Thursday, January 6, 2011

We Never *Were* in Kansas, You Idiot

Of the many musicians I get to play with, three of us seem to stick together from project to project. Bob, Anders, and myself are the "Blame" part of "Rob Stroup and the Blame." But the three of us have also backed many other acts such as Nick Peets, Naomi Hooley, and countless session gigs as well.

That's why I like the story of this next session band (which was on a WAY, WAY larger scale than little old us in Portland).

This obscure session band from Hartford, Connecticut, played together on Steely Dan albums, Seals and Crofts, Sonny and Cher, and toured extensively (and played the studio sessions) for 70s legend Boz Skaggs.

You would think that would be *plenty* of fame for some unknowns from Connecticut, but instead, they decided to form their *own* band.

That's when Steve Lukather, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro, David Paich, Bobby Kimball, and David Huntgate set off to form the band, "Toto."

Many people think that the name "Toto" was named after the dog from "Wizard of Oz." Some thought that the name derived from Bobby Kimball's "real" last name, "Toteaux" ("Kimball" is his real last name). The actual origin comes from the latin word, "toto" which means "all-encompassing." The band thought that since they had played on so many albums and played so many genres, that "Toto" would be a fitting moniker.

If you ask someone to name a Toto song, they'll probably be able to rattle off, "Rosanna," and "Africa" pretty quickly. Those of us that were paying attention will also recall hits, "Hold the Line," "I'll Supply the Love" and "Georgy Porgy." They also had a hit with, "I Won't Hold Back" (the third of three top-10 Billboard 100 hits from "Toto IV.")
Toto IV had 3 top-ten hits

After drummer Jeff Porcaro died in 1992 (from an accidental heart attack, caused from inhaling pesticide he was applying in his garden). Toto, as a band, started to disintegrate.

You have to remember that Jeff Porcaro was a giant among men. His loss was devastating to the Toto "sound." Porcaro was such an influential drummer. You can hear his work on literally thousands of albums for artists like Paul McCartney, Dire Straits, Jackson Browne, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Madonna, Frampton, Bee Gees, Clapton, Springsteen, Elton John… and well… You get it. I could fill up the internet listing his session work.

Anyway, after years of slugging away in the 90s and 00s with little or no success, Toto has gotten most of the original lineup back together and is planning a tour in 2011.


[on a personal side note, "Africa" is the ringtone I've had assigned to my wife for years]


LazyMF said...

I heard that the Toto album covers were designed by Phil Hartman. You can see them in a recent concert on Direct TV's 101 Channel. They re-run it often.

Tim Huggins said...

You're thinking of "Poco" (he designed that famous logo / line-drawing of the horse).

But yeah... I need to post an article on his album art contributions!

LazyMF said... can see how I confused them.