It's rare to get a rock star on the phone at 9 a.m. on a Saturday. It's even rarer when it's actually an hour earlier where he is. Yet the phone rings, and there's Toto's veteran guitarist, singer, and songwriter Steve Lukather himself on the line, eager to dispel any notion that there's a groggy, hungover hedonist reticent to chat at this early hour.
"Oh man, I get up early every day," he insists, sounding remarkably chipper though it's not even midmorning. "I've been up for an hour and a half already. I go to bed, I work, I play, and I'm in bed again by midnight. Listen man, the days of being a fool and staying up all night are way behind me. Besides, I'm also used to it. I've got two little kids at home."
We've caught up with one of Toto's prime principals in Oklahoma, where the band's just played a sold-out show the night before. Lukather -- or Luke, as his friends call him -- has been out on the road with the band for the past couple of weeks, following a tour he did earlier this year with Ringo's All Starr Band. Toto will continue on the road for another month or so, and then in October, Lukather will rejoin Ringo for another round of shows that should take him into the new year.
While it seems like a heavy schedule, Lukather -- an acclaimed and highly celebrated player in his own right -- claims he hasn't tired of the road yet, even after 35 years of playing ever-ready radio hits with Toto, serving as one of Ringo's regulars, participating in the G3 tour with pals Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, and occasionally even on his own.