COOL HAND LUKE….To the powers that be within the music industry today all
too often one’s standard of success is measured only by the almighty dollar.
That could not be farther from the truth within the Rock ‘N Roll ranks,
to a man respect and recognition amongst your peers is the ultimate prize.
One on the most sought after world class musicians over the last quarter
century is Steve Lukather. While known to most as the skilled guitarist
behind the Grammy award winning band TOTO, his dynamism and diversification
have afforded him to work in a cross-section of musical dimensions like
no other artist. His website www.stevelukather.net
reads more like an encyclopedia of music as opposed to just biography.
Luke has appeared on hundreds of recordings, his signature tone and vocal
prowess keep him in high demand today. In addition to selling millions
of records with TOTO, Luke has worked with some of music’s greatest
performers. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with just about all
the hero’s I’ve ever had, in a live setting or a recording studio.
I’ve worked with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Elton John, Paul McCartney, George
Harrison, and Don Henley”, says Luke.
This summer finds Luke away from the studio and on the road with his band
TOTO in support of a brand new disc titled “Falling in Between”.Luke
along with longtime collaborators Bobby Kimball and David Paich have created
an atmospheric journey with this new collection of songs. Listeners will
be “Hooked” from the get go as the complex title track finds Luke unleashing
in the midst of a jazzed up jam session as Kimball’s vocals rise to the
occasion. Another standout track on the disc includes the epic cut “Bottom
Of Your Soul”, which highlights the bands trademark harmonies. Also contributing
to the album are former members Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams, as well
as a guest appearance by Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull).
NIGHTLIFE had the great privilege to speak with hired gun Steve Lukather
as he and TOTO (www.toto99.com) are
heading to the Northeast for a series of shows through July.
R.Cat.- Thanks so much for taking some time out to speak to us. Congratulations
on the success of the new disc I especially like the title track it highlights
the bands strengths.
LUKE- Thanks man, we are really proud of this record. “Falling In Between”
was actually the first song that we had written for the record. We are
really looking forward to making the trip back to the States it’s been
a while since we’ve been their and we look forward to getting our feet
R.Cat.- There is no question as to the talent of this band, do you think
the early commercial success with hits like “Hold The Line” ,“Rosanna”
and “Africa” may have clouded critics as to what this band is really all
about. It seems that maybe some of your music was a casualty of being categorized
as a pop band?
LUKE- We’ve most definitely taken on the chin over the years from some
critics who try and put our music into a little box. That’s not really
what this band is about. We’ve been working for over thirty years together
so there must be somebody out their listening to us. The shows in Europe
earlier this year were a blast, watching fans both young and old enjoy
what we are doing up their. So really we are proud of what we put out there
and we have our passionate fans who inspire us.
R.Cat.- Honestly I was amazed when I started to research for this interview
at the impressive resume of sessions work both yourself and the members
of TOTO have been involved in.
LUKE- The interesting thing is that it used to be considered a negative
in the industry. For me I wear that badge rather proudly. What other bands
can you think of that has the sessions pedigree that we have, working with
such stylistically diverse artists who are Rock ‘N Roll legends with Grammy’s
hanging all over the studio. I look at it as a plus; I’ve had the most
amazing experiences working with some of the most famous artists of the
last forty years. It’s really been a great run, I’ve gotten to jam BEATLES
songs with both Paul and George, I’ve been in the studio with Elton John
when he says let’s give “Levon” a run through. What really opened my eyes
to what I was experiencing was when Jimmy Page told me, “don’t take any
shit about being a session’s musician that’s how I got started”.
R.Cat.- How do you think that all the session’s work as molded yourself
and TOTO, do you find that working within other bands has helped with the
longevity of the group?
LUKE- That’s a good question. I can’t really put my finger on it. Really
we all went to high school together so I think that is a big factor. From
my start in working with Boz Scaggs to TOTO being signed to a record deal
and developing a reputation as great sessions guys it been a great ride.
I really love all the guys in the band both past and present as not only
musicians but as human beings as well.
R.Cat.- I picked up the “Live In Amsterdam” DVD it’s quite evident that
the band is in a zone on stage, more importantly everyone on seems to be
enjoying themselves, is it difficult to invoke the desire to tour after
all these years?
LUKE- That’s the beauty of playing with awesome musicians that we have
in our band. You get up on stage and you’re playing at a really high level.
It challenges you as an artist when you jam with such talented people.
There is always a lot of room for improvisation which keeps everything
fresh and vibrant. So come on out and see us, our shows are always full
NIGHTLIFE would like to thank Luke for his valuable time as well as Aaron
Meza and Jonathan Wolfson of Wolfson Public Relations for putting this
REVIEW THE TREWS:
ROOM 6/1/06…. While the Hurricanes may have swept away this cities
“Yearning” to drink from Lord Stanley, another force was stirring from
the north as THE TREWS stormed the stage inside the Town Ballroom. The
native Canadians put on a free feverish performance following game seven
sponsored by Buffalo’s hottest new concert club. The rock and roll
road warriors are in the midst of a full-scale U.S Tour in support of their
standout sophomore release “Den of Thieves”. Track for track this disc
is ‘trewly’ a stellar collection of genre-blending sounds, full of the
influences of all that is good in Rock ‘N Roll over the last thirty
years. From the opening song “Fire up Ahead” , this disc is blazing with
the potency of ZEPPELIN, the raunchy blues of the CROWES, all tied together
with the alluring harmonies and melodies of the FOO FIGHTERS. This is a
group that is “Tired of Waiting” and is a band to be reckoned with behind
the support of their new label RSM/Sony BMG. “For the past three years,
we’ve enjoyed the success that we’ve earned at home. Not only have we learned
a lot about the business but we’ve also matured both personally and musically.
I think “Den of Thieves” reflects this and that we are ready for the U.S.,”
said vocalist Colin MacDonald.
The Brothers MacDonald; Colin on vocals, John- Angus on his gripping guitar,
along with Jack Syperek (bass) and Sean Dalton (drums), have developed
a ‘trewly’ panoramic sound linking their musical montage of inspired influences.
This comes as no surprise as THE TREWS got it done the old fashioned way
playing night after night throughout Canada since their debut album “House
of Ill Fame” in 2003. They have opened for THE ROLLING STONES, ROBERT PLANT,
and NICKELBACK, not to mention garnering two Gold records and six “Top
10” singles including two #1’s on the first two discs.
While “Den of Thieves’ is worth a straight through listen THE TREWS
strength lies within their legendary live performances, playing 400 plus
shows over the past two and a half years. “Playing that many shows
is hard work but it is paying off for us. We’ve emerged as a stronger band,
both as friends and musicians,” says guitarist John-Angus MacDonald.
Good news for those of you who ran home to “Cry” following the Game 7 loss
by the Sabres, THE TREWS will be “Makin Sunshine” on Thursday June 29th
at Lafayette Square as they will open the evening’s festivities for Canadian
greats 54*40. NIGHTLIFE would like to thank THE TREWS, Matt Finkelstein
of Bumstead Productions in Toronto, and Bridget Moyer of Chipster Entertrainment.
REVIEW- THE NEW CARS:
BLOSSOM MUSIC CENTER…..The rumor that began to circle the track earlier
this year has now crossed the finish line as the NEW CARS are on the road
and fully loaded. NIGHTLIFE took the rock and roll roady to see the
refueled band that jammed the airwaves with Top 40 hits throughout the
late seventies and eighties. Former lead singer Ric Ocasek passed on the
reunion tour and handed the keys to the musical mastermind Todd Rundgren.
The multifaceted artist and his unique persona have done a bang up job
revving the engine to the NEW CARS.
It’s been seventeen years since founding member Elliot Easton and keyboardist
Greg Hawkes took the CARS out for a spin and judging by their high octane
performance it’s going to be one hell of a joyride. “We’ve tried approaching
it in several different ways over the years, at the end of the day Ric
and drummer David Robinson didn’t want to do it, and Greg and I did”, says
The “Road Rage Tour” setlist opened with the hybrid NEW CARS saying “Hello
Again” to the many fans who’ve waited seventeen summers to “Let the Good
Times Roll” again with the Boston born band. Although they’ve had to “Shake
it Up” a little as far as the line-up goes their success remains due to
the sum of the parts. South paw guitarist Elliott Easton was swinging for
the fences on the classic CARS catalog as he and Rundgren lit it up trading
licks and riffs. Greg Hawkes keyboard wizardry and soaring harmonies kept
the show “Moving in Stereo”, which by the way was still as mesmerizing
as Phoebe Cates slow motion saunter across the screen in “Fast Time s at
Ridgemont High”. Also joining in on the CARavan is sessions sensation and
former Utopia member bassist Kasim Sultan, he took on the daunting task
of steering the NEW CARS through an impassioned version of “Drive”, originally
sung by the late CARS bassist Benjamin Orr. Bringing up the tail is drummer
extraordinaire Prairie Prince who spent most of the last thirty years with
the TUBES, his pounding precision helped keep the pedal to the metal. This
is by no means a nostalgia reunion tour and may have well never happened
if not for the participation of Todd Rundgren. He was a musical pioneer
when all he wanted to do was “Bang the Drum” way back when. Now with his
artistic contributions to numerous to count his desire to stay true to
himself and his accomplishments while striving to reach uncharted musical
waters is unparalleled today.
Check out the bands brand new website for in depth bios and tour dates
enough following the Blossom gig the band’s tour bus was involved in an
accident in which Easton suffered a broken collar-bone. The underrated
guitarist played with pain through the next four nights until it was determined
surgery was necessary. For now the caution flag is out on the ROAD RAGE
TOUR as Easton is in for repairs. Even with the brief pit stop the NEW
CARS show no signs of depreciation. To hold you over until the band hits
the road again pick up the NEW CARS disc “IT’S ALIVE”, a performance recorded
earlier this year featuring three brand new songs including the new summer
hit “Not Tonight”. The status on show at the Molson Amphitheatre scheduled
for June 21st will be updated on the bands website.
NIGHTLIFE would like to thank Katie McNeil and Chris Kelly form 10th Street
Entertainment for their help.
STRUMMER TIME…..While the music world is still stinging from the untimely
death of punk pioneer JOE STRUMMER, a new Rockumentary DVD due out on June
27th by renowned filmmaker Dick Rude my heal some of that pain. Titled
“Let’s Rock Again” the DVD is an intimate look at STRUMMER as he embarks
on his final tour with his band The Mescaleros prior to his death in 2002.
The disc is loaded with candid interviews, fan interaction and more importantly
some passionate live performances by the band. If nothing else the rockumentary
shows that STRUMMER worked as hard at the end for the love of his music;
as he did when the CLASH defied critics and took the world by storm. The
DVD is most certainly well worth a look and listen, so kick back relax
and “dig, drift and groove”, not just for CLASH fans. Check out his new
website @ www.joestrummer.com.
Thanks to Libby Henry at MSO.
See ya in the July 3rd issue when we feature all things Sammy Hagar as
we prepare for the tour stop at the Darien Lake PAC on July 7th.