Q#1: You've recently had enough time in your busy schedule to work some on a solo project. Could you tell us about that project and who you're working with?
It is just the start but I managed to complete 3 songs whilst in S. America and I have always wanted to record just after coming off the road when my chops are up. I made some calls and everything started to fall into place. I had always wanted to work with Mike Stern and Bill Evans and my concept for this CD is to have some songs recorded in NY, some in LA and some around the World. To complete the line up I asked Anthony Jackson and Jim Beard and have the first 3 tracks recorded.
Q#2: You joined Toto in 1992. You've become more involved since you joined in the behind the scenes work with production, engineering & work on the DVD's. Could you tell us how that came about and the extent of your work.
The whole reason to join a band for me was not just to be the drummer. I spent a good part of 15 years being asked to join various bands but I was not convinced with any of the scenarios presented to me so continued as a free lance musician. I think it was a natural progression which took place over time as I got to know which areas were covered and which were not. In some respects I took over some areas that Steve Porcaro used to occupy and the fact that I was aready an established engineer and producer it just fell into place over the years. It was an honor that the guys accepted me in those areas too.
Q#3: The Toto DVD Live in Amsterdam 25th Anniversary is one of the best music DVD's I've seen in a long time. How do you top something that good?
Ha - just wait until you see the new one "FIB" !!!
Q#4: I see Toto as a true "family". Mike and David are out for various reasons. But both are still around from time to time. Bobby was out for a number of years but is back as strong as ever. Trevor Lukather comes to a lot of the gigs and jams every so often. Could you tell us about Toto as being a true "family".
The big difference between this band and others is these guys all grew up together. They have known each other since school days and started playing in their respective parents garages. It's not like they all came to LA from different parts of the US and met at the Rainbow Bar & Grill - for example! So, yes, it is a big family - and like any family it has it's ups and downs. We are all getting older and with that comes reality. Dave doesn't want to tour like the rest of us do and it was time for him to make a decision. Mike was forced not to tour this last year because of medical problems. I have also had a few times where I have had to stay home because of health issues. But it is still a family - in which I have been allowed to become part of and I am sure there will be the opportunity for all of us to work together again.
Q#5: I was lucky enough to see a Toto soundcheck last year at the Canyon Club in Agoura,Ca. Luke bounced into the room like a tornado and brought the place to life! What's it like gigging, recording & traveling with him?
Exhausting - ha ha ha!!! Luke has an amazing amount of energy. I have the energy but in a different way. I am more reserved and laid back until it comes time to play - then I come alive. We all have our different ways of dealing with life on the road. And it is these differences that make up the chemistry that Toto has. Thankfully we are all different!
Q#6: In the U.S. we're lucky enough to see you play live up close especially when you play with your side project with Luke "Doves of Fire". Tell us about "Doves" and what it's like playing in a setting such as the Baked Potato.
That is one thing that I have learned from Luke. When I first moved to LA he asked me to play with Los Lobotomys - and that kind of playing in a tiny club was just something I didn't do in the UK. It was wonderful and changed my attitude towards getting up and playing without all the trappings. Now I make it a point to play at the Baked Potato as often as I can with different musicians. Sometimes wth my own band too. It has been a while since we did a "Doves" gig but that is because we have been so busy with Toto these last few years that when we get back to LA we all need a break from each ther to recharge. I am sure we will do more in the future though because it is a great line up.
Q#7: You, Luke and Lee Sklar have played on a mind blowing amount of records. Beteen the three of you , you've also played live with the best names in music. What's that like for you and how lucky are we as fans to see this every night?
Well - we have all been blessed with having a wonderful career which was also at the right time. The 70s were an amazing time to make records. And I guess artists loved the way we played. It is interesting that we are now playing in a band together. That's also what makes coming to see this band play very special.
Q#8: I see you've worked on Michael Schenkers latest project. You've also worked on Derek Sherinians' latest CD that Luke played on too. Tell us about those and anything else you're working on or want to share.
Yes - I played on 12 tracks just around xmas time for Michael Schenker and also another album for Steve Hackett and Chris Squire. I played on Michael's first solo album, MSG, back in 1980 so it was very cool to play on this one.
Q#9: I know the Tour just started but how's it going so far?
So far we have played 2 shows and they were fantastic with a great audience. Mexico seem to really embrace this band!!!
stevelukather.com, January 2008