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Interview:
Toto's holding the line at 35th anniversary
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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As Toto celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, guitarist Steve Lukather says he's proud that "the band's in a great headspace considering two key members are gone."

That would be drummer Jeff Porcaro, who died in 1982, and his brother, bassist Mike Porcaro, whose battle with ALS helped inspire Lukather and other Toto principals -- singer-keyboardist David Paich and keyboardist Steve Porcaro, as well as longtime singer Joseph Williams -- to reunite in 2010. "We were only going to do that one summer," recalls Lukather, 55, "but we've kept going and it just keeps getting better, so why stop?

"And for some reason our stock has gone up a little bit. We have new management, new agents. We put our feet in the water again to see if they get bit off. But even after taking 35 years of punches from the mainstream rock press, even they can't (mess) with us anymore. They couldn't knock us down back then, and they still can't."

Toto has certainly amassed a formidable track record during the past three and a half decades -- selling more than 35 million albums worldwide and scoring enduring hits such as "Hold the Line," "Rosanna" and "Africa." The band members have also won more than 200 Grammy Awards between them -- mostly for their outside session work but with six for Toto itself.

The reunion, meanwhile, has stoked the idea of some new Toto music, the group's first since "Falling In Between" in 2006.

"We just settled a lawsuit that allows us to be able to do that, so I think it'll happen," Lukather says. "There's a few bits and pieces here and there, even from as far back as the 'Toto IV' days (1982) and I think we're going to sit down and start some from scratch, too.

"If we're going to do another album, I want it to be a classic Toto album, not try to go grunge or happy jazz on everybody. I want to just do what we do best and make something that people who like our music would want to hear. If do that and add a (concert) DVD, that'll take us to our 40th anniversary -- which is terrifying!"

Toto performs with Michael McDonald at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25 at the Chene Park Amphitheatre, 2600 E. Atwater St. at Chene. Tickets are $37-$75 pavilion, $27 and $37 lawn. Call 800-745-3000 or visit www.cheneparkdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.cheneparkdetroit.com

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