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Santa Mental

Steve Lukather

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Album Review

With the onslaught of instrumental guitar rock of the late '80s/early '90s (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, etc.), it's surprising that few six-string shredders assembled a collection of guitar-driven holiday tunes (Gary Hoey being an exception). Realizing a void in the market, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather issued Santamental in 2003, and the CD was reissued by Vai's label, Favored Nations, two years later. Santamental is credited to "Steve Lukather and Friends," with a supporting cast chock-full of renowned names — Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Edgar Winter, and Gregg Bissonette. For the most part, Lukather and his comrades keep it "tasteful," without a lot of unwarranted arpeggio runs, two-finger tapping, or sweep picking. Most of the tunes here are of the aforementioned instrumental variety, but there are a handful of selections with vocals — the undoubted highlight being "Jingle Bells," which includes some great vocals from Mr. Sammy Davis, Jr. (albeit sampled, obviously). Other highlights include a very Jeff Beck-like "Silent Night" (which Lukather even dedicates to Beck), as well as a rockin' take of "Joy to the World." If you're sick of the same old holiday songs, Santamental may be the highlight of your December party.


Born: 21 October 1957 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Best known as the guitarist for early MTV-era hitmakers Toto, Steve Lukather remains one of the world's top session men, having played on well over a hundred recordings by a wide variety of artists over the years. Born in Los Angeles, CA, on October 21, 1957, Lukather discovered rock music the way just about every single other young U.S. citizen did during the '60s — via the Beatles. Starting off as a drummer and keyboardist, it wasn't until his father purchased Lukather a guitar that he found...
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Santa Mental, Steve Lukather
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