Toto’s guitarist Steve Lukather talked to Guitar Player Magazine about when he auditioned for Frank Zappa’s band.
Read what he said:
“See, the way it worked in the old days in your life as a studio musician – it was a hard club to get in. I don’t know how I got in, I’m a lucky son of a bitch, whatever. I knew I had to bring it. You study and you wait for the moment, and the moments are not always great.
“I tell the story in my book about my audition with Frank Zappa which really went south. I came to find out from Steve Vai that I was the sacrificial lamb to get rid of everybody else because there was 150 guitar players sitting there for one position. He [Frank] didn’t want to audition 150 guitar players, so he made my audition impossible.
“I was the first guy. He tortured me. It’s in the book. I go into massive details, I don’t want to relive it because it was very painful, it was very embarrassing to me. And it was really scary, because he was not nice to me at all.
“I was 17. I thought, ‘That’s it, my career is over, I’m not good enough, I’ll never make it.’ I tried not to cry. It was just humiliating. And I said, ‘Fuck it! I’m gonna fuckin’ take that energy and I’m gonna turn it into a positive, I’m gonna prove him wrong. I am gonna make it, I am gonna be somebody. And some day he’ll know that.’
“I went home and practiced my ass off. I just played. I was just mad. Every guitar player knows what you play when you’re mad.
“Sometimes it’s great. Sometime’s I’ll be so pissed off – I walk on stage and I get some bad news about a business deal gone wrong or somebody fucked this up or we didn’t get this or we got ripped off, or whatever. Or I’m in pain, my shoulder is killing me – because it’s a terminal illness.”