Toto returns in 2015 with an album that could be defined as a realized vision three plus decades in the making. The recordings on TOTO XIV exhibit world-class musicianship, masterful arrangements, topical lyrical commentary, and melodies that the collective genius of Lukather, Paich, Porcaro, Williams and their assembled band-mates bring to life. This new studio album is arguably the true follow-up to a TOTO IV, which made the band global superstars, and the band’s first studio album since Falling In Between (2006).
Keyboardist Steve Porcaro reveals, “This is opposite of going through the motions. We are treating this like it is Toto V, our follow-up to TOTO IV. We just want to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Be true to ourselves and make the best music we can. Entertain people which is what we were put on this Earth for.” Keyboardist David Paich reflects, “I think of TOTO as a unit and a band that carries a responsibility when it goes out there in to the public consciousness. There is so much negativity and darkness that I think you have to be as Quincy Jones puts it, ‘beams of light that blast through the darkness’.”
As they began the process of a return the studio, all of the principle long-term members brought their A-game to the table. Guitarist Steve “Luke” Lukather offers, “When you put us in a room, and everybody brings in their pieces, the next thing you know it all fits together. Everybody’s performances are top notch. We are really bringing our best out, forcing ourselves to make personal best choices, what’s best for the music. I’m really excited to hear what people think.” Singer Joseph Williams adds, “We are talking about a band where everybody is a writer, and everybody is a lead singer, and everybody is a player. All involved brought this trio to the table where it could just live on its own.”
Founding bassist David Hungate returns to the fold, about whom Luke simply offers, “No one plays like David Hungate.” Keith Carlock, whose commitments to Steely Dan prohibit him from participating in the 2015 World Tour, performed drums. Shannon Forest, who was a part of the band’s 2014 North American run, will be behind the kit. Luke offers, “Shannon is a world class drummer and we are honored to have him back with us.”
The sessions were co-produced by CJ Vanston, who Paich looks upon as, “everything a producer is supposed to be and more – a musicians producer.” Vanston states, “There have never been better musicians on the planet, especially in a band together. This is an amazing record and I am completely thrilled to be a part of it. This is a dream job for me.” Porcaro offers an additional thought stating, “I think the band is hit upon a very healthy creative tension for this project. I’m very excited about it.” For Williams he reflects, “Just imagine being able to stand on stage in front of enormous crowd of people, and you are playing great music with the best musicians in the world, and you look around, and they are some of your best friends in the world. It’s the best feeling any person could have.” For Porcaro he shares, “It is kind of hard to find words of what it means to have a smile on your face to go to work every day and we have the fans to thank for that – so thank you.”
The band will hit the ground running with an extensive European headline arena tour with appearances at key festivals. The itinerary begins in Glasgow on May 21, and takes Toto through the UK, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Italy, and Belgium. Ticket sales came out of the box with strength, with some appearances selling out within days of on-sale. A North American tour will follow Summer, 2015. The band is in the planning stages for their return to Asia later this year.
The last couple of years has been active, with a seven show sold-out tour of Asia that took them through Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Sendai and Sapporo in April, 2014. Also that month, the 35th Anniversary Tour – Live In Poland title was released in multiple configurations that included 2CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Deluxe Edition with all formats and a 60-page book, debuting at #1 in territories across the globe. In August and September, the band hit the road travelling across North America as co-headliners with Michael McDonald, which when it was all said and done was their most comprehensive tour on the continent in years.
Historically, few ensembles in the history of recorded music have individually or collectively had a larger imprint on pop culture than the members of TOTO. As individuals, the band members’ imprint can be heard on an astonishing 5000 albums that together amass a sales history of a HALF A BILLION albums. Amongst these recordings, NARAS applauded the performances with 225 Grammy nominations. TOTO sold 35 million albums, and today continue to be a worldwide arena draw staging standing room only events across the globe. It is not an exaggeration to estimate that 95% of the world’s population has heard a performance by a member of TOTO.
With over 38 years together and thousands of credits and accolades to their names, Toto remains one of the top selling tour and recording acts in the world. They are the benchmark by which many artists base their sound and production, and they continue to transcend the standards set by the entire music community, being simply synonymous with musical credibility. Their repertoire continues to be current via high profile usage on broadcast television.
In May 2012, Family Guy utilized “Africa” within the plot of the season finale “Internal Affairs” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4I5eICj82Y). In March, 2012, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake offered a light-hearted homage via a comedy sketch with the track that has now been viewed 5 million times on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9F86cAoi3o.
They are pop culture, and are one of the few 70’s bands that have endured the changing trends and styles, and more than 35 years in to a career enjoy a multi-generational fan base.