Steve Lukather was born October 21, 1957, is a gifted world class American Grammy Award winning guitar player, singer, songwriter, arranger, and record producer best known for his work with the rock band Toto. Lukather has also released several solo albums and, as a studio session guitarist, has arranged, composed, and recorded on over 1000 albums. While Toto is mainly based on pop rock music, Lukather’s solo work spans many genres including rock, jazz and funk.
Notable session keyboardist David Paich and session drummer Jeff Porcaro were high school friends with Lukather. They pursued Lukather to join in forming their band, Toto, in 1976 when Lukather was nineteen years old. He has been a member of Toto ever since. Combine Lukather’s talent at guitar playing and his relationship with Paich and Porcaro, both established session musicians, allowed him to earn great deal of session work in the 1970s and 1980s. He is a fertile songwriter, writing and or co-writing many songs for Toto and many other artists. His career has seen literally hundreds of performances and album appearances with Toto and other famous musicians. Steve has been nominated for a Grammy an unbelievable twelve times, and has won five awards.
Surprisingly, not as many people are familiar with Lukather and Toto as I would have expected. Like Little Feat, they have proven their worth over the test of time. Often studio session guitarists are not well known since they play in the background on studio albums.
Richard, my guitar teacher and a couple others got to see Toto and Steve Lukather at The Mojo Room in Fort Pierce, Florida last year. As soon as the opening act finished blowing our eardrums out, we could get down to some heavy guitar playing. By then the place was really smoky and everyone there was pretty tuned up (except Richard and Me, we don’t drink, we do heavy drugs, less calories!!)). The place was packed and when Toto hit the stage everyone went nuts, to put it simply we were ready.
The band played one set about one and a half hours long. Steve put more wear on that guitar in this single performance than most folks do in a lifetime. He also went through about 100 picks. His raw and natural ability came through abundantly, never missed a beat or note the whole time. When you put three musicians of that caliber together and take into account 30 years of playing together, you should expect a tight well organized band. One that thinks and plays together. Steve’s emotions pour out of him all over his audience!
Words don’t do Steve Lukather and Toto justice. Listening ans watching is the only way to feel how intense his vibe is. I must warn you that listening may add a new addiction to your life, if you dare.
Note: The first two are songs were composed by Jimi Hendrix, Steve’s primary influence. Jeff Beck was Steve’s other main influence.
Steve currently plays MusicMan guitars and has a signature model named “Luke” that incorporates his signature EMG pickup system. Lukather is one of the few official endorsers of EMG pickups, having been involved in the development of his own Lukather signature “SL20″ pickup system.The guitar started out with only MusicMan specifications (including a Floyd Rose locking vibrato, later replaced with a vintage-style fulcrum bridge), but in 1998 the manufacturer made several customizations to the model to better fit Lukather’s playing style. In recent years he has been using less effects, mostly employing a delay unit only.
Steve Lukather is a living legend. He is one of the most talented and influential guitar players of our time. Guitar Players Center is only able to fill a bucket with one drop of Steve’s accomplishments. Enjoy