Jeff Porcaro

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prasa > Modern Drummer, sierpień/wrzesień 1982

Modern Drummer, August-September 1982

Update (column)

By Robyn Flans

Jeff Porcaro, whose first priority has always been his own band, Toto, is pleased that he is immersed in that these days. With Toto IV doing well, Toto plans to be on the road throughout the summer, off and on. How does the band affect his studio commitments?
"I remember when Toto first started, which was kind of when I first started doing sessions. If you left town, there was always a guy behind you. If the contractor and the artist call you a few times and you're not there, they have to go to the next guy. If you're gone for a while, they might even decide they like him better than you. So you're always risking the chance that, when you come home, your accounts don't call you anymore. In some instances, I've found that has happened and I find it to be more true when there are contractors involved as opposed to the artist just calling. But Toto never stays out on the road more than a few weeks at a time."
When Toto is recording in L.A., however, Jeff continues to do sessions. "We did this album over a period of six months. When we're working on a Toto album, we maybe work five days a week, usually in the nights from 7:00 on. So as long as I don't stay up too late, I can usually work during the days." But Toto has been the dream Jeff has been working towards, so he manages to juggle his responsibilities. "There was a point where, for two years, I actually did everything I could, even if I didn't feel like playing, just to save up money so I could take two years off and give the group a try. I think anybody would be happy if he were given the privilege to have a group that's his. You get to go into the studio and money is given to you to make the kind of music you want to make. You're the boss and it's your baby. That's incredible! I think that's anybody's ultimate goal if they're into doing their own thing themselves, or with five other comrades. With Toto, it's a little more free. The way we work in the studio--the way we record our instruments and the way we arrange our tunes and produce ourselves--it's for ourselves instead of as sidemen who are there to satisfy the needs of the producer and artist you're working for. That's fun too, and sometimes that's even a relief from being in a group, but it's nice to be involved with all aspects of the production."
He has even become more involved with writing these days, having had a sprinkling of co-written tunes on previous albums. Jeff co-wrote three tunes on the current album and plans to become more and more involved in that area.
Recently, Jeff's brother Mike joined the line-up on bass, after David Hungate exited to spend more time in Nashville. This brings a total of three Porcaros in the band, which already included Steve on keyboards.
"It's great playing with Mike again. It's like the old days when Mike was in the original high school band with Paich, Lukather, Steve and myself. Mike also played live with us with Boz Scaggs."
On the studio front, Porcaro has added a couple of exciting firsts to his list, having recently worked with Paul McCartney for the first time on the McCartney/Michael Jackson collaboration. "I also recently worked with Bruce Springsteen for Donna Summer's album. He sang and also played on the tracks. That was great."