Reggie: We are in your (Los Angeles area) Phantom Recordings Studio where your 're working on Steve Weingart and Renne Jones' latest album. Could we get a few words from you on this project?
Simon: "The last album was really fun. I really, really enjoyed it as I ALWAYS do, working with Renee and Steve. It's an honor to be back on this one. Obviously we don't have a lot of time to do it with everyone's schedule being so busy. So we are working long hours. It's great music and great fun."
Reggie: I've seen you guys working together in a live setting numerous times. Is there any difference when working together in a studio situation?
Simon: "The difference is we're working on new music. We're discovering. We're trying things out. When you play live you're playing music that you may not know very well. Especially in this case because we haven't rehearsed very much. But we do know the music. In this case this is ALL brand new. This is virgin music and it's something that I love to do. I find it very creative. It's probably one of my most favorite things to do in the music business, actually to make a record."
Reggie: Are there any differences when you are recording an album in a band situation like this? There are four musicians total here today recording and the plan is for these musicans to Tour on this album. As opposed to a situation where you have five guest bass players, three guest drummers and six guest guitar players?
Simon: "From an engineering and production point of view I don't make it any different. I approach everything pretty much with the same vibe. I always try get a very band like organic sound. That's kind of what I do. I can work any way. I'm used to working with one person at a time. But I really enjoy having a bunch of people come in even if it's for only one or two tracks. I try to create a vibe and capture them playing live. That's the thing that I really like to promote in the studio and like to promote these days. Especially with the way recording is going. Not a lot of that happens. Everyone records isolated, which is a really a shame. I try to promote an opportunity in the studio to get together and play together. Like we did in the 70's. Like we did in the studio today."
Reggie: "What else have you been working on here in your studio?
Simon: "Not much recently because I've been on the road quite a lot. The last couple of projects I did were a mix project for my other band PSP (Simon (d) , Phillip Saisse (k/p), Pino Palladino (b) ) for a DVD that we're going to release. Mixing in surround and stereo, mixing to picture. I did a mastering and kind of editing/recreation of a surround mix for Hiromi (Simon (d), Hiromi (p), Anthony Jackson (b) ) which is another band I'm in. The other project was a project that came in from England. 32 cover songs. It was a lot of fun. I did it with Lee Sklar (ex-Toto (b) ), Tim Pierce (g), Roger Manning a keyboard player who was with Jellyfish and a singer Andrew Freeman.
Reggie: I know Andrew, from the Offspring, Hurricane and now he is singing for the Ronnie James Dio tribute band with the Dio guys, Dio's Disciples.
Simon: That's great! Absolutely. I'm working with that with John Payne from the band Asia. It's a co-production. So we're involved in that. That was one of the most fun records to do. So basically as an engineer I was recreating a lot of the sounds. Pink Floyd, Free, Joan Jett. It was really fun just to get in there and cop their sounds, copy them. It was great. It was a really fun project.
Reggie: You have a really big year ahead of you with Toto coming up. It's the 35th anniversary. You just did a show in Denver in front of a really big crowd. Your first Toto show in the States in five years. Talk a bit about that.
Simon: First off we do Europe. We have a large Tour there. Lot's of Festivals. Then we come back and in a couple of weeks after that we go to Costa Rica. I'm not sure how many shows we're doing there. Then we come up here and do some, really just West Coast shows. Mostly just Arizona and California. The States are always a bit of an enigma. Always strange. But we'll see. It's a different climate, different time.
Reggie: Your band mate in Toto and friend, Steve Lukather, is playing with one of the Beatles, Ringo Starr on his All-Starr Tour this summer. How about that?.
Simon: "It's fantastic! I'm very happy for him to be asked to play. I'm sure he'll have a lot of fun. Gregg Bissonette (played with Toto) is playing drums. And Ringo I'm sure is a lot of fun. I don't know Ringo very well. I know him a little bit. I hope he's having a lot of fun. Also having a lot of fun doing different things. I think that's what both Luke and I have done since Toto really kind of stopped back in 2008. We've been both doing lots of wonderful different styles of music. I certainly have. Incredible changes and different projects. It's been amazing. I hope he's enjoying it and I wish him all the luck."
Reggie: He told me to tell you hello and he's having a great time.
Simon: Oh that's GREAT! Tell him I said hello too.
Reggie: I will say hello. Is there anything else you wanted to add?
Simon: "This Steve and Renee project is the thing right now. As soon as we're done with the overdubs we're going to be launching into the mixing. I've alreadydone three mixes on this. I leave next Thursday for two months. So I've got to be done."
stevelukather.com, June 18th 2012