STEVE LUKATHER Talks TOTO Classic "Africa" Becoming A Hit - "It Has A Groove, Makes People Happy; Nobody Is More Surprised Than We Are" (Video)

July 8, 2021, 3 weeks ago

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STEVE LUKATHER Talks TOTO Classic "Africa" Becoming A Hit - "It Has A Groove, Makes People Happy; Nobody Is More Surprised Than We Are" (Video)

Marty Duda at The 13th Floor's spoke with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather at the end of June, just as the band's new live album, With A Little Help From My Friends, saw the light of day. In the interview below, Lukather talks about the band's legacy, how the Covid lockdown affected him as a working musician, about his new solo album, I Found The Sun Again, and THAT song....

On Toto's hit song "Africa"

Lukather: "We never thought for a second that one is going to be a hit. We loved the track, we didn't write the lyrics until the track was done. We had a melody that we thought was catchy as fuck and the lyrics are ridiculous. I think the fact that it is not political or another love song, it's just a silly little song, it has a groove, makes people happy, and a really catchy melody. Some people hate it for that, but for some people, it's connecting. Other bands played it at soundchecks and the whole audience starts singing. Nobody is more surprised than we are."

With A Little Help From My Friends captures one special night on November 21, 2020 when Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams and David Paich appeared with the new lineup of Toto for a global event originating from Los Angeles, CA.

Joining Lukather, Williams and Paich for this next chapter in their indelible history are new band members bassist John Pierce (Huey Lewis and The News), drummer Robert “Sput” Searight (Ghost-Note / Snarky Puppy), and keyboardist / background vocalist Steve Maggiora (Robert Jon & The Wreck). Keyboardist Dominique “Xavier” Taplin (Prince, Ghost-Note) and multi-instrumentalist / vocalist Warren Ham (Ringo Starr) segued over continuing their tenure in the ensemble. This marks the fifteenth incarnation of the Toto lineup in consideration of band members or sidemen who joined or exited. Watch the performance of “Till The End” below.

The pre-order is live, here. Alongside LP pressings of the audio only, both a CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray package are available. The tracklisting features “Till The End,” “Hold The Line,” “Pamela,” “Kingdom Of Desire,” “White Sister,” “You Are The Flower,” “I Won’t Hold You Back,” “Stop Loving You,” “Home Of The Brave,” “Rosanna,” and “With A Little Help From My Friends.” In the DVD and Blu-ray releases, a documentary is featured alongside the performance, featuring thoughts from all members of the band that appeared that evening.

Steve Lukather, aka Luke, shares, “When the music is performed by great musicians it honors Toto. The documentary featured on the DVD offers great insights in to our thoughts looking forward. David, who stands with us, alongside Joe and myself, desire to keep this music alive. And Paich could pop in any time for a show as a special surprise. When it came to plan this specific set list, we picked an eclectic group of songs for this one night only show. Looking forward, we’ll be selecting a broader mix from the Toto catalog that includes deep cuts, the hits, and tunes from Joe and my recently released solo albums. Both of us could not be more thrilled with the global response to these records. They charted all over the world, and integrating some of the music in to the new Toto set brings a fresh spice to the Toto: The Dogz of Oz World Tour when we head back out to begin staging shows. Simply, both of us aim to bring the past Toto to the present and beyond, and this first look at the new line-up sets the stage for a chapter in our history we can’t wait to write.”

Joe Williams offers, “It’s always a complete joy to perform a Toto show, but this one was special. Joining me, Luke and David last November were three new top level, virtuoso musicians as well as a few returning geniuses. The show itself was born out of the need to play after being on Covid lockdown, but also served as the reason to build this new band. Right out of the gate this group gelled and dug deep into the new and old Toto material. Among some of the deeper cuts is one of my all-time favorite songs, ‘You Are The Flower’ by the original - Bobby Kimball. Being a massive fan (and a good friend), I dedicate the performance to him. Also back are a few of my favorite things, ‘Till The End’ and ‘Pamela.’ Played to perfection by the new cats. I have the best job in the band because when I’m not singing, I get to watch the most incredible players work! The Toto model holds strong and true. A band of the very best musicians and singers writing and performing all manner of cool songs. That’s how it began, and that’s how it continues.” He continues, “This documentary explores that concept by talking with David, Luke, Warren, Dominic X, John Pierce, Robert ‘Sput’ Searight, and Steve Maggiora about their experiences as players, and also about being a part of the Toto legacy. And, of course discussion about the show as well. I think I’m in there too, saying how much I love these guys! Soon we’ll to get back out to you, on stage, in the flesh expanding our set with some even deeper ‘legacy’ cuts as well as some new stuff from Luke’s and my new records. We can’t wait! In the meantime, enjoy a little Toto history and current events. Xo Joe.”

Luke and Joseph Williams are life-long friends since they were kids, and bandmates sharing a deep colorful history that has thrived professionally on a global basis over the past decades. In front of staging this one night only appearance during the global pandemic, Luke offered, “We could not be more at peace with this move. There is a refreshing, optimistic enthusiasm to step in to the future. At this moment, Joe and I are the only long-tenured members of the band that want to be on the road continuing to bring music to our multi-generational fan base. I’ve spent almost four and a half decades of my life as the only original member who never missed a show or an album nurturing this legacy while enabling the music to continually exist in the live concert setting. That is something I’ll never stop doing, and when we inevitably return to the road it presents a rare opportunity to reimagine our personal futures while simultaneously preserving the deep connection that exists with the audience while likewise yielding continual discovery.”

Williams shared, “Luke and I have been through a lot with one another. He’s like a brother to me. Our creative partnership has always enriched our lives. As we look towards what’s to come in unison, there is nothing but anticipation to bring everything in our minds to life. I can’t think of anyone else on Earth I’d rather launch the next chapter with than with this lifelong, loyal and gifted friend and band mate. We’re the last men standing…The Dogz of Oz!” Luke adds, “Joe and I have been friends since I was 17, and Joe was 14. During the course of this pandemic, we’ve been reevaluating our career and how to move forward. People are either not with us anymore or have retired. We still feel like kids who want to be back on the road as soon as possible. It’s where we live. Joe’s growth as a producer, songwriter, engineer, singer and performer is inspiring. The timing of this move is perfect as Joe is at the top of his game, and he amazes me every day. We are enjoying this collaboration, and could not be more enthusiastic about the future.”

With A Little Help From My Friends was produced by Joseph Williams, who also edited the accompanying long-form video. The band’s long-time front of house engineer Ken Freeman mixed and captured the sound that evening.




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