Reggie: Let's talk about the new record you're working on right now.
Luke: "It doesn't have a title yet. I'm going for the nine tune record. Nine seems to be a good lucky number, and we have that. We're still doing work. We're doing it a little bit differently this time. C.J. (Vanston) and I worked in here. We just wrote and put master stuff down and then we overdubbed everybody. We overdubbed real bass, real drums and a couple of guest vocalists things. We will probably have Lenny (Castro) in to play percussion as always. He's my man! Trevor (Lukather) worked on it with us. Randy Goodrum, Fee Waybill (The Tubes) and my usual cast of characters in the lyrics and music department. It's pretty much a continuation of the last one ("All's Well That Ends Well") with a little bit more spice. We had Chad (Smith) of the Chili Peppers come in on a tune. We had Tal Wilkenfeld on a tune, Lee Sklar, my buddy came back, John Pierce. Obviously the guys in my band. Eric Valentine, Renee Jones and Steve Weingart. We wrote this really cool tune. I've got to play it for you. Toss Panos played on a couple of things, (Gregg) Bissonette's back. It's been really fun to just go for it. Russ Hogarth did some engineering for us at the Steakhouse. He's a bro. He worked on the new Van Halen record, He gets great, organic, big sounds. Most of it we're just doing at the Treehouse with C.J. and me. It's been a blast. It's so effortless. It's so much fun. We were working at a pretty quick pace because I have to. I'm juggling so many things."
Reggie: How do you juggle so many things?
Luke: "I have to finish the record before I leave for Ringo June 2nd. I am also rehearsing for Toto at the same time for the August run. And I have two kids under five!"
Reggie: Seriously, how do you do all of that?
Luke: "I go to bed early. I get up really early and I get a lot of shit done before 10 a.m. I go hiking. I just went hiking with Joe Williams and Steve Porcaro (both of Toto) today. I have been doing my homework. I do my homework in the morning from 5:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. I practice a lot. I play. I learn all of this stuff. I do my e-mails and then I come to work here and focus on this record. I grab a bite here or there with my older kids and play with my younger kids. I see them on the weekends or when I have off. So I have no life. Although I am going on a bitchin' little getaway this weekend. It's sort of business and pleasure. To chill. And before I blink it will be fall again. Toto has dates in September on the West Coast. We're doing one show in Denver on May 26th. A Festival. We just thought we're going to rehearse anyway for the August run in Europe, which is going to be great and selling really well. We're going to put our feet in the water again in the U.S. We're going to do a few West Coast things. A few of the Jack FM Shows. We're playing Irvine Meadows, with Joe Walsh (Eagles). We're like second on the bill. We're playing real venues. We're not playing some club somewhere. We just didn't want to do that again. It was pointless. You know we've embraced the Classic Rock thing. We were trying to run from it 20 years ago. 35 years in we're a Classic Rock band. It has tunes three generations of people know. I don't care what they say anymore. I just do all my creative stuff the way I want to do it. Toto has become a fun thing to do again, because it's my High School brothers, as many of them back as we can have. I look around the stage and I see David Paich and Steve Porcaro, Joseph Williams. These are guys I've known since I was fifteen years old. Then I see my brother Simon (Phillips) on drums. Nate's (Nathan East) killin' it on bass and singing. Jenny (Douglas-McRae) is back and Mabvuto (Carpenter) both on vocals. We go out and play the hits and some deep album cuts. It's going to crack people up. We're going WAY deep."
Reggie: That will not only be good for the fans it will be good for you. It will be songs that you haven't played in ages.
Luke: "Yaaa! Stuff that we haven't done in 30 years! Or even EVER! Certainly 20 or 30 years."
Reggie: Did you ever think of doing an entire album like some bands have been doing lately?
Luke: "We don't have that much time to rehearse this year. Next year on the 35th anniversary of Toto, we're taking that REAL seriously. It would be fun to do a whole album. People do these things. It would be interesting. Difficult in some ways. But that doesn't mean impossible."
Reggie: I saw Deep Purple do "Machine Head" and it was AWESOME! It was with Steve Morse.
Luke: "I love Steve Morse. He's doing G3 now. Steve and I are dear old friends. He is one of the most brilliant all around guitar players there is! There isn't anything that he cant do. G3 was such a blast. It's real humbling for me. Everybody's doors were all open. All the bands were hanging out. We were all laughing, running around with the fake Billy Bob teeth. I've got some great photos. Just playing with Joe (Satriani) and Steve (Vai). Those guys are sooo good. It wasn't a competitive thing at all. They could wipe the floor with me. It was very complementary. We got to go on first. We did our thing. It went down really well. We sold a lot of CD's. Which is funny because they say CD's don't sell but there's no record stores. But when it's right there. I sold a lot of merch and made a lot of new friends. People that maybe didn't know what I was about. Or know me at all. People who thought I was going to come out and play "Rosanna" or "Africa" or something like that. And I didn't. Or maybe I converted a lot of people who didn't know what the hell I was doing there!"
Reggie: You were a little intimidated going into the G3 Shows. It sounds like those fears went away.
Luke: "They did. It was such a great honor for me to check it off my bucket list. I never thought I'd get called. I know those guys. We've played together. But to really be on the Tour. We ended the Tour in Byron Bay, Australia in front of 10 or 12,000 people. I really got over a big internal hurdle that I've had. All my insecurities,all the weird shit I've been going through for years. It culminated in this thing. But as soon as I went out on stage it was gone, organically. A good shrink,time and a lot of soul searching. And a lot of practice. Just to feel good. I was so warmly welcomed by Steve and Joe and everybody in all the bands. Mike Keneally, what a MONSTER musician. Everybody was soo good. I made a lot of new friends. It cemented some life long friendships, Steve,Joe and I. From what I understand, from other people who have been on the gig before that the vibe was really good. They've asked me to do a couple of more things."
Reggie: That leads me to my next question. Any more G3 Shows?
Luke: "They like to have other guys come in. I mean Steve Morse is doing it. John Petrucci is coming back. I can't speak for Joe and I wouldn't. I may fill in here and there. Once you get put on the list........"
Reggie: You become part of the G3 family.
Luke: "Like Joe said to me at one point, some touching, moving things. It touched my heart to be accepted by those guys. Their fans were really nice. They were cool to me. I didn't want to win the race I just wanted to be in it."
Reggie: How is this new record you're working on different than a Toto record. This is your record with your name on it.
Luke: "Well I've got to give C.J. the love too. We co-wrote everything. We're such a great team together. If I did this own my own I know it wouldn't be as good. I know that I think we just developed something that is very organic,natural and effortless. When you have that kind of writing and production musician relationship as well as being friends, it's a joy to come to work every day. We pretty much see eye to eye. There's a little healthy edge every once in awhile. But you've gotta have that."
Reggie: Is there anything else?
Luke: "It's just time to get back to work and finish this album. I don't have a title yet. I'm really proud of the music. If you liked the last one you'll love this one! This has been a really stellar year for me man. Just came out of the box hard. Big growth. We worked really hard to get back to a place where I can really appreciate it and try to forgive my past and anybody that I may have pissed off along the way I'm sorry. I really truly am. There comes a point where you have to stand up for what you believe in. I've got my shit together. If some people can't deal with that then, sorry. If I've asked some questions that have ruffled some feathers by asking the wrong questions when it pertains to my life and my business then so be it. One thing about getting older is I don't give a fuck about what anybody thinks anymore. It's my truth. I've earned the right to live the way I want to live. I've cleaned up my act, got my shit together I'm healthy, I'm happy and I'm focused."
Reggie: You've got great kids. I think that's a wonderful reflection of you as a person.
Luke: "That's sweet. I'm really proud of all of them. It's a trip that I have four kids. Tina is going to be 27, Trevor is going to be 25 this month, Lilly 4 1/2 and Bodhi 1 1/2. I've got a lot of kids to raise before they take me up the flag! It's just time to get back to work and finish this album. I don't have a title yet. I'm really proud of the music. If you liked the last one you'll love this one!"
stevelukather.com, May 5th 2012