60 Sec­onds with... STeve LukATheR

A minute’s all it takes to see what makes a great gui­tarist tick. Be­fore he jumped in his limo for the air­port we nabbed a quick chat with Toto’s su­perla­tive gui­tarist, .

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

GT: Do you have a type of pick that you can’t live with­out? SL: I play small teardrop jazz pick­sheavy. Dun­lop makes them for me. GT: If you had to give up all your ped­als but three, what would they be? SL: A nice stereo de­lay, vol­ume pedal and per­haps a dis­tor­tion box. GT: Do you play an­other in­stru­ment well enough to be in a band? And have you ever done it? SL: Key­boards and bass, and I have done on TOTO records as well as other ses­sions. I played bass on Beat It for Michael Jack­son as well as all the gui­tars ex­cept for Ed­die’s solo. GT: If a mu­sic chart were put in front of you, could you read it? SL: Yes, un­less it was like a clas­sic two-part in­ven­tion. My read­ing chops are a tad down now. I can read and I am glad I do. It helps. I used to be bet­ter at it. It is like an­other lan­guage. When you use it ev­ery day you speak it flu­ently. GT: Do gui­tar ca­bles re­ally make a dif­fer­ence? What make are yours? SL: In the stu­dio, yes. Live, not so much. I have tried them all. Mon­ster makes great stuff. GT: Is there any­one’s play­ing (past or present) that you’re slightly jeal­ous of? SL: Ev­ery­one, Haha! Well Jeff Beck on one side. Per­haps Satch, Vai or Guthrie Go­van and all the great jazz play­ers. Like I said, ev­ery­one. GT: Your house/stu­dio is burning down; which of your gui­tars do you sal­vage? SL: I would save my kids first and a few pieces of ir­re­place­able me­mora­bilia. I don’t keep my vin­tage stuff at my house. That is in a fire­proof locker hid­den away. GT: What’s your favourite amp and how do you set it? SL: Right now it is a Bogner Ecstacy three-chan­nel with clean, dirty and “look out it’s f***ing loud!” Ha­haha. GT: What kind of ac­tion do you have on your gui­tars? SL: Pretty low. I don’t be­lieve in killing my­self. You can get f***ed-up fin­ger­tips and or ten­donitis try­ing to be a tough guy. Billy Gib­bons uses .007s. It’s in the hands, heart and ideas that the mu­sic flows, not your string gauges and or height. GT: What strings do you use? SL: Ernie Ball be­cause they are sim­ply the best! GT: Who was your first in­flu­ence to play the gui­tar? SL: Ge­orge Har­ri­son! I Saw Her Stand­ing There opened my soul! GT: What was the first gui­tar you re­ally lusted af­ter? SL: A Les Paul. GT: What was the best live gig you ever did? SL: Wow, So many great ones. There was a great gig on the last tour we did be­fore Jeff Por­caro died. Rock N Ring in Ger­many 1991. 50,000 peo­ple shout­ing our songs back to us. Magic as I re­mem­ber. GT: And your worst play­ing night­mare? SL: The drunk years. I am very ashamed of them and played poorly. I wish I could take that shit all back. I am ter­ri­bly sorry. I got strung out for a bit. I was sick. I have been well for many years now, thank­fully. GT: What’s the most im­por­tant mu­si­cal les­son you ever learnt? SL: Less is more. Some­times we for­get in the heat of it live. It is fun to play fast and all, but much of it is bull­shit in the end. GT: Do you still prac­tise? SL: Al­most ev­ery day un­less trav­el­ling, or the day I come home af­ter a tour. I love to play and my quest to get bet­ter will never die. GT: Do you have a pre-gig warm-up rou­tine? SL: Not any one, but I do warm up on my Yamaha acous­tic 12-string a lot. Like swing­ing a bat with weights like base­ball play­ers do. GT: If you could put to­gether a fan­tasy band with you in it, who would the other play­ers be (dead or alive)? SL: Man, I have done it many times. But there are so many play­ers I would love to play with and learn from. There’s too many to write. Haha! GT: Present com­pany ac­cepted, who’s the great­est gui­tarist that’s ever lived? SL: Well, it’s not me?! It is an im­pos­si­ble ques­tion to an­swer. What style do you mean? There is no such thing, any more than you can say, “Who is the most beau­ti­ful woman?” Art is sub­jec­tive. GT: Is there a solo you re­ally wish you had played? SL: Kid Charle­magne on Steely Dan’s Royal Scam record. Larry Carl­ton. Wow! GT: What’s the solo/song of your own that you’re most proud of? SL: I am proud of the solo on TOTO’s new al­bum TOTO XIV, 21st Cen­tury Blues - It is ev­ery­thing I have been try­ing to be. But there’s al­ways room for im­prove­ment. GT: What would you most like to be re­mem­bered for? SL: Be­ing a great fa­ther, a great friend, funny, and an okay mu­si­cian.

Less is more. Some­times we for­get in the heat of it live. It’s fun to play fast but much of that is bull­shit in the end!

TOTO XIV is out soon. The band’s world tour starts May 21 at the Glas­gow Royal Con­cert Hall, fol­lowed by dates at Manch­ester O2 Apollo (May 25) and Lon­don Even­tim Ham­mer­smith Apollo (May 26). More info: www.to­toof­fi­cial.com

Steve Lukather: Toto’s ax­e­man and ses­sion ace

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