Steve Lukather Recalls David Lee Roth’s Disgust After Asking For Eddie Van Halen

Apparently, reading the room is quite an important skill. It came in clutch for Toto guitarist Steve Lukather when he had the awkward run-in with David Lee Roth in the studio while looking for Eddie Van Halen. Lukather shared with Sunset Sound Recorders that he immediately made a U-turn out of the studio once Van Halen engineer Donn Landee pointed him to where Eddie was.

Lukather recalled his first interaction with Eddie, “I met Ed in ’79 at the California World Music Festival at the Coliseum. I knew who he was then because we were doing our first record. Their first album had just come out, and Paich came into the studio with Ed, and he goes, ‘Here I want you to hear something while you’re doing solos,’ and he played me ‘Eruption.’”

The guitarist revealed, “I was like, ‘What the f*ck is that?’ I lost my mind because I had never heard anything like it before. How does, how what, who is why I gotta know.” After Lukather had heard the guitar solo, he was mind blown, as it was so different from anything he had heard.

After the two musicians got closer, Steve would pop by the studio, but one time his search for Ed didn’t go as well as he would have expected. He shared, “I walked into Studio One looking for Ed once, and Roth was sitting there with Donn Landee, and I walked in like the ever-jovial self and said, ‘Hey man! Hey, Donn! Where’s Ed?’ And Roth looked at me as if I had just killed his parents or something.’ The look on his face was disgust. Like, ‘How dare you to share the same air!’ I got the vibe right away. ‘I’m just looking for Ed, man.’ Don says, ‘No, he’s over there, Luke.’ I got out of there quick!”

Although Steve Lukather was chill with almost everyone, he just never had the chance to get close to David Lee Roth, and after that interaction in the studio, he was more inclined to hang out with Eddie and the rest of the guys. Think about it. If you felt you didn’t click with someone, you wouldn’t force it, right? It’s best to keep it moving and focus on the people you get along with.