“SantaMental” was recorded in fewer than six days and features such iconic favorites as Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland and Silent Night but according to Lukather the highlight is definitely his and Eddie Van Halen’s version of Joy to the World.
"When I wrote the arrangement with Jeff Babko, I wrote it specifically with Eddie Van Halen in mind, coming up with a 'Hot for Teacher' groove," he recalls. "So he came in and heard it and goes, 'What are you trying to do, kill me? I haven't played in a while' and we all laughed. I chucked everybody out of the studio, Eddie sat down, did a few takes and it was done. His playing is raw and on fire. He doesn't play on anybody's records so it was a real honor for me.”
Other notable tracks include A Broken Heart for Christmas featuring Slash, Carol of the Bells with Steve Vai and the CD’s bonus cut The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) which brought the Grammy-Award winning duo Lukather and Larry Carlton back together for a special arrangement of this classic holiday favorite.
According to Lukather, the idea behind doing a Christmas record came from Multi-Grammy Award winning producers, Elliot Scheiner and Al Schmitt. "They pitched me the idea of doing this Christmas album. I would not have come up with that myself (laughs). I took it as a challenge to make corny Christmas songs hip, to re-voice them in some way to make them sound weird (laughs). My partner on the project was keyboardist, Jeff Babko. He had brilliant ideas in terms of arrangements."
One of music's most innovative and inventive guitarists, Steve Lukather is best known as a founding member of the internationally successful five-time Grammy Award winning rockers, Toto. Beyond his seminal work in Toto, Lukather is also renowned for his storied session work shredding the six-string for such artists as Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Miles Davis, Eric Clapton, Don Henley, Randy Newman, Cheap Trick and many more.
Lukather's innate versatility, meticulous chops and seamless stylistic mastery truly comes alive on “SantaMental”. Demonstrating a wacky artistic sensibility that befits the artist formerly known as Kris Kringle, the record provides a rockin' winter wonderland of beautifully interpreted songs powered by incendiary guitar firepower, forward-thinking experimentalism and impeccably crafted arrangements. A truly unforgettable work of genius, “SantaMental” is likely to rewrite the soundtrack to many Christmas holidays to come.
The tracklisiting for “SantaMental” is as follows.
Joy to The World Lukather with Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Babko, Gregg Bissonette, John Pierce, Simon Phillips
Greensleeves Lukather with Jeff Babko, Gregg Bissonette, John “Sticky”Pierce, Lenny Castro, Edgar Winter
Jingle Bells Lukather with Babko, Gregg Bissonette, John “Sticky”Pierce, Lenny Castro, Greg Shelby, Walt Fowler
Carol of the Bells Lukather with Jeff Babko, Steve Vai, Gregg Bissonette, John Pierce
Broken Heart for Christmas Lukather with Slash, Jeff Babko, Gregg Bissonette, “Sticky” Pierce
Angels We Have Heard on High Lukather with Babko, Gregg Bissonette, “Sticky”Pierce, Lenny Castro
Winter Wonderland Lukather with Edgar Winter, Jeff Babko, Gregg Bissonette, George Shelby, Walt Fowler
Look Out For Angels Lukather with Mike Landau, Jeff Babko, Gregg Bissonette, “Sticky Pierce”, Lenny Castro
Silent Night Lukather with Jeff Babko, Gregg Bissonette, “Sticky Pierce”, Lenny Castro
The Christmas Song Lukather
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