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Steven Lee Lukather (born October 21, 1957) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer, best known as the sole continuous founding member of the rock band Toto from its founding in 1976 to its latest hiatus in 2019. A prolific session musician, Lukather has recorded guitar tracks for more than 1,500 albums representing a broad array of artists and genres. He has also contributed to albums and hit singles as a songwriter, arranger and producer. He played guitar on Boz Scaggs’ albums Down Two Then Left (1977) and Middle Man (1980). Lukather was a prominent contributor to several studio albums by Michael Jackson, including Thriller (1982), Lukather has released seven solo albums, the latest of which, Transition, was released in January 2013.
In 1976, when Lukather was nineteen years old, he was invited by his high school friends David Paich and the Porcaro brothers Steve and Jeff to join them in forming their band, Toto. He remained a member of the band throughout its entire history, in latter years serving as its manager, musical director, and live emcee. Lukather’s reputation as a guitarist and his association with Paich and the Porcaro brothers, who also became established artists, allowed him to secure a steady flow of session work in the 1970s and 1980s. Lukather has been nominated for twelve Grammy Awards, and has won five. While his work with Toto was predominantly based on pop rock music and his solo work ventures into progressive rock and hard rock, many of Lukather’s side-projects are focused on jazz fusion. He held a long-time collaboration with jazz guitarist Larry Carlton that produced a Grammy-winning live album, and he was a member of the jazz fusion band Los Lobotomys, a collaboration of notable session musicians. Since 2012, Lukather has toured with former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr’s live supergroup, the All-Starr Band. […]
Interview with Steve Lukather from UltimateClassicRock July 2015:
Paul McCartney – Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)
It was a great experience to work with Paul and hang with him and George Martin and Geoff Emerick and all of the rest of it. That was magical. We didn’t know we had to wear the wig and the makeup until we got there. There was no warning about that. [Laughs] But then again, Paul and Linda did it, so we didn’t bitch about it. He took a shine to Jeff Porcaro and I on the Thriller sessions and he and Linda invited us over to work on this project. We were there for a couple of weeks just filming one song. But all of the gear was set up live, like the Mellotron, I started playing “Strawberry Fields Forever” on it, he turned around and he started laughing.
Somebody told us, “Don’t say anything about the Beatles in front of Paul,” and I’m like, “What? How can you not say anything about the Beatles in front of Paul, for God’s sake.” I kind of broke the invisible barrier, because I went to Linda, I was standing next to her — who was a fantastic woman, God, I don’t understand why anybody could ever say anything negative about her, because she was just a great woman, who was like, “Look, I don’t want to be in the band — he wants me in the band!” She was so funny and so cool. I was standing on the riser with her and we were just working on the song that we were doing and we had gotten to know each other a little bit and she was really cool, so I said, “Yeah, they told us not to say anything about the Beatles in front of Paul, which is really sort of weird, because it’s the reason why we all play.” She goes, “Who told you that?” I said, “Well, you know, the director, they said, “Whatever you do, don’t say anything about it, don’t ask him about the Beatles,” and she goes, “Rubbish!”
So I said, “Well, there’s the Mellotron, I’m going to play something” and I’m going, “Oh please, God, don’t let me f— this up.” I played the opening Mellotron part on “Strawberry Fields” and Paul looked right up and went, “Hey, right, good on ya!” I said, “Well, sorry, I couldn’t help myself” and everyone was laughing. He goes, “No, no” and then he starts telling a story about when they were cutting the track and then I had a guitar and it was plugged in and I started playing the intro to “Please Please Me,” Jeff jumped in, Paul started singing it and we played the song and at the end of it, the whole place erupted in applause, with all of the techs and people working. Then it was on — we’d go out and have lunch and George Martin would be there, Geoff Emerick, the engineer and I’d go, “How’d you get the drum sound on this,” and they loved talking about it. it was totally cool! So it was an incredible time for us.
Paul was so great. He invited us to the premiere and we all sat next to him and then we lost touch. Then I got to meet George, who around 1992, right after Jeff passed, he came and played live with us at the Jeff Porcaro Tribute. He came out and played “With a Little Help From My Friends” and then three and a half years ago, I got the call to do Ringo and I went and did that and this has been the longest All-Starr Band kept together and we’ve become really good friends. He lives near me, we hang and I adore the man. I got to do the 50th anniversary TV show with Paul and Ringo.
I’m sitting there looking up, right before we go onstage after rehearsing and all of that stuff and there’s Paul and Ringo and they played clips from A Hard Day’s Night and it really kind of hit me, my God, every relative, every neighbor, everybody I could get to take me to see this movie multiple times as a child, I’m standing there and I’m going, “I’m getting ready to celebrate 50 years ago.” This hit me hard. I’m standing there with the guys walking on the stage and there was a total moment, “My God, I’ve actually pulled off the dream. Here I am.” How did that work out?
If you’d have told me when I was a kid, “Oh yeah, in 50 years, you’ll be hanging with these guys celebrating and things,” you might as well have told me I was going to be the first man on Venus. But you know, my little dream worked out and it’s not lost on me. Believe me, I’m very appreciative and kind of like, “Wow, did that really happen?” I’m still very humbled by it all.
Well, those guys [Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr] just create their own energy. There’s them and then there’s everybody else, you know what I mean. When they’re in the same room together, it’s pretty intense. I mean you’re looking at some cats who changed the world. It’s not just music. They’re so humble and nice and approachable. I worked with Paul for the first time on the ‘Thriller’ record in 1982 [with Michael Jackson] and we did the movie with him and then I did The Beatles 50th Anniversary with him. Then he recorded on two songs that Ringo and I had written together – he played bass on them – that was on the last [Ringo] album. It was me Paul and Ringo and that was the greatest gift ever. It didn’t matter if it sold two records or it sold a billion. To me, that was, like, the reason why I played music so to have something like that happen in my life was beyond anything I could imagine.Steve Lukather – interview with Ultimate Guitar, December 6, 2020
Last updated on December 16, 2020