TOTO star STEVE LUKATHER found it tough to get into the Christmas spirit while he was recording holiday album SANTA MENTAL, because he recorded it in June (05).

The AFRICA guitarist teamed up with rock legends Edgar Winter and EDDIE VAN HALEN as well as stars like Slash to give Christmas favourites a heavier sound.

But, though the album took just six days to record, Lukather struggled to get into the right frame of mind for white Christmases and winter wonderlands.

He says, "We recorded it in June and it's hard to get into the Christmas vibe in June.

"Our drummer brought down all these big, huge plastic Santa Clauses and we decorated the studio and turned the air conditioning on full and tried to get into the Christmas spirit, then we walked outside and it was, like, 120 degrees. "Our bass player is Jewish, so he'd be like, `Christmas is bulls**t, where's THE HANUKKAH SONG?' We cartooned a lot. It was one big happy family."

The Toto star insists Santa Mental will be his first and last Christmas album: "I'm not gonna start bringing out Christmas albums every year. I did my bit, that's as good as I can do with this. It's one of these things that can be released every year."