How a Lawsuit Broke Apart a Pair of Longtime Toto Bandmates

Steve Lukather outlined the “ugly” legal battle that Toto lost against the widow of late drummer Jeff Porcaro and said it led to a falling out between himself and keyboardist Steve Porcaro, Jeff’s brother.

The lawsuit was raised in 2018, when Susan Porcaro-Goings claimed that Toto – owned by Lukather and semiretired co-founder David Paich – “refused to account and pay … for Jeff’s interest in the Toto name” since his death in 1992. Lukather said the disagreement cost the band $1 million and led directly to its latest lineup change, which leaves the guitarist as the only remaining original member.

“There was a mix-up with the name that goes back to our original management,” Lukather told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “I was victimized by that bullshit, too. And then she went public, without any corroboration, to say that David and I were stealing from her family. Like I would do that! As if I suddenly turned into an arch-criminal when I was 60!”

He added that Porcaro “is pissed off because he was out of the band for 25 years and he didn’t put any money into trying to fight [the lawsuit]. He wanted a part of the name for nothing. He didn’t emotionally support us. He didn’t financially support us. Why should he get it for free? And so now he hates my guts, and that makes this even more ugly.”

Porcaro – whose second stint with the band came to an end in the turmoil – disagreed with Lukather’s position. “I haven’t really spoken to Luke in the past year, but I do not hate his guts – nothing could be further from the truth,” Porcaro told Rolling Stone in a separate interview. “When I rejoined Toto, I planned on staying for one summer. … I wound up staying for 10 years, and I told them I was ready for a break. The last tour was pretty rough with all the stress and screaming and 14-paragraph emails.”

Porcaro confirmed that he signed away his rights when he originally left the band in 1987, but suggested his late brother did not. “He died before that could happen,” he said. “To be honest with you, I think Lukather and the guys were ill-advised. I don’t blame them. I blame their representation for not telling them how the world works. They were ill-advised by shysters who didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about.”

The keyboardist sent his best wishes to the new version of Toto, which includes the returning Joseph Williams on vocals. “If Luke is putting together something, it’s going to be amazing,” Porcaro said. “It’s going to be fantastic. No one plays guitar like Luke – and Joseph is singing better than ever.”

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Steve Lukather Says Weezer Should Be ‘More Thankful’ for ‘Africa’

Toto guitarist Steve Lukather said Rivers Cuomo didn’t engage when he tried to discuss Weezer’s celebrated rendition of “Africa.”

In 2018 the bands exchanged cover versions, a move fired up by a Weezer fan who’d started an online campaign to have Cuomo’s group perform Toto’s signature track. The result was a surprise hit single — Weezer’s biggest since 2005 — but, according to Lukather and former bandmate Steve Porcaro, Cuomo seemed unhappy with the situation.

“I tried to reach out to Rivers,” Lukather told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “I said, ‘Hey, man, isn’t this funny? Whether you like us or not, it’s working out good for both of us.’ Silence! The cat refused to talk to me! I’m friends with the biggest rock ’n’ roll stars in the world, and this is the only cat that refuses to talk to me! I’m sorry, Rivers. You made a lot of fuckin’ money off this. You should be a little bit more thankful.” He added: “Some of [Weezer] were cool, but Rivers really hurt my feelings.”

Porcaro recalled the experience of being invited to join Weezer for a performance of “Africa” on TV, noting he’d been present when Cuomo’s manager told them the cover was doing well on radio.

“I saw Rivers wince,” the keyboardist explained. “They initially did it as a goof, but now they realized they’d have to play the song for a lot longer than they thought they would. This whole business runs on hit records. If you get one, you better be prepared to play it for the rest of your life.”

Weezer Cover Toto’s ‘Africa’

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Toto’s Steve Lukather Says Rock Hall ‘Hate Our Guts’

Toto guitarist and frontman Steve Lukather said his band isn’t in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because “they hate our guts.”

The statement comes courtesy of a new interview with the music blog Misplaced Straws.

When asked why Toto, who have been Hall of Fame eligible since 1998, has yet to be enshrined, Lukather didn’t mince words.

“Because they hate our guts and have since 1978,” he matter-of-factly declared.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, it should be noted, was not established until 1983. Lukather’s comments seemingly link back to Jann Wenner, co-founder of the Rock Hall and the publisher of Rolling Stone.

“Now, the interesting part about that is that for the first time in 43 years, I was just called to do an interview for Rolling Stone. And I asked my PR people, ‘Is this a setup?’ Because they shit on me in the Ringo band,” Lukather explained, alluding to his run as a member of the Beatle‘s All-Starr Band.

The musician went on to note that Rolling Stone has been extremely critical of one of Toto’s biggest hits. “Some other ass clown wrote some horrible shit about ‘Africa,’ a song that was written in 1981, by the way – 1981, and it’s still fucking everywhere. It’s like herpes, it comes back when you least expect it. But at the same time, it’s a golden nugget. But that’s the golden nugget that the Satan person has, and they hold it over our heads now.”

In Lukather’s opinion, the Hall’s distaste for “Africa” has continually kept Toto at bay. “It’s like they think we’re only worth one song,” he noted. ” And it’s like, ‘Dude, we got a lot of material.’”

With six Grammy Awards and more than 40 million albums sold, Toto have the credentials worthy of Hall consideration. Despite his harsh words toward the establishment, Lukather insisted he’s not bitter regarding the Rock Hall. “I don’t care. We’re moving on. I wish everybody well,” he said.

Lukather is prepping a new solo album titled I Found the Sun Again for release on Feb 26.

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Steve Lukather Preps New Solo Album: Exclusive Interview

Toto fans will get double the music in February with the simultaneous release of new solo albums by guitarist Steve Lukather and singer Joseph Williams. Put the two together on shuffle and you’ll have something that comes close to a new Toto album.

But it’s not.

As Lukather explains to UCR, “It’s not a Toto record, but it’s all the same guys, with a few more great musicians.” The lineup includes founding Toto keyboardist David Paich, who suffered a seizure in 2018 while the band was on tour.

I Found the Sun Again, Lukather’s eighth solo record, arrives on Feb. 26 with a mix of three cover songs and five new original compositions. The album is tied together by a shared nod to artists who’ve occupied important slots in Lukather’s record collection. From his earliest days as a music fan, it was those recorded moments, etched in black vinyl, that helped light a spark that led to his own path as a musician.

“We listened to music,” he says. “The only thing that mattered to us was hanging with who had the coolest black-light room and the stereo to match it. We just listened to music and dreamed about maybe someday getting to do what those guys do. And learning from it and studying it. All of the music that we loved.”

He notes that I Found the Sun Again is based on late-‘60s and early ‘70s music and mostly cut live. “I did a song a day,” he explains. “Eight days it was done and eight days it was mixed. We got some great performances. … It was really old-school, just to see if I could do it. … They used to say that Toto was slick. We were like a fucking punk band compared to the records I hear now.”

A sprawling 10-minute version of Traffic‘s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” shows up early in the record, underlining the loose and jam spirit that links the material; “Welcome to the Club” led off Joe Walsh’s 1974 So What album. Decades later, Lukather saw it as an opportunity to pay tribute to his longtime friend. “The lyric pertains to my life exactly,” he says.

Watch Steve Lukather’s ‘Run to Me’ Video

In addition to longtime bandmates Paich and Williams, Lukather welcomed plenty of other friends to help put the album and songs together, including Ringo Starr, Gov’t Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson, newly minted Toto bassist John Pierce, fellow All-Starr Band member Gregg Bissonette and others.

He also reached out to former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers drummer Stan Lynch for some lyrical assistance on two songs, including the album opener, “Along for the Ride,” which finds the guitarist giving notice that “You’ve been riding on my bloody coattails for far, far too long.

Lynch tells UCR he was excited to work with Lukather again. “When my tenure with the Heartbreakers went down, Luke called and immediately shoved my self-pity in the dumpster,” the drummer recalls. “[He] put my ass to work on [Toto’s 1995 album] Tambu. Stretched me. Tested me. Helped usher in my second act.”

Both Lukather and Williams will offer a small sampling of material from their respective new albums during an upcoming livestream on Nov. 21 that will also usher in a new Toto lineup.

“We put 90 minutes together and let everybody play a little bit, so you can hear how good the musicianship is,” Lukather says. “We’ll play a few Toto classics to prove that we can and what this band sounds like doing it, so the naysayers will shut up. But you’ve got to understand, I’ve been through 15 versions of this band. … Some people have passed away, some people have retired. Some people hate the road, some people hate me. … Joe and I want to go work, so we put together a band … that’s great and fun and wants to be there. It adds a whole new energy to it.”

He’s also pleased with the initial reception to his new music and has no shortage of praise for Williams’ Denizen Tenant, which will be released the same day as Lukather’s album.

“He spent a long time and was meticulous,” Lukather says. “He lives alone, and he likes to be alone late at night and fuck around with this shit by himself. So he’ll do weird five-part harmonies. To me, this is his greatest musical statement.”

Both I Found the Sun Again and Denizen Tenant are available for pre-order now.

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Toto’s Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams Announce Solo Albums

Toto members Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams have announced solo albums that will be released simultaneously on Feb. 26.

Lukather’s I Found the Sun Again will feature five original songs, as well as three covers: Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,” Joe Walsh’s “Welcome to the Club” and Robin Trower’s “Bridge of Sighs.”

“Never had so much fun recording in my life,” Lukather proclaimed of the LP in a press release. “Painless, fun and easy – and it just flowed.”

The album marks the guitarist’s eighth solo release and his first since 2013’s Transition. In the liner notes for I Found the Sun Again, Lukather explained that he “wanted to make as honest a record as I could in 2020 with 1970’s inspiration.” To that end, the musician noted that all of the songs were recorded live, “no clix, no fix, no rehearsal – one run-through.”

Watch Steve Lukather’s ‘Run to Me’ Video

Guests on the album include Toto bandmates Williams and David Paich. Ringo Starr also makes an appearance, performing on the lead single “Run to Me.” Lukather has been a member of Starr’s All Starr Band since 2012.

Meanwhile, Williams’ solo record, titled Denizen Tenant, will also feature Paich and Lukather, as well as former Toto members Simon Phillips, Leland Sklar, Lenny Castro and Nathan East. Like Lukather’s album, Williams’ LP will feature a mix of covers and originals. Renditions of the Beatles‘ “If I Fell” and Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” are among the tracks.

Watch Joseph Williams’ ‘Never Saw You Coming’ Video

Williams said “Never Saw You Coming,” the first single released from Denizen Tenant, is his “first opportunity in ages to show my true sound.”

“Although my album is an eclectic collection of songs, this one tells you what you need to know to get a real sense of the whole,” he explained in a press released. “You can see where I’m going vocally for sure. It all starts with ‘Never Saw You Coming,’ plus I thought it was time we had a cool sexy song about death! Enjoy.”

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