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  • David Paich of Toto Shares His Forgotten Toys

    August 2022

    David Paich 01For those who have visited Boomerocity for any length of time at all, y’all already know that we and Toto have a pretty good working relationship with each other. As proof, one only needs to check out our interviews with Steve “Luke” Lukather and/or Joseph Williams (the links to them are listed further down this page beneath the press release for "Forgotten Toys").

    Boomerocity has had the privilege of meeting Toto’s founder on a couple of occasions backstage at Toto concerts but never had the opportunity to interview him.

    Until now.

    Despite of all the albums he has played on and all the songs he has written and performed (as well as performed and recorded by many others), it is only now that David Paich has decided to release an album of his own.

    Titled, “Forgotten Toys,” it is seven masterfully written, performed, and recorded songs with the most amazing musicianship (both Paich’s and a few of his well-known friends) that you would come to expect from a group Paich written tunes. Intricate. Precise. Full. Consuming. Illuminating. These words and more hopefully give you an idea of what you can expect while listening to “Forgotten Toys”.

    Our interview with David Paich, below, is relaxed informative, and fun – much like what you would expect – not only from Boomerocity interviews – but especially from interviews with any of the boys from Toto. In his signature graciousness, Paich shares with us all the story behind “Forgotten Toys” and what was involved in putting the album together.

    If you’re a fan of Toto or any artist or band that our generation loves, then, a) David’s probably had something to do with 80% of those songs or artists; and b) you’ll definitely want to watch this interview and share it with others. You can order your copy of “Forgotten Toys” by clicking on the album cover on this page.

    You can follow David Paich on Facebook and Instagram and with his band and band mates at TotoOfficial.com.


    The Boomerocity Interview With David Paich

     Press Release





    Screen Shot 2022 05 31 at 10.28.21 PMClick Above To Order Your CopyLos Angeles, CA -- David Paich and The Players Club / Mascot Label Group have announced the release of his debut solo album titled FORGOTTEN TOYS on August 19. Paich shares, “This is a recurring dream about a distraught girl, riding neath the moonlight.  It has perplexed me over many a night…”.

    Boz Scaggs. Mötley Crüe. Steely Dan. Bryan Adams. George Martin. Michael Jackson. Quincy Jones. P!NK. Aretha Franklin. Miles Davis. The Doobie Brothers. Stevie Nicks. Dolly Parton. Jessie J. Cher. Rod Stewart. Tina Turner. Michael McDonald. Joan Baez. Ray Charles. Elton John. Barbra Streisand... and countless others. If you’ve listened to music in the last 50 years, including any of the iconic artists above, you were hearing David Paich. Music is the soundtrack of our lives, and David is one of its architects.

    He initially embraced music by his father—jazz icon, musician, and arranger Marty Paich. “I met Jimmy Webb when I was 10 years old, when my father was working with him,” he recalls. “My dad nudged me towards songwriting because I had the ability to write poetry. Somehow, my father saw my lyrical potential. I followed in Jimmy’s footsteps until Elton John’s first record came out in 1970. That really cemented my musical path. I continued to soak up all the great songs from then on.” Together, Paich and his father notably co-wrote “Light The Way” for Ironside, winning an EMMY® Award for “Best Song or Theme” back in 1974.

    With Boz Scaggs, he co-wrote the songs "Miss Sun", "Lido Shuffle", and Grammy Award-Winning "Lowdown" from the multi-platinum album Silk Degrees

    Around that same time, Paich and childhood friend, iconic studio drummer Jeff Porcaro wiggled their way onto two Steely Dan albums, which helped form some of their musical direction. Paich and David Foster co-wrote “Got To Be Real” with Cheryl Lynn, catapulting her to disco stardom. All these accolades solidified him as one of the go-to studio musicians for music’s A-list. Paich decided it was time for him and Jeff to form their own band, which you now know as Toto.

    With his TOTO bandmates, David arranged and performed songs on Michael Jackson’s legendary albums, Bad and Thriller. “One of my greatest memories is collaborating with Michael Jackson, on the bestselling album of all time, Thriller, Helping arrange the Jackson/Paul McCartney duet, “The Girl is Mine”, is still a musical highlight in my career.”

    Over the past several years, David, along with TOTO has had a major renaissance in popularity like few bands at this point in their career and now have a multi-generational global fan base. In fact, “Africa” has amassed over 1 billion streams worldwide and is one of the most covered and sampled songs in music history, including by Jay-Z, Pitbull, Ellie Goulding, and Weezer.

    As a six-time Grammy® Award Winner, Paich has contributed to over 2,000 albums, shaping the sound of popular music as a songwriter, performer, producer, arranger, vocalist, and primary composer of the seminal band TOTO. With TOTO, Paich has released 17 albums, sold over 40 million records, and garnered over 3 billion streams worldwide. Paich wrote or co-wrote TOTO’s biggest hits, "Hold the Line", "Rosanna" and “Africa”.

    Like most treasured mementos and keepsakes, we hold on to songs forever. We dust them off when we need them, put them back on the shelf, and discover them again months or sometimes years down the line. With his diverse catalogue, he has been kicking around song ideas for a solo album for some time.  The COVID lockdown presented Paich the opportunity to revisit those songs, and the result being a collection of tunes that he has carried in my head for years. He shares, “It seemed like it was time to put something together. Some of these really are forgotten toys. It had been a while since I’ve been in my studio, and I found myself listening to these little pieces continuously. I kept rediscovering them, hoping to fit the tracks together like a musical puzzle.”

    For as much as it may be a “solo” album, Paich couldn’t help but invite a few friends to play. Joined by Joseph Williams as co-producer and sometimes co-vocalist, he welcomed everyone from Toto’s Steve Lukather to Brian Eno, Michael McDonald, Ray Parker Jr., Don Felder, and Steve Jordan of The Rolling Stones.

    The album cover artwork provides a poetically nostalgic representation of the concept. It features a variety of memories Paich’s wife has held onto over the years. “I hope this will give everyone a glimpse into another side of me, one they’ve never heard in a musical context.”

    Music is the soundtrack of our life. For David, music is much more than the soundtrack of his life. As one of its architects, it is his life.

    Boomerocity Interviews With David's Band Mates, Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams

  • Gregg Rolie Discusses Sonic Ranch & A Few Of His Friends

    January 2020

    Gregg Rollie 2 CroppedBoomerocity readers are already quite familiar with the legendary keyboardist and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Gregg Rolie. If you weren’t already familiar with him and his work in the past, you became familiar with him in our interview with him a couple of years ago (here).

    Gregg has a new album out entitled, Sonic Ranch, that he recently released as he’s between touring with Ringo Starr and performing via other bands and projects.

    I caught up by phone with Rolie at his home in the Austin, Texas, area to chat about the new CD as well as other things going on in his career. As I conducted my research for the interview, I came across an excellent Rolling Stone interview with Gregg that was written by Andy Greene. It answered all the basic questions about Rolie’s time with Santana, Journey, and Ringo that people would want to ask him. Instead of putting him through the drudgery of answering those same questions, I decided in advance to provide a link to that interview and do so right here. It’s an outstanding article and worth the time to read (after you finish this one, of course!). Consequently, we launched straight into chatting about Sonic Ranch. 

    The album felt especially “personal” to me so I asked Gregg if that was the case.

    "They're all like that, actually. Just different periods of time. It's the only way I can put that. And that's true. It took a while, but it was only because I got busy with all kinds of stuff. As far as it being completely personal, yes and no. I mean, some songs are, some aren't. Most are. Most are either experiences or I know somebody who experienced it. It's kind of it.”

    When I shared that I also felt that the disc revealed somewhat of a spiritual change in him, he said:

    “It's too deep to what I was doing. My viewpoint is songwriting is like mountain climbing and playing music. They climb mountains because they're there and playing music because it's there. It comes to you or it doesn't; just sit down and there's nothing there. I don't watch a ballgame or something. If it's not coming, it's not coming. And much like someone who writes a book and they get writer's block. It just goes away. Usually, they sit there in angst over it. I just don't do that anymore. So, it'll come when it does if it's gonna. You’re usually paid off with something that's pretty good because it's supposed to come out.”

    As I’ve repeatedly said in other articles, I never ask an artist what their favorite song on their album is because it’s akin to a parent picking a favorite child. This time around, I asked Gregg which song kind of has its thumb on his pulse more than the others on the album.

    “I must have many pulses. They all touch me in different ways. Some of them were written back in 2013/14 and some are fresher because I had to get off and tour with Ringo for seven years. I've been doing that for seven years now. I got busy with that. I got busy with Santana IV. I got busy with Journey Through Time with Neal Schon. I did all of that stuff. And, then, finally I could finish it. So, some of the songs are newer, but as far as being - they're all important to me in different ways, and the way I've always written music is - and played it - is that I gotta like it. 
    “But what I'm trying to really do is connect with people. If any one of them connect with somebody and somebody else and somebody else and this one connects with them, then I've done a good job, in my viewpoint. That's how I attack all of this stuff. They're all special to me in different ways. And it's a hard question to answer.”

    Then, injecting a little humor into the end of his answer, he said, “Have you got an ear?” Continuing on with regards to the sound of Sonic Ranch, Gregg shared:

     “So, this guy, Howie Edelson, said he could see five different bands. It's one concept. And so, it kind of goes together and yet there's so many different sounds from hard rock to Don't Be Cruel, you know. It's just the way I hear things. If I hear something that is going to strike me, then I try and do it if I think it's going appeal to people. You've got to be playing music for people, not just yourself. I don't believe in that. It is for people. I'm trying to connect to people. And so that's why I've always approached it. I can like some music that no one will ever want to buy or hear. It's not where I go with it. That's for me. But the stuff that I want to try to get to get out to the public, it's made for them.”

    I offered that the song, "Only You," is a great song written for his wife, Lori. So, I wondered what her response was to it. 

    Greg and RingoGregg and Ringo“Quite frankly, she goes, 'You've never written a song about me.' 'Baby, they're ALL about you.' And in her own words, she said, 'That's bullshit'. I said, 'Okay, you got me. I'm going to write this one for you. This one is about you and me.' And that was the song. And it was touching the both of us because it really is the history of how we met. In that short amount of time, it says what we are to each other. And it's pretty difficult to do. 

    Usually, it would take a book or at least a few paragraphs. So, yeah, it means a lot to me. My son recorded it and he engineered and produced it. And he got a tone out of me - out of my voice. It's incredible. I used a microphone that Willie Nelson used here in Austin. And it's like I never heard my voice sound so crystal clear and big and beefy and all that stuff. It was great. Yeah, it has a lot of meaning to me in that one.”

    Another song that I truly enjoy is, “Just You”. I asked Gregg what the story is behind it.

    “Well, basically, it the song, 'You', was there first. What was going on was we were moving on to other things over at Sonic Ranch, which is named after the studio just outside El Paso. And the studio is kind of underground but they had glass where you could see people's feet and all of that walking by. The sound was better and all of that. 

    “I kept seeing my son and an engineer walking by with keyboards over and over. I was sitting at the piano working on something else. They kept walking by with all these keyboards. 'What are these guys up to go into the studio and they set up like fifteen - at least 15 synthesizers. And they were going, 'Well we were thinking that maybe you could do some kind of orchestration in front of the song, 'You'. I went, 'Well, you went to all this trouble, I suppose I ought to do something.' 

    “I put it together based off of the song lyrics and the same chord structure and just kind of varied it and all that and put all these synths on there. It's more orchestrated. And that's the front end of it. The tail-end of it - the solo part - the timing changed. I sped it up from what it was in the song. I remember that they asked me, 'You do realize that's a different time/tempo, right?' 'Yes, I do. Ha! Ha! I can at least count that.' So that's kinda how that happened. That's all it is. The song is about the heartbreak of, 'You did this. You did that. But now I gotta go. This isn't working.' That's basically it.”

    In the Rolling Stone interview, Gregg heaps praise on a good Boomerocity friend, Toto’s Steve “Luke” Lukather, who plays on Gregg Rollie 2“Give Me Tomorrow” and “They Want It All” on Sonic Ranch. We’ve interviewed Luke five times and have meet him face-to-face four times. Each of those times, he’s been kind, gracious, and blushingly funny. The man has a heart of gold. When I shared that – as well as seconded what he had to say in Rolling Stone, Rolie added: 

    “Yeah. I know. He is phenomenal. His playing is unbelievable. But that's not all of it for me. He's just a really good man. I laugh at all those jokes. We're all going the same place, if that's the case. Ha! Ha! He knocks me out. I've never seen anybody so quick to come up with stuff. And that works for music, too. I love him. I think he's a great human being.”

    Gregg’s former Journey bandmate, Neal Schon, also contributes some amazing guitar licks on “Lift Me Up”. Rolie had this to say about Neal:

    “I've known Neal since he was sixteen. Actually, I got him into the band, Santana. Kinda snuck him through. I'd pick him up from high school and while we were recording Abraxas, he came in. We would jam. I really would have loved to see him be in the band because he and Carlos played totally differently, but it could've been really cool. It ended up happening because Carlos goes . . . 'What do you think about having a second guitarist?' I was going, 'What a great idea!' 

    “I really was steering it. And he had the choice of being in Santana or Derek and the Dominos at sixteen years old! He's pretty special; an unbelievable player. I've known him forever, man. I mean, I used to say that he's like my little brother. So, when I asked him to play on a couple of things (on Sonic Ranch), he said, 'Sure.' And vice versa. And that's how that came about.

    What else would Gregg Rolie like to do musically that he hasn’t done yet?

    Gregg Rolie Pointing“I'm in the process of doing it. Funny you should ask! It's like I know this just came out, but we're already working on new material. My son and myself, Deen Castronova and Mark Mendoza. I met those guys through Journey Through Time with Neal, and that kind of blew up and he's going to be in Journey. I said, 'Well, let's go do something?'. So, we started this up. And I've got a young guy, Yayo Sanchez, who, if you ever saw it on Facebook, he was the 'kiss guy'. He's 26 years old. It's just nonstop music, this guy. 

    “The engineer that we ended up recording three songs already - it turns out that he's a fantastic guitarist, especially acoustic guitars. He's from Colombia. When we start this thing up and it's totally different. It is and it's not because I can't help it. I'm in the band. So, it's going to go somewhere with my sound on it. It's just the way it is. But I'm trying to open the door to the whole thing and make it fresh blood. I mean, instead of going through the same procedure that's always happened, I wanted to do something totally different. It's really alive and young. 

    “So, I got young guys and they come up with fantastic things. You know, I can get music down my age in a second. But coming out with some of the young stuff that's there and I'm putting those ideas to work with my own, it's pretty interesting. And my door is open to that with these guys. It's like we're going to come up with some great stuff. The three of them are already good.

    “We've been writing some more and will record some more in January and February. Hopefully, we'll do something next year (2020), time permitting, because we're doing Ringo again in the summer. And that, by the way, has been a fantastic trip. Playing with this band and, you know, got to know Lukather through that. He's become a very good friend of mine. It's almost like kindred spirits. We kind of have the same viewpoint about a lot of things and it kind of comes out. 

    “I think the main part is that, as you get older, the hang is everything. And all these guys in all of the Ringo bands, the hang has been phenomenal. Everybody is really cool people. Right now, it's Hamish Stuart from Average White Band and Colin Hay from Men at Work; Lukather and myself and Bissenett has been there longer than all of us. And, of course, Ringo has been there longer than all of us. Warren Hamm on sax and harmonica and vocals. You know, a utilitarian guy. It's really a good band and a lot of fun. We just hang and play!”

    I asked if Billy Joel’s sax man, Mark Rivera, was still with Ringo (we had interviewed Mark a few years ago, here).

    “He's the music director, still. He went off to play with Billy Joel. Billy Joel has been playing Madison Square Garden I don't know how many times. Selling it out. A residency at the Garden. Are you kidding me? Pretty crazy! He goes, 'I gotta do that.' 'Yeah, you do!'.”

    In the meantime, Gregg is doing his own thing when he’s not playing with Ringo. You can find out what all that is – as well as order Sonic Ranch – by visiting GreggRolie.com

  • Michael McDonald - Knoxville, TN 2018

    Michael McDonald

    September 11, 2018

    Tennessee Theatre – Knoxville, TN


    michaelmcdonaldpianoLast night’s Michael McDonald concert was the third time I’d seen him perform and it was the third time that I was blown away.I was blown away by the reminder of the breadth and depth of this man’s work. I was blown away by his musicianship (keyboards and guitar). I was blown away by the strength, quality, and range of his voice. I was blown away by the tightness of his band. 

    Yeah, I was just blown away.

    Performing at Knoxville’s beautiful and historic Tennessee Theatre, McDonald had the sellout crowd eating out of his talented hands from the opening notes of “Ya Mo Be There” to the ending bars of the four song encore that concluded with “Takin’ It To The Streets”.

    Michael didn’t just rely on the crowd-pleasing hits, which is always a safe bet with his fan base. He was also confident enough to perform several tunes from his latest CD, “Wide Open”.

    As I said, the band was tight, and I do mean tight. Backing vocalist, Drea Rhenee’, was nothing short of absolutely amazing. The michaelmcdonaldguitarstrength and range of her voice made her an absolute delight to listen to – especially during: Ain’t No Way” and “On My Own”.

    Wow. Just wow.

    Joining Michael and Drea were Bernie Chiaravalle (guitar/vocals), Dan Needham (drums and percussion), Mark Douthit (incredible sax as well as keys), Pat Coil (keys), and Jacob Lowery (bass, vocals, and harmonica). 

    I try to catch McDonald’s shows every chance I get. You should, too. The man will take you on a musical journey that will stay in your heart and mind for years to come. 

  • Steve Lukather (2013)

    Posted January, 2013

    SteveLukatherPhoto by Rob ShanahanSince the launch of Boomerocity over three years ago, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing lots of phenomenal, historic and iconic talent.  Whether chatting it up with Grand Funk Railroad (and former KISS) guitarist, Bruce Kulick, Billy Joel’s sax man, Mark Rivera, or guitar virtuoso, Andy Timmons, to a man each and every one of them mentioned Steve Lukather.

    Luke (as his friends call him) is best known as a founding member/lead guitarist/songwriter/vocalist of Toto. However, he has also been involved with some of the hottest songs and albums in the history of popular music. From Michael Jackson’s  Beat It (and all of the Thriller album) to Olivia Newton-John’s Physical,  to working with such huge talent as Lionel Richie, The Tubes, Donna Summer, Chicago, Richard Marx, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and, currently, Ringo Starr, Lukather seems to find himself associated with the best of the best.  And those members of the upper echelon of musicians have great things to say about him.

    Bruce Kulick (KISS and Grand Funk Railroad) says of Lukather, "Steve is one of the few ‘monster’ guitar players in the music business. I am always in awe of his amazing feel and melodic ability on the guitar. This is why he's admired around the world. Luke = Guitar Legend!"  Andy Timmons also speaks highly of his good friend.  “Steve has been a huge influence on my playing for many years! I think I learned more from him than any other player. Like Stevie Ray, he puts so much passion and conviction into every note. Couple that with his complete control of time feel (where a note is placed in the musical phrase) and you have an amazing musician. PLUS he's beautiful and loving human being. I'm proud to call him a friend.”

    As I began my chat with Luke, I wanted to verify that I had it correct that his new CD, Transition, was his seventh studio solo project.

    “Yeah, I suppose so. If you count the Carlton stuff and my Christmas record then it would something like ten. But, there’s some of my side projects like Los Lobotomys and things like that. So, yeah, as far as official ‘Here I am,’ I suppose it’s seven – lucky seven, as they say!”

    In listening to Transition, I sense that the album has a positive “lessons learned/I’m still standing” kind of vibe to it, for the most part. I asked Steve if I was interpreting that correctly.

    “Well, you know, the last five or six years of my life I’ve had the ‘lost years’. I went through a really, really bad time. And, unfortunately, when you go through a bad time in the public eye you have to do it in front of people. I was dealing with some people I didn’t want to be dealing with. There was some business things going on. My mother died. My marriage died. I had a kid during the divorce. I quit drinking and smoking and got really healthy. I had to go through all of the psychological stuff, digging up the bodies in my backyard, metaphorically speaking – emotionally – just to clean up myself and find my muse and find my voice as a guitar player and as an artist again.

    “On the last album, I was going through all of it so it was a little darker. On this one, this is a little bit more the transition, hence, the title, coming from the darkness into the light again, as it were; dealing with all of the haters and things that I’ve just stuffed for so many years – some stuff that I really don’t want to get into but a lot of deep stuff in my personal life that was causing me to drown myself in a sea of alcohol which affected my playing, my personality, my muse, my reason for everything.

    “So, I just woke up one day and quit smoking and quit drinking and said, ‘I’ve want to be me again!’ Thirty-six years on the road can make anybody crazy.  I just caught myself. I looked around me and a lot of my friends are sick, dying or dead. I’m going, ‘Wait a second.’  When you’re twenty years old it’s party till you drop and then you realize that thirty-five years went by. Like I said, I went through a bad time and I’m not in a bad time now. I’m in a great place. For years, now, I’ve been clean and finding myself. I work out. I practice. I wake up at five in the morning and play the guitar. I’m a good dad. Even my ex-wives love me! I’m a happily divorced guy! What can I say?”

    SteveLukather2Photo by Rob ShanahanThen, being a little more serious, Luke adds, “I’m on the road nine months out of the year. It’s hard for a woman to deal with that. I didn’t do anything awful. It just fell apart, you know? So, I had to re-calibrate my life – every aspect of it – and own up to the fact that I screwed up and played sloppy. You play how you feel. So, if you feel like crap, what do you think is going to happen? I was angry and I was just playing crap and I hated it.

    “From 2004 through 2009 were bad times for me in my whole life. It affected every aspect of it – playing, I looked like crap, I felt like crap and I was just trying to get through it

    in a negative way. Now, I feel good again. I feel free from it!  I have to let go of resentments and the past. If I’ve said or did something stupid, I’m really sorry, you know?  But I can’t change people’s minds if there’s that negativity but I think people have warmed up to the fact that I admitted my sins. What can I say? Everybody loses their way sometimes – at one point or another. It’s  just hard when you have to do it in public.

    “I’ve lived an extraordinary and insane life – not even a realistic one. It’s a bizzaro life. It’s fun. I mean, it has great rewards but I don’t get paid for the gig. I get paid for the twenty-two hours that I’m not playing, you know what I mean? A lot of guys will tell you that – it’s a cliché but it really stands true.

    “But I feel great! I feel better than ever. I’m working with Ringo who’s seventy-two years old and looks like he’s forty. He’s a constant source of inspiration as a human being as well as being Ringo!”

    In concluding his answer, he said, “I don’t want to dwell on anything negative. I’m just saying that this is where I’ve been, that’s what it was, this is what I’ve gone through and this is where I am now. I feel great – better than ever!  Ready to hit it!  I’ve had a really great year and I appreciate that more than I ever did ever in my whole life. I appreciate my career more than I ever did in my whole life.”

    I asked if that was the biggest lesson learned from that whole experience.

    “Yes! I think it’s great to still be here after thirty-six years of doing this and be booked up. I’m solid until 2015, pretty much. I couldn’t be happier doing all the different kind of cool things that I get to do. I’m just not a guy that’s in a band, makes a record and goes on the road. I did five different tours this year.”

    In setting up my next question, I mentioned that it was reported that Lukather had a hand in over 1,500 albums.  Before I could segue to the core question, he interrupted me.

    “These numbers get volleyed around. Sometimes it’s a thousand. Sometimes it’s 2,500.  Sometimes it’s a million. Sometimes it’s 50. I don’t know.   I like to refer to as that I’ve done a lot of records.  I really don’t know what the count is. But I’ve stopped doing sessions twenty-some-odd years ago. I’ll do a guest one or two a  year or something like that here and there. But as far as being a session guy, I’ve never really done that since 1992 or something like that.”

    I asked him how working on Transition differed from all of the other albums – especially the first albums he ever worked on.

     “Well, the technology’s changed, obviously. I just kinda flow. Listen, when my first record came out on eight-track. That’s how long I’ve been doing this. So, really, for me, we did it differently in the sense that, from the moment my fingers touched the guitar strings and we played the first chord or riff – which, ironically, was Judgment Day – the songs were written almost in sequence as they appear on the record. C.J. Vanston and myself co-wrote and co-produced and played on the record with me.

    “From the moment we started, everything that I played became a master recording and we just sort of went about it in a different way. Usually, I cut live tracks with live players. This time we did it different. I started adding people as the songs and record took shape – adding bass and drums later – after I’d done vocals and guitars and master keyboard. Then, we kind of cast it like a movie. Like, ‘Who would be great on this?’ I used my live band, obviously. They’re great musicians. Steve Weingart, Renee Jones and Eric Valentine. But I also had the pick of a lot of friends – a lot of people I had run into on the street by accident. I live in L.A., you know. We’re all friends. Everybody on the record is my friend. Some really old friends and some newer friends. All are really great musicians. We would say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have so-and-so on this track?’ and they came and played!  That’s how we did it. It was a different way of doing it for me and it was a lot of fun.”

    When I asked Steve how long Transition took to make, he said, “On and off – I started last December and I would work on it for a few weeks, go on the road, do a tour, come back, work on it for three weeks, go back on another tour and I did that all year until I finished in October.”

    Going into further detail as to how the album was made, Steve shared that, “We worked hard on it. I certainly didn’t phone it in, you know? Having the luxury of time, I would go, ‘I want to redo that vocal. I can do better.’ Or, ‘that lyric sucks. Let me fix that.’ That was a luxury I haven’t had in I can’t remember when. Not being under pressure. Not worry about it being a hit single or whatever. I made a record that I liked. C.J. worked hard on the music. My son (Trevor) co-wrote a track . . . but most of it was me and C.J. I just kind of wrote how I felt and that’s how it is from a guitar playing standpoint. I dug a little deep and try to refine it rather than trying to be super flashy. Other guys do it so much better. I went to my strongest point which is my melodic phrasing and play different stuff than a normal rock guy would play.”

    As I’ve said in other interviews, I long ago quit asking artists what their favorite song is on an album. However, what I have asked, and did ask Luke, was if he was to point to just one song from Transition for someone to listen to in order to determine if they would want to buy the whole album, which song would that be?

    “It kind of changes. Like, in the middle of making the record, you have your favorites but that changes as they get finished. At the end of it, I look at the record as one whole piece – the whole record. Not just one song. I’m proud of the (whole) record. I think the first couple of tracks kind of definite it. Judgment Day and Creep Motel kind of have the overall feel for the record. From a guitar playing, songwriting and signing standpoint, check that out. And, if you like that, keep on!”

    Knowing that Lukather is going back on the road with Ringo Starr beginning February 2nd, I asked him if there are any tour plans to support Transition after that tour.

    “Oh, yeah!  I’m rehearsing my band in January and then we’re going out in March and April in Europe for the solo stuff. Then I come back and gear up for Toto’s 35 year anniversary tour which will go on for the summer. We only work through the summer – May through September - because everybody else has stuff going on. We’ll do that for the next few summers all over the world. I’ll be back and then we go back out with Ringo in the fall, so I hear. Rumors. That puts me to this time next year and then I jump back out solo. I’ll do some dates in the states with my own band. We’re talking about doing a co-bill with somebody else just to get my feet wet as a solo artist in the U.S. but Toto is going to be working in the U.S., as well. I’ve got a full dance card and it feels good, man!”

    As noted earlier, Luke has worked on a boatload of albums in his nearly 40 year career.  I was curious as to what he saw as the most positive and negative changes he’s seenSteveLukather3Photo by Rob Shanahan in the music business in that time and, if he were named music czar, what would he do, if anything, to fix the music business.

    Answering the second part of the questions first, Luke said, “The first thing I would do is unplug ProTools and ask, ‘Can you sing and play?’  That would be the first thing. That would eliminate about ninety percent of the people. I’d want to level the playing field. For those of us who started out playing and thinking that you had to be really good to make it in the music business, we were all of a sudden thrown off the horse by going, ‘Nah! You don’t have to be that good, really.’ The whole image/MTV years and then it became the technological years where people are up for Grammy’s who couldn’t sing Happy Birthday in tune at gunpoint.

    “I think the whole game has changed and the worst part is no one cares – or, I should say not that many people care. Nobody’s perfect. The thing is, now, records are made so perfect that they’re unrealistic. And, to perform live, if someone sings just a little bit off or doesn’t bend a note just perfect, people think you’re crap. Go back and look at The Stones and The Beatles, there’s imperfections in the blues players we all loved. Hendrix wasn’t perfect. Nobody’s perfect. It’s an unrealistic perfection. Everyone wants this utopian perfection that is unrealistic. Let’s bring back a little grit and funk, man! We live in a fast-food mentality. Everybody wants everything now and everybody has a two second attention span. I don’t believe that’s across the board but that’s what the media plays to – the lowest common denominator. I don’t want to start ragging on people and naming names but anybody that uses the word ‘beats’ to describe music should be beat-en with a baseball bat!”

    Up on a well-deserved musical soapbox, he continued, “I watched the 12/12/12 concert on TV and there were some brilliant performances, you know?  And the one, blatant WTF moment was rather obvious, need I say it?  And instead of me being a grumpy old man, I turned on Twitter and watched the comments come. And my twenty-five year old son – a great guitar player and the generation that that plays to – I look at him and I go, ‘Dude!’ and he goes, ‘Dad, it sucks, I know!’ And I go, ‘Okay, so it’s not just me?’ I wanted to love it!  I do want to love it but I can’t. I just can’t! Then, the attitude that goes with it! It’s the whole Star Magazine/Enquirer mentality of ‘let’s dumb it all down.’ To me, ‘yuh!’ is not a lyric, you know?  Just unplug the box and waddaya got? Unplug the auto-tune and put the kid up there with a band and let’s see what he’s got! Nothing. Nothing! Nothing but a bad attitude and a lot of money! I don’t want to say the name but there’s just this whole genre of people, they’re bragging about how rich they are and, really, it just makes them look how stupid they are. The arrogance of it all.”

    Winding done, Luke concluded, “The bottom-line: You really want to change the music business?  Can-you-play? It’s like they want to learn all of the tricks before they learn how to get there. Those of us who started out in the sixties playing the guitar like I did because of The Beatles, learned how to play folk guitar and learned how to play rhythm guitar. Can you play with other people or are you the guy that just sits on the edge of your bed and plays as fast as you possibly can in one key because you don’t know how to play in B Flat?  Be a well-rounded guy! There are some amazing musicians out there that need to be heard! The problem is how do you monetize it? How do you make a career as a musician? It’s really hard.

    “My son. Twenty-five. He just signed with a major management company but, generally, if he was to have signed his record deal twenty-five years ago, he would’ve had his record deal at twenty! It’s a different world and there’s a lot of incredible musicians struggling just to get heard. They say, ‘Give the records away for free and then go out and play live and make money.’ Well, how many venues, really, are there and how much money are people are gonna spend? If you have one song on the radio do you think people will pay fifty bucks to come see you?  Can you sustain an audience for an hour and a half with one song? Because that’s what they’re telling you, ‘We only need one song.’ Well, if you make only one song, who’s going to pay to come see you live? And you better be good because everyone does it on ProTools and you can make anybody sound good on there. But can you pull it off live?”

    As our time to chat was quickly coming to a close, I asked the legendary guitarist about working with Ringo Starr on his current tour.

    “It was the best summer vacation of my life! He’s the greatest! He’s one of the most sweetest, the most soulful, smart, funny – everything you could ever want and imagine him to be, he’s that and more. Very wise. If you listen to him speak, you’re drawn into somebody that is very, very special on planet earth and I’m honored to call him a friend. I wake up and I get a text from Ringo!  It’s surreal. He announces me (and slides into a pretty good Ringo imitation), ‘This is my very last, real best friend and I’m not having any more!’ and he announces me. I mean, really, he took a shine to me and I to him, obviously. The band is so great: Todd (Rundgren) and Richard (Page) and Biss (Gregg Bissonette) and Mark Rivera and Gregg Rolie – what a joy to wake up and make music with these guys! Everybody is so good and so much fun. It’s so relaxed. We’re hanging out with Ringo! How awesome is that? It doesn’t get much better than that!”

    Winding up that portion of his comments, he added, “What’s wrong with my life?  Nothing, really. I’m grooving. I’m thankful. I really, really am! I know how lucky I am. There’s a million guys that are better than me. I’m just the lucky guy that gets to enjoy what I get to do!”

    My final question for Steve Lukather involved how he wants to be remembered and what he hopes his legacy is after he’s gone to that great gig in the sky. His answer started with a slight chuckle.

    “Well, I’d like to think that people will say, ‘Good player, man! Funny guy! Good guy!’ All I know is that I’m trying to be the best ‘me’ I can be right now. I’ve had an extraordinary, wonderful career that spans thirty-six years and it seems to going to keep going for a while. I’m very thankful for that. I think that maybe in a hundred years somebody will poke my name in some little computer box and, hopefully, a whole bunch of information will come out and they’ll say, ‘Who the heck is this guy?’ I’d like for them to say ‘He was a funny guy. Played pretty good for a white guy.’ What can I say? I’d like to be remembered in some positive light. I can’t make a quote about myself!”

    Well, as I started this piece with quotes from other great musicians, Steve can be assured that there are many, many more members on the short list of musical greats who are saying great things about him.  And, to paraphrase a great saying about music: If words fail, then his music will speak for him.

  • Steve Lukather (2014)

    Posted June, 2014

    SteveLukather DarekKawka 1216.2 Photo by Darek KawkaThe sign of a great, vibrant classic rock band is when they continue to draw loyal crowds and crank out albums and DVDs.  One such band is Toto.  Still alive and well, the boys in the band recently released a live CD and concert DVD entitled, “Toto 35th Anniversary Tour: Live In Poland”. With a reported 35 million albums already sold, this double-barreled offering is sure to substantially add to those numbers.

    When word went out that the anniversary set was going to come out, Boomerocity had the opportunity to interview the band’s guitarist and founding member, Steve Lukather. I last interviewed Luke in January of last year. Since that chat, he has toured heavily to support his solo album, “Transition”, toured with Ringo Starr and, of course, was neck deep in Toto’s 35th anniversary tour.

    What does he do with all that spare time?

    Anyway, I caught up with Luke by phone at his California home one recent morning. After chatting about his frenetic schedule over the past sixteen months, I asked him what he’s up to these days.

    “Well, I’m pretty much doing exactly all of that – just more of the same. I begin with Ringo June 1st and I’m back in the studio finishing a new Toto album that will be out in March of next year.  Toto and Michael McDonald are going on the road in August and September.”

    I asked Steve what the response to the set has been so far.

    “It’s number one around the world – number two in the UK. We haven’t charted in the UK in thirty years!  Number one all over Europe and it’s just come out in the U.S. We’re getting the best reviews of our career and there was no hype to it. We’re all, like, shaking heads and going, ‘What the . . .?’ in a very positive way.

    “We’re getting these numbers from our new manager and it’s like all of a sudden out of nowhere – a gift from God! For real! The thing is waling! When you see that we’re knocking Metallica, Bob Dylan and Springsteen off the charts – even that little Justin Beiber – we’re, like, ‘Where did this come from, man?’, because we didn’t do any pre-hype. As a matter of fact, we rather underplayed it. We were just going to see how it goes. 

    “Everybody – Eagle Rock, our DVD company – everybody’s going, ‘You can’t buy this kind of response!”. The reviews are five star reviews – for us, collectively, the most hated band in rock music? We’re kind of all laughing. Henley was right. He told me in 1980, ‘If you hang in there long enough, they’ll change their minds.’ Eagles and Led Zeppelin, they survived – not to compare us to them or anything. I only mean in terms of longevity. We’re looking at almost 40 years”.

    I commented to Luke that I was struck by how tight the band is during their jams on the DVD.  He said, “We wanted to leave some of the jam bits in. We showed the other side of what we really are. Obviously, the hits are in there for obvious reasons but we wanted to show a little bit more of what we’re really all about – at least the 2014 version, anyway, andTOTODarekKawka Photo by Darek Kawkawe were able to do that and to show that we have a large audience around the world. A lot of people in the U.S. think that we died in 1985 because we had a record company who didn’t release our record for ten years. We had management get us out of that deal but, to the fans, it’s almost like we’re starting over again and here we are in our thirty-eighth year since the first album was recorded and now all of a sudden we’re number one around the world. It’s crazy! I’m on my knees, looking up at the sky and going, ‘Thank you, Lord, for this blessing!’ And because we’re not a band who is on that summer circuit as the same eight bands who put themselves together and go on the road, we’re kind of fresh meat, you know?”

    Lukather then adds, “We’re really aiming at the U.S.A. market again. With our new management and our new agents, our new DVD and the band being where it’s at right now, mentally and physically, I think we can do it. Now there’s this real, organic buzz! It couldn’t be better!”

    Of all the places around the globe that Toto could choose to record a concert, I asked Steve what drove the decision to record live in Poland.

    “Well, we were going to do it in France but we had already done it in France. Then we were going to do it in Amsterdam but we’d already done it in Amsterdam. So we said, ‘Let’s do it some place where the crowds are going to be wild but we haven’t recorded there yet’ We felt recording live in Poland was a fresh thing – Eastern European, you know? Also, the venues are friendly from a technical aspect. It all organically fell into place.”

    When I asked Steve how the crowds in Poland are today compared to when Toto first toured there, he replied, “They keep getting bigger!  That’s the thing: now we’re getting second and third generation people and families coming to the shows. Now we sell four tickets instead of one.  We’re a classic rock band. I embrace that title. There’s not that many of us left. I know that’s a broad stroke – a broad term. We are what we are. We’re just in that era, you know what I mean? And we’re a lot more rock than people think we are. I think the DVD shows that side and certainly when you come see us live we show that side.

    “But, we can play ballads. We can play funk. We can play fusion and world music. We can play it. We’re good musicians. People don’t show up to see what outfit I’m wearing. They want to hear good playing.”

    When I asked Luke how is touring, in general, different for him now than in the beginning, he replied with a laugh, “Yeah, man, we travel well. We’re not twenty years old anymore. We spend our money on comfort rather than partying, you know what I mean?  And I’ve been spoiled when I go on the Ringo tours – it’s a whole ‘nother level. Private jets and all that stuff. I love that!”

    Then, becoming humorously more reflective, he adds, “Our personalities are what they are and we accept each other for our personality flaws and we all have them, including me – especially me. I’m the loud mouth mother and it gets me in trouble all the time. I speak my mind. Now I’m an old guy. I’ve got the experience and if you ask my opinion, I’m going to give it whether they like it or not. There it is. I just laid it out for you.”

    “I rest. I rest a lot. And I practice. I have hobbies and stuff I’m interested in reading about. I’m fascinated with antiquity. I love all that alien stuff. I’m like, “Hmmm, what’s out there?’ I just have fun with it all, you know? I like to exercise. Some nights I like to sit out by the pool and chill. I read voraciously and by the time you think about it, you’re off to the gig!”

    The band has undergone some personnel changes that have been kind of hard to stay on top of so I asked Steve what the band line-up is looking like at the moment.

    “The line-up for the band at this point is myself, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams. Then we have Keith Carlock who has joined the band on drums. He played with Steely Dan, Clapton, John Mayer and Sting. He’s one of the baddest guys out there. When we asked him to join the band, he was already committed to do this last Steely Dan tour which coincides with our U.S. tour in August and September of this  year. He’s played on the whole album and he’s going to be back with us next year.

    “And, then, we have Shannon Forrest playing drums, who is like the number one Nashville guy who was very close to getting the gig, himself. He’s an old friend, as well.  So, that’s going to work out for the summer. Next year? Keith comes back and we’ll see about everybody else – we’ll see who’s going to be playing bass. That’s pretty much where we’re at right now.”

    “The sad news is that there’s no happy ending to this for anyone – whoever gets it. I think the awareness is how you get this and how you treat it and maybe slow it down. In time, maybe you don’t want it to slow down, you know? It’s really the worst prison confinement you can know – to be trapped in your own body. That’s really, truthfully, an awful way to go.

    “I didn’t know people with ALS when I was a kid. It’s kinda prevalent (now), you know? Autism. My youngest son is autistic. But, you know what? He’s not that bad. There’s a lot of spectrums. He’s easy on the spectrum but there’s a few ticks, you know?

    After discussing such a heavy subject, I shifted gears in my questioning by asking Steve some questions submitted by some of your readers.  The first question centered on a guitar Luke is seen playing on the Toto’s new concert DVD, “Toto 35th Anniversary: Live In Poland”. At a glance, the guitar looks like it has caricatures of the famous “Rat Pack” painted on it and one of you readers wanted to know what the story was on it. Before I could even finish my question, Luke started laughing that laugh of his.

    Another question from Boomerocity readers asked what the wrist-band he wears onstage represents.

    Another reader asked Luke: With the great catalog of Toto music, is there a favorite song or period in time when he felt like, "Yeah. This how I want it to be..."?

    “You know, I think each era – it’s like looking at a scrapbook of your life. I mean, some of the stuff has held up well and some of it is like, ‘Ooo, that lyric is really bad’ or that production is really dated. But all of it warms my heart. It’s like looking at old pictures. ‘Oh, look at that silly outfit I was wearing. What was I thinking?’

    “I think the music’s good. I think the band played well. I think there was some weirder stuff that we experimented with. But like any band with a long history, there’s always a few interesting ‘WTF’ moments. But, overall, I think I’m pretty proud of the work that we put out.”

    TotoEndDarekKawka Photo by Darek KawkaUp and coming artist, Ned Evett, asked, "Through a time rift you bump into yourself at 17, demoing a Strat at Guitar Center. What advice do you give yourself?"

    “Oh! Don’t ever do drugs! Not that I was ever a junkie or anything like that but there was a lot of wasted time and effort during that whole late seventies/early eighties period where everybody thought that they had to bury themselves into a pile of powder to get things done. That was a big lie.

    “Also, it would be, like, ‘Don’t trust your accountant!’ I got burned really bad as a kid. You get new money. They see you coming – a teenager with all this bread and you’re just stupidly spending it. So, I would’ve said, ‘Watch the bread! Stay away from the powder!’ would have been my advice. Stay healthy!

    “In the eighties, everybody got high on blow and did stupid things. As a teenager in the studios you’re going, ‘What’s that? I’m really tired. I need to get some coffee.’ And they said, ‘Go ahead, kid, it’s better than coffee and not addictive’ so I naively bought that for a while . . . we all did! I never got that deep in. Booze was my poison and I stopped many years ago along with smoking and any toxic shit.”

    Bringing the subject even closer to home, Luke said, “My older children, they managed to avoid all the pitfalls of all that, thankfully. And my other kids, the jury’s out. God know what they’re going to have to deal with. There’s really awful stuff out there now. It’s really pretty scary. Because I don’t smoke or drink or take anything at all anymore, I will be able to say to my children, ‘Look, you really don’t need to do that, do you? Look around. It never ends well unless you get out of it.’”

    As our time drew to a close, I asked Steve about the new Toto studio album he mentioned in passing earlier in our chat.

    “That will be out in March, 2015 with a world tour to follow. We’re really excited about the record. It’s really good. We’re really diggin’ it! We’re not trying to be trendy. We’re trying to be the best us that we can be and it’s coming out really good, if I may say so myself. We haven’t made an album in ten years so we wanted to make it a good one.”

    And a good one it will be, no doubt.

  • Steve Lukather and His Gospel

    Posted October 2018


    lukebookFeat crop3It’s Fall and that means one thing: Great tours are on the road and one such tour is Toto and they’re playing East Tennessee this month at Greeneville’s Niswonger Performing Arts Center. 

    Toto’s Steve Lukather is a good friend of Boomerocity, so we recently caught up by phone to see what fans can expect from this month’s show and what else has been going on in Luke’s life. One thing is for certain: You never know what you’re going to get when you’re in a conversation with this guy. 

    Before we go anything farther, I must warn you. No, scratch that. I’ll let Luke warn you himself (using a quote from his new book, The Gospel According To Luke”.

    “Oh, I swear a lot, too. If you are offended by that, stop reading now.”

    Luke puts it out there in raw form and I don’t just mean in swear words. He uses . . . how shall I put this?  He uses “colorful” phrases to make his point or to get a reaction.

    I used to edit such things out of interviews with people, but I found that I wasn’t presenting the interviewees accurately to their fans. So, what you’ll see here is the chat with Luke, pretty much unfiltered.

    Back to the chat with Luke.

    Before chatting about his new book and the upcoming tour, I asked Luke what he’s been up to this year.

    “I just got back from the Ringo tour. I’ve been taking care of some business. Getting ready to go back out on this (Toto) tour. We did this Weezer track that we’re going to put out here pretty soon that’s pretty funny – pretty cool, actually; and just EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEditedhanging around my kids, man. Being a dad. I did practice for a while, this morning, though. I still do that to stay in the game a little bit, you know? I try to win the race. I realize I gotta be in it, you know?”

    “The years kinda meld together, you know? I can’t believe we’re edging towards 2020. Isn’t that a scary concept? The fact that I still have to take a twelve-hour flight to Europe pisses me off. You would think it would’ve gotten better than that.”

    The year before, Luke had fallen on his tour bus while in Europe, resulting in persistent pain in one of his shoulders. I asked how the shoulder was doing.

    “Ah, my shoulder’s all messed up, man. On one hand, it was a bus accident. On the other hand, I was leaning too hard on the right arm and, then, it finally snapped. The joys of living in twenty-four-hour pain. But I don’t have cancer or anything like that. The rest of me is aces! A little CBD oil and off we go!”

    When asked about how it went touring with Ringo this year, Steve chuckled and said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. Don’t ask me stuff like that. Anyway, where were we?

    “No, no, no! I was bored. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t do anything illegal! I’m too old to go to jail. If they had their way with me, they wouldn’t even feel anything. I’d be, like, ‘Really? That’s all you got? After two divorces and forty-three years of show business, that’s it? I thought at least you’d hit the walls, you know? Hey! I’m a kidder! I’m a kidder! I love my life, I tell ya!”

    What can Toto fans expect from this tour?

    “We bring our best, you know? I mean we go out there as soon as we strap on the guitars and walk out towards the keyboardslukatherchattanooga2017Photo by James R. Patterson and the drums and all that, we revert back to being sixteen-year-old kids and that comes across. I’m not saying that we’re jumping around like idiots but when we get out there, it’s an ageless moment. You’re out there. You kick ass and you bring everything you’ve got. We’ve got a wide selection of music to play from, obviously. We’ve got to play the hits and all that stuff. But, we’ve got a lot of other music, too. It’s going to be a great show. We did since February in Europe. I’ve been going back and forth. Fifteen weeks in Europe, already. I’m ready to play the United States. They get the jokes. You know what I mean? 

    “I promise, no politics. I think we’re all done with it. I think butthole jokes would go over a lot better. Yeah, man! Let’s play some music, man! Forget about the bullshit for a minute, man. That’s what we all want to do, you know? That’s my job. I mean, some people may be more equipped to stand on a soap box but I’m never really that guy. I deal with my shit all by myself. I’m just your neighborhood guitar player who’ll show up and show you a good time for a couple of hours. We’re going to do that. I promise you that!”

    I relayed a story to Luke that involved the first time I met him in person. It was backstage at a Ringo Starr concert in Greenville, SC. He was talking to a kid, telling him that, when he was that kid’s age, he was riding mini-bikes in Southern California, playing music and having a good time. 

    I shared with Steve that I felt that for those of us in the music business – he as a performer and me as a schlub covering guys like him – it can be more of a business than the fun it’s supposed to me. He chimed in and said:

    “It is, man! You’ve got to have a good time in life. I mean, there’s gotta be a time when you shake it off. I’m in my house right now. I’ve got my little kids. One of them’s going to summer school and one of them’s going to the art supply shop. I’ve got my swimming trunks on. I’m going to go swimming with my kids and lie around in the sun and do nothing and just enjoy a few days of nothing. I don’t need to read about how great I am or how much I suck, whatever. It’s just one of those days that I don’t want to go there.”

    Shifting gears, Luke come out of left-field with something.

    gospelaccordingtolukecover“Let me tell you something: The written word is not always my friend. I’m a very sarcastic person. So, if I say something that’s really out there and really sarcastic, and you just write it down, I sound like a fucking tool. I’m, like, ‘Okay. Thanks a lot, guys. Make me look like a fucking dickhead. An illiterate dickhead. That’s fine.

    “But, you know what? Here’s the great thing about turning sixty-years-old – and I still can’t believe that I am. I’m sixty-fucking-years-old. I can’t believe it. I don’t feel like it. You’re not going to feel any different. You’ll just look different. That part’s true, too. You do the best you can for however old you are. It’s just weird to be here, man, and to realize, ‘Hey, wow! I’m going to be sixty-one, soon! I’m in my sixties! How much longer do I have?’

    “Then, I look at Ringo, who’s seventy-eight years old and is in better shape than thirty-year-old people. I guess as long as you want to keep pushing it, you can’t just keep sitting on the couch, watching Jeopardy every day and expect to live to be a hundred and twenty. I don’t know why I went off on that, but I did. Sorry.”

    At the time of our interview, there was a piece floating around Facebook that claimed that Steve Lukather was the wealthiest guitarist alive. I mentioned it to Luke and he cackled out loud with laughter and said, “There are worse rumors to have about yourself. C’mon, man! I just laugh at this shit. It’s funny. That’s one of the better ones. That beats the hell out of you being a scum sucking, low-life prick who can’t play or whatever. You’ve never met me before and you hate me that much? How old were you when Uncle Bob molested you the first time?”

    Trying to bring the conversation back around to more saner subjects, I asked Luke what he’s got going on after the Toto tour.

    “Oh, man! I’m doing Ringo. I’m doing Toto. My book’s coming out September 18th about my life in the studios and how I came up.  We’ve got a box set coming. We’ve got live DVD from the 40th. There’s more touring all the way through next year. Busy. Happy. Blessed. Thankful in a crazy world that I just don’t want to look at any more. I pray and hope for the best, be a nice guy, and spread love. That’s about all I can say.”

    I couldn’t let our conversation conclude without asking Lukather about his new book, The Gospel According To Luke.TOTO pubshot

    “Oh, the book’s just a story of my life. It’s called, The Gospel According To Luke, which is a little play on words. I didn’t mean to offend anybody. It’s just the story of how I came up, you know? Famous records that I played on. People that I’ve worked with. Funny stories. People that I grew up with. Most of them turned out to be famous people. It’s just where I was born – Los Angeles. I had to edit four hundred pages into a three-hundred-page book with pictures and stuff. But I have enough for an encyclopedia, so we’ll see. There may be a movie. You never know, man! Who would you think would play me? lukatherlive001

    “Look at all this shit about me! I mean, it’s so funny this reputation I have for being an insane person. Okay. There was a few nights, okay? I’m going to give you a few nights, alright? But, I mean, c’mon! Could I have done all the shit that I did as a musician and still been as fucked up as everybody says I was? Makes no sense!

    “I mean, listen: Did I have some nights out? Oh, fuck yes! But, c’mon. I’d be dead by now if I was that bad. Anyway, that’s the story of my life. I live a clean life, now. I remember everything. I get up when I used to go to bed. I have four kids. Two grown. Two little. And I love the simple things in life. I’ve done every crazy thing there is and, now, I just want to enjoy the back nine with a smile.”

    One thing is for certain: We can expect to see, hear, and read a lot more from Steve Lukather in the years to come. 

    As for Lukather’s book, The Gospel According To Luke, it is available online and wherever the latest books are sold. Rest assured that it will be lively, entertaining, and, well, “unfiltered”. 

    You can keep up with Luke at his website, SteveLukather.com or with him and the rest of Toto at TotoOfficial.com.




    ON-SALE LIVE ON TUESDAY: link.dice.fm/toto
    Direct Links For Each Territory:
    UK / Europe: https://link.dice.fm/xALFq8XAAab 
    AUS/ASIA: https://link.dice.fm/m9B0Pi4AAab 
    US:  https://link.dice.fm/F2K72j6AAab

    Steve Lukather a.k.a. Luke and Joseph Williams are life-long friends since they were kids, and bandmates sharing a deep colorful history that has thrived professionally on a global basis over the past decades. Today, the duo has announced the formation of a new band, with world class players. They will continue to tour as Toto, and are in motion to bring their Dogz of Oz tour worldwide as the pair looks forwards. Planned concerts across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia / New Zealand and other geographical destinations will be staged where the ensemble will perform all the hits, deep cuts, and solo music from Lukather and Williams individual catalogs.

    Joining Lukather and Williams for this next chapter in their indelible history are bassist John Pierce (Huey Lewis and The News), drummer Robert “Sput” Searight (Ghost-Note / Snarky Puppy), and keyboardist / background vocalist Steve Maggiora (Elvis, Moms Mabely). Keyboardist Dominique “Xavier” Taplin (Prince, Ghost-Note) and multi-instrumentalist / vocalist Warren Ham (Ringo Starr) have segued over continuing their tenure in the ensemble alongside Lukather and Williams. This marks the fifteenth incarnation of the Toto line-up in consideration of band members or sidemen who joined or exited.

    Luke shares, “We could not be more at peace with this move. There is a refreshing, optimistic enthusiasm to step in to the future. At this moment, Joe and I are the only long-tenured members of the band that want to be on the road continuing to bring music to our multi-generational fan base. I’ve spent almost four and a half decades of my life as the only original member who never missed a show or an album nurturing this legacy while enabling the music to continually exist in the live concert setting. That is something I’ll never stop doing, and the Dogz of Oz global tour offers a rare opportunity to reimagine our personal futures while simultaneously preserving the deep connection that exists with the audience while likewise yielding continual discovery. The hope is to move forward with the planned itinerary for Summer, 2021 that will bring us back to our fans across The World.” Williams offers, “Luke and I have been through a lot with one another. He’s like a brother to me. Our creative partnership has always enriched our lives. As we look towards what’s to come in unison, there is nothing but anticipation to bring everything in our minds to life. I can’t think of anyone else on Earth I’d rather launch the next chapter with this lifelong, loyal and gifted friend and band mate. We’re the last men standing…The Dogz of Oz!” Luke adds, “Joe and I have been friends since I was 17, and Joe was 14. During the course of this pandemic we’ve been reevaluating our career and how to move forward. People are either not with us anymore or have retired. We still feel like kids who want to be back on the road as soon as possible. It’s where we live. Joe’s growth as a producer, songwriter, engineer, singer and performer is inspiring. The timing of this move is perfect as Joe is at the top of his game, and he amazes me every day. We are enjoying this collaboration, and could not be more enthusiastic about the future.”

    On Saturday, November 21 the new line-up will make their global debut. The band has planned a one-night only concert event that will broadcast prime time in three geographical regions to super-serve the fans: Asia, Australia / New Zealand; Europe; North America. For more information, tickets, and available bundles click here: link.dice.fm/toto. Direct links on a territory by territory basis are: UK/Europe: https://link.dice.fm/xALFq8XAAab / AUS/ASIA: https://link.dice.fm/m9B0Pi4AAab / US: https://link.dice.fm/F2K72j6AAab.

    In 2021, both Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams will release solo albums that feature one another performing on some of the songs featured. The forthcoming titles will be issued globally in partnership with Mascot Label Group. Last month, Luke released “Run To Me” from the upcoming album featuring Williams alongside Ringo Starr and future band mate John Pierce – click here: https://youtu.be/mvbHYmh7VYY.

  • Steve Lukather Talks About TOTO XIV

    March, 2015

    lukather steve mar2015 001If you’re a music aficionado at all, you’ve heard of Toto and are familiar with their mega huge hits like “Africa,” Rosanna,” “99,” “I Won’t Hold You Back,” “I’ll Be Over You,” and many other hits.

    What you may not be aware of are these absolutely amazing statistics:

    •They have recently celebrated their 35th anniversary as a band

    •Have sold over 35 million albums

    •Band members were South Park characters, while Family Guy did an entire episode on the band’s hit “Africa.” 

    •Collectively, the members of the band of made their mark on over 5,000 different albums that total a half billion units in record sales

    •It’s been estimated that 95% of the world’s population has heard a performance by a band member of TOTO

    The band is releasing their first studio album of new material in ten years entitled, “TOTO XIV.”  I recently chatted with founding member, guitarist and vocalist, Steve Lukather (“Luke”), about the album. I contacted him at his hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama, while he was on the road performing with Ringo Starr (yeah, THE Ringo Starr).

    Luke accounts for much of the previously mentioned statistics. He’s contributed to approximately 2,000 albums for artists such as Michael Jackson (including much of the “Thriller” album), Rod Stewart, Miles Davis, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Roger Waters, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Larry Carlton and countless others. 

    Before discussing the new album, I asked Luke what he’s been up to.

    “Well, I’m out with Ringo right now, and I just started. This is, like, day three or something like that. It’s going great! I’ve been working on promoting the album, and I’m kinda managing the band and getting the tour together. It’s like juggling a chainsaw, razorblade, and a toothpick at the same time. But I’m doing ok.”

    When asked about TOTO XIV, he said:

    “I never thought we’d do another record, actually. When we got back together in 2010, it was to help our brother, Mike Porcaro, with some of his medical bills. He’s been tragically hit with ALS, and sadly, he’s really not doing well right now. It’s eight years into it, and it’s a tragic, horrible, insidious, cruel disease. That was hard. 

    “We decided to help him in 2010. We put the band back together with the high school brothers- Joseph Williams, Steve Porcaro, myself, and David Paich. We did a tour, and it was really a lot of fun. It was like the band had been reincarnated, and Joseph came back so strong as a singer. He didn’t go on the road and burn his voice out. He was doing television and film for twenty years as a composer along with a few solo albums here and there. But when he came back to the stage, his voice was incredibly strong, and it just kept getting stronger. We did a couple summer tours to help Mike, and we all have bills to pay so everybody wins. 

    “When we decided to do the 35th anniversary DVD, we found out that one of our ex-managers had signed something saying if we ever do anything, we have to deliver a studio album. At first, we sort of fought that, but our lawyers said ‘Look, you should make the freakin’ record.’ 

    “So we all looked at each other and said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we gotta do a really good one. We can’t just phone it in and make this a fulfillment of an obligation.’ 

    “We figured we owed it to the people who have been supporting us for forty years, so we need to come up with something really good. It’s been ten years since we sat down to write a record, so we dug deep. We decided if we were going to do this, we were going to go for it, really go for it. We wanted to dispel the myth that the album is dead, and old guys can’t write music. We said, ‘f*** that- we’re gonna go for it.’ 

    “We spent ten months in the studio making this record. What you hear is the result of blood, sweat, soul, tears, laughter, pain, screaming, arguing, hugging, and working. To me, I figure it’s the best version of the band to be in 2015. We have a lot of old friends back- Lenny Castro, a percussionist and workaholic. David Hungate is back after 33 years, and he’s going to tour with us. It’s an exciting time for us. The DVD went #1 all over the world, and that was a big surprise. 

    “The world is looking at us differently. We’re the classic rock band that hasn’t done every summer in eight configurations. The band is playing better than they ever have, so we are sort of a surprise wild card at this point. There are a lot of great bands out there making the circuit, but it’s the same eight guys in various configurations. We kinda came out of nowhere last year in the U.S.”

    Then, as a little tease, Luke said, “There’s a big surprise which I can’t tell you about yet- I’d like to, but I can’t. We’re going to be touring with somebody really cool, and

    it’s not anybody obvious at all. The U.S. tour starts in August/September, but we’re doing two months in Europe. Those gigs lukather steve mar2015 002are selling out- 10,000 seaters are selling out months in advance without getting the record out yet! The UK is going clean, and it was really a surprise to hear Holland with 10,000 seats gone already. We’re co-headlining Sweden Rock with Def Leppard and a bunch of people. We’re doing a bunch of other gigs and headlining other festivals with 35,000 people, so it’s a very exciting time for us right now when a lot of people had maybe written us off. We’re back strong. Everyone is super healthy and focused, and we’re going to prove everybody wrong about the idea that these old guys have nothing new to give. I don’t believe in that, you know?”

    I was a guest of Luke’s at the band’s Atlanta show last year that included Michael McDonald. I mentioned that the pairing of McDonald with TOTO was a masterful pairing.

    “Well, Michael’s part of our family. We go way back. Michael was in Steely Dan with Jeff when I was still in high school. At one point, Michael was actually considered to be the lead singer of Toto, but he had just joined The Doobie Brothers. I worked on his first solo album, played on ‘I Keep Forgettin’’ and all that stuff. He sang on ‘I’ll Be Over You’, so we’ve always been friends. At that time we had the same manager, so that didn’t work out. But Michael and all of us have stayed dear friends and always will. That was a great, special tour for us, and it opened up a lot of doors that were closed for a long time. 

    “Now we’re doing something even wilder and bigger. The U.S. is starting to catch up, and that’s always been an Achilles heel to us. Now the doors are opening that were closed for so long, because we just had poor management and a poor view of us. Our record company wasn’t behind us. It was an uphill battle which all of the sudden seems to have been broken down after persistence and a lot of years… a lot of not taking no for an answer. Like, ‘F*** you, I don’t believe that this is no!’ Now we’re sitting in the situation to be able to do what we’ve always wanted to do in front of the people of our own country as well as the rest of the world.”

    I asked Luke what made this album different for him as compared with the previous thirteen.

    “First off, it’s been ten years since we’ve made any new music. I’m back with Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams- we haven’t made a record since 1987. And yet, we came to this with a fresh attitude, like ‘We’re going to try to nail this.’ I’m back with my high school friends again, and everybody’s inspired and healthy. It’s a lot of fun, and I think we did something good. Now it’s up to God and the world to see how this all turns out. So far, so good.”

    What surprises on the album can Toto fans expect?

    “Is anything a surprise anymore? We live in this world where people are filming your every move with an iPhone camera. Their opinions are on the internet whether good or bad. 

    “Anyways, we’ve got a couple hundred songs we can grab to play outside of hits with all these records we’ve made. David Hungate’s back. Lenny Castro’s back on the road with us along with Steve, me, Dave, and Joe. We’ve got a killer band to bring on the road, and we’re going to perform this new stuff. We’re going to play a lot of the old stuff we haven’t been able to play. It’s just a really exciting time for us.”

    As for which song from “XIV” he would point to as the “calling card” for the whole album, Luke said:

    “I think my favorite track that we have ever recorded is a song called ‘Great Expectations’ which is written by Dave, Joe, and I. It’s an epic little piece. It’s really what I always imagined the band to sound like. Obviously, the hits have been really good. I can’t deny any of that, and we’ll play them for you- I promise! But this one has a little bit more depth to it. It hearkens back to our love for Seventies prog stuff like Yes and Pink Floyd with an odd twist to it. There’s three lead singers on it- Dave, me, and Joe. Everybody gets to shine on it. It’s a great calling card for where we are in 2015.”

    Is there a story behind the album cover?

    “Heather Porcaro, Steve’s oldest daughter, and her team put the whole art package together. We wanted to bring back the four in a different way. The XIV is interesting, because it’s a Roman numeral. It’s also a multiple of seven which is a reference to Joseph and The Seventh One album. It also has four from the Toto IV album. 

    “We were sitting around throwing ideas out, and Heather and her team came up with this great thing. We thought, ‘Wow, that’s really cool!’ The last thing we wanted to do was put hearts, skulls, angels, typical artwork. It’s so cliché. They came up with something darker and more mature. It’s new, but it’s old. Is this in China? Is this in LA? Where is this photo, this place? We ended up loving what she did with that, and it keeps it in the family as well. I’m really proud of her. We’ve been getting a lot of love on that.

    “She did this little video piece, too. We didn’t want to do a video. We’re not going to do MTV videos- there’s no budget for that. So we asked, ‘Can you put something together for this?’ She was out on the road with us filming stuff, and she just threw that together in an afternoon. She’s a very creative person, and I love keeping stuff in the family. I like to use the people around us. They care, and they’ve grown up with it and been a part of it. It means something to them. It’s not just hiring an art guy and saying, ‘Here, make something for us.’”

    toto mar2015 001Luke also shared some info about the guitar gear he used in the making of the album.

    “My big guitar is my Music Man, my L3. I do use a couple of the other versions. I use the Bogner amp, but I also use the Kemper Profiling amp which some of the weird, clean sounds came from that.  C.J. Vanston , our co-producer, really had a lot to do with putting this whole thing together. I gotta give him some love. C.J. worked real hard on this. Sometimes he’d just grab my guitar chord and plug it into his box that goes into the computer, and we’d just kinda scroll through to find some weird sound that worked. I kept an open mind and said, ‘I’ll try anything you guys want!’ Sometimes the sound inspired a different idea, a different part. 

    “It was like putting five bulls in a pen with one cow. We’re all very strong personalities, so we needed somebody to referee that. CJ Vanston was that guy. In the end, we all kept an open mind to try new and interesting things, and that’s what came out. I use Yamaha acoustic guitars, which are great.”

    What’s up after the Toto tour?

    “I can’t predict where I’m going to be in two years. I hope I’m still talking to you on the phone, healthy and happy and raving about the great success we have. That’s where I’m focused right now. In a couple years, who knows? Maybe I’ll do a solo record. Maybe I’ll take a vacation. I’ve got little kids I’d like to spend a little time with. This is what I do for a living. I’ve been doing it for forty years of my life. I don’t see anything changing other than just creating new music. 

    “I’m loving being on the Ringo tour. I just did this thing with Larry Carlton, and there will be a DVD out on that. That happened literally two weeks ago. That’s a different side of things, and I might do a couple live gigs with him if we can squeeze it in somewhere. I’m always trying to reinvent the wheel and doing fresh things.”

    Wrapping up our chat, I asked Luke how he would summarize his life right now.

    “I’ve had an interesting life, man. The dream came true. What can I say? 

    When I was a little kid, I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. And here I stand, in a hotel room working with Ringo. Last year, I did the 50th anniversary Beatles show with Paul and Ringo. I’m standing there right before we go on stage looking at them. They played ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, and there was a certain realization I had. When I was a little kid, if you told me that fifty years later I’d be standing here with these guys… and all these things that have happened in my career… just the records and the success that we’ve had. All the sessions and all the great artists I’ve had the chance to work with. I’ve got four great kids. I’ve had a couple great wives. I’ve met a lot of beautiful girls in my life. I’ve had a million laughs. Partied like a f***ing rock star, but I don’t do that anymore. I’ve had a very interesting life. 

    “There are a few things I’d go back and change. I never wanted to hurt anybody’s feelings. I should have never done any drugs of any kind, but ask anybody who’s been through that, and they’ll tell you the same thing. It was a weird, wacky time we all went through. I would save my money a little differently. But I’ve got nothing to complain about. I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’ve lived the dream. I’m very grateful to the people who’ve supported me and the band through the years. I’m sorry for a few things that went wrong, and I lost my way there for a minute. But when you’ve lived the life I have, it’s not uncommon. 

    “I’ve been given a great gift, and I’m very, very grateful for it - probably more so now than I’ve ever been. Thank you for life. It’s like that movie, ‘Defending Your Life’, where you have to sit and watch all the rough spots. I hope God has a great sense of humor.”

    Catch the latest on all things TOTO here and read the Boomerocity review of TOTO XIV here.

  • Toto and Michael McDonald In Atlanta 2014

    Toto and Michael McDonald In Concert
    Show Date: August 22, 2014
    Venue: Fox Theater – Atlanta, Georgia

    Photo by Randy Patterson

    If you ever want to insure that you will have a night of total musical bliss, then you must jump on the opportunity to catch Toto and Michael McDonald in concert. The legendary artists are amazing as standalone concerts. But, to have BOTH on the same stage? Son, you’re in for a real treat that you’ll never forget.

    Toto took the stage first (they and McDonald alternate headlining on rotating nights) and blew the crowd away from the git go.  Lukather’s guitar work was flawless (as always) and reminded the sold out crowd of nearly 4,700 fans exactly why he is considered one of the best guitarists on the planet. Fluid, fast and phenomenal, the crowd showered him throughout the night with praises of “Luke” (sounding like they were booing but everyone knows better).

    Luke was joined by Toto’s original bassist, David Hungate, who walked the big strings steadily and flawlessly throughout the entire set. It’s great to see him with Toto again.  On keyboards were the always amazing David Paich and Steve Porcaro, who are as fun to watch as they are to listen to.  Joseph Williams’ vocal work was as strong as ever and it his notes with characteristic perfection. Replacing the departed Simon Phillips on drums was Shannon Forrest (playing on his birthday), who did an incredible job. Rounding out the vocals in superb fashion were the duo of Miss Jenny Douglas-Foote and Mabvuto Carpenter.

    Together, they delivered all the top Toto hits from over the years, bringing the crowd to their feet and singing loudly and dancing enthusiastically to each one.  The sound was great as was the venue. There’s nothing more ornate, beautiful and meticulously restored Fox Theater in downtown Atlanta. If you’ve never seen it, I encourage you to take one of their tours or to catch a show – any show – there. It’s incredible!

    Two parts of the Toto set I want to highlight are: During the performance of “I’ll Be Over You”, Michael McDonald walked out on stage and joined Lukather on the vocals. That performance was worth the price of admission by itself. At the end of the Toto set, McDonald joined Toto again, this time for the Ice Bucket Challenge (see my rough video of it, below) to raise money for ALS. This horrid disease has hit pretty close to home to the band with their original bandmate, Mike Porcaro, currently battling it. This has led Toto to aggressively help raise money to help find a cure.

    After the Ice Bucket Challenge, a brief intermission ensued to allow for McDonald to change and the crew to get his band set up for what would wind being a jam-packed approximately forty-five minute set.

    And what a set it was!

    From his Doobie Brothers days to his solo work as well as some of the stuff McDonald wrote and co-wrote for others, the prolific songwriter had the crowd on their feet and singing along the entire time. And Michael’s band? Boy howdy!  Top-flippin’-notch, of course!  Bernie Chiaravalle (McDonald’s long time guitarist) was nothing short of incredible, playing masterfully throughout the set. Michael’s long-time producer, Tommy Sims, played smoothly on bass and performed the monster hit he wrote for Eric Clapton, “Save The World”. Pat Coil backed up on keys and synth, with Mark Douthit knocking it out of the park on the sax. Dan Needham kept things steady on drums and the lovely Drea Rhenee’ provided beautiful and soulful backup vocals.

    It wasn’t lost on me how gracious and edifying McDonald was while introducing each and every member of his group. Though clearly a legendary super star, he took the time to speak glowingly about each member of his band and how indebted he is to each of them.  This kindness and graciousness extended to a handful of lucky fans who managed to catch McDonald at the stage door and asked for autographs and to stand for photos. The man didn’t leave for his tour bus until each and every one was taken care of.
    Now THAT is class.

    The end of McDonald’s set was marked by most of the members of Toto joining him on stage for several tunes together. Especially cool was Steve Lukather playing a moving instrumental version of “Amazing Grace”.

    Yeah, really.

    Needless to say, I loved both acts and would gladly see either or both of them any time – and as many times – in the future as I’m able to.

    Yeah, they’re that darn good!


    Rough Video of the Ice Bucket Challenge In Atlanta - Video by Randy Patterson



    Label: Frontiers Music
    Release Date: March 24, 2015
    Review Date: March 22, 2015

     It’s been nine long years since TOTO has been in the studio to record new material. The wait has ended with TOTO XIV and fans will know from the opening strains of “Running Out Of Time” that it has been well worth the wait.

    Well crafted lyrics. Intricate compositions. Amazing musicianship. Strong vocals. All of this and more make TOTO XIV an album that will command the attention of fans and naysayers, alike.

    The aforementioned “Running Out Of Time” sets the tone for this magnificent album. It grabs you by the throat (okay, ears) and doesn’t let go until the ending sounds of “Great Expectations.”

    Lukather’s guitar work is as amazing and inspiring as ever. Joseph Williams’ voice is as strong and commanding like it’s never been before.  David Paich? All you can say is “WOW!” when hearing his work. Original bassist, David Hungate, is back on bass (with some help from Tal Wilkenfeld, Lee Sklar and Tim Lefebvre). Keith Carlock (Steely Dan and Sting) is masterful on the drums as is Lenny Castro on percussion.

    Few ensembles in the history of recorded music have individually or collectively had a larger imprint on pop culture than the members of Toto. As individuals, the band members can be heard on an astonishing 5000 albums that together amass a sales history of a HALF A BILLION albums. Amongst these recordings, NARAS applauded the performances with more than 200 Grammy nominations.

    With over 38 years together and thousands of credits and accolades to their names, Toto remains one of the top selling tour and recording acts in the world. They are the benchmark by which many artists base their sound and production, and they continue to transcend the standards set by the entire music community, being simply synonymous with musical credibility.

    Paich recently shared, "The repertoire is coming together so naturally it is as though we never took a break from creating as Toto in the studio. For the fans who have been waiting patiently and continually showing the band support and love over the last decade or so, this one's for you”.

    The band is not afraid to take their chances and stretch their songwriting abilities. Certainly this is an amazing album which encompasses flawlessly Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues and Progressive. 

    In 2015, Toto will embark on a massive world tour where they will unveil some songs from their new album, share some deep tracks from past Toto albums, and perform all the hits their fans have come to love and expect.

    Deluxe edition comes in ecolbook format, including an expanded booklet featuring a 3,000 words essay with exclusive interviews, exclusive pictures and a bonus DVD including a documentary “Making of” the album.

    Box set edition includes deluxe edition cd/dvd, exclusive t-shirt (L size only), 2LP, poster and lithograph.


  • Transition

    Steve Lukather
    Label: Mascot Label Group
    Released: January 22, 2013
    Reviewed: January 20, 2013

    Steve Lukather is a musician’s musician. In many an interview I’ve conducted, “Luke” is mentioned as being there at some point or another in many artists’ career. His mark has been left on work by artists from Ringo Starr to Michael Jackson and is over and above his memorable work with Toto and Los Lobotomys and seven solo albums.

    Well, until now. Transition marks Luke’s eighth strictly solo effort and what an incredible body of work it is! Since the release of his last solo album, All's Well That Ends Well, Luke has been enjoying current tenure in Ringo Starr's touring band, appearances across the globe in G3 with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, and bringing Toto back to arenas overseas. The new album finds Lukather delivering that perfect balance of style, power, and imagination as he takes risks and challenges himself as he has for nearly four decades, as his career has gone from the studios of Los Angeles to the world’s biggest concert halls.

    Lukather shares, "I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, and now is a perfect time for me to take stock of that, which is part of what Transition is about." Over the previous decade, a series of trials including divorce, the death of his mother and business hassles had dampened his joy in music making — a passion that drove Lukather to excel since seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan as a seven-year-old growing up in San Fernando Valley. But today the guitar guru is happy, healthy and strongly reconnected to his muse, and the lushly expressive Transition, his second Mascot album, finds him at a creative pinnacle. Lukather offers, "I equate recordings to paintings and I wanted to make Transition a big, beautiful album with lots of fine details and shadings and colors. That’s what I do and what my favorite albums — Sgt. Pepper’s, Dark Side of the Moon, Electric Ladyland, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — are all about. So if it’s a sin to make massive sounding records with huge production values, then I’m going to Hell.”

    Transition’s heavenly sonic architecture — erected with the help of such A-list musical friends as Def Leppard’s Phil Collen, superstar bassists Lee Sklar, Nathan East, John Pierce, and Tal Wilkenfeld, live band members Steve Weingart, Renee Jones, and Eric Valentine, along with mega-drummers Gregg Bissonette, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tos Panos, and Lukather’s longtime keyboard foil and co-writer / co-producer C.J. Vanston — actually weaves a tale of redemption. Beginning with the snarling rhythmic heartbeat of the cutting Judgment Day and the evil kiss-off blues Creep Motel, the album builds to the pivotal title track. Lukather reveals, "Transition is a turning point for the album and a turning point for me. As we were writing the songs, I was thinking about everything I’ve seen — all the people I’ve lost in my life, the great and the difficult experiences I’ve had, and how ultimately it was time to get it together and embrace things for what they are, because we’ve only got one life to live and we’ve got to make the most of it.”

    Transition finds Lukather singing better than he ever has. He shares, "I’ve been working really hard on my vocals. For me, these days it’s all about the song and the performance. I’m not interested in being the fastest gun in the West. I want to make beautiful music that means something." Transition was recorded over a 10-month period during breaks in Lukather’s juggernaut 2012 touring schedule, which included dates with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, the reunited Toto, the guitar-riffic G3 tour with Satriani and Vai, and Ringo Starr.

    He reflects, "Honestly, playing with Ringo and Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, and my high school friends in Toto helped make this the best year of my life. Getting the call from Ringo was a childhood fantasy realized. I play music because of the Beatles, and to be standing on stage playing a Beatles song while I look back at the drum kit and see Ringo… unbelievable! He’s such a wise, funny and gracious man.” Lukather has also worked with George Harrison and Paul McCartney — just part of a historic resume that began when he was in his teens, playing recording sessions in LA and learning about life on the road with Boz Scaggs after Scaggs’ landmark album Silk Degrees.

    A five-time Grammy Winner and member of the Musicians Hall of Fame, Lukather has worked with an A-list of fellow guitar giants: Eddie Van Halen, Robben Ford, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Joe Bonamassa among them. He’s also co-led Toto with fellow founder David Paich through every twist of the band’s platinum lined history while playing on albums by Michael Jackson, Warren Zevon, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Miles Davis, Roger Waters, Cheap Trick and other rock and pop royalty. And he’s done all that while writing hits for the Tubes and George Benson, plus maintaining a parallel solo career of his own that began with his 1988 solo debut Lukather.

    Seven solo albums later, Lukather reflects: “I’d like to say this is the best album I’ve ever made, but that’s a cliché. But I do think I’ve realized my goal of moving forward, so let me say that Transition is possibly the best reflection of who I am in 2012.”

    Written by Randy Patterson
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