Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Lukather's: Session Stories

Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Lukather's: Session Stories

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT CLICK tracks--they ruined my hearing. They are the reason why I have tinnitus so bad. Back in the heyday of the session musician, you'd get one mix in the phones. One. Today, everyone has their own headphone mixer they can control and get a mix that's perfect for them. But in the '70s and '80s, you'd have six guys wing for what they wanted out of that one headphone mix, and the click track would be sent to everyone, and it was loud. Also, the click we're talking about was not a nice, rhythmic shaker or something like that. It was that classic BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG that felt like someone was pounding a f**king nail fight between your eyes. And, of course, you'd sometimes get that singer who had never been in the studio before who decides to take the headphones off, and put them around the microphone--which is the equivalent of sticking a mic right inside a speaker. So you'd get a 10kHz tone at 200dB ripping your eardrums apart. That was a drag.

We actually didn't play too loud at sessions. In the beginning, your average amp was maybe a blackface Fender Deluxe. Then, when they started putting the stereo thing together with the Boss chorus, you'd try to get a couple of Fender Princetons. Pretty soon, though, I started playing louder. But, still, if it was a live tracking date--and your amps were in the same room as the other musicians--they didn't want you slamming it. If you messed up, you'd ruin a take because the guitar sound would bleed through everything else in the room. …

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