Exclusive: New Interview With Steve Lukather

Steve Lukather is widely known as one of the best guitar players out there, especially with his versatility in making music and working with many great musicians from different genres.
Although he has already left, TOTO, the band that put his name in the spotlight for so many years, Luke still has lots of music projects that he's doing, such as his latest solo album "Ever Changing Times" and also his recent works with Bruce Kullick and George Benson.
Beside those projects Luke, is currently gearing up to hit the road for a long European tour that's set to kick off on February 26 in Holland. Just before he embarks on his long and hectic tour, we managed to get in touch with him via email (with the help of Arend, Luke's webmaster). Check out Luke's words on his upcoming tour preparation, the working process of his latest record, his upcoming projects and his view on the music industry today.

Here is the interview, Enjoy:

(Guitar Legends) -Hi Luke How you're doing? thanks for allowing us to ask some questions for you..we hope it's wasn't too much of a trouble though.

(Steve "Luke" Lukather) - Its all good. I am just getting ready to head out on a long tour. Resting up and spending time with my family and finishing a track I wrote and co=produced for George Benson and a few sessions. It never ends. haha

(G L) So you're preparing to hit the road this February, how is the preparation so far? we heard you had a little problem on the way?

(Luke) I have no problem? It has been A LOT of work as I am managing myself right now. In this economy one must work harder and cut back overhead to make money and survive. I have a new crew for the most part and I have not played with the band in 4 months BUT I have the A team and we will bring our best for sure! We did A LOT of shows last year and will again this year so its like riding a bike but it will be fresh and new every night anyway.

(GL) You have been doing many tours as a solo artist or with TOTO, for this upcoming tour do you still feel the same excitement or vibe just like your first tour?

(Luke)Yes. I love touring. Its hard to be away from loved ones but that's my job. I am having fun with my new band as its all young guys that like to laugh a lot and have a good time. Toto had a great run. I am still working with David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Joseph Williams and Simon Phillips on various side projects and solo records. Toto had just run its course for me. LONG story. You can read it in my book.

(GL) Are there any venues that you really looking forward to go to for this tour? or is it all the same for you?

(Luke) Every night is different as the audience is different. Therefore the whole vibe changes. I am really looking forward to heading out again as this is the longest I have been home without touring in many many years. This is good as I have a new baby girl Lily, 17 months old, and I have bonded with her time get back out and have some fun and play some music!

(GL) As we know this upcoming tour is done to support the release of your latest record 'Ever Changing Times',until now how is your fans' responds for the record?

(Luke) Best reviews of my career on the record and the tour. I could not be happier and it seems to keep growing. I am selling out a lot of gigs and the vibe is really good. It is going better than I had hoped, especially in this economy. That's why I am playing smaller places. I need to build myself as a solo artist. I am not going out and being "Toto jr"! I wanted to separate the 2 things. I do a few obscure Toto songs that I wrote and sang but not the obvious hits. No point in that. if I wanted to do that I would not have left Toto

(GL) Unlike many of your fellow guitar players, such Steve Vai or Joe Satriani who focused a lot on their guitar playing for their solo records, you took a different route by showing more of your musicianship rather than guitar playing, why is that? do you want people to know Luke more as a musician rather than just a guitar player?

(Luke) Well, ALL those guys are my friends and I love what they do. I do some instrumental stuff, even fusion kind of stuff on my tour and on my records but I like to sing and play simple rock stuff as well. Besides those guys do the shred thing better than me anyway. I was asked to do a G-3 a few years back by Joe (Satriani) but it just didnt work out. I play with Steve Vai all the time (he just called me while I am writing this!), we do little events and I have the greatest love and respect for all the guys that do "that thing" but they are all different. Who knows, sometime we will do something. I have played and or sat in with them live many times!

(GL) Another interesting thing that we discovered about you is the fact that you work with many musicians even for the writing of your records. We think that's it's an unusual thing to do by a musician who decided to go solo, any comment about that?

(Luke)I have always written songs. I like to produce the songs I write as well. On this new George Benson stuff I don't play guitar on it at all. Its Ray Parker jr. and a new cat named Jubu. I wrote the song with David Paich but I just thought those guys would kill it. They did. It's funky and a hit tune! I dont have an ego in all that. Whatever works just works! I love to work in ALL styles and I am lucky cause I get to. I can easily go from jammin with Albert Lee and Steve Morse to jammin with Marcus Miller or Mils Davis doing jazz fusion to Eddie Van Halen etc... I love ALL music!

(GL) On your latest solo record, beside working with established musicians, you also take your kids to help you out. How does it feel working with your own children?

(Luke) Well My son Trev is really a great musician and is just coming into his own now. he is working on a record right now that should be out by the end of the year. His www.Myspace.com/Trevbabay has a few tunes he did 2 years ago. His new stuff is heavier and less slicked out but he writes and sings all the stuff. I am very proud to have him on my record and he co wrote and played on 2 songs. We will be doing more father and son stuff in the future. My daughter Tina sang backgrounds on Stab in the Back just cause I wanted her on it. She is not pursuing a life in the music business but I am still just as proud of her! It was a lot of fun.

(GL)How did you actually introduce music to your kids? do you kind of "forced' them a bit to learn music?

(Luke) No! You cant force someone to learn anything. Trev just loved it all from day one. Tina doesn't play an instrument. There is musical instruments all over my house. Hahaha. It was bound to happen to at least one of them. I think we will see about Lily as she is so young but piano may be her thing. She has a gift already. I can see and hear it, her awareness of music and the way she touches the piano. You would swear she knew what she was doing. Time will tell.

(GL) here is a bit technical question, when you wrote a song, do you still focus on technical stuffs such as figuring out what keys you want to use, what modes and all of those stuffs or you just go with what your mind and heart says?

(Luke)When I write it just flows. I co-write a lot cause when I do that the song gets finished. No bullshit. DIONE and you get a lot more opportunity from that and I get a lot more chances to get tunes covered by other artists and also get things done for myself. There are no rules or methods to what I do. Its different everytime!

(GL) How do you consider yourself as a rock musician, jazz or pop? since you do play all kinds of musical genres and sounds good at any of them

(Luke) Man, I hate labels. I love ALL great music and the great musicians that play it all. Why cut yourself off from all that input and great music? As Ray Charles once said "There are only 2 kinds of music, good and bad". haha That always made me laugh. It is the truth but then again, everyone likes different things!

(GL) Beside preparing for tour, we heard that you are working something with Bruce Kullick and also with George Benson, care to share us a little details about those projects?

(Luke)George is almost done. Horns and strings and his solo. Its a classic R+B tune ala Turn your love around (which I also wrote) and working with George and Marcus Miller and my brother David Paich. Its gonna be a great album, out in a few months. Bruce is an old friend and he just asked me to come in and jam, I was in and out pretty fast. He is a great guy. You see, diversity. How many guys work with George Benson and Bruce Kulick in the same week? Hahahaha.

(GL) We read in your official site, that back on 2004 you voiced your concern with the music industry these days on a book written by Robert Wolff, it's an interesting statement back then and now do you still think the same way about the industry?

(Luke) Its worse than ever. I wish I had better news. I have to kill myself to make the same money I did years ago. I am hoping that things turn around soon but in the meantime I am getting ready to do 2 months HARD on tour in Europe and will be spending most of my year there. Thank God for the Europeans and Asia cause the USA is worse than anywhere. I am
staying away till it gets figured out. I am VERY happy for our new president but he has MUCH work ahead. I am praying for peace and love for the world and maybe get the money shit right for the world as well. EVERYONE is hurting these days. I am very lucky to be working all year! Thanks to you all!

(GL)- About today's music, do you still listen much to any of them? any new artists that interest you?

(Luke) Man, I am so busy I don't have alot of time to listen. My son plays me some stuff I like and some stuff I hate. Hahaha, I am old school. I dig Radiohead but they are not that new.. no one has blown my mind in a long time. Mars Volta is very wild music and nice people, shit I dig my sons music. I gotta do some more homework on this.

(GL) Now that you left TOTO, what would you be focusing on keep making more solo records or maybe just sit behind the screen helping other musicians?

(Luke) Both. I am always working on something and hope to stay real busy in the coming years. I am gonna do another solo record right away but there are some interesting side things I want to do as well. I will let ya know when it all gets real! I like to produce and write and also do my own stuff and I actually love touring. Most guys my age don't. That's where the money is now cause the record business is in REAL trouble!

(GL)okay here is a little trivia for you, we will give names of some guitar players that you probably known and we would like you to describes them the best way that you know them. Jeff Beck? Eric Clapton? Eddie Van Halen? Steve Vai? Joe Satriani? Jason Becker? Nuno Bettencourt? Paul Gilbert?

(Luke) Well THEY are the best of the best, all unique in there own way! I know them all, some better than others. I feel For Jason.. I know people that have his disease.. its is fucked up. A major talent.The rest of the guys are playing better than ever to this day! I am honored to call them friends!

(GL) - okay one last question, what would you advice to young musician especially young guitarists out there who wants to be a professional musician like you?

(Luke) Practice and keep and open mind, play out a lot, jam a lot, and have fun. I do! Hope to see you guys out there at a gig
Peace and love Luke 2009

(GL) Well we think that it's enough for now, once again we can't thank you enough for giving this opportunity to us, it's truly an honor for us. We do hope we could do a live interview with you in another occasion, well till then all the best for you and your family and hope you'll have and exciting and great tour!!!

Check out all the news about Steve Lukather on his official site

written by Dewa Nugraha

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