TOTO - Official Website - Questions and Answers

Steve Lukather

If you have any question regarding Luke, please read this page first to check if the answer is already printed here before writing in. The Q&A will be updated time after time.
Mushanga: Is religion important to you?
Luke: Well, spirituality is VERY important to me!! I am not really into organized religion. It's just a bunch of mortal men wearing funny hats pretending to know God better than you and I. Check out the Catholic church these days.. Scary really. I believe in God wholeheartedly. I wear the cross around my neck and pray all the time. I am a lucky guy and I know it and I KNOW God has blessed me. I just think church is in your heart everyday, not just on Sundays. To each his own, I am not putting down anyone elses beliefs. I don't pretend to know the answers, just searching like everyone else.
Blue: What do you think about Mike Aquino as guitarist?
Luke: Sorry..I don't know who this guy is? For that matter..who am I?
=========== End of last update March 11th, 2004 ==============
Bart: Any chance that you'll ever work with Randy Goodrum again to write some more ballads?
Luke: We are writing next week. Rahdy and I are LONG time writing partners and we always seem to come up with cool stuff, in my opinion anyway. hahaha
ncc1712: How did you came to play keyboard solo live on stage?
And do you learn them by heart and then just play them or do you improvise them?
Do you practice keyboard at all? You always tell us you practice half an hour on the guitar or something like that, but what about keyboard? For a solo like on LiA you HAVE to practice at least a bit, I think.
Luke: Well it started out as a joke and we kinda just kept it in. I don't do it anymore as it was getting a bit cheesy. hahaha. I do play keyboards and have on many Toto records. I have been playing since I was a kid. I use it mostly for writing. I am NO Paich-Phillinganes or Babko etc.. It is a nice thing to know how to play as it helps in many different ways.
ncc1712: How did you come to your music man? I mean, why don't you play for example a Strat or a Les Paul? Most guitarists I know do. Is it just a question of taste?
Luke: I LOVE my Music Man guitars. They are so versatile and play so well. I still have alot of my old guitars, my old 1959 sunburst Les Paul from the Toto IV days. It's worth like $150,000 dollars now so it's not the sort of thing you take on the road. I break them out in the studio once in awhile but i gotta say My Music Mans give me all I need. I love Strats -Teles a 335, I have them all. They are all great!
riddick: I was watching the 25th Anniversery Dvd and l noticed in the neck position of your guitar the pickup was not an EMG, l was just wondering what kind of pickup it is? and l've been told that you can't have active and passive pickups in the same guitar. I have 2 of your guitars and they are a fantastic guitar, l don't use any other guitar anymore, they are so versitle.
Luke: It's a Fernandes sustainer that Steve Vai turned me onto. I don't use it much but it's a neat trick. The pickup sounds cool when the Sustainer is not on as well but I do love my EMGS!
Dre: My question to you is regarding your colaboration with Michael McDonald on his 1st solo "If That's What it Takes." What was it like working with him and what kind of input did you add to the album?
Luke: Well, that was a LONG time ago but I remember those sessions. It was alot of fun and we had a great band. 1 or 2 takes on everything and everyone, for the most part, came up with there own parts. Michael is awesome. He at one time gonna be Toto's singer before we found Bobby. Jeff asked him and he had JUST joined the Doobies a week before or something like that. He is one the family of guys we came up with and I am still a huge fan. Dig his new Motown CD.
kumi na moja: How did you come up with tony spinner, he's doing a great job playing and singing and really adds something i must say, we now hear all little parts that were on the albums but not in the live shows.
Is he also playing on the new album?
Luke: We found him in an advertisement in a gay bondage magazine! hahahaha
I don't know if he will make the record or not as he lives in Memphis and we are gonna take our time doing it and I think I can handle the guitar parts anyway. hahaha
calbear94: How definite are the plans to record an album with Vana and the guys? Is there a new timetable for the project? Is it a matter of just getting together in the studio and recording the album, or is it still in an earlier stage of development? How are the plans for a new TOTO album going to impact this project?
Luke: Actually, I have not heard from Joe in a long time. I understand he went thru some tough times with illness in the family so as far as I know nothing is in the works for now. If he calls me and I have time I would love to do it. He is a great cat and very talented. Things are starting to fill up and get busy so schedule will be the key issue.
=========== End of last update January 13th, 2004 ==============
bassman: You're one of the greatest session-man of all time. What's your approach to a session?
Does the artist who are you playin' for tell you how to play a determinate song or do you just go in the studio and read the music?
Luke: No it was pretty much me creating all my parts and solos on the spot. I can read and there was some of that and it REALLY helps to know how, but for the most part it was me being me..whatever that means. hahaha. I really have such fond memories opf that long lost time. It was SOoo cool and aso fresh to be creating like that.. THEN.." the machines took over" (Ahhhnold terminator voice!!) hahaha. Glad I was there for that last run of REAL people making records.
Tina: I got the impression that you show your personality much more on your solo concerts, especially when you play your own songs and Hendrix than with TOTO. How do you feel about it?
Luke: Well, I am not really aware of that other than its new to me so I may appear fresher than normal. haha. I do love getting outside the band for new musical ideas. It helps me stay fresh with Toto.
More to come I assure you but I love my Toto brothers and we are VERY determined to do a classic record just to prove it to ourselves!
roy: In the sleeve-notes of "No substitutions" you mentioned that you got a guitar lesson every night you played with Larry Carlton. Obviously learning new stuff is one of the nicest side-effects from playing with other people. I was wondering, after so many years with Toto, playing with the same band, can you explain in which way you still learn from them? Can you explain this in short for each member?
Luke: Actually I cant stand those dicks. hahaha
No, actaully the guys in this band never cease to amaze me. I am constantly learning from them and they always surprise me so I have to stay on MY shit so I can still surprise them from time to time.
=========== End of last update October 20th, 2003 ==============
Dave Warner: You have been friends with Eddie Van Halen for many years and you've jammed together at the Baked Potato, The Tribute To Jeff Concert, and many other events and places. Just curious, while tossing back a few beers did he ever look you in the eye and ask, "Luke, man, how about you be our new lead singer?" Any other band ever "invite" you to join them?
Luke: It is true that Eddie and I , and Alex for that matter, are very good pals. We hang and talk all the time. They have an amazing record in the can and they are still lookig for THE lead singer. I have sung backrounds on a few of there records and yes, they asked me to help out on the new one at some point. I dont know WHEN that will be and they are candid about it all so I dont want to say too much but even IF they did ask me I dont think I am the right guy nor would I want the media heat and hate that would come my way IF such a thing actually happened. Its is sometimes very difficult to mix business and friendship. I would rather stay friends. Ed and I play together on my Xmas record that is coming in Oct. and I will always jam with the guys when asked and vice versa. I am a HUGE VH fan!
toto4evr: Was jason scheff (lead singer for chicago) really asked by jeff and or the porcaro bro.'s to audition for toto when u guys canned the ferg in late 85? what do you think of jason scheff as a guy/musician??
Luke: Jason.. Hmm, I have heard this story many times but I personally dont remember asking Jason nor do I remember Jeff saying anything. Having said that, I think Jason is great and I really dig Chicago and have played on a few records and written a couple of tunes for them etc.. and they have jammed with us too. After Fergie got the boot Jeff was really into Joe Williams. Paich and I really dug Eric Martin. Jeff won and we made a couple of cool records with Joe and we are all still friends. Cant say the same about some of the "other" lead singers. hahahahaha. Hey , no hard feelings from me, just joking. Actually I have not seen or spoken to Fregie or Byron in well over a decade. Life..
aorfreak: I'm a singer and I have to say, you really have an amazing voice! so my question is... what do you do before a concert to get your voice warmed up? I read that you and Bobby use the same CD. Is it possible to get that CD somewhere?
Luke: I have a voice teacher, Roger Love, who lives accross the street from me. He gave me a lesson and a warm up CD that I HAVE to do every night! It is a life saver and a voice saver. Bobby uses mine but should realy get his own as Roger tailor makes them for every individuals range and voice. I highly reccomend this. I think he has a book out as well.
Dave Warner: I just picked up Fee Waybill's first solo cd, "Read My Lips" and I think it is an awesome record. First rate cast of musicians and great production. What kind of memories do you have from that recording and any specific stories you care to share?
Luke: Fee and I have a long history and I love him dearly! I just saw him last weekend at Richard Marx' 40th B day party. What a hang. David Foster brought me into the writing on that record cause we had such success with the Tubes "talk to ya later" and "She's a Beauty" so we continued that path. I remember having a blast with Mike Landau on that one. He is one of the greatest musicians I have even known and we go back to when we were 11-12 years old! A great friend and talent. We had alot of fun and the record came out great. I thought it would sell millions really. It is one of my faves.
justin_havu: Luke, I really like your solo albums. Are you going to record another one soon?
Luke: My solo stuff.. hmm, well Santamental is FINALLY coming out! It took some doing but its late OCT with a Sept pre-release so we can still make the Grammy cut-off. That is rather presumptuous BUT what the fuck. hahaha. There is alot on the table now and we are touring so much. I will eventually so another solo record and probably-hopefully do another with Larry Carlton as well. I am VERY fortunate to have so many oportunities and I will take advantage of them all when time allows. Toto will be writing while we are doing the Proms gigs and I have alot of ideas , as do the other cats, as to what to do next. I think we will take our time with it and go out and work and record at the same time. We have the advantage of makinjg our OWN schedule as there is no record co. breathing down our neck. This way we can really do something great..I hope anyway. haha
=========== End of last update August 19th, 2003 ==============
Howard: I was curious, what style of music is your son's band into playing, and is there any possibility that we may see him opening for Toto in the future? Last question, what is his band's name?
Luke: The name of his band is TREV. They played their 2nd show ever at the Baked Potato last Sun night and it was packed and they KILLED it,. I was so fucking proud.. It's modern rock stuff. He writes it all, sings lead and plays guitar. It's as good as anything I have heard on KROQ. I think he will be very successful and he is only 16! It's a trip to watch him..
Scarp: Would you recommend sending my Ernie Ball Luke guitar to the Ernie Ball Factory to be setup correctly? I have had a couple people give it a shot but when I see you play and smack the tail and the pitch rises, I know mine isn't right. Also does Bob Bradshaw setup yours? I have EB 9's on it. How many springs do you have in yours? I just want it to be perfect cause it almost is! I guess if you played it, that would make it perfect!! At least for me it would!!
Luke: I would send it to them and tell them you want it set up like mine. It SHOULD already be like that but some people like the tailpiece locked down. I would have the truss rod adjusted and then have it intonated. I use 2 springs in a piramid shape. I hope this helps. I have NEVER had any problems with mine.
mark_ridout: Will you and Jeff Healy ever record anything live?
Luke: As of now Jeff and i have no plans to record, it's just a fun gig once a year BUT ya never know.
=========== End of last update March 31st, 2003 ==============
mark_ridout: I could tell you really dug playing with Jeff Healy last summer in Toronto, Canada (Hope TOTO can make it this year to Casino Rama located just outside Toronto). Would you consider doing a record with Jeff as you did with Larry Carlton. You guys jammed really well together.
Luke: Jeff Healy is a great friend and a brilliant musician! He just e-mailed me to ask if i would come up this Spring and do another gig together. I would love to record with him sometime althouigh there are no immediate plans for it as we are both so busy. He is awesome!
MC_Weissbier: I've a questions which goes back into the year 1983. You, Steve Porcaro and David Paich joined a project/band called "I-TEN". How did it come to this collaboration with Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, how do you judge this work today and do you have any contact nowadays to these two guys?
Luke: I-Ten.. jeez..THAT was a while ago. haha. I loved doing that record as I produced it with Keith Olsen ( check out HIS discography sometime!) and Tom Kelly did the first Toto tour. Tom and Billy went on to be huge songwritres, "Like a Virgin" for Madanna to name one. It is way slicked out but we had fun. I have NOT heard this record in 20 some odd years. Glad you like it.
=========== End of last update March 21st, 2003 ==============
Goodluke: You used to work a lot with James Newton Howard. How about another collaboration between the band and him? If not, in this sense, what about the possibilities of working once again with a full orchestra? I love all the things you did with an orchestra.
Luke: James Newton howard is one of the most brilliant musicians I have ever known! I would LOVE to work with him and an orchestra again but James is an A-list film score guy that is ususally doing 2 movies at once and has little time to give. We are still great friends and I miss him as I hardly ever see him but when we do hang its always alot of fun. Perhaps down the line we might persuade him to do something as we have always had a great vibe when he comes in. We'll see..
Goodluke: This one is really important for me: I read in some interiews that you don't seem very proud of the DUNE ost... Why? I consider this album one of TOTO's masterpieces which shows your enormous talent and versatility, as composers of all kinds of music, in coherence with your varied style. I even think it's the best SCORE ever written for a movie (it's not the typical score scheme of one "main theme" and, everything else, variations of that theme). And it also contains, at least, 3 TOTO's classic tunes: "Desert Theme", "Take My Hand" and "Dune". In my opinion, the band, should be more than proud of this achievement 'cos it's an EXQUISITE album and definitely a classic in OST's world (and also the most respected TOTO work among "my ignorant" friends haha).
Luke: Dune.. ah yes, the David Paich solo album.. haha, It was really Daves baby and we were just there to help. The music was OK but the movie is so bad its funny and its not supposed to be. haha. I wanted to work with David Lynch, who is a friend, and I think his films are outrageous and brilliant. We were offered Footloose at the same time.. haha, I guess we picked wrong. haha. Bobby had just left the band and we didn't know what to do.. I dont think this is high on Stings resume either. hahaha
There were some nice moments musically but if you watch the film you hardly notice over the dog breathing. hahahaha. It was an experience for sure!
chris45147: What the hell is in that mystical cup you have with you on stage?
Luke: I can NEVER tell whats in my magic cup. All I can tell you is that I almost NEVER lose my voice no matter how many shows in a row we do. If I tell you ..I will have to kill you. hahahaha. Kidding!
floppy: What do you think of bootlegs and MP3?
Luke: Ya know, I have NO problem with bootlegs etc.. UNLESS you BUY them. They should be free and if anyone SELLS the shit then they should be put in jail! How would YOU feel if you did your job and then didn't get paid? This is my JOB.. and as it is the rec biz is down 50-70% in sales and thousands of people and artists are getting fired or dropped cause people want to steal from us artists and feel "they have a right to". Well bro..YOU go work for free and see how it feels! It's all the same. Just cause I play guitar for a living doesn't mean college is free for my kids! My house payments still come as my ex wife payments etc...!!!! Trading is Ok but selling is a crime.
Damienland: Out of all of the work that you've done with Toto, do you feel that there's an album that is the crowing achievment for the band? One that everything turned out right on and that you can look back on proudly start to finish? I know most musicians, myself included, have a hard time doind that.
Luke: I have NO idea what our/My best album is?? I am lucky to still bhe doing it and I hope my best is still yet to come! Thanks for listening.
=========== End of last update March 6th, 2003 ==============
Damienland: I was wondering what the possibility was of a "Candyman" era Los Lobotomys every getting back together and doing another record? I realize that "Candyman" was a Luke solo record, but what a lineup! One of my favorite albums ever!!
Luke: Yeah Candyman is one of my faves. The DVD just came out and I hear its really good. Someone gave me a copy of it at the NAMM show yesterday. I will check it out. I loved this band. Its been years. Perhaps we may come back to it someday but we're all busy right now.
Dave Warner: A while back I caught your friend, Miguel Ferrer on the Jay Leno show and he started talking about practical jokes at peoples' parties that you did. One in particular that had to do with sunglasses, a cigarette and a polaroid camera shots of...well...ring any bells to you? Any truth to his story? And if so, any of those pictures come back to haunt you? Jay and his band loved the story by the way.
Luke: Yes its true. hahaha. Miguel is one of my very best friends. He has a GREAT TV show on now called Crossing Jordan. Please check it out. I was supposed to play a dead body (the show is set in a morgue and he is a medical examiner) but our schedules didn't let it happen. I am hoping for next season. Yeah we used to wait for peope to leave cameras around at parties or backstage and we would steal them and Miguel would take his pants off (he is "gifted" haha) and put sunglasses on it and a lit smoke under his dick and we would shoot pictures of "Mr. Happy" and the people would not know till they picked up there photos. We did this to Jamie Lee Curtis years ago when I was doing the Spinal Tap record, NOT knowing it was HER camera and she had it developed and it was daughters BIRTHDAY photos. hahaha. Needless to say she called me right away and roasted me. She was cool but man.. hahahahaha. It's been years since we did that trick but Miggie told the story on Leno. My kids were proud. hahahaha
Toto4Ever: A little personal question: what would you say if your son, Trevor, told you that he wants to be a guitar player and have the same career as you?. Would you encourage him to do so or not?
Luke: My son Trevor plays the guitar and sings and writes all his own stuff. I have to pry the damn thing outta his hands. haha. He is in my studio every chance he gets and has a 9 song demo CD that is really good! I played a solo for him on one track. I think my man is following in the family business. He will be 16 in May and I predict great things from him in the future. If all else fails I could always be in his band. hahaha. He used to play drums but he has not in years. Its ALL about the guitar and writing riffs and lyrics. Its all "modern rock " stuff but he is actaully getting his own style at this early age. I am very proud of him. We are best pals. He will be with me at the NAMM show this weekend. My wife has no desire to come look at the latest gear. hahahahahaha
Bassman: I'd like to know if there's a possibility that in the future you will record a studio album with Larry Carlton.
Luke: I am sure that Larry and I will do another record and tour. I am not sure exactly when as we are both off doing our own thing right now but in the future we will return! I love playing with Larry!
Blu: Who or what inspired you for writing the wonderful songs 'I wont hold you back', 'How does it feel' and 'Out of love'?
Luke: The inspiration of these songs is varied. I have had a few relationships gone bad, at the time I was venting as most songwriters do. I don't really think about it much but when I sit down at the piano or guitar it just flows out. These 3 songs were written very fast and at one sitting. The best ones usually do for some reason. I am very happy now so the bummer love songs would be forced. I have been writing a bunch of new stuff, some finished and some a work in progress. We'll see what ends up on the actual record as I imagine we will all be writing ALOT of material before we head back into the studio after this world tour ends at then end of this summer. Time will tell.
ACE HUNTER: Your quote on the Message Board from your coffee rant/rave really struck a chord (har) with me. My ? for you is: (a) What do you, personally, think of Dream Theater?, and (b) What are the chances of your next CD having a more progressive sound and/or concept.
Luke: I LOVE Dream Theatre. Its so cool to know that these guys have worked so hard and stuck to there musical concepts in spite of what radio will play or not play. John Petrucci is a friend and someone who's talent I really admire alot. I got to play with John on a few occasions as we are both endorsed by Music Man guitars and have done a NAMM show together with Albert Lee and Steve Morse and Vinne Moore, Tony Levin, the Dixie Dregs..intense to say the least! I also got to sit in at the last G-3 gig in LA with Satch, Vai, John, myself and Paul Gilbert. Really strong players!!!
I really would like to see Toto stretch in the progressive arena as in High School thats all I listened to. We dabbled in it on the Mindfields record with the song Better World, Jake to the Bone etc... I would like to see alot more of that myself. The problem Toto often has is that we all like SO many different kinds of music and are capable of playing many styles. This has been a plus and a minus as we have been known to confuse our audience. Some people love the ballads and the more pop stuff, some people dig the Kingdome of Desire rockier side and we have the fusion and funk, and the world music thing as well. Confused yet? So are we! haha. I guess the best thing to do is everything, as we have always done. Sometimes we hit it, sometimes ya miss a few. THAT in itself is a debate amongst the band and all of you out there. All I can say is we DO try as hard as we can and really put our hearts in all the music.
=========== End of last update January 23rd, 2003 ==============