As soon as I arrived at the Rockline studios in Burbank,Ca. (Ironically located within earshot of the Steakhouse studio where Ever Changing Times was recorded) I could see that Luke was excited about something. Luke had just learned that Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac fame was going to be asking Luke the Rockline "Encore Question". The Encore Question was a question from the previous shows guest (Lindsey) to the current shows' guest (Luke). Also Luke was contemplating his Encore Question to the next shows guest (Rush).
The show was a nice balance, heavy on the new solo material with interesting stories about Toto and session work thrown in for good measure. Right off the bat Steve addressed the status of Toto. "We just did 26 months on the road. I love the (Toto) guys. We had a great run. It's time to move on a little bit and do some new things. I think all the guys feel that way". Luke also talked about the early formation of Toto at Grant High School in Van Nuys,Ca. Luke fielded a call from a former Grant High schoolmate of his that kind of blew Steve away. The caller proved he was there by naming Lukes' early bands "Flood the Tennis Shoe" and Rotunda". The caller took Luke back to his past with this statement too "You were playing the "B" side of Abbey Road and Fragile by Yes and everyone else was playing Louie,Louie!" Luke went on to talk about playing with Boz Scaggs and how that transformed into Toto. As usual he was able to poke fun of himself when the subject of the old Toto videos came up. "They were so horrible.It's just like watching a plane crash. Some of the stuff they got us to do. The outfits. The Hairdos! We ALL lived to regret that! Luke touched on various other topics too. His love of Quincy Jones, the Michael Jackson experience playing with his musical heroes, members of the Beatles, hanging out with Paul McCartney, George Martin and his playing on three consecutive Grammy Albums of the Year.
Luke being the family man that he is made sure to talk about his son Trevor and his contribution to ECT. Luke insisted that the Rockline staff play one of Trevors' songs and they complied by playing "New World". Steve also talked about his lovely daughter Tina who also contributed by singing background vocals on "Stab in the Back". Luke told B.C. and the Rockline audience that Trevor is the "up & coming,scary guy". I'm really proud of him". Being at the show up close I could see the love & excitement in Lukes' expressions when talking about his kids. He also went into more detail when talking about "New World." Luke said it was "music in it's simplest form. We wrote it with an accoustic guitar, crappy keyboard and a tape recorder in a hotel room in the Valley with Randy Goodrum". About "Tell Me What You Want From Me" the other song on ECT that Trevor co-wrote Luke said "Trev wrote a killer riff and I wrote my Roger Waters/David Gilmour Tribute around it. It was the first thing that we ever wrote together. Needless to say it was a very proud moment.
Luke also wanted to straighten something out. Some falsehoods spread by Wikipedia. B.C. helped Luke out by saying "according to Wikipedia you've played on over 800 #1 songs." Luke immediately stopped B.C. in his tracks by saying. "They do NOT do their homework! I've played on OVER 1,000 records and a LOT of #1's. But 800 # 1's? That's IMPOSSIBLE!!! If I did,I wouldn't be here! I'd have the midas touch and EVERYTHING I played on would go to #1." This seemed to clear things up as Wikipedia shortly after the show deleted their misinformation that had been up on their site for quite awhile!.
It was now time for the Rockline "Encore questions". First up it was Lindsey Buckingham's question to Luke. Lindsey's question followed compliments to Luke about his guitar playing & comments on their differing styles. Lindsey said "I don't practice that much. do you practice every day? Luke answered with "Wow, Lindsey man, that was very cool. I'm a big fan. We did some Richard Perry sessions back in the day. I do practice. Not as much as I should. I wish I had Lindseys' right hand. Nobody finger picks like that guy! The songs that he's written. It's a GREAT honor!" Now it was Lukes' turn with Rush.
"Hey guys, Steve Lukather here. Big fan. I'm just curious. As you guys do a lot of instrumentals stuff , how do you decide which ones get lyrics and which ones don't? I know I get confused in my own life trying to figure that out. Some things seem more instrumental than others. How do you guys figure that out? Geddy Lee responded "That's a good question" Alex agreed and added 'Ya'. Geddy continued "Actually,Alex and I jam a lot when we're writing. We say let's write an instrumental. Then we start writing assembling it and suddenly there's some lyric line there. I'll go 'this instrumental part that we just wrote works perfectly with this lyric'. So we steal that part of the instrumental and suddenly we're writing a song around it. And then we go back to the instrumental. Then sometimes it just keeps happening".
The conversation and banter going on before the show, after the show and during commercials was priceless. B.C. talking about hanging out with George Harrison after one of the Rockline Shows. Luke talking about knowing you've hit the big time when Southpark does a parody of you. Luke talked about sitting at home like a regular dude watching T.V. when a little goateed cartoon of himself came on the screen. He couldn't help but to laugh and enjoy his "new found fame"! During one of the breaks from the show a musical interlude of "Africa" blared out of the studio speakers. Luke rushed out from behind the studio glass and jokingly stated "I don't need to hear this. I KNOW THIS!!! There were comments from everyone that this wasn't work. This was fun. There were great stories & jokes that could be repeated but better ones that couldn't!
After the show was over I was able to ask the amiable host & Luke a few more questions. I started out by talking to the nights guest, Luke himself.
Q: What is your reaction to all the great reviews for "Ever Changing Times".
Luke: "I'm just happy to be making a living doing this after 32 years. I'm happy to be here with Bob Coburn and his wonderful staff of beautiful cats. It's been a great time & a great ride."
Q: You've put together a new band. Can you tell us about the guys?
Luke: "I just met them last weekend. I took them out for margaritas and shots. Anybody who's going to be in a band with me has got to be able to hang. Business first, then there's gotta be a few laughs. My drummer Eric Valentine, he whipped out his version of what Tommy Lee used to break out for me. The most horrendous things you've EVER seen on the internet in your life. The kind of thing that would make your grandmother crawl out of her grave just to slap you! Not only are the guys GREAT musicians, but they're people that you can hang out with. All the guys, Carlitos, my bass player, who's called 8x10 now, for reasons that I can't tell you. Tony Spinner from my old band (Toto). Steve Weingart. Luke breaks into his infamous Sammy Davis Jr. impression. "My musical director for 35 years. Man, he's just a genius. And we're going to go out and have fun. We're gonna see if I still have something left in me at 50 years old!"
Q: How about doing U.S. Shows? You have only a couple on the books now.
Luke: "There's a lot more coming. There's going to be a lot of interesting things. I don't wanna say any names right now. I'm going to be working for awhile. I have to do something. I've got a new kid. Just when I thought I was clean. She'll probably be a genius at Harvard. She'll get a B+ and won't get the scholarship!"
Here's what Bob Coburn had to say.
Q: You've had some great guests over the years with Ted Nugent & David Coverdale coming to mind as the most humorous & eloquent guests you've had. How does Luke rate?
B.C.: "As far as humorous he's right at the top, no doubt about that. As far as classy, right at the top too. He's just got it together. Plus he's a great flippin' player!"
Q: With all the big names and great talent that you've had on your show, Luke seems to be a true fan. He's humbled by all the attention he gets. That's not always the case with people with as much talent as he has. What are your thoughts on that?
B.C.: "Having a nice guy without issues come in on this show is very rare. Managable or understandable issues!!!"
Q: Luke was on Rockline for the first of numerous apperances in 1982. Here we are 26 years later and he's still making great music, traveling all over the world to play and once again is on your show. What are your thoughts on that?
B.C.: "That's pretty amazing. I think I speak a lot to Luke not only as a great talet but as a good friend all these years too. We've kept a relationship. We've done a lot of things together. Hopefully that translates and carried over to tonights show."
I assured B.C. that it had. Everyone was happy with the results of the nights show. The night wasn't over yet as everyone who was at the show went for dinner & drinks. Trevor made it a family affair once more as he joined the group too. Dave Maida (Head of the Luke P.R. Machine) related to me his excitement as the Luke P.R ball was just starting to roll. He told me Luke will be featured in every major guitar trade across the board. He is in the current May '08 Guitar Player and upcoming issues of Guitar World & Vintage Guitar among others. Also there are segments on many major radio affiliates, both XM and Sirius with major media print and review features with some surprises to be announced within the next couple of weeks.
Stevelukather.com, May 19th 2008