Luke told me "John is my oldest and dearest friend. We were in a band together when we were kids". Pierce was in the studio to lay down the parts on two tracks, "Last Man Standing" and "Rest of the World". Pierce told a humorous story of when he was in the studio one day. Pierce said "I was on a session with an orchestra. There were a bunch of "A list" studio cats. The producer got on the speaker in front of all thirty players and said loudly 'hey bass player', as everyone's eyes locked in on me, 'you're not reading the part!" That was the joke line of the day as everyone replayed that line out loud numerous times. It was funnier each and every time someone mimicked Pierce.
Pierce also quoted Marty Paich talking about Luke during the session. Paich said to him about Luke 'the kid has got ears.' That point gets lost as that came in handy today on this session and has come in handy on the hundreds and hundreds of Luke's sessions in the past. Several times Luke caught something and it took a playback before all else heard the same thing Luke had caught on the first run. CJ is the Producer, Writer and Keyboard player on this project. When he isn't working with Luke he is the Musical Director for Spinal Tap. He has also worked with Joe Cocker, Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Ringo Starr, Richard Marx and many, many others. The list doesn't stop there as Film Composer is also among his many talents. Pierce is the bass player in Huey Lewis and the News and has played on hundreds and hundreds of sessions. Some of those sessions have included Mick Jagger, Stevie Nicks, Celine Dion among many, many others. Kristina is a singer who CJ is mentoring. She would lend her vocal talents to this project in the form of background vocals.
The first cut was "Last Man Standing". The song had Luke's nod to Joe Walsh. Luke told me how much fun he just had hanging out recently with his friend Joe in Las Vegas at an Eagles gig. CJ played the cut so all could get a feel for the song. All three put their heads together. There was discussion by all three on what bass would be used. Painstaking effort was taken to get the exact groove that would satisfy all. All three were in agreement immediately as to what was working and what wasn't. All three also had a say in the final outcome. Luke was all smiles as he shouted words of encouragement to Pierce. Luke said "that's money" and "ya, baby"! I got a full taste of the track as it was played again and again. The funky slide sounding guitar part sounded amazing over the studio speakers. Although everyone in the studio thought Luke played the slide on the track he assured us that he hadn't.
Kristina, the young protégé of CJ was at Music School 101 as she soaked in the studio hang. She was learning something every minute from the three longtime music vets. The second number was "Rest of the World". It was a mellow really groovy number that CJ loved Luke's vocal on. John couldn't figure out if it was a Lou Rawls or Al Green vibe. Either way it was a winning sound. The trio slammed through this number with ease. C.J. played us a couple of more cuts that were not quite finished but sounded great anyway.
During the session itself CJ would speak through his keyboards. His keyboards were mounted directly in front of him. Always just a reach away. Instead of humming or mimicking the bass part C.J. would just play it on his keys. Luke stepped out of the room for a minute and when he came back joked to the duo still working "aren't you done yet?"
There was a short break as Luke had to run off and do a quick photo shoot for the Ringo Starr All-Starr Tour program. CJ cued up the second cut after Pierce was done. Everyone was satisfied with the days work. As the track was almost finished. Luke and Pierce reminisced about old times. They talked about seeing the James Gang at the Santa Monica Civic. They remembered that the crowd was all amped up to see Joe Walsh but were disappointed when it was Domenic Troiano instead. There was talk about cool bills in the '70's where you could see bands of all different genres and everyone would walk away happy. They laughingly talked about Luke playing with Boz Scaggs. Luke said "SEVEN nights SOLD OUT at the Greek Theatre!" Pierce said "1977, 7TH ROW!" Luke reminded Pierce "I took care of you my friend". Another fond memory was discussed about seeing Yes on the "Close to the Edge" Tour.
Many memories were rehashed as they discussed flying out of Burbank Airport and over their old stomping grounds in Van Nuys. Spotting familiar spots prompted even more stories. Longtime friendships are made but if both persons are in the music business it's sometimes hard to spend time with your friends. If both parties are constantly touring and doing sessions then it's hard to catch up. But today was one of those times and there was a warm feeling throughout the day. It was great seeing two true friends catch up. CJ summed up the day later at dinner when he said "we had a fucking BALL! It was a blast!"
Reggie Boyle, Stevelukather.com, May 5th 2012