Having performed on over 1000 records in his session career, toured the world over with Toto and other artists, writing and producing commercial hits, Steve takes out some time to chat about his musical journey and more.
February 9, 2004
G!: When you improvise a solo live, do you think in terms of notes over chords or do you let your mind free and just let it flow out spiritually?
SL: No easy answer here bro. Sometimes it’s a specific melodic run or sometimes I just get pissed off and play whatever the fuck I wanna play, right or wrong.
**** Free your mind!
G!: What made you choose playing the guitar over any other instrument originally?
SL: I had a music teacher in Grammar school that made me play the violin. It was 1965. I had been playing guitar for a year, (after the Beatles changed our lives) and they had NO use for a guitar player. I tried.. Have you EVER heard someone TRY and play the violin?? It makes a prostate check pleasant. She then called my parents and said “Your son has NO musical talent”. Perhaps she was right but I have kept on in spite of it all. I am still having fun and I KNOW I am a lucky mother fucker!
11 year old Luke (on the right) solos on a
Fender Jaguar with his “Hendrix-type” power trio.
G!: When you were a kid did you spend those 10 hour days practicing or did you think it’s not the time put in but what you accomplish with the time you put in?
SL: I practiced… I wish I would have put more time in, learned how to read earlier, just TOOK IT MORE SERIOUSLY! You also must have a life and some fun. Jeez, WHO cares how many hours a day you practiced? Not your girlfriend. Or your family. I knew music was my calling but when I was a kid no one took me seriously. I was DEAD serious!!
G!: Did you have mini breakthroughs in your playing where you went “Wow, I just got over that hurdle”, or did you never notice your progress?
SL: Man.. Just tonight I was hearing some bad TV theme music and I picked up my guitar and started making fun of it and then I started changing the tuning, just fucking around and I found a real strange and new ( new to ME anyway..) and it was really astonishing. Life throws you stuff like that. It is kinda weird.
G!: Did you enjoy learning sight reading and theory or was it a pain in the ass but you knew it was a good thing?
SL: Key phrase: “PAIN IN THE ASS”! I played for 7 years by ear before someone told me I NEEDED to learn to read music if I really want to be a REAL musician! BUT… It was the best thing I ever had to learn. I can think of NO reason why this is not something ANY musician should not learn?????? WHY?? Is it not cool to know and speak ANY foreign language?
G!: When you were called to do sessions back in the days, did most require reading charts or did they just mostly let you listen to the track and say “Go for it”?
SL: Mostly go for it. You still had to have musical reading skills but at that time it was a combo of both. It was also a “club” you had to be invited into. The BEST of the BEST!!!! It was more than just ability. It was how you carried yourself as a human being. It was an honor. It was about respect and SKILL… and humour. hahahahaha. The “cats” could make you or break you… There were rules of conduct, Rightfully so!!
You just gotta go for it. It’s too bad the “old days ” of recording are gone. Machines do the job now. I only wish you guys could have been there for the last “Jurasic” era of the “studio musician”. It was the BEST time of my music life. I got to play with just about all my heros and so much more. I could never put into words the honor I have had of being there with the best of the best.. I was fucking THERE! No one can take it away from me. I had a blast and learned SOO much!!
G!: Were you ever called into a session for anything other than guitar, like backing vocals or piano?
SL: I have played piano on many a Toto record ( latter years, Dave was late. I wrote the song etc..) Many other sessions on Keys, Bass, BG Vocals, Percussion, etc…
G!: Besides all the record sessions you did, did you do much playing on radio and TV jingles or film soundtracks?
SL: Yeah in the early days. I was not cut out for the “read the part” vibe. I could do it..but it wasnt my calling.
G!: In a typical session day, how many songs would you perform on and how long were the days?
SL: It could have been one song or a whole record… Everday was different.
G!: Did you gradually grow out of the session scene, spending more time on live stuff, Toto projects etc. or was it more of an abrupt “I’m not into this anymore” departure?
SL: I got out when I knew it was gonna be over soon. There were guys that could play like me better than I did myself. I was burnt. There is no REAL session scene anymore. Too bad. Its much better when REAL musicians play together and WORK to get a track. I miss it. I TRY to keep it real in my world, even if no one cares anymore…
G!: You are so versatile. Which styles come easiest to you and which styles give you the most challenges?
SL: EVERYDAY IS A NEW ADVENTURE.
G!: I dunno, was hoping you could tell us how… haha… Have you ever dabbled with doing a Stanley Jordan kinda approach (both hands on the fretboard) with your left hand playing the bass notes and your right hand playing the melodies/solo’s?
SL: Stanley is a one of a kind. Other people can do it. I think Stu Hamm is awesome on HIS version of that style on the Bass. I love when talented people find a way to re-define an instrument. I wish I could.
G!: The late great Tommy Tedesco once said, “If you play something fast enough it doesn’t matter what notes you play, it just matters what note you end on.” Luke, is it true there’s no such thing as hitting a bad note?
SL: Well, Tommy was a genius and a really funny cat! I suppose you could get away with this if no one catches you. haha. I suggest learning the right notes. haha
G!: Do you ever find it challenging to sing and play onstage simultaneously?
G!: Producing and playing on “Break Like the Wind” by Spinal Tap must have been a blast for you. How was that experience?
SL: It was an HONOR! Those guys are REAL musicians. They are comedians too but the music was so good it was not that funny. Maybe it was my fault in some way as I just heard music, really fucking good music, and forgot that there was a VERY fine line between humour and music. As funny as the movie is and was.. I still respect Chris, Harry and Michael for letting me be a part of it all. And I got the BEST guys to come and PLAY.. What a trip!
G!: I think it’s safe to let it out at this point, which KISS album did you play on and what song(s)?
SL: All of them.
G!: Are you serious? Was that you behind the Space Man makeup this whole time? hahaha
SL: Well I was kidding BUT I did do a few Peter Criss solo records and I know the guys . Love the band and they are pros. I produced a version of “World without Heros” for Cher a few years back that Gene liked a lot. He came down and dug what I did. That was cool. I see Paul around town as we both live in LA. Really nice people. I am a fan.
G!: When will it be announced that you’re the new lead singer for Van Halen?
SL: hahahaha, well I don’t think I am the right guy BUT I have sung backround vocals on FUCK and Balance. I might even do some on the new stuff if they ask. Ed and Al and I are very close friends. I have played live with them a few times and Ed played with Toto for the Jeff Porcaro benefit and we did a Jason Becker benefit and Ed worked on my first solo record and my last Xmas record. I always have loved Van Halen, a truly amazing band with amazing musicians! Still trying to get Al to do something with me.
G!: Are there any other mystery records (where you may not have gotten any liner credits) that come to mind that we’d all go “Wow, you played on that!?!”?
SL: Well, there have been a few worth mentioning. I did most of the guitars on a Cheap Trick song from Dream Police. The song was Voices. Rick is a great guitar player and writer. They did not need me! I think they just wanted something different. I got to play on the tracking session with the guys. That was cool! I LOVE that band. Great guys and the songs speak for themselves! I did a Circle Jerks record once, a slide solo on one song . My friend Niko Bolas was producing and I just came down to see him and I ended up on a track..I did some of the Tubes records on songs I wrote .Talk to ya later and She’s a beauty.. I can’t remember too many other but there were more. Sorry. haha
G!: Luke, you are such a fucking cut up man! Does your onstage razzing ever get you in hot water with your band mates?
SL: No. What are they gonna do? Fire me? hahahaha. I am what I am..Popeye said that once didn’t he?
G!: hahaha… Which Toto album was your favorite to make and holds the most memories for you and which Toto album is simply “Shit Sandwich” to you and why?
SL: Well if you ask a mainstream “rock critic” ALL of our albums are a shit sandwich. haha You would think after 27 years they would lay off. That’s another rave altogether. I know some of the stuff holds up and some of it sounds dated and young. I was 19 when we did our first record and it was 1977… I guess it’s up to the listener.
G!: When you write songs do you just channel what you hear in your head quickly or do you tinker with melodies and progressions until you find what makes you happy?
SL: Ya know that’s a good question. I really don’t have a pat answer. It just flows really. A gift from God..or whatever you believe in. I dont want to question it as it might go away. hahaha
G!: haha… Your solo acoustic version of “Naima by Coltrane” is amazing. How long did it take you to compose that and was that a first take recording?
SL: I just love that piece of music. It was a one take improv. I worked it out a bit before I recorded it. It was an honor to play Coltrane. I am not worthy!
G!: As for ballads, on the song “Last Love” off Mindfields, the marriage of music and lyrics is perfect. I see it’s written by you and Paich, who did the lyrics, how long did that song take to complete (writing wise) and was it personally inspired?
SL: Dave and I wrote that together. We wrote the music first and came up with the title and the chorus lyrics right away and then I took it home and wrote a first draft of the verse lyrics and then Dave and I put it all together after that. There is no real rule of thumb, it just happens. Sometimes we all write in the same room, sometimes guys have finished songs..no rules just we all have to like the tunes, or at least the majority. hahaha
G!: “Jake to the Bone” off Kingdom of Desire is a killer rock tune, almost sounds like you guys were jamming when you wrote that, is that how that tune came about?
SL: We wrote that one night at rehearsal. Everyone came up with parts for it and it was done in less than an hour. I like that record and love playing that tune still today.
G!: What’s the meaning behind the title?
SL: Oh jeez..A play on words. You had to be there. haha
Los Lobotomys: Lenny Castro, “Creatchy”, Chris Trujullo, Luke, Simon Phillips, John Pena
G!: Your solo’s and the whole band performance on “Froth” off the Candyman disc is insane, did you guys have a few belts before that session and did you jam a few takes and pick the best one or?
SL: No belts and done live in one take with no fixes. Great band I can tell you that. I am proud of that record. It’s my fave solo record so far.
G!: What’s more important to you, writing a song to satisfy your creativety, doing music to put food on the table or writing and sending out a song and seeing if it has an impact on peoples lives in one way or another?
SL: All of the above. I just hope that people like what we do.
G!: Do you write new song ideas when on the road or on vacation or do you seperate your writing time from touring and family time?
SL: For the most part I write specifically for a project. I don’t hide songs for myself or Toto or anyone else. It just comes. I am grateful for it believe me. I can seperate family time and work time no problem, especially as I have gotten older.
G!: You have done some amazing covers on some of your records (BlueBird, Freedom, the whole Toto “Through the Looking Glass” CD etc.) Which cover is one of your favorites, you felt you did something special with? (I love Little Wing Live where you let the crowd sing and your rhythm and solo’s were out of this world!)
SL: Hard to say really. Most of the covers have been songs I grew up listening to and have fond memories of and I LOVE the artists and or have worked with them at one point or another. Some people hated TTLG.. I really like alot of it. It was our “FUN” record. At least we had fun!
G!: What made you name your recording studio “The SteakHouse”?
SL: Its a Euphemism for penis. hahaha.
G!: hahaha… How involved are you in the projects at The SteakHouse?
SL: Well, I am involved in projects that I bring in there but Lee and Rick Bench are the owners of the building and studio and we have a great relationship. I am involved but from afar as I am never fucking home to work there. hahaha
Its a GREAT studio that is really catching on fire. Some the artists in there lately have been: Pink, the De Leo brothers, Robben Ford, George Clinton, My son Trevor and his band ..jeez check the website www.SteakHouseStudio.com. There have been many many other cool people in there as well. The 64 channel NEVE console was the one Pink Floyd did Dark side of the Moon on. LOTS of vibe and history there. Its awesome.
G!: Cool! You must have a lot of bands wanting you to produce their records. How do you decide which albums you will produce?
SL: Well production means alot of time that must be put in. I prefer to do my own stuff these days as I dont really want to spend 12 hours a day in the studio anymore. I did that.. A LOT in my younger days. I love the road and making my own records. They don’t have budgets like they used to so no one can afford me anymore. hahaha. I would consider doing it if something GREAT came along.. not too much these days. I got a great demo from a guy named Josh Fix but he doesn’t need me.. he’s already awesome! Watch out for him.
G!: What is the most out of the ordinary stringed instrument you have played?
SL: The G string! haha
Steve’s Signature Luke™ Guitar by Music Man
G!: hahaha… You’ve finally found your perfect guitar in your Luke™ by Music Man. And it’s cool that what we buy off the shelf is exactly what you have. Can you re-cap how involved you were in the making of it?
SL: Music Man guitars and the family that makes them are THE best guitars you can buy. I had input on the design but I really let them go with the idea and I had few suggestions after I saw the proto-type. Sterling Ball and Dudley Gimpell knew what I wanted even more than I did.. I am honored and very lucky to be a part of this family!!!
Sure, Gibson, Fender, Paul Reed etc.. they all make great guitars. I have a collection, BUT I defy anyone to have the quality control to this day, the PASSION that my man and best friend Sterling Ball and family have and they still REALLY care about guitars and musicians and are THE class act in modern guitar making. Every time I hang with Sterling he is PLAYING a guitar. He plays really well for real! This is a family business started and still run by the Ball family. They are MY family too but that has no bearing on the fact that I don’t even think about reaching for another guitar cause my Music Man LUKE is MY guitar. It feels like *I* want it to, it sounds like *I* want it to. Man. I know it sounds like I am licking ass but it’s true. I could walk into ANY music store around the world, pull off a factory Music Man and do the gig without even so much as a new set up or re-string. This does NOT happen with the other guitar companies that mass produce. I know Sterling plays the guitars and has A LOT to do with the designs as well as my man Dudley Gimpell who I have known for over 20 years. These cats are THE family owner business that cares and is hip to new music and new artists and for Gods sake… All I can say is “Super Slinky”… my first guitar strings and the ones I still use after almost 40 years. I rest my case. Check them out. I am not lying!!
G!: About your current amp set up, you had a really beefy sound with the LosLobottom woofers and Bonehead rig. Now you’ve gotten away from that, what are you doing differently with your current amps to get that huge low end?
SL: This is a painful question.
I DO NOT ENDORSE RIVERA ANY LONGER NOR WILL I EVER!
*I* came up with the idea for a sub woofer system for guitar amps. I laid the idea on Rivera who then ripped me off and stole the idea and got a patent IN HIS NAME! The deal was SUPPOSED TO BE 50/50.. he never gave me that, lied and burned me for money and credit. All this after a 30 year friendship that is no longer. He is stupid as I am involved with another company that has a better sub woofer system that Rivera has no claim to. He fucked with the wrong guy. I was gonna sue him for ripping off my idea and calling it HIS but I found out the guy is almost broke and it would cost me more to sue than to walk away.
Bradshaws amp kicks Riveras ASS and when I tried to design an amp with Rivera we kept going back to the Custom Audio 3+.. it never was as good and when I went back it was obvious. You cant get blood from a stone and my mans heart is made of stone. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I was taking credit for someone elses idea. Not to mention he has not even made a dent in the market advertising. Like I said, there is a new game in town and he will get his Karma. It’s not a money issue for me, I was hurt and betrayed cause I trusted a so called friend. Imagine the feeling one gets realizing you got fucked by someone you THOUGHT was a friend for over 30 years?????
G!: Pretty sick… Is your live rig more refined and simpler than it was back in the 80’s (or the opposite) and can you give us a quick run-through?
SL: Its on my website www.stevelukather.net. Not much has changed. I have a few new toys but my rig has never been simpler. I guess I just gotta play better. hahaha
G!: You recently mentioned in an interview that you developed a bit of tinitus, a hearing problem due to long term use of wearing headphones in the studio. Does this taint the way you hear tones and give you any problems when tweaking your amp sound?
SL: What? I can’t HEAR YOU???? hahaha.
I do have tinitus.. it’s a fucking drag. I got it more from headphones in the old days before individual mixes. The damage is done. My ears have been ringing since 1985. Its not getting any better even though I have used ear plugs for almost 10 years. I hope they come up with new ear replacements by the time I am 60! I can still HEAR all frequencies and I can EQ mixes but I have a loss at 1K TO 3K that can’t be fixed. When you are young you think you are bullet proof.. this is NOT true guys.. trust me! Be careful with the ears!!!
G!: Do you still have a huge guitar collection with certain ones that can only be looked at but not touched?
SL: Hey man, I used to. I have sold a lot of them for many reasons. Guitars should be loved and played. It’s a waste to collect and put them in a box for show and not PLAY them. I still have my babies, 59 burst, 51 esquire and a few sentimental pieces that are one of a kind. I got tired of paying serious insurance money for guitars I haven’t even touched in 20 years. I care more about life than a guitar PLUS My Music Mans give me all I need anyway.
G!: How would you describe the difference in the music scene between North America, Europe and Asia overall?
SL: Well, let’s look at the great USA. Remember when MTV played music?? I pity the poor kid who makes a record and has 1 hit these days. It’s SO fucking easy to be a manufactured “rock star”. You need no skill, just a great pro tools guy, maybe a good song or 2 ( THAT SOUNDS LIKE EVERY FUCKING OTHER BAND) a “look” ( posing comes to mind ) and LUCK and a few million dollars to buy your way onto the radio and guess what? You sell 5 million and you are STILL in debt to the fucking rec co.-management-agents-publishers, and you are not even close to being a good enough musician to actaully make a living at it AFTER you are “joe rockstar”. I am SO glad I am not that guy. What a drag it must be to taste success and then never ever be able to repeat it!
My son plays, he writes, he is so cool. BUT.. I roast him on taking music seriously! Not to be like me… “joe studio cat-Toto guy-critics whipping post”-.. but be HIMSELF, be fucking as good as you can be! I am not some 46 year old jaded asshole that hates the new music. My teenage ( 16 and 18 ) kids play everything for me that’s new and there’s some way cool stuff out there. Coldplay, Radiohead and many others BUT my son gets me in the car last night and starts turning ME onto Van Halen. hahaha I had to call Ed and tell him. The really smart kids today are looking back, as I still do myself. NEVER underestimate the “old guys” as they know way fucking more than I or the youngster will ever know. The old cliche..”youth is wasted on the young”..how true..of course I am THE old guy now. hahahahahahahahaha!!! Gotta keep the sense of humour!
Oh yeah, Europe and Asia are far more loyal and when they love you, they love you for life IF you keep coming thru for them. It’s not all about your latest hit single. We have 12 year old kids at our shows that know every lyric to every obscure song we have ever done. God Bless them. *I* – WE will never ever be popular in the USA on any mass basis. Never. I will never be in the rock n roll hall of fame. It’s the biggest joke anyway as it’s run by the assholes at Rolling Stone magazine and their minions. You have to pay to get in anyway. We were the only band in history to turn DOWN the cover of Rolling Stone mag in 1983. We knew it would be a hatchet job. Fuck Jann Wenner that dick smoking rich ass fuck. Look at what a joke that “underground rock mag” is now??? American Idols, Britney, on the cover..Please. Look at the THE rock critics of old like Robert Hilburn from the LA times ( and his 100’s of wanna be musicians-critics that never made it as a musician nor ever could anyway!! ). He HAS to be 150 years old! He was 46 when our first record came out in 1977 and HE is the voice of youth and REAL rock music. Mother fuckers I wanna see your detailed review of Vivaldis 4 Seasons! With corrections on the dynamic markings on the score. ( I doubt he even knows what the fuck I am talking about! ). I am sure he still has cum stains on ALL the 8/10’s of THE critic faves in past 20 years…. before he lost his ability to have an erection. Think Dr. Strangelove in a bad leather jacket. haha, THIS is THE rock critic??? It’s a joke. Kinda like Mozart getting an ASCAP or BMI performance royalty.Keep downloading guys.. who gives a fuck anymore? I will still PLAY music for free cause I love it. I AM very lucky to get paid and if rock critics had ANY credibility I would not have a job after 27 years. haha, Jokes on them. hahahaha..Oh yeah and the 1500 other records I played on. I must suck. hahaha.
G!: How about if you guys jumped on a tour with Metallica or Foo Fighters, for example, as a way to play for your American fans, do you think this could work (maybe reignite your following here and give the labels a push to do more)?
SL: This could never happen. It would be awesome as I love both bands a lot but because the media at large would see this as insane and the “cool factor” that the media puts out there.. it just would never happen. I have met a lot of musicians in different styles, A LOT of young musicians that I would think would never even know who the fuck I am..well, I have gotten respect from them. It makes me smile and realize that MUSICIANS not CRITICS opinion means more to me than anything. Its humbling really.
Foo Fighters are the coolest band out there. It grooves, there’s melody, great players that know what the fuck they are doing , great tunes and THEY REALLY play their axes AND have a sense of humour that’s so lacking in todays poser bullshit rock star wankings.Metallica.. awesome. The Black album is a classic that will stand the test of time. I have respect for them as well. There are lots of other great bands new and old but man.. is it just ME that thinks SO much music sounds the same????? I miss the 60’s and 70’s… sorry I am getting old but I think I am right on this!
G!: I’d say you’re “bang on”. You just came off of the “Night of the Proms” tour with Toto in Germany and you did the Namm show with your son Trevor. How did it all go?
SL: NOTP was the 7th biggest grossing tour of last year. 600,000 tickets sold. INXS ( my brutha and a GREAT band ) En Vogue ( Class act that sings there asses off ) Huey Lewis ( old dear freind ) and John Miles etc.. and an 80 piece orchestra and we had a blast and I made some of the best friends in my career! We got no love, no credit from ANY music media. They hate to admit us old guys STILL can sell a ticket or 2.. hahaha, well fuck them! The strong will survive..the weak will not.
The gig with my son was a defining moment in my life. It was THE coolest moment to look over at MY kid kicking ass with me and ..well I have no words except my money is on him being a great player in the years to come. My daughter is also a great singer.. ya never know but I put no pressure on them.. I just love them so much ..I am so fucking lucky to have them in my life. If I never did another thing, that in itself would be my very best achievement!! My wife too. Jeez, where would I be without her???
G!: Since doing that cameo in Paul McCartney’s film “Give My Regards to Broad Street”, did you get any other offers to appear in films and are you interested in appearing on screen at all (besides music videos)? You’re not going to pull a Tommy Lee on us are you? (haha, just kidding with ya’ll)
SL: Tommy is a dear friend ( for real )
…and I made him cut me out of the video.. My dick was too big and I didn’t want to embarrass him! hahahaha I am NOT an actor..something most musicians should think about before humiliating themsleves on camera. I need not make any example. We are all thinking about the same bad examples. There ARE acceptions but very few.
G!: hahaha, true. Do you have any interest in scoring a film by yourself (and have you ever been offered that)?
SL: Tried it a few times. WAY too much work for little money or credit until you hit the big time. I did a TV show a few years back. It never made the air but I had to deal with a fucking cunt ass sperm receptacle that wouldn’t know good music from a good bikini wax job. I wont do that again. I still care about music. I have some very close friends that do this for a living and are the best of the best at it.. BUT it takes years and a lot of getting your ass kicked, rejection for bullshit reasons.. fuck it, I’m too old for that. Leave it for the pros and the hungry kids.
G!: The duet you did with Sammy Davis Jr. on Santamental was so cool! Did you get your hands on a master tape for his voice and was it a lengthy process to put that together?
SL: This was a dream come true and I was honored that the Davis family allowed me to do it! Al Schmitt and Elliot Scheiner (BOTH legends) made this happen. We got the master and took Sammys voice off and re -did the arrangements.. I am still freaking that we pulled that one off. I have a picture that Eddie van Halen gave me, a black and white poster SIGNED by Frank, Dean and Sammy that I cherish and is in my living room. I have Sammys “Candy Man” golf clubs.. I worship the “Rat Pack” THE original hipsters.. God Bless them all!
G!: What’s your viewpoint on the impact mp3 sharing had on the music industry and artists like yourself?
SL: Ya know.. reality says I should be pissed off as the people that download are stealing money from all us artists BUT .. man US artists have been getting fucked from day one! I mean WE all pay for dickhead rec co Presidents to fly around in their G-4 jets, giving themselves a multi million dollar bonus at the end of the year after FIRING 1000’s of REAL workers.. I mean fuck them. I will work for free and TOUR as you can’t download reality, the moment …..LIVE music!!! Its all a big joke to me and the fucking rec co asswipes are scared shitless ..they will all be out of a job soon enough. That’s payback for me and all of us REAL muso’s that have been paying their nuts and there decadent lifestyles on OUR ART! Remember when music was an artform??? I do.
G!: Are you in favor of live bootlegs?
SL: Hey, why not. My only problem is that most sound like shit recording wise. The only people that trade this stuff and or record the music live are the same people that would come see you play live, buy your CD’s and support you no matter what. They deserve that and we are fucking lucky to make a good living off those very people. Bring it on!
PS: Erase the ones I play shitty on. hahaha
G!: haha… well there’s like none of those! Generally speaking and from your experience, do most bands these days break even (or lose) on record sales but make their profits on the live shows?
SL: I think Courtney Love addressed this better than anyone. It’s ALL true!
G!: Where does the artist actually make some money in this day and age: record sales, air play, tours, merchandise, endorsements?
SL: Touring and IF you have cool swag. I heard once that Mettalica made more off their merchandise than the actual gigs. haha, God Bless em!
G!: Do you have any desire to start your own label?
SL: Yeah, Like I need a second sphincter! No fucking way! Why would I want to be what I fucking Hate??
G!: There’s so much musicality you could add to Hip Hop and Rap music with a real band. Some old school Hip Hop guys (EZ-E, Hi-C etc.) used real guitars, bass and drums on their tracks which adds so much kick to their grooves, do you have any favorite Rap artists?
SL: I dig Eminem and some of the REAL shit but most of it sounds like people shouting at me. I had parents for that when *I* was a kid. The funniest thing to ME is when a rapper TRYS to sing. hahahaha Man.. I AM too old for all this shit. Hey, I am NOT supposed to like my kids music. Thats the real rock n roll attitude.. which brings me back to the old ass fucks like Kurt Loder and pals.. OLD fucking cunts that are SO smug about how hip they think THEY are.. I mean Loder interviewing Madonna.. hahaha, I thought I could see that “half a roll of Tums” he has in his pants ALL sorts of perked up. What next? Elvis Costello suppositories??? hahaha… I don’t think they actually realize THEY are being laughed AT.. hahaha, sorry couldn’t help myself. hahahaha
G!: What do you make of the whole heavy seven string rock tunes of today?
SL: Still trying to get the 6 string together. Hire a Bass player ( ARE you listening Jack White?? ) haha
G!: In a short phrase sum up the following musical era’s:
SL: Genius, originality, risk, innovation, GREAT songs and production played by REAL players 1 take live!!
G!: The 70’s?
SL: Same but better chops, better recording equipment… more experimental… damn the acid was good then. hahaha It was my coming of age as a musician. GREAT memories.. before I actually found out the music BUSINESS ( Not the MUSIC ) was full of shit!
G!: The 80’s?
SL: They tell me I had a great time!
G!: The 90’s?
SL: Divorce, confusion, loss of a best friend and various friends and family.. some great stuff and some lame ass shit that the critics LOVED and now reject.. once again.. credibilty.. NOT! hahaha
G!: 2000 to Present?
SL: I am hoping the best is yet to come. I am 46 and still learning, still practicing ( even though few give a shit ) and I am NOT taking it all seriously anymore. I am having fun, I have a great family, kids, wife, friends, they still pay me to play the fucking guitar and life is good. I know my answers here seem a bit bitter or sarcastic.. that’s the problem with the written word. I am NOT serious.. It’s just a rave up. Who cares what *I* think anyway? God Bless and be good and thanks to all of you for the support – Fuck the rest of you cunts hahahahaha. – Lukather
G!: LOL! I almost coughed up a lung on that one! You’ve had the chance to tour and record with some of your hero’s, are there any new musicians or artists that you’d like to record or tour with?
SL: I have been very lucky, I have played with almost all of my heros that are still alive. I am lucky and honored!!!!!
Luke with pals: Edgar Winter, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Steve Vai and Larry Carlton.
G!: Are you at the point in your life where the music and family life is balanced and comfortable?
SL: Yes I am actually. I am groovin hard. Just last night it was raining out, my wife had the fire on, my kids were hanging out and I went outside with tears in my eyes and thanked God for my many blessings. I guess you get kinda fruity when you get older. hahaha
G!: hahaha… (you’re still human man). What are some of your record projects lined up in 2004 – any solo albums in the works?
SL: It’s all in the planning. I have no idea BUT I will be working! Thank God!
G!: Do you see yourself writing an autobiography down the road?
SL: I thought I just did. hahaha.
G!: hahaha… pretty much. How would you like to be remembered when it’s all over?
SL: HMM… I guess I just want people to say I was a nice guy with a good heart who was funny as fuck and a great father and husband and friend. Probably the same as anyone.. and maybe I was a pretty good guitar player for a white guy. hahahaha
G!: hahaha… Is there any advice you would like to pass onto aspiring musicians?
SL: Have fun and fuck everyone else.
G!: Luke, you are extremely talented, your body of work speaks for itself, and you’ve remained real through it all. Thanks for taking the time out for this interview and we all look forward to your future projects!
SL: Thanks and God bless!
Interview © 2004 Guitarhoo!