TOTO - Official Website - TOTO Interviews

Mike Porcaro

Two days prior to the first show of the second European leg in Hamburg, Mike answered some of the most asked questions.
Mike, during the last couple of years, you've been very busy with TOTO. Since the release of TOTO XX you've been working and touring together for 2 years now. Are you looking forward to a longer break after the shows in August, or do you already have new plans with TOTO?
First, I want to take this opportunity to thank Mark and Petra so much for their time and effort devoted to the website. I'm just blown away at what a great site it is. Very impressive in its scope and detail. Absolutely one of the best band sites in existence. For me, it is the best. People see this site and figure, "Maybe these guys have some class after all!"

In answer to your question, I am looking forward to a break after August. I definitely am looking forward to a longer break! It's been a very busy two years for the band and the time has come to rest it for a while. We need to recharge our batteries and re-domesticate ourselves, then look at what it is we want to do next.
After such a long time of touring, is it still fun to go out and tour all over the world? Or is it the job, something that has to be done to promote a new record?
I still enjoy touring very much. I live for it! I must admit, I miss it terribly during a long break. It is the essence of what we do! After eighteen years of doing live concerts with Toto, twenty-two or twenty-three years for Dave and Steve - well, I just think it gets under your skin. We've had so many great shows, so many laughs, great meals, great nights out and about! The travel! Spreading the good news of the Living Groove and seeing people react to it! Of course promoting the record is critical, but this is something I look forward to.
So what are your personal plans for the time of a break? Spending more time with your family?
More time with my family is a priority with me. It's been a long two years and there are a thousand things to tend to around the house. The kid's are growing up fast and it will be nice to spend more time with them.
Do you already have some musical projects in mind for the time of the break? Some sessions, or the work on the "Porcaro Brothers" project?
Brother Steve and I hope to spend some time later this summer and fall piecing together some of the material we've been sporadically working on. Steve's been incredibly busy this year scoring several movies. That, and all the Toto touring of late, has made it hard to find the time. Hopefully, that will change soon.
Was it weird when you did the first show ever without Dave a few weeks ago? Or was it no problem as Jeff Babko is a first class replacement.
It was strange to be up there without Dave. Dave's approach to playing and his incredible groove/feel is unique and highly identifiable. An integral part of Toto sound. After all, Dave and Jeff were Toto's founders. However, Jeff Babko tore it up on our last leg, bringing his own fire to the gig while honoring and respecting those parts of Dave's that were essential. Dave worked with Jeff for a couple of weeks and then Simon, John Jessel and myself rehearsed with Jeff for a couple of days to tighten it all up. As to the result, I think everyone who came to those shows couldn't help but be impressed with Jeff's playing. He's a bad, bad, boy and we are lucky to have him during Dave's hiatus.
Livefields was released in the TOTO online store under the label "TOTO recordings". Is this TOTO's long awaited own label or did you just need a name for this release?
It is not Toto's long awaited label but simply a way to offer this recording while we decide how to proceed in the near future.
What's the record label situation in the US right now and where would you like to go. Would you prefer signing a contract with a major label again or do you want to release any upcoming material under your own label.
This is exactly the question we are asking ourselves. The time off coming ahead should give us a chance to deal with this issue.
The band had plans for a Video/DVD release of the Yokohama show last year. Any news regarding this release?
This is also something we will now have the time to deal with. It was a great sounding show with 12 or so digital cameras from all sides. Lots of footage to look at but it should be a great Video/DVD. Of course, who but Elliot Scheiner to mix in 5.1?
We've heard that during his time off, Dave will be working on a 5-CD boxed-set. Do you know any details regarding what material will be on the records, what kind of songs etc...Or is it to early to talk about details yet?
It is still to early for details. Our recording archives are vast and it will take a fair amount of time to sort through it all. It is a project that we look forward to. A lot of Toto history in those vaults.
What do you (the band) expect from the Internet regarding the online store and new ways of marketing and of selling products?
Well, I know that we done fairly well in the very recent past on "Artist Direct", ranking 11th. It seems that though the medium is full of promise and expectations, in reality, people are still not utilizing it at this time as much as we have been hyped on it's necessity and indispensability.
What do you think of mp3 files which are published illegal on various sites on the Internet? Metallica just sued as they distribute mp3 files or at least make them available without the permission of the copyright holders. Are you as a band in the position to do anything against this or is it the job of the record companies?
The way I understand Napster is as a way to upload your record collection to a site on the Internet and then access your collection anywhere you are. Cool, huh? No more lugging around your CD collection. Via your powerbook. Well, your complete music library. Unfortunately, if everybody's collections are made available to anybody else at these sites, piracy of copyrighted product occurs.

Now, with your record or CD your allowed to copy for personal use, as in making a couple of cassettes for the car or ghetto blaster. Nobody would reasonably complain about this. But to let's say, take your CD and make a copy for everybody in the world who wants one, this is criminal and a slap in the face to fairness.

The good news, with high speeds and mega hard drives movies are now fair game. With that industries huge financial resource and especially their political clout, when they start screaming about it, as we're starting to see, the situation looks better for us all!

© 2000