I have a '58 gold-top Les Paul that I use. I have a Floyd Rose tunable tailpiece on my favorite guitar. like using it on because I'm a weird guy anyway. But there are countless things you can do to just get weird sounds. These are the cats who are pretty much doing all the records for rock and roll stuff. Waddy Wachtel turned me onto the Keith Richards 5-string openG tuning. my '63 Stratocaster." Wang bars were a drag before. Do you play slide? I just dabble in it. I think they're great. and your guitar would go so pitifully out of tune. You'd wang out. too. Then you go up to a module where all the EQ is and at 10K [10. Allan Holdsworth doesn't use his in the classic sense. and if I hear about something. there's some new guys.shtml (11 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . It can be effective on a tune. which sounds great and is very effective. Mike Landau is brilliant. which isn't new.

Come on.guitarplayer.. eventually you are going to start playing other stuff." It was the song "Hold the Line.. Then again. and then forget it. It was just a thrill. You can't give somebody a $10. I flipped the first time I heard myself on the radio. even if they copy the same solo note-for-note.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 razor-edge. The best way to learn how to play rock and roll guitar is to copy people you dig. The other thing is to have someone come up and say. fuzzed-out sound that still has got the hair on it. I'm sure Carlton learned solos from old jazz guys like Wes Montgomery." and it would never sound like Larry Carlton. from the beginning.shtml (12 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . It sounds like a bitchin' fuzztone. but we experiment with lots of different kinds of music and cover it all up with a rock and roll edge. it will please someone else's ear. That's how you develop your style. It's really the player who makes the instrument sing. and learn an Ozzy solo. My mom called me up and said. three sets a night. so I'm getting back into that." and I started running around the house in my underwear. That stuff still holds up. which is cool because you learn a lot. That's incredible! That's what they should do. A lot of young players spend hours trying to copy the latest Ozzy Osbourne solos without trying to. and she's been through the whole bit before. "Turn on KLOS. it worked then." Then just play your own stuff. You need practical application of what you learn. screaming.the first three Hendrix albums. It's like having a hundred great players all play the same blues lick: They'll all sound like themselves. You develop what pleases your ear." and really mean it. Like Pat Martino said. you can get a guy with a $10 Teisco guitar and he can make it sing. Learning everything from a book isn't going to do you any good. "I'm on the radio!" My wife was cracking up. even if it has funky strings and the intonation is all screwed up. But it's the vibrato and the touch that makes the style. I'm looking for a Univox Univibe. Is it ever difficult to keep a perspective on yourself after being on so many hit records and seeing your band sweep the Grammys? My wife always kicks me in the ass if I start getting the least bit arrogant. I'm regressing back into the old stuff -. It would sound like you playing a Larry Carlton solo. How much does the equipment really matter? It doesn't matter. Have you considered a solo album? http://archive. I really dig your playing.Guitar Player Online .com/archive/artists/luthaker84. The new album will be an extension of that. She's patient. Has the success of Toto IV caused the band to feel that they should duplicate that style of music? Nah. You can hear the same elements in everybody's playing.000 Les Paul who has never played and expect him to make it sound good. You could learn the solo to "Kid Charlemagne. to understand wang bar tricks and how and why things work. When you are out doing a Top-40 club gig six nights a week. No two people sound alike. "Try to learn everything you can. man. I've found an old [Dallas-Arbiter] Fuzz Face. What's the biggest reward in your line of work? There are so many of them. "Hey. Just learn how to do it. It is very valuable for a young player who has just been playing for a couple of years to get that vocabulary under his fingers. She's great. everyone has the same blues vocabulary. and if you're lucky. A lot of it is in the hands. You are going to start permutating those little things.

But I listen to it all the time. though. Web design by Alexandra Zeigler http://archive. I love the spirit of the band. I like it so loud that my ears bleed -. That's it.shtml (13 of 13)30/4/2004 2:25:00 π• . Just playing and grooving with making music.guitarplayer.not all the time.Archives: Steve Lukather from April 1984 Yeah. Copyright © 2001 by United Entertainment My life is real together. Metal is guitar music. What would you like to be doing in ten years? Same thing.Guitar Player Online . A Music Player Network Publication. Guitar Player and Music Player Network are registered trademarks of United Entertainment Media. Inc. All rights reserved. I take it seriously.a lot more rock and roll than Toto records. More than just Eddie's guitar playing. where it's all guitar. Reproduction of material appearing in Guitar Player is strictly prohibited without written permission. It probably wouldn't be like an Al DiMeola solo album. I'm a metal fan. I just love to play music and be with people who love to play music. I'm not the kind of person who walks down the street and people recognize at all. I'd just like to be remembered for being a good player. More important. which is obviously brilliant. and I'm very honored with what's happened. because you can hurt your ears doing that. I want to be respected by my peers. My favorite is Van Halen. It probably would be a rock and roll record -. I have an extensive heavy metal collection. Are you happy with the way your career is going? Very happy. I have nothing political or intense to say to anybody. Inc. I love heavy rock and roll.

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