TOTO - Official Website - Questions and Answers

General TOTO questions

If you have any question regarding TOTO, please read this page first to check if the answer is already printed here before writing in. The Q&A will be updated time after time.
Question: Why does TOTO never use a support act for their tours?
Bobby: Actually, there were several occasions we've played with other acts, but it was usually on the Summer Festivals in Europe where we were the support act. We've had quite a few occasions where we've had support acts in the States, but not that often. When I got back with the band, we were playing a 2 1/2 hour set, so that's about enough time for the average attention span to enjoy a concert.
Question: Do crowd reactions to your shows vary depending on what country / nationality you're playing for?
Bobby: No question about it. We have a very strong crowd reaction in France, Germany, Holland, all of Scandinavia, Italy, Japan, South America, but not so strong a fan-base in America itself. I think the basics for success in America is the "youth-oriented" new-wave music. It gets used in advertisements and really gets a push from the bigger labels (we own our own label, so costs are at a premium for advertisement).
Each country has a different "chant" they use to bring us back out for an encore, and some are more lively than others. It's always a pleasure to continue for a crowd that really appreciates your music.
Question: How much say does the band have with regard to Music Videos? Do you create the concept and tell the director, or does the director / production team design everything and you guys just sorta stand in the right places?
Bobby: It's been a while since we've done a music video (other than the Toto Live in Amsterdam), but that was our set and needed no direction. As Luke once said, "As far as us doing a music video, we may as well take the $100,000 into the back yard and burn it". It won't get played on MTV or VH1. We're just not that kind of band.
However, all that said, when we did the videos before, we had a basic storyboard to follow, and a director to sort of line us up in place for the different sequences of the video. The band had a lot to say about how we wanted it to look and the message we wanted to convey.
Question: As far as show extras (meaning guest musicians, horn sections, effects like fireworks, etc.) what is your ideal show? What would you really like to bring up to the stage with you?
Bobby: My favorite thing is to play in an intimate setting (smaller venue) with very little other than the band and the sound and lighting techs we have. It's really all about the music for Toto. Those are our fireworks. I do appreciate the special effects and pyro that other bands use, but our main focus is on getting the music right and placing it into the hearts and minds of the fans.
Question: Re: Purple Rain: How did it happen that you covered this song, are you Prince-Fans or do you love just this particular song?
Bobby: The answer to both questions are YES & YES. However, that has nothing to do with why we were doing the song. Greg Phillingaines, who substituted for Dave this year, loves and appreciates (and IS Prince), really wanted to try the song. It just kind of happened, which is the cool thing about Toto. It started as a joke in soundcheck when Greg started playing the song, then Luke fell in, then Simon and Mike. It sounded so great we decided to put it in the set that night. We played it a lot on the European tour. Prince and Greg both have a very special place in our hearts and I'm looking forward to doing that again.
Question: Are any of you nervous before going on stage? If so, what do you do to calm yourself?
Bobby: Actually, I think we're more nervous "off-stage" than on. We really don't get nervous before a concert unless maybe it was "The Royal Albert Hall" Concert, where we had a lot of our heroes in the audience, i.e., Jack Bruce (Cream), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Bernie Marsden (White Snake), Brian May (Queen), Paul Young, name a few. They all came backstage to hang out with the band after the concert. It was a great honor to be amongst them, and a concert that won't soon be forgotten.
Question: Any news or updates on the progress of the new album?
Bobby: I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill ya. You would know too much.
=========== End of last update July 28th, 2004 ==============
Question: How is the new cd coming along?
Luke: Well, we are still in the planning stages as we have been SO busy on the road. I know we all have some material but we havent actively gotten together to write. We DO have an overall concept as to what we want to do but that is always subject to personal tastes so we will see. It's gonna take a long time to do it right so you all will have to be patient.
In the meantime we are gonna rehearse some new stuff for the tour coming up, add some other songs, change some arrangements etc.. so we won't be playing the exact same show that we have been playing for the last 2 years this summer.
We also have to figure out what label we will be on. Our records are not as important to us as they used to be as very few people play the new stuff on the radio and with all the piracy-downloading that goes on our sales (everyone elses too) is way down. For every 100,000 record we sell there's 500,000 out there that we never get counted or payed for. That's just the way it is so touring is what we klove doing and it pays much better than making records. Yeah we WILL make a new record, we have to for our sanity but when you kill yourself working so hard on something and get very little back, then people roast you and say they don't like the new music or the direction etc.. and then we play live and all anyone wants to fucking hear is the OLD stuf.. it's frustrating. I know that people have said "The guys don't have it anymore etc" , well what we DO have is personal lives! 27 years ago when we started, none of us had families and we LIVED in the studio. Things were different then and they are different now. No matter WHAT we do no one will be happy. Someone will always say negative shit, hey its your right to, but for us, we always try our best. I still think our last CD was really cool. Most of you didn't get what we were trying to do. So be it.
Bobby: The new Toto CD is still in the "Genesis Stages". We've made a pact that we would make the best CD possible or not at all. We really don't have a record company breathing down our backs on this project, so we'll take our time and get it right. Some things are written, but not approved by the band yet.
Question: When you wrote some song material during the NOTP-Shows did you involve Greg Phillinganes?
Luke: Well no not really as Greg had come out to replace Dave halfway thru it. Simon got real real sick and the whole "Writing at the Proms" idea got put to the side as we had half a band out there and it was a bit stressful at first! I did get a bunch of tunes started that I am still working on finishing but we have not started wrting as a band yet. Too busy touring. I would very much like to have Greg in on a few tunes for the next record as he is an honorary member at this point. Dave, of course, will still be involved. I even think we are talking about Dave AND Greg working on the record and I think that possibly Dave AND Greg will play together on a few LA dates we have coming up in May. We will post all this when we know for sure. I would also like to have Steve Porcaro help on the new CD to add the touches only he can, maybe even write with us too. No rules. We just want to make a GREAT record. We are meeting this week to discuss plans for this year and that includes the new CD.
Question: I have a questions regarding the (re)release of Toto albums on Super Audio CD. I have recently heard Toto IV both on regular CD and on SACD, and I must say that the 'liveliness' on SACD rather struck me as a pleasant surprise. Are you planning to release more Toto albums on SACD or am I the only one who is enthousiastic about this new CD standard?
Luke: Well our illustrious ex rec co (Sony) makes the call on this and there are no plans to do any other Toto records at this point. It would be cool but it's expensive and it takes alot of time to do it.
Question: Did you guys enjoy doing the video for Africa, and where was it filmed?
Luke: I HATE HATE HATE videos. What a fucking waste of time. They are all crap really. I can't bear to watch ours let alone anyone elses. We look like idiots in 99% of them anyway. The only thing missing is us wearing womans clothes and sucking off Kurt Loder. hahaha. I think I made my point. hahaha
=========== End of last update March 11th, 2004 ==============
Question: Any news on the progress on the new album??
Luke: Well, we have some more touring to do in Asia and South America but we are all writing things. I think we are REALLY gonna take out time with this as it MUST be a great album so don't be impatient. You can't rush these things. It's not like the world is waiting for our next effort and we want to make it special. I also realize no matter WHAT we do someone won't like it or compare it to records we did 25 years ago. We are making this for US as a try at a personal best if you will. Our plan as of now is to write, record and tour all at the same time. We are doing some of the more "far away" places, haha, but touring is where we make our money. Record sales are pitiful these days, even the biggest acts are suffering due to free downloading and general public boredom of the medium anyway. For every CD you sell at least 10 people copy it, or download it as the world economy is so bad people can't afford to spend alot of money on CD's. My son tells me "Dad there is only ONE good tune on here. I don't want to spend all my money for one good song". No one buys or sells singles anymore.

Basically we are making this record for you guys and for us and so we can keep touring. I know we will need a break as well to clear our heads and do outside projects. I have alot of things I can be doing, it's ALL scheduling.
Question: Some guys here at the forum discussed the soundtrack of the movie Top Gun. Appearantly there once existed an first version of "Only You". Can you tell us about it and the differences to the KOD version or - better - if you're ever going to release it.
Luke: There was a demo we did but the arrangement was pretty much the same. We just made it bigger sounding for KOD.
Question: In the past Toto has had a lot of different singers, of which some obviously weren't completely compatible with the rest of the band (thinking of Byron especially, but also Fergie considering the whole controversy here). What made you guys decide back then to take in these singers into the band? Was it a forced choice by the record company or perhaps more of a misestimation of the characteristics of these singers?
Luke: Well every situation was different. When we first lost Bobby during the Isolation period we looked at alot of people. Dave and I wanted Eric Martin (I still think that would have been awesome) but.. Jeff didn't feel it like we did and Jeff could be VERY persuasive so he kind of sold us on Fergie. We dug him too but man, when we got into the studio it was painful getting a vocal track out of him, I mean it was REALLY painful. We were mixing the record waiting for Dave to bring in the final Lead vocal..and he was toast by the time we finished. Jeff and I were dealing with the mixes with Greg Ladanyi while Dave was at his house staying up all night punching Fergie in word by word in some cases . Thats the truth, I was THERE!!

Byron..damn was he REALLY ever in our band? hahaha PURE record co. shit. Once again Jeff thought we should try something left field. We heard his demos and thought there might be something there and Jeff liked the weird look etc.. Jeff was a VERY strong force in this band and he usually got his way. haha. Now I am NOT blaming this on Jeff but the record co. guy promised us the world if we used him. We met with the guy and wrote a few things and then went to Bearsville in NY and recorded all the tracks and had a blast. THEN..once again, it was PAINFUL trying to get an in tune vocal. The cat just couldn't do it. I will never understand that in a singer. You either sing or you don't. That's not to say that everyone is perfect but after 20 times punching in the same line and it just isn't getting any better.. you see where I am at. AND...once we started to get to know the guy we found him to have nothing in common with us musically. This guy never was into Zepplin or Hendrix, he was reading the fucking George Michael Biography and would wear a fucking golf glove on ONE HAND!! Me and him did NOT get on and after the first gig we did with him, people were flipping him off and yelling "get off the stage"..We could NOT believe all the gay moves he was making on stage. He though HE was the star, it was like watching a car accident... It was a LONG tour that one. hahahaha,. Gradually we phased him out of as much of the show as possible and we almost cut him out completely on the live from paris video. A bad memory really.

Joseph started out great. The Fahrenheit album and tour were fun and he sang his ass off. It was during the 7th one album and subsequent tour that the drugs started to get the best of my man.
Hey, we all did all that crap but you can't be the lead singer and pull it off. Our mis-spent youth if you will! I still love and respect Joe and only wish him the best. He has conquered all his demons and is enjoying a great career scoring TV and film, like his Dad.
Question: How do you guys plan out your album covers?
Luke: Well when Jeff was alive HE was our art director. He WAS an artist, a painter, sculptures, his characatures were LEGEDARY! haha. Since then the band as a whole works wth the people we dig.
Bobby: We work in close proximity with a very good guy called Doug Brown for the past few covers. He has a great company and very reliable help wioth him. The results are obvious to the point that I wrote the lyrics for the "Mindfields" song from looking at the cover. I had tried about 4 times to complete the lyrics, but not until I saw the cover of the CD did I come up with the final version of the song.
Question: Your albums are pretty evenly split between albums you've entirely self-produced and albums you've brought co-producer(s) in for. How do you decide which way to go, and then how does the producer selection process take place?
Luke: There is no set way. We worked with lots of people and would hire guys we loved. I would like to see us use an outside producer this next time but it probably won't go down that way because of the way we want to do it over time. Most people block out 3-4 -5 months and just blaze thru. We dont want to do it that way this time. We want to take our time and make sure it is really the best material we can write, not necassarily commercial but to the absolute best of our capabilities!
Bobby: Just try and imagine yourself in that position,......producing a Toto CD. Top grade musicianship coupled with some of the most intuitive opinions in the business. The person who would fill that roll would be the most obvious and best of personel available. Other than Simon Phillips and David Paich, there are very few choices left besides the biggest names in the business. They surely don't become big names without the know-how to get the point across.
=========== End of last update January 13th, 2004 ==============
Question: From accounts that I have heard, the TOTO (I) sessions were completed in September 1977. However, the album was released on September 27, 1978, according to the RIAA. Why did Columbia Records wait a whole year to release the LP? I have wondered about this for years
Bobby: They didn't really. It was a matter of us finishing the masters before we gave them the tapes to release. That will always be the case; the record company will want the finished product before it's finished, and the band will always wonder if it's finished or not. It's usually a "crap shoot" and only popular opinion in the group will allow the band to release the CD or record when it's done. I'm very happy to say we released the record at the correct time though. It started playing the very first day it was out and got really great approval ratings from the public.
Luke: Actually we STARTED the album in Sept 1977 after we finished the Boz Scaggs susmmer tour that year. It took 9 months to do.
Question: So you've finished your very first NOTP performance now. Maybe too early to give an opinion right now, but how did you experience the whole happening so far?
Bobby: So far, so good. I think our first night was a good night, but there's always room for improvement. We had a little trouble with the monitors (nothing huge), but being the kind of band Toto is, we overcame the problems quickly. Of course, it was a fun night. You can't go onstage and have a disasterous night with this band. The worst it gets is "just a little short of fantastic."
Luke: The Proms gigs have been such a HUGE amount of fun! I could not be groovin more. INXS are incredible and such great guys that I am sure we have made friends for life. We have ALOPT in common and they are funnier than shit as well talented, imagine 4 monre of me and you have it! hahaha
En Vogue as well, great girls with killer voices, John Miles, really everyone is a gas. The music sounds great with the orchestra and choir. It will be filmed for TV and probably a DVD as well. I mean, we only play for a half an hour but the hang afterwards is world class. It's incredible how many people we will play in front of, almost 600,000 people! Thats part of the reason we wanted to do it as people just buy tickets to these events even before they know who is on the bill! Then they really get into it and sing along LOUD and they have thesde fireless torches that everyone lights up on the ballads, quite a sight and an amazing production with sound and lights. We have started writing as well, a few bits and pieces but we have an overall concept for it that we all agree on. I prewdict this whole experience as being VERY positive. The organizers are so together and such a class act, it's a real pleasure to be here.
Oh yeah, my wife came in for my B day so I am REALLY happy. Yee ha
Question: How do you learn new songs? Let's say, Dave comes into the studio and has got a song in mind called Hold the Line. Well, I think, he will play it to the other. But then, do the others bring in their own parts or has the song writer every single part of the final arrangement in his mind?
In my band, the song writer finishes his song in midi (except for example the guitar part) and prints sheets for every member in general. Other bands I know don't have sheets but learn the songs note for note. I wondered how a "professional" band works it out?
Luke: Well, for the most part everyone plays there own parts as they come up with them and get ideas. Now, sometimes Dave or I have very specific parts which is why I play the keyboards sometimes as I write things with my own touch and weird little chord voicings, same with Daqve. Hold the Line was pretty obvious as that tune almost played itself.
=========== End of last update October 20th, 2003 ==============
Question: My Question is, do you like playing Open Air more than in a closed hall, or the other way around? Perhaps you can also say sth. about the conditions outside/inside. Itīd be cool to get an answer
Luke: Well I like both. Open air usually has more people and there is no sound buildup BUT saying that we often dont get a sound check so it takes a few tunes to fix all that. Indoors its usually our show but some of these big buildings have a DB limit, which is fucked cause if you dont fill a big room with sound it sounds boomy and shitty. Also when you soundcheck in an empty room and then there are people in it, it sound 100% different. It is quite an art live sound. It also matter where you are in the building as to what it sounds like. It changes ALL over the place. Check it out and walk around sometime and you'll see.
Question: Have you ever thought about recording an entire album (live or studio) of tunes (or new stuff) with an orchestra?
Luke: Ah yes, funny that you would mention that as we are coming into these Proms shows..we thought one concept would be Toto and orchestra CD. It could be way cool if we write the right music. We have always had orchestral stuff on all our records. We may get more serious about it next record!
Question: How you said in many interviews before (especially Luke), you hate this "MTV world" and don't want to be part of it anymore.
Well, I wondered: what would you do if at anytime, against all usual rules of that ####ed off world, you would be asked to give an interview on MTV (or something like that)?
Luke: The odds of MTV asking US to do anything are the same as Superman flying out of my asshole. None at all. I mean really, MTV is a parody of itself. First off there is very little MUSIC on MTV and if there is it's the same 5 videos all day long! It's for kids. Hell, my 2 teenagers think it's lame. I think we are past the point of no return on that. They never even mentioned "DAVIDA"!
Fuck MTV!
Question: I would like to ask about Toto's collaboration with Michael Jackson. did he contact you for Thriller's sessions or was a Quincy Jones idea? How did the story go?
Have you ever written any songs for him (except for Human Nature written by Steve Porcaro)?
Dave: Quincy called me to co-write the song Thriller. Then they would bring in a song like My Sherona, and they would say, "We want a song like that." And that ended up being Beat It.
Luke: I got a call from Michael one morning at 2 AM. I heard that light voice, "hi Steve this is Michael Jackson." I said, "Fuck off" and went to bed because I didn't think it was really him. The next morning I got a call from Quincy saying that it was really him. I felt bad; I totally blew the cat off.
=========== End of last update August 19th, 2003 ==============
Question: When are you coming to South Africa again? We really miss out on so much of the music world and I'm sure that there will be a big enough audience to cover your costs. Thanks once again!
Simon: We would love to come to South Africa again - we had so much fun last time. It's really down to the promoter and last time it was actually our Swedish promoter who brought us. We are awaiting an offer!
=========== End of last update June 25th, 2003 ==============
Question: It seems that everyone I spoke with after the shows in CT were blown away by the new version of Girl Goodbye, any chance you guys might record the new version on put it on a new disc?
Luke: The new DVD will have the new version of Girl Goodbye and 90% of the whole show. It came out real good and the mixes sound great. Simon did a killer job mixing in 5.1
Question: Hi, guys. Have you given any thought hooking up with Steve Vai's Favored Nations for the next Toto release(s)?
Luke: I love working wiothy Steve Vai. We have no plans for a label yet. We have yet to write and record anything. Of course, I will send it to Steve when it done and see who gives the highest bid. I know I will work with Steve in the future with or without Toto.
=========== End of last update May 31st, 2003 ==============
Question: I know, my question sounds a bit "unusual", but is there any chance for a song (on your next cd) with for example Mike on the drums, Simon on the keys (Simon plays keys, isn't it?), Luke on the bass, and so on... I would love to listen to something like that.
Luke: We've dabbled in that already. I've had a chance to play everything but drums - bass, keys. Bobby plays keys. He wrote the arrangement for Burn Down the Mission, but that's Dave you hear on the record.
Question: A quick question about "Living For The City". You've dedicated it to FDNY and New York City, but who did you get in touch with to change the lyrics to the last few verses - did you phone Stevie himself?! Who was it who came up with the 'new' words?! It's a really awesome track with the guitar instead of the Rhodes!
Bobby: It wasn't really new lyrics. We just omitted some verses. The original song has a black and white issue, and what we wanted to do was kind of remove that and make it more about 9/11 and all about and for New York.
We tried to get Stevie to guest on vocals for that album but he was unavailable. We got the best replacement, however, Ellis Hall. He's doing a record with Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. All 3 are blind, and so the project is called Three Blind Mice.
=========== End of last update April 30th, 2003 ==============
Question: I had a question about your third release, "Turn Back". It seems to have such a different feel than "Toto", "Hydra" and "IV". It seems less produced and it rocks a bit more. Was this done intentionally? What was the general mood while writing/recording that album.
Luke: Well, Turn Back was our attempt at "arena rock" as we were starting to be pissed off that the Sony were putting out all the ballads and the softer side of us, like 99 etc.. *I* did NOT want this to happen, unfotunatly it did anyway. We worked with Geoff Workman who was Roy Thomas Bakers engineer ( Queen-Journey-the Cars etc..) and at THAT time.. THAT was what was happening. It was an experiment. I think that there are some great tunes on the record, it sound s a bit strange and VERY different from our other records but I have very fond memories doing it.
Question: I would like to know how your view of the music industry have changed since you first got into it (or since before you got into it, your choice ;-)
Luke: The difference between the music industry NOW and THEN is very simple:
In the old days.. you had to fucking know how to PLAY.. NOW they have computers for doing that!
Record people and radio was passionate and could jump on something cause they LIKED it and believed in it.. now THAT costs 1,000,000 dollars and a blow job for "Clear Channel" They own EVERYTHING. And they say there is no payola.. PLEASE!
=========== End of last update March 21st, 2003 ==============
Question: Does TOTO or the record company decide if a song is good enough for a record? Do you have the artistic freedom to make a record on the way you like? I understand that not every song can be put on the record, but who decides?
Luke: Toto has always just done our records and THEN played them for the rec co. The rec co has nothing to do with the song selection other than arguing over what is the single. Having said that, it was LONG time ago when we had a rec co guy that gave a shit about our music. We always just sold ourselves and then "they" came around. I have never been good at picking a single. I never thought Africa would be a hit. haha. We are now at a point that the rec co just puts the records in the stores and has nothing to do with us. I guess after spending 80 MILLION dollars on Robbie Williams (???) they have no time for anyone else! We are NO longer with EMI.
Question: How do you come to a setlist by a new tour? What are your criteria for that?
Luke: As far as a set list, we all have input and it's trial and error. It becomes obvious what works and what doesn't and we are always trying new things and new ways to play the old stuff.
Question: Sony have been remastering all your old tunes (and they sound great by all accounts). So far they've only used them to cash in with compilations here, there and everywhere, but if they were to re-release the entire back catalogue in remastered format would you cooperate in the reissue program, and assist in selecting bonus tracks, writing liner notes, etc? Or would you just tell 'em where to go?
Luke: Sony OWNS our old masters which means THEY have the right to re-package and put out whatever they want out without ANY input from us the band! Thats why there is 100 "greatest hits" packages with lame ass CD art work etc.. we get paid BUT we have no idea what and why they do this but I can tell you that they still sell alot for some reason. Thats life.. haha
=========== End of last update March 6th, 2003 ==============
Question: Are you guys ever going to do a studio version of On the Run and are you going to ever release an album with some of the rarities we've all heard, like Moodido, Runaway, Joker's Back, etc.
Luke: Well Moodido IS a studio piece, we are doing a taste of Runaway at the end of Rosanna on this tour and Joker's back is like 1976 and the "vibe " turned out to be St. George on the Hydra record. Man, where did you hear Joker's back???????? I haven't heard that since 1977!
Question: hi steve my question is about a real killer song of Tambu album : drag him to the roof, this song was cut too soon because it seems that there was a big jam at the end of this song and i would have to like to know if you have recorded this jam and is there any chances that one day the band release an album with some cut material or things like that or is there any chances that the band put this material on the
Luke: The outro fell apart moments after the fade on the CD thats why we faded when we did. Most outro's we do are loose jams and as we don't know whats gonna happen next sometimes and when it goes on a bit we just sort of fall apart as we know we won't use it all anyway.
Question: As you're all wizards on your instruments, a totally instrumental idea would be a nice idea. I know you like to stretch out on songs like "Jake to the bone", "Better world" etc., so what about a complete album with all instrumental tracks giving each member the opportunity to jam ? Doesn't have to be on a record-label, perhaps an Internet only released (MP3) album via Toto99, payable via credit-card ?
Luke: I dont see the point of Toto doing an all instrumental CD. We all have our solo stuff for that. As it seems, most people like diversity on our CD's, granted we can NEVER please everyone, judging what I have read this is an impossible task so we will just follow our hearts and whatever comes will come. There will always be intrumental bits here and there as thats part of what we are.
Question: A discussion item was raised a couple of weeks ago regarding the recording of Hydra. Was there really going to be a full side of the record dedicated to the song Hydra and did any other songs not make the final release?
Luke: Hydra was an accidental "concept" piece. We never really followed thru with the idea but it was gonna be a whole album. We were young, what can I say. hahaha.
Question: I LOVE your acoustic guitar performance on tour and I would like to know if you ever considered to record a Toto unplugged album. This is what I really long for beside a new self written album. Perhaps possible in the future?
Luke: I hate "unplugged" records. I love playing acoustic but the concept is SO overdone and many times ruins the tunes. I know we will do acoustic stuff but not a whole record. Sorry. I like it loud. hahaha
Question: As we all know, Dave doesn't really feel in the singing mood these days! However, some of my fave Toto tracks are Dave songs (Manuela Run, Hydra...etc) and would love to hear them live one day. So my question to you is "would you or Bobby ever consider singing a Dave vocal song yourselves on the road"??
Luke: I love Daves voice, I wish he would sing more too. He does 3-4 tunes live these days. I don't see myself singing a Dave tune anymore than he would sing mine. Thats what I like about our band, diversity!
Question: What song does the band most enjoy playing live?
Luke: It is really hard to pick a fave live tune. I think the show just rips by for me and I enjoy it all in front of a crowd. It's rehearsals that I hate. hahaha
Question: There have been an array of amazing guests on your albums over the years. But will the great Boz Scaggs ever join the list? I feel a guest spot from the Buzz is long overdue.
Luke: Boz, hmm great idea. I have always loved Boz and there was talk of a Silk Degrees 25th anniversary tour with all of us but I think Boz changed his mind cause Jeff is no longer with us. I would love to work with Boz again. Perhaps in the future..
Question: What was the reason that after Tambu the work with John James and Jenny Douglas wasn't continued? Was it because of Bobbies return? I think both where great musicians and I love their work on Tambu and the tour, and for Jenny Douglas back to past to present I think!
Luke: John and Jenny were great and we loved working with them. We have nothing but love and respect for them and they were a great asset to us when we were without the "lead singer" in the band.
When Bobby came back we went back to the ORIGINAL concept of the band sound. We were able to do that as the band, aside from Jeff, was the original band so we went with that and after almost 10 years we thought this was a good idea. No one was fired or anything we just sort of moved on. I saw Jenny in NY a year or so ago and she is doing really well. I think she is out with J-Lo or something and I have not heard from John is awhile but I wish him all the best!
Question: Are there any chances that Toto will do some more work with Joseph Williams in the future? The coolest thing would be to have up both Bobby and Joseph on the stage singing "their" songs! I would die for this!
Luke: Ahh, yes. Well Joe was and IS very talented. He lost his voice in the 80's due to his " problem" and as a singer you CANNOT do this to your voice. He lost it for a whole tour. Remember 1988?? It was very hard for us and for him. Joe has now got his act totally together and is doing TV and film scores, some with his Dad John Williams, and is very happy from what I hear. He has no desire to tour any more than Steve Porcaro does as they have there careers here in LA. There is nothing but good feelings amongst us all, at least I hope so. haha. I wish him well but I would not wait for him to come on the road with us.
Question: I asked this question in another track but I would really appreciate to get an inside answer for this: What was the reason that Jeff didn't play any drum solos in live situations like Si does?
Luke: Jeff REFUSED to do drum solos!!! He loved them when other people were doing them but he hated doing them himself. Its funny as I would come to rehearsals early, Jeff and I almost always did, and he would be practicing and I would sit and listen thru the door to the most amazing chops and I would burst in and say "BRO, you gotta do this LIVE" !! and he would just laugh and say " no way, I dont do solo's"! haha. He HAD the chops but he just didn't want to do it. Much like Dave not wanting to sing more songs on the CD's and live. Ya cant make people do things they dont wanna do!
Question: Why are you responding to the critics, etc?
Luke: Why did I respond??? Well, I was getting copied reviews and or quotes from ther message board and I thought there was alot of mis-information. I felt that someone from the band should reply and give our side, or at least my side anyway. I didn't mean to come off in a negative way. The written word does not always convey the message from either side as you dont know the tone of voice that an opinion was voiced. I am very happy to have more contact with you all and I know I speak for the band when I say how much we appreciate your support!!!! I dont mind that some of you like or dont like certain things..thats up to YOU but I just thought that some facts were not correct and that perhaps your viewpoint as to why we have done certain things was based on conjecture and not fact.
Question: When will the box set be released?
Luke: To tell you the truth we have not really worked on that as we are no longer working with Sony. We had the best intentions but it will take a LONG time to go thru it all and we are busy. The last announ-cemet we made in regards to this was when Dave missed the summer leg of the tour a few years back, He was going through alot of personal stuff, his Dad had just passed away and he needed some personal time so we said this to cover for him so rumours would stop. Sorry for that.
Indeed, someday MAYBE we will go thru all that stuff and put somwething together but at this point Sony is not interested in it. We did get most of the better stuff on Toto XX and to put out a set with the same old songs on it is redundant. They already have 100 "best of's" out anyway!
We did get some correspondence on a Past to Present II that would have all the singles from 1990 to the present and they wanted 4-5 new songs?? I have NO idea when or IF we would do that.
Right now we are concentrating on our 25th anniversary tour and AFTER that is done, the end of summer 2003, we will look to the future but I assume we will take a break and do some other stuff before returning to the Toto camp again.
We have a 1 record deal with EMI, a license deal for TTLG. I have no idea where our home will be for our next proper studio record. As I said before, we will be taking a LONG time to write and record it and that probably wont even start till well into 2004, maybe later. Who knows at this point. We have enjoyed working with EMI-CMC and made alot of new friends there. You have to understand how HARD it is for us at radio and EMI have done a good job in alot of territories considering that our records have to follow Britney-Eminem etc.. we sound sort of alien after that music. hahaha. Its the times and theres not much we can do about it.
The new Phil Collins record is stiff here in the USA, Sprignsteen's numbers are alot less that last time and radio isn't playing his singles, Tom Petty, a stiff... you see we are not alone. Look at Journey, Styx..all that era of music and musicians, its all the same for us. We gotta hang in and do what we can do and be lucky we can do it at all! We live in a world of disposable music and artists! Its WAY different than it was when *I* was a kid.
Question: What about a live DVD?
Luke: We ARE filming and recording the coming Amsterdam show for our DVD. We have been shooting b-roll backstage stuff that is quite funny and that will all be in there I hope and the actual concert will be produced, mixed and edited after the tour is over. It will NOT be on EMI. They had the first option but we are going with Eagle at this point I think anyway. We have a meeting Tues to finalize all deals and look at our future, IF were gonna play the USA etc.. Lots of possibilities but I cant confirm or deny anything at this point.
As far as old TOTO stuff for a DVD..there are no plans at this point. We did do a 5.1 of Toto IV that Sony has put out, Elliot Scheiner did the remix and it sounds cool, different but cool. Sony owns the ALL our masters, ask them.
Question: What would you like to see on the new studio cd and time frame for a release.
Bobby: Since we're back to the most original form (as far as players) in Toto, I would like for us to go back to the roots on the new CD. We've already started with the "all in the room at the same time" approach, so it's just a matter of writing the songs that reflect how we all feel, and making those songs, each and everyone, count. I'm not so into trying to keep up with the times, as things seem to be reverting back to what I consider better "music". There are more melodies and chord progressions happening (from what I can tell with my limited listening to the radio) now, and it seems that the heavy 4/4 bass drum beat is slowly starting to wear on people who have musical sense. I write a lot of lyrics, so I would love it if we could lean to some more intelligent themes that would mark the times, so to speak, and try and make some sense out of this "Damn The Torpedos" world we are experiencing. I agree with Luke about "trying to write a hit". It's just not in the cards as far as being the most important thing for a new CD. We'll always have a "Class Act" when we record, because it's the very nature of the make-up of Toto. I can't think of many groups that put in the time and effort (with the refinement capabilities we possess) to do a "finished product". We would have to search far and wide to find another Simon Phillips that knows how to engineer and mix, plus be as capable a drummer and willing to go the extra mile to make things exactly correct. {For example, on a few of the songs for the TTLG CD, he and Dave edited some of the vocal tracks together and it took me two weeks to re-learn my own vocal}. It's hard to define the degree of refinement these guys are willing to go to in making a great CD. Also, there is the appreciation of each-other that we almost take for granted. It's like "the impossible" is the almost expected. Difficult is easy. There are so many great things I could say about each and every member of the band, but I needn't reiterate the obvious. It's a band of real pros and when we come to the table to record the next "original CD", it will be as great a CD as each of us expects it to be. Look for surprises and memorable songs.
=========== End of last update January 23rd, 2003 ==============
Question: I wonder why you don`t have a percussion player on this TOTO tour like in 1992?....I felt that it was more "human" beat in the good old songs than with samples...
Simon: Actually I disagree - I found it way too busy. I love percussion - but in the right setting. Like in a latin band for example - then the drummer takes more of a back step in the music. But Toto is a rock band and I find the way we have it now compliments the music better. We don't use samples to replace percussion - we are using some loops on some songs but they could not be created by a percussion player. If you are referring to "Africa" - that song was created using a loop when it was recorded - and now we are using that same loop - just in digital form.
=========== End of last update December 22nd, 2002 ==============
Question: I know that a couple of years ago Toto played some songs acoustic on Dutch radio. I really liked that. Will there be more like that in the future?
Simon: That was a one off broadcast - we don't normally do that. But I cannot say that we would never do something like that on day.
Question: Did you made any cool photos or a video of the last recording session by Toto in your house, that you can show us?
Simon: Unfortunately we didn't - maybe some snap shots but nothing serious. It was just us and I was engineering as well as playing so my hands were pretty full.
=========== End of last update September 10th, 2002 ==============
Question: Are there plans of making a live video with Toto or your band in the near future?
Simon: No plans as yet.. we have footage shot in Japan of the Mindfields tour and we have kicked around the idea of making a DVD with 5:1 sound - just haven't made any decisions yet.
=========== End of last update March 31st, 2002 ==============
Question: Why is the name of the album "Through the looking glass" ? Is there a connection to the song "Slipped Away" of TAMBU?? Because one line goes... "You're a world of blind ambition, staring through the looking glass."
Luke: When coming up with the title we were throwing around alot of different ideas and "Through the Looking Glass" really made sense with the music we are making. It's like looking back in time at some of our favorite artists. Its gonna be a really cool album cover. We are going to write a small paragraph on why we chose each song with a story of our connection with the material we chose. These songs were more than just a random choice of tunes. It will be explained song by song. The connection with Slipped Away is an accident but a cool one. It makes for a better story. haha.
Question: I guess your cover album is much more than the so called usual ones. Isn't it a sort of hommage or TOTO tribute to very special musicians?
Luke: Well we are at our 25th anniversary and we were out of our deal with Sony records, FINALLY after being a slave to them for 24 years!. They never even said thanks or goodbye or good luck. We made them 100's of millions of dollars.. what can I say! We just wanted to have fun and not have the pressure to come up with the "hits" etc.. It seemed like a great idea to pay respect to the music we loved as kids. You'll notice its almost all 70's music. That was our coming of age. We played alot of these tunes when we were in high school or even younger. We have just put OUR touch to the songs. They don't sound like the originals for the most part. I guess instead of digging our writing skills you will see our arranging, production and musician skills instead. You can't argue with the songs as they are almost all classics already.
Question: Are you going to produce any videos for this album. If so for which songs?
Luke: Videos.... why? No one will play them anyway. hahaha. IF we get a hit then maybe but I think Video's suck for the most part. We were never a "video friendly" band. I hated doing them and we spent WAY too much time and money on them and out of the 25 or so we did, maybe 4-5 ever got shown. You see my point. Aside from one or 2 good ones our videos were horrible. Hard to watch for me. hahaha. The hair.. the clothes.. what were we thinking?? hahaha
Question: I'd like to know how the sound will be, is it like more "overproduced" (like Toto IV , Mindfields etc) or more like Tambuīs "live-in-studio" sound? Also curious about the mixing, isnīt Elliot Scheiner with you anymore?
Luke: This new record is a VERY produced record for the most part. There's 1-2 live sounding things but most of it is very detailed with huge harmonies, Steve Porcaro's magic touches ( nice to have him back on it, he wont be touring due to his TV-Movie scoring career), lots of percussion and loops and some of the best individual playing ever on any Toto record. Plus Simon did a GREAT job engineering! It was all done at his house, just the 5-6 of us in the room. NO outside help. Simon even made us Tea at 4 almost everyday. hahaha. Steve Macmillan is mixing it. He's Trevor Horn's guy and is extremely talented. He helped us with post production on the Mindfields album. We wanted a fresh ear on the stuff. Simon may mix one or 2 depending but Mac has done an amazing job on the 2 he finished already. Elliot is AWESOME. He is SO busy as the KING of 5.1 remixes that I don't think he could have done it if he wanted to. He lives on the east coast, we're on the west etc.. We will work together again for sure. He just remixed my Candyman CD-5.1 for DTS that will be out this year. I can't wait to hear that!
Question: Which song will be the japanese bonus track that us guys from Europe will miss?
Luke: NO BONUS TRACKS. Same album for least at this point. hahaha. I always thought that was jive anyway and a pain in the ass. That was Sony NOT us!
Question: Davey that the former guitarist of Elton John ??
Luke: Yes, thats Davey and Nigel Ollsen with Elton. They did the Backround vocals on the original and those guys are all good friends as well as Elton. This is a great track!
Question: Will you also use some acoustic guitars on the new album ? I like it when you are playing acoustic.
Luke: I play acoustics on the record. Ovation/Kamas. GREAT guitars and a great co. They sound awesome. I play Music Man LUKE electric on the whole record plugged directly into a small 1/12 Marshall with effects added at the console. VERY huge and clean sound. It goes to show you that the myth that I need this huge rack is bullnuts. The tape doesn't lie.
=========== End of last update March 9th, 2002 ==============
Question: When will you tour Australia again ?
Simon: No plans as yet although am always up for going there. It is just so damn expensive to ship people and gear there to tour. I hope there will be an opportunity to do so soon.
Question: Were you and the band ever approached to do a vh1's behind the music on Toto?
Simon: Actually we were asked to do "Where are they now" which we gracefully declined.
Question: I am looking for any video or dvd from Toto or your band but i cant find any!! Why?
Simon: There is a video made of the 1990 tour. There are other shot but probably not on sale of more recent tours. We are working towards a DVD of the Mindfields tour - just got to finalize a deal and then mix/edit the show!
=========== End of last update October 14th, 2001 ==============