The Joke That Got Toto’s Steve Lukather Banned From Berklee College of Music
A discussion about rhythm and lead guitar playing is what prompted the 65-year-old musician, who is currently on the road with Toto opening for Journey on their 50th anniversary tour, to recant the tale.
Lukather is a pretty deft lead player himself, but it seems to be rhythm guitar that really impresses him when played at a high level. When it came to studio work, he laughs that he was hired to play "dumb shit" that the shredders for some reason just couldn't quite nail down.
He has a lot of respect for shredders, but states, "It's an exercise in futility at a certain point because the dumb shit is what makes the world go around."
"There's nothing wrong with having amazing technical ability — everybody practices for all that," he continues, "but... [laughs] I was told I could never come back to the Berklee School of Music and do a seminar ever again even though I gave them one for free."
The story begins, "I made a comment that offended the one woman that happened to be in the audience. I even gave a disclaimer, I had somebody say, 'Hey, this guy's crazy, he's liable to say anything so if you offend easily...'"
Lukather then reveals, "What my joke was — and it's obvious it was a joke — somebody asked about technique when you're playing in sessions... I said, "All the ridiculous technique, the crazy chops, it's like having a 20-inch cock. It's great to show it to everybody but how many places can you use it? Huge laugh from the audience and I saw the president named Carl, he was the Dean of Students, and he was [makes facepalm gesture]. Everybody laughed, I didn't think nothing of it."
Then came some post-seminar chatter between Lukather and the Dean.
"I [went] up afterwards and Carl goes, "'Luka,' you know I love you, we got one complaint — a female, of course — who thought your penis joke...' I said, 'Everyone is over 18 here. She's a musician, she's never going to hear a dick joke? Come on. You're in the wrong line of work, girl," he concludes.
An awkward silence immediately follows that final remark as Lukather tilts his head and stammers before moving on to the next topic, perhaps acutely aware his words today can also yield objective interpretation.