Over the course of five decades Steve Lukather has placed an indelible stamp on pop culture. Alongside his tenure as the only member of ToTo to never take a hiatus from the band, he has performed on thousands of albums as a session musician. Amongst these musical contributions are some of the most successful, influential and enduring records of all-time including Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Additionally, he released a memoir titled The Gospel According To Luke which was a global best-seller. He continues to be Toto’s band leader, a long-tenured member of Ringo’s All-Starr Band, and a solo artist.
ToTo has enjoyed a celebrated global resurgence over the last decade. Through 2022-2023, the band will perform in front of close to a million fans. Their repertoire has 3 BILLION+ streams at Spotify alone, with “Africa” counting for one billion plays on its own. Album sales exceed 40 MILLION copies. Toto is one of the few 70’s bands that have endured the changing trends and styles, and 45 years in to a career enjoy a multi-generational fan base and still selling out shows around the world.
His ninth solo album, titled BRIDGES, could not be more accurately titled. Luke shares, “I see it as a bridge between my solo music and ToTo Music. The fact that Joseph Williams, David Paich and I wrote most of the record, and the fact I invited many of the old ToTo gang to come and play, co-writers like Randy Goodrum and Stan Lynch brings all this together. It also proves that most of my old pals and I are still great friends, and I wanted to do a record ‘in the style of,' as ToTo will never record another studio album. This is as close as we will get.” He continues, “We still love writing and creating and recording together, and we will no doubt continue to work with each other on our respective solo works. It's complicated, and at the age I am now, I do NOT wish to do anything complicated.”
Amongst the repertoire recorded, “Far From Over” is a co-write with his eldest son Trevor. Luke reflects, “It’s funny…when he was born 35 years ago, I looked into his eyes before I cut the cord and said to myself, 'I wonder IF he will follow in my footsteps?' He sure did! It is a joy beyond belief cause he really is f*cking good! I wish I could say I taught him everything but I didn't. He started on drums, as most kids do, and then when he wanted to play guitar, and gave him a Drop D tuning and a little amp with distortion, and said 'Come back to me when you have written a few riffs’ He did in a day or so. I was impressed. The rest was him figuring it out in his own way. He is the only one of my four kids that has gotten into music (so far), and made it his life. He has a natural gift that one can’t learn. I could not be prouder than I am.”
Over the course of Luke’s career, both Stan Lynch and Randy Goodrum have frequently co-written with him. On Bridges, both of these prolific writers once again have collaborated. Lynch co-writing “Not My Kind Of People” with Lukather / Paich / Williams, and Goodrum with Luke alone on “All Forevers Must End.” As Luke offers, “These guys are the guys that come in and write the lyrics way better than me. I knew they would bring it as always and they did. They are also dear friends as well, and we love working together. I do have input to the lyrics. I give them ideas of what I wanna say and they articulate my feelings into the music, and then perhaps once I see their first drafts we talk about it, edit here and there, and the end result is what we have on this record as has been the approach in the past as well. I love working with my friends. It's why I did the record in the first place.”
Bridges presents deep roots and branches from ToTo’s family tree. Past and present members contribute on both the writing and performance side. Joseph Williams has writing credits on six of the songs, while David Paich does on four. Williams performs on all recordings contributing background vocals, synths, percussion or keys pending on the track, while Paich plays keyboards on five. Drummer Simon Phillips performed on “Far From Over,” “Not My Kind Of People,” “When I See You Again,” and “Burning Bridges.” While Shannon Forrest returned to play on “Someone,” “All Forevers Must End,” “Take My Love” and “I’ll Never Know.” Both old friend and former member Lee Sklar and Gov’t Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson perform bass on a couple of tracks, while Luke himself performs those tracks on several others. On “Far From Over,” Trev Lukather performs guitars, bass, background vocals, and synths. Current ToTo keyboardist Steve Maggiora co-wrote “Take My Love” and performs all keys alongside singing background vocals on that track. Luke shares, “Some people think cause someone has left the band or moved on to their own thing that we stopped being friends or stopped wanting to work together.
I think this proves that is not the case, and I wanted to make music with my old friends, alongside having a laugh or two. It was a lot of fun and it also has a sound that is familiar and with the music we were writing it was a perfect match.”
When it comes to David Paich and Joseph Williams, the three remain close to this day. Paich remains the musical director of ToTo although he no longer travels appearing at every show. Williams and Lukather are the Dogs of Oz, helming the career of the band in to the future. As Luke shares, “I have been working with both these guys since I was a kid. I revere their talent and I wanted to make a record with my friends. I wanted to take pressure off myself, and I had Joe produce the record so I could just be an artist. Paich is the guy that not only taught me how to make records, but he was the one that encouraged my songwriting in ToTo and really pushed me in every musical sense. And, I love these guys and it is so easy. We all like the same stuff and have worked together for most of our lives. It was like going back to summer camp with my best pals!” He continues, “Joe is a remarkable Producer and songwriter as is Dave so.. I was able to relax and enjoy the process. Hence it may have a 'familiar' sound or style when this is all mixed together. Not intentionally…it's just what happens when we create together.”