It’s hard to believe Toto started 30 years ago, thanks to drummer Jeff Porcaro and keyboardist/vocalist David Paich. Since the group’s inception, it has won seven Grammys, six for their 1982 album — Toto IV, featuring the hits “Africa” and “Rosanna” — and they have gone on to sell more than 30 million albums worldwide. Toto’s music has always been eclectic, to say the least — playing everything from pop to rock to funk, progressive rock and jazz.
The band’s current lineup consists of two original members, Steve “Luke” Lakather on guitar and vocals and vocalist Bobby Kimball. Since the passing of Porcaro in 1992, Simon Phillips (The Who, Jeff Beck) has filled his spot on drums. Bassist Mike Porcaro is out due to injury, but Leland Sklar (Phil Collins, James Taylor) has filled in temporarily. Tony Spinner is also on the current lineup for backup vocals and guitar. The newest member, Greg Phillinganes, has taken over for David Paich as far as the tours go. Phillinganes has played, recorded and written songs with such artists as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Lionel Ritchie, Paul McCartney and Aretha Franklin. When asked about his thoughts on the whole 30-year career of Toto, Phillinganes says, “I was a fan before I became a friend, and I became a friend pretty quickly. This is because I worked with a few of the guys in certain situations before Toto was started. When they first came on the scene with their first album, I was a big fan of course.”
Toto is currently on a worldwide tour for their 2006 album, Falling In Between. The band’s HD DVD, filmed in Paris, is due out by the end of this year. Not to mention, there are many solo projects in the works by members of Toto. Fans can enjoy them live at the Music Mill on Monday, July 16.