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Bobby Kimball was born as Robert Troy Kimball on march 29th 1947 in Vinton, Lousiana. His first sound was a scream, just like every other baby, and his voice would be very important in his life. When he was 4 years old, he started to play the piano, his first step in the world of music.

(Kimball:)"I was born in Texas, because there wasn't a hospital near us in Louisiana, but we lived next to the border. I used to listen to Dixieland Jazz. The first artist I remember is Ray Charles. Later I began listening to Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin. I played some old blackmusic with a brass-section of five. But my life changed when I heard the Beatles. I began listening to white rockbands, like the Who. The brass-section was replaced by guitars. "

He didn't start in the music business right away, but dreamed of a musical career when he was a medical student in the early seventies. After singing with several groups in the New Orleans area, he decided to leave for Los Angeles: the city for music in the United States.

Bobby explains how he met the other band members of Toto:
"In 1977 I met Jeff Porcaro, David Paich and the former bassplayer David Hungate. We played a lot as session musicians around that time, and created our own market. It was a period I did a lot of background voals, what was in fact my daytime job. I worked with Bill Champlin, Michael McDonald and Tom Kelly. Before I went to Los Angeles I played in a band. The saxophonepayer on 'Toto IV', John Smith, arranged an audition with the band Three Dog Night, which became SS Fools after their singer left. We made a reasonable succesful LP for CBS. It was through this band that I met David Paich and Jeff Porcaro. After a year and a half SS Fools fell apart and there were plans to form Toto. They asked Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, but they were too busy with their own work. So they took me instead."

Toto's first album was a huge hit and all Toto-members were immediately stars in the music business, and Bobby was asked to sing (backing)vocals on lots of records. The success went sky high in 1982 with Toto's "IV" album, a real Grammy Award-killer ! But along with the success, the sales and awards, Toto also had troubles among themselves. After "Toto IV" Bobby was asked to leave the band because of drug problems:

"[...]but I was kicked out for something everyone does. But I can imagine why they did it, I was out of control. I freaked out and took the wrong decisions. It's impossible to perform on this level with a drug-addiction. At the other hand it wasn't a smart move to fire me. I think it was the moment they killed the band. Toto was a powerfull generator, which crashed after that."

When Bobby left the band, they were right in the middle of recording "Isolation" (for which they later on worked with Fergie Frederiksen):

"I sung almost all sungs on =>"Isolation". I've got the tapes at home. The album was almost finished when they fired me. We were in the middle of sessions for the =>"Dune" soundtrack. It was a chaotic period in which many wrong decisions were made. But fortunately, that's all behind us."

Bobby Kimball got in touch with German producer Frank Farian through Fitzgerald Hartley (Toto's managers). Frank Farian was succesfull with the band Boney M., and in the late eighties with Milli Vanilli... Kimball did vocals on the album "Far Corporation - Division One" (1985), an album that included other Toto-ites like Steve Lukather, David Paich and Simon Phillips. The single "Stairway to heaven" was a top-ten hit in the German charts, but the album didn't really score elsewhere.

"I first had to get my life in order and get rid of my cocaine-addiction. I went to a shrink and he advised me to change on thing in my life: EVERYTHING. I decided to break with my old life and move to Germany. There I did 'Far Corporation' for Farian, on which Simon Phillips drummed. It was a marvellous time and it earned well too. Then I got in contact with a fraud from Frankfurt who set up a recordcompany around my name. I hope he's in jail somewhere. I made a few solo-records, of which only 'Rise Up' is worth the trouble. It's an album I mostly made with a friend of mine: Bruce Gowdy. A fantastic composer, and a good guitarist. I travellled back and forward between Germany and the US. I maybe have lost my rock 'n roll image now i'm clean, but fuck it. I'm careful with my voice and my life."

Although he worked hard to start a succesfull solo-career, Bobby Kimball still relied on Toto during concerts, performing old Toto-standards from the first 4 albums.

A few years later, Bobby Kimball is contracted by a German orchestra for an album with symphonical version of Toto's greatest hits: "Frankfurter Rock Orchestra - Classic Toto Hits"
His latest solo-album, "Rise up" (1994) was released on the MMS Records label of which Kimball is co-owner (together with Michael Bergesheim). With this album Kimball returns to the heavy rock genre, using a very Toto-like sound.
in 1998, Kimball works with Toto again during the very short =>"Toto XX" promotion tour. This sparks new interest and the band immediately starts working on the "reunion" album =>"Mindfields".
Bobby explains how he got in touch with Toto again after so many years:

"After Jeff's dead I read Steve's reaction, in which he wrote how much he missed him. I totally understood his feelings, it got a grip on me. You must know I didn't go to Jeff's funeral. I was on Ibiza, where I was performing at the 25th anniversary of a famous producer. Simon Phillips was there too. We even were speaking about forming a band. The only other thing I remember is that my mother called me and told me Jeff died. The concert would be in two days ad I didn't go back for the funeral. Not that I wasn't welcome, I would love to have gone. (Bobby's eyes get wet at this moment)

I never had the chance to show my respect to Jeff and I deeply regret that. (Long silence) Well, I read Steve's words, coming straight from the heart. He said you haven't got many time in this life and you have to be good for the people you love. Steve made me the black sheep, but this were totally other words. I made a collection, a sort of scrap-book, of all the positive things he said in interviews. When I got enough of it, I sent Steve an e-mail. I wrote him I forgave him for all the shit he had said, there had gone something completly wrong in his life that he spent so much time saying such things about me, and I also sent the scrap-book to him, saying that that was the Steve Lukather I knew and understood.

In half an hour I got a reply that he was sorry and explained his reaction. I had to cry and was relieved he was so honest. I thank God there's e-mail ha ha. I could think about everything I wanted to say and then write it down, so Steve would understand I really meant it. I a real-life converstation that would have been much harder. From that moment on we grew up. It was the first step to what we're doing now: a tour and a new album. I forgave Steve a long time ago. "

Bobby Kimball Homepage

Bobby Kimball's solo albums:
Far Corporation - Division One (1985)
HR Big Band - Tribute to Ray Charles (1993)
Frankfurter Rock Orchestra - Classic Toto Hits (1993?)
Far Corporation - Solitude (1994)
Man Doki - (various albums)
Rise up (1995)
West Coast All Stars - California Dreamin' (1996)
All I ever needed (1999)