In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather talked about the time he worked with late pop icon Michael Jackson and revealed the warning he received from late guitar master Eddie Van Halen.
As you may recall, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson released his famous song ‘Beat It‘ within his sixth studio album, ‘Thriller’ back in 1982. The song was widely known for the participation of late icon Eddie Van Halen with his guitar solo which he recorded free of charge.
Here’s what Eddie Van Halen stated about his part in Jackson’s song:
“I did it as a favor. I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band, our manager, and everyone else. I was not used. I knew what I was doing—I don’t do something unless I want to do it.”
Recently, the founding member and guitarist of Toto, Steve Lukather joined an interview with Ultimate guitar and talked about the time he and Eddie Van Halen worked on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It.’ During the interview, Lukather was asked whether the story suggesting Eddie warned him about the original riff which he considered as ‘too heavy.’
In his response, Steve confirmed that Van Halen actually thought the guitar parts were quite heavy for a Michael Jackson song and he softened it later by using his ‘little Fender Deluxe.’
Here’s what Steve Lukather stated about Eddie Van Halen’s suggestion:
“Yeah, that’s true. I did it knowing that Eddie was already on it. So I figured if he’s going to do something with Eddie, let’s rock ‘n’ roll it up. So, I quadrupled the riff with some Marshalls and stuff like that and sent it over to him. I played all the guitar parts and all the bass parts.
And he said, ‘It’s too much. The guitars are too heavy. You’ve got to use one of you little Fender amps or something.’ So I went in with my little Fender Deluxe and that calmed it down a little bit.
They didn’t really crank it in the mix. Then I went over and overdubbed and came up with some of the other rhythm parts that are on the record with Michael and Quincy in the room.”
“The other stuff was just me and Jeff Porcaro trying to make everything work because someone in Eddie’s camp cut the 2-inch tape and screwed up the SMPTE Code so it wouldn’t sync back up.
So we had to make a new version to the old version that didn’t have a click track or anything. Jeff Porcaro, the genius that he was, kind of put that whole click thing together and we were able to remake the record.”
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