Andrea Schwarz: Hi Steve, please would you like to introduce your new album to your fans?
Steve Lukather: Well, it was NOT my idea to do a Xmas record it was the record co-presidents who are old friends and who happen to be some of the very best engineer-producers in the business. Al Schmitt - Toto IV, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, etc.. Ed Cheney -Rolling Stones, Bonny Raitt, Don Was and my co-producer Elliot Schiener - Toto, Steely Dan. Eagles, Queen etc... So they had this wacky idea that I should do a Xmas CD. I said "What IS it that makes you think of me and Santa in the same breath"? We laughed and they said "we want you to do what you want to do with full creative control" so I called my friend Jeff Babko, the new hot LA keyboard player and my pal to do it with me and we picked some traditional pieces, as requested by the rec co, and we wrote 2 originals as well. It was quite a challenge to do as Xmas songs are very "happy tunes" with major scales etc... and we wanted to make then outrageous and re-harmonized and re-arranged rhymically, and we went for it and had alot of fun doing it! We did the whole CD in 6 days!!!
A.S.: For the characteristics of the material, don't you think it was useful to use also horns, cellos and so on?
S.L.: I wanted to keep everything as REAL as possible, very little synthesizer, ALL really played, NO computers or click tracks and NO rehearsal and all analog 24 track tape. We did that and I used the real horns. There are no strings on the CD but I have used them many times with Toto.
A.S.: You are always busy touring and playing in the studio: how did you find the time to do that?
S.L.: Hmm, comon question. I am a work-aholic. I LOVE to tour and I make records. I can only take a few weeks off before going crazy and I love being a musician. I know how lucky I am to have so many great outlets to work with the best musicians in the world. Its a dreamjob believe me!
A.S.: The two songs composed for this album are very interesting and the rest are cover versions of old classics: don't you think it was better to do an album of all original songs?
S.L.: Yes it WAS a challenge to write original Xmas music as its real easy to be corny but I think we came up with some cool ones in a very short period of time.
A.S.: How did you find doing an album like this? Another dimension or what?
S.L.: I had a great time doing this and so did everyone else. Thats the spirit in which it was made and the spirit you should listen to it in. So far its getting the best reviews of my whole career so thats nice and people seem to like it wherever I go.
A.S.: All the other musicians are good friends of you: how did it happened to compile such a list?
S.L.: The guests are all very dear old friends and I got them to do as a favor. Thats how we do things these days. We trade each others sevices as none of us can afford each other, hahaha. It was a labor of love and I am SO lucky to have such great friends that also happen to amonst the best players in the world!
A.S.: What are the future plans with Toto?
S.L.: Toto... well we are on tour till Dec 22 in Europe. We are writing a new Cd of all original material and its gonna be a killer. We are really gonna go for it and give everyopne THE BEST Toto ever. We will take a long time to get it right so dont expect it till late 2004 or early 2005. We will do some touring in between just to keep our chops up and make a few $$ and stay in touch with all of our friends around the world but we are really gonna work hard on this next record as it may be our last.
A.S.: Are you interested in the releases of ex Toto members like Joseph Williams for Vertigo? What do you think about that?
S.L.: Well, I still like Joe, Dave Hungate and Steve Porcaro. I see Steve all the time and we work together alot. I dont go out and listen to all there stuff, I work with Steve on some of his TV and film work and he always helps with the Toto records... the other guys, well I dont see them at all and I am not much interested in what they are up to. I dont hate anyone. Just not interested.
A.S.: Do you have something you would like to add? A message for example.
S.L.: My message to you all is I hope you like this record and it makes you smile for the holidays and I wish you all peace, love, happiness, health and a great new year. Hope to see you out there. Merry Xmas!
Melodic Rock Fanzine, Nov/Dec 2003