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TOTO, ORIGIN OF BANDNAME

When Toto was in search for a name, the band came up with very different ideas. They wanted something simple, which would be pronounced the same all over the world. So, eventually, "Toto" was chosen.

Jeff Porcaro explains this, and the connection with "The Wizard of Oz" in a 1986 radio interview:
"I remember one night we were all eating dinner together and Paich goes, 'Ok, now we gotta think of a name.' And Paich goes, 'Well, how about something like Kodak?' you know, something that's two syllables and it's easy to understand everywhere and blah blah blah. And everyone said, 'Ok, we'll sit on it and think about it.' And that night I went home. Wizard of Oz was on TV. Dorothy goes 'Toto'. I says, 'Toto, that sounds cool.' Not, you know, like, just the syllables, two syllables sounded good. So I said 'How about Toto?' and everybody had a good laugh, and we just started marking the tapes at Davlon, at the studio, "TOTO". And then Dave Hungate, who's the scholar of the group, says, 'Ah, but Toto in Latin, "en totus", means everything, all encompassing.' We go, 'Oh, great, that's us,' you know, we like different kinds of music. So we kept it that name."

Phil Anderson asked Steve Lukather about this:

How long has the band Toto been around?

We made our first record in 1977, so 29 years. Longer than that if you count high school. The original name was still life. I think we should have kept that name. I think Toto is a suck-ass name.

How did you get the name Toto? Is it the obvious?

It's obvious and it's not obvious. It's one of these things that started off as a joke and the next thing you know, it's the name of our band and it's a little too late to go back and change that. In that era, you couldn't have weird names. It had to be "THE" something or a single name. You couldn't call yourself the Butthole Surfers or the Assholes or the Cunning Stunts. When we were going around the idea of coming up with a name for the band, we had all the wackiest things that you normally come up with when you just come out of high school and smoked a lot of pot.

Do you remember any of the old names?

We had the Ripe Jack. Ripe Jack is a euphemism for a hard-on. Stuff like that. Our manager was going, "No! You cannot do this." I was wearing ripped-up jeans with my hair sticking straight up out of my head when I was 16 years old. I was completely politically incorrect. I showed up to a photo session once, the next thing I know, they dolled me up and stuck me in some silk shirt. This is when you had to wear a tuxedo to the Grammys. It was a different era. We were such punks, really, that happened to be able to read music and stuff like that. They created this clean-cut image for us.

Couple of false rumours:

The bandname is not chosen because they like the dog Toto in "The wizard of Oz" so much.
Bobby Kimball's real name is not Toteaux, that's is just a joke.
Bobby: "no, my real name is Kimball, not Toteaux. It is a joke from David Hungate." The band themselves invented the Toteaux joke after the endless questions on where the bandname came from. And to this day, they sometimes give that as an answer to journalists...




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Band History