“It’s been a kick to get this resurgence, but it’s terrifying to a guy who used to be the youngest guy in the room,” laughs the 61-year-old Lukather from his home in Los Angeles during a break in Toto’s 40 Trips Around the Sun anniversary tour, which lands at the MGM Northfield Oct. 13. “We’re getting all this interest from young kids who are streaming our music.”
This fall’s U.S. dates will finish off a two-year tour that has seen Toto perform to sellout crowds in Asia, Australia, North America, New Zealand and Indonesia. A live two-CD, three-LP collection 40 Tours Around the Sun has been released with a DVD/Blu-Ray set for release Nov. 15.
His legendary guitar skills have earned Lukather appearances on over 1,500 recordings (including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”), and he is a regular touring member of Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band.
“I don’t need to be the fastest gun in the west, I just want to go out and play music,” says Lukather, who talked with us about his career with Toto, his autobiography and the band’s sets at the old Agora.
Toto went from doing studio work for artists such as Boz Scaggs to becoming a supergroup in the 1980s. How has the band remained relevant?
Once people liked us in Europe, they were loyal to us. We worked more over there than here. Now it’s picked up again for us in the States. We were the last generation of studio players like the Wrecking Crew. People now sit in studios and send files to each other. There are no great fadeouts on songs because nobody’s in the room playing together. On most of our [Toto] records there’s great jams at the end. We created things on the spot.
Your book The Gospel According to Luke was a critical and commercial success. What was it like writing a book instead of a song?
I’m honored and surprised. I never thought author would be on my resume. It took two years to get it right because I had to rewrite every word in that book. The first version didn’t sound like me. I’m writing another book called The New Testament.
Toto played at the old Cleveland Agora in 1979 with concert footage preserved on YouTube. What do you remember about those shows?
I remember those shows really captured the early years of the band. I remember the famous hotel Swingos. On our floor were Cheech and Chong, the Tubes and us. It was a weird life. Now I make up poop jokes while I drive my daughter to school.
Watch Toto's 1979 performance at The Agora below.