Alfred "Big bad Al" Lagarde and Radio Veronica have been the force to get Toto on the European map and especially the Dutch map. He recorded Toto’s Absolutely live in Holland (1993).
Don Willard is the owner of the Music Farm Studio in Baambrugge (Beach Boys Holland, 2nd solo album Ronnie Wood, Michael Kamen, Simon Phillips, Steve Marriott & The Smal Faces, Kinderen voor Kinderen 1 & 2 etc.). After the studio moved to Hilversum, it was renamed into United Swingdom.
Big Al and Don were good friends with mutual respect to each other. Many hours were spent in Don’s studio or at the Veronica studio’s. Beside a well respected sound engineer, Don Willard is also a string instruments freak. He developed the Nether lute. This is an instrument with its roots in the Middle and Far East.
The Nether lute is a 3 tone instrument tuned in the major triad of E (E-G+-B). Every note has 3 strings, 2 bass and 1 octave string. So in total there are 9 strings on the Nether lute.
Other Celebrities playing the Nether lute are Kenny Rogers and Stef Bos. A lot of guitar players like the Nether lute because of the playing system and the sound. This instrument sounds to the music you play on it. Play country and it sounds like a jumbo, play rock and it sounds amplified like a heavy guitar, play classical and it sounds between a harpsichord and an acoustic guitar. With the sound hole on the bottom of the instrument you can change the sound.
Kim Lagarde son of the late Big Al, has bought a Nether lute and told Steve Lukather about the instrument. Kim has a left-handed. Steve told Kim, that he would like a right-handed Nether lute.
Don, the developer of the instrument, and some die hard Toto fans took it as a mission, to make sure that Steve would get his Nether lute as soon as he was in Holland again. Hardenberg was the place to make that happen. After the last concert in Hardenberg (July 1st 2004) the Nether lute was offered to Steve.
Kim Lagarde, photographer Lucky Luc De La Ruelle and Don were physically touched by the gratitude which Steve showed when he got his gift the "Nether lute."
To Don it was a very big gift and honour as Steve said; "I’m gone use this on my next album!"
stevelukather.com, July 4th 2004