Meeting Joe

Teaming up with Toto frontman Joseph Williams

How did you end up playing guitar and creating an album with Toto lead singer Joseph Williams?

We first met at Bill Champlin’s (Chicago singer) house while recording my first LA Project record back in 2001! Then Joe came over to Scandinavia for a few tours in 2009 and 2010 and during this time we also recorded most of this new album.

What’s it like writing/working with him?

Working with Joseph is great! We have a lot of fun while working! He really does arrange the lead and background vocals in a way no one else does. He is a true genius at it and comes up with new melodic ideas that are brilliant!

Describe some of you favorite memories from your time at LACM.

I remember Abe Laboriel did a wonderful workshop at school! Winning the Cal State University Jazz Competition was very cool! I also got to sit down one on one with (former Guitar Department Chair) Frank Gambale and got invaluable lessons. Ralph Humphrey’s fusion ensemble was really great!

Any important lessons that have stayed with you since graduating?

LACM made me open up regarding playing and enjoying different styles of music. At LACM, I learned about getting my guitar sounds together and applying what I already knew in a more contemporary environment and the funk classes made me realize I’d better do my homework!

Anything you’d like to say to an aspiring guitarist who would like to collaborate on cool projects like this?

Do your homework, be prepared, learn how to arrange for horns and strings and learn about chords that are not the usual ones in pop/rock! Be open to different music and and be humble about everything. It really is a blessing to be able to work with music for a living!

What other projekts are you working on right now?

I recently did an all star session for a David Foster 60th anniversary record with former LACM instructor JR Robinson and other greats. We did a very nice version of EW&F’s “In the Stone”! I’ve also recorded some new music together with Chicago singer Bill Champlin and we’ll see what will happen with that music! Last year I went to Brazil to work with a former classmate from LACM, Claudio Oliviera. We did a charity record for children in Sao Paulo, which was lots of fun and for a good cause!

Text and video from: LACM