Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Lukather's Session Stories

Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Lukather's Session Stories

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

GUITAR PLAYER'S FACEBOOK PAGE posted a question asking readers what they wanted me to talk about, and many of you said, "career advice." Unfortunately, it's really tough to give career advice to a guitarist in 2010--especially if you're looking to be a session player. That gig is almost non-existent. There are not many players who still do this sh*t, and those who do have to tap dance to keep things going. They have their own home studios with their gear all set up, and clients send them audio files. There's less and less human contact. It's really kind of scary.

The studio camaraderie of the '70s and '80s has disappeared, because recording budgets have disappeared. The record companies got hip to people making records at home, so they cut back the budgets. Now, by necessity, people have become very meticulous about recording costs. They'll go, "Here's what I can pay. Take your time and send me a couple of different solos, and a couple of different rhythm parts, and we'll sift through it." So everybody makes their own deals, and the rules change project by project.

For example, when I make my records, I hire guys for a live session and pay them what they're worth. But I also use the barter system. You know, you sing on my record, I'll play on yours, and we're clean. No money changes hands. That's a good approach because everyone is on a tight budget, and whatever you don't spend, you get to keep, and that's the money you use to eat with.

The days of the Musician's Union guy checking up on a studio date are long over. …

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