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wywiady > wywiad 03
03. Wywiad z Toto - 1999r., Strasburg; koniec pierwszego etapu europejskiej trasy koncertowej"Mindfields" is a very versatile album, every song has a different musical style. Was this the plan from the start or did this just happen during the writing and recording process?
Luke: We never really go in with a theme. It's just like someone starts, we got a couple of ideas for tunes, and it just happens while you're doing it. We figure out what it's all about after it's done.
Bobby: It's like starting a cake with no recipe, you just end up with a certain kind of cake.
But you knew that Bobby would be back, so did this have some kind of influence on the song?
Luke: Yeah, I would say... We started thinking in other terms.
David: It's been so long now, it was like walking in space with your eyes closed. You're not sure until it happens. But it's a little bit like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it. And it worked out great, especially during the blues, live.
Luke: Which ironically from what I've been reading is everyone's least favorite song on the record. It is my favorite song, that and "Better World" are my two favorite songs on the record.
David: My nephews love it!
Luke: The irony of that song is that it was a live jam in the studio, it was very much like our "Voodoo Child", if you know what I mean. People are always pissing and moaning about us "You guys never jam on your records" and if we do all of a sudden everyone goes "We hate that song, why is that song on the record?"
Luke: You can't please everybody. And it's the hardest thing, you know. We get online and we read all that stuff, we read what everybody says.
David: It's about time that they understand that we don't make music for them, we make music for ourselves basically.
Luke: We hope people like what we do but...
David:It's not like we're gonna go change it when we read a review like that, go back in the studio and change it
Luke: I mean everyone has a right to their own opinion, don't get me wrong, that's fine. There's things that I like and other people don't. But it's just ironical, one time we put a ten minute blues jam on the record of which you think everybody will go "Wow, cool!" Some people dig it but...
But is that one of the reasons why there's no real instrumental on the album, that you've already done the ten minutes blues song and "Better World" with lots of instrumental parts?
David: With "Better World and the blues thing...
Luke: I think we musically masturbated enough.
Simon: "Better World" was a different kind of instrumental as well, it was more like a piece where part of it was instrumental and part of it was vocal.
What is the concept behind "Better World"? The three different parts...
Luke: The song was written in a very strange way. Simon, Dave and I wrote it but we were never in the same room at the same time. Simon came up with the psycho riff at the front and I wrote the middle part, the singing part and the words. Then David wrote the whole piano concerto thing in the middle of it. Simon put it all together in his pro tool.
David: There's three parts to it. Luke's part represents the tortured world, Simon's part represents the eccentric world, and my part is like the better world.
David: You see we still have our sense of humor this far into the tour.
Simon: I think there's one left.
[Toto sing to the tune of "Camptown Races":] "Two more shows and then we can go, doo-dah, doo-dah"
Are the songs on the album in a particular order? It's pretty obvious when you listen to the album that "Better World" simply had to be the last song, but what about the rest?
Luke: You know what's really screwed up about the sequencing on our record? We would love to resequence the whole record. We were so far behind schedule... They had to give it some sort of a running order and we didn't know, some of the songs weren't mixed. And you know, when they mix the songs, sometimes it comes out better than you expect. We just sort of had a guess. "Today is your deadline, you have to come up with a running order". And so that had to be the running order on the record. I think it's the wrong sequence.
David: If we hadn't given them the running order you wouldn't know what order the songs were in at all.
Luke: We had to come up with something.
David: That was running order number one.
Luke: Artwork deadline... [laughs] We always find ourselves in these situations... very frustrating!
So usually if you have enough time you think about the running order?
Luke: Oh yeah.
David: When you make albums, they ask us "How long do you think will it take to make an album?" You say "Seven months", they give you five months. If we tell them "Five months", they give you four months. They always give you less time than you tell them.
So what would you have done differently with the sequencing?
Luke: Well everyone has their personal opinion, so you'd get five different answers on that. But I think we would have opened the album with a different song.
Luke: Yeah. I would have chosen "Cruel" as the opening song on the record because it's strong Bobby.
Bobby: Yeah, "Cruel" world and then end it with "Better World".
Luke: You know that, or maybe "Caught in the Balance"...
Simon: "Caught in the Balance", I think that would have been a good song.
David: Yeah, "Caught in the Balance".
Luke: One of those, but we just felt like we were all digging "After you've Gone" at the moment, so we said OK we'll put that first.
David: We didn't even have those songs mixed.
Simon: "Mindfields" wasn't mixed...
Luke: "Mindfields" didn't even have lyrics at that time. So it was really strange, we just sort of guessed. That will probably answer a lot of people's questions because I've read a lot of the reviews and stuff like that.
Alot of fans have written in and complained that David is once again not singing...
Luke: David, I want you to tell these people that it's not our fault!
David: And I'm tired of writing and complaining about that!
Bobby: And changing your name every time.
Simon: Writing under pseudonyms.
David: Actually I did do a song on this album. It's called "Spanish Steps of Rome", it's on the Japanese... To my surprise, I thought it was gonna be on the European version but it didn't end up there for some reason. What can I say, except that we did record something and it came out really well and hopefully some day people will hear it, maybe the live version or as an import, something like that.
So it wasn't your decision not to put "Spanish Steps of Rome" on the European version?
David: Absolutely not. We had to chose one song as a bonus cut for some place and that was the odd man out there which I didn't have a major problem with. But we did cut it and there's another song.
Luke: Dave would sing more if he wanted to, really. Say it Dave... Dave doesn't like to sing, we try to get him to sing, he doesn't wanna sing... Say it to the people!
David: Because when I do in fact sing, it doesn't make the album!
Luke: That's not true...
There's a lot of fans, really, asking for David to sing...
David: I'm flattered and in the future I will try to do more.
Luke: Liar... You're a liar...
David: I'm not lying. I love the singing on this album but what was I going to sing? Didn't make the album so I'm not doing it anymore. I'll do my solo records. You know what? That's it.
Luke [resigns]: Cool...
How did you come up with the album title "Mindfields"? Did you write the song after you had decided on the album title or was the song first?
Luke: Bobby wrote the verse to that.
Bobby: Actually the lyrics were written after we came up with the title. We got a lot of submissions from Doug Brown, over 50 I'd say, and actually we all picked the name "Mindfields" out of those.
So the artwork was already there...
Bobby: It was already there. I took the artwork home and I was having a lot of trouble coming up with the lyrics. I wrote three sets of lyrics beforehand. And then I brought the album home one night and I just wrote the album cover. And then Dave extended that with the chorus on it.
Did you have any influence on the artwork?
Luke: Very much so.
Bobby: Three months of it.
Luke: I think it's the best album cover we ever had, I really love it.
If you had that much influence you can tell all of us the significance of the images...
Luke: No, no, no...
Simon: That's the title, "Mindfields"...
Luke: Very psychedelic.
A lot of people want to know, what do the umbrellas mean, what does the infinity symbol mean...
Bobby: We try to let everyone draw their own conclusion.
David: You have to understand, the influence we had on the album, it's what didn't go on the album. He would bring us a whole lot of stuff and we'd say "No, we don't want this, we don't want to look like Houdini, we don't want a dog playing the piano on the record, we don't want this...
Luke: [jokes] We already have that in the band.
David: It's what we got rid of that we were an influence on, what is left is what Doug pretty much came up with because he gave us ten times as much as you're seeing here.
Luke: We had to edit out stuff because it was so out, we were just going "Oh my God..."
So you don't know yourself what all the stuff means?
Luke: Of course we do but we want everyone to draw their own conclusion.
Bobby: It's a lot easier to edit out things than to add them.
Luke: There's tremendous significance to everything on that record. People just have to take it into their own hands.
David: Starting with the word on the name tag on the...
Luke: The dust mite.
David: Starting right there...
Luke: There's a picture of Elliot Scheiner on the record, that's him, wearing the hat and fake teeth. We have a lot of inside jokes that we do for ourselves, that don't necessarily make sense to everybody. We apologize for being self-indulgent.
So you want people to come up with their own interpretations...
David: As example of our self-indulgence, where you see this little picture of us, at times our heads actually get bigger when we get full of ourselves, so there's a picture of us with our heads bigger on the record.
Luke: Little bodies with bigger heads, we look like dwarfs. Somebody did that as a joke and we laughed so hard, so we said we gotta put that on the record somewhere. So you don't really notice that at first, but if you take like a magnifying glass to anything on this record, you start seeing things that seem a little odd, not quite right... Sort of very Pink Floyd influenced. Or Sgt. Pepper, sort of that era.
Why are there different singles in Europe? Was it Sony's decision to put out different songs in different countries?
Luke:Yeah, they pretty much told us what they wanted...
So you don't have much influence...
Luke: We try!
David: "Mad about You", we tried to come up and release something with Bobby first, but it was such an unanimous thing with "Melanie". We didn't have a big argument against it, we just didn't want it for the first single.
Bobby: And we also got kind of rushed into the first single, too...
Luke: We were at the rehearsal, arguing... We wanted something like "Cruel" to be the first single, some really classic Toto sound with Bobby back... They wouldn't have it! They would say "No! We ain't gonna do that!" Well, this is how it works. I know the fans think "How could those guys do that, they're f****** idiots" and stuff like that... A big corporation running our band.
David: Toto's philosophy has pretty much been that as long as they pick one of the potential singles that we agree is a single... the order we've left up to them. That was what we did on the first album. In fact it's not our favorite, but "Melanie" was a potential single, so if we didn't want it to be a single...
The fans were a little confused because in some countries "Mad about You" was supposed to be the first single...
Luke: It is! France never wanted to put anything but "Melanie" out, OK. It takes them months to get a song on the radio, so they just immediately went with that. Everyone else went with "Mad about You", but it was never meant to be a commercially released single. It was just meant to be as the first radio track, so you can't buy it at the stores. "Melanie"... we did a video, believe it or not, we did a video!
When will we be able to see it?
Everyone: We're gonna see it tomorrow.
Luke: And it should be out... It's all basically like us inside of the album cover. We did all in front of a blue screen.
David: It better be fantastic!
Luke: We don't have any idea. They did a commercial for us that looked unbelievable and the same people did it. And we hear rumors that it's great. And they're really gonna push this. And it's unanimous around the world that "Melanie" is the single. "Mad about You" is doing really well in a bunch of countries, in Japan it's doing really well...
David: Otherwise we have Blue just take footage for the live shows.
Luke: We didn't wanna do a video, we refused. They said "We'll pay for it, 100%". So we said "Well...OK...Fine". Why do a video that is never gonna be shown?
Let's just hope that it will be shown...
Luke: Well, it's their money at this point. So I'm sure they wanna get their investment back. But the album is doing so well, just out of the box, we are so overwhelmed. Thank God...
It's just such a pity, because there are those music channels that have album charts, and when your album charted there was no video available...
David: Things are different over here, which is why we always keep an open mind and do things differently over here. The States is a very different thing... But we try and cooperate over here.
Luke: They have a full year long plan of how they're gonna market us. So we're coming back in the fall and doing another major tour, going to all the cities that we missed. Or as many as we possibly can, given the time period. There are radio stations that have committed on paper saying that they will play the single all summer until fall. So we have the strongest commitment we've had in years to making this happen. Plus, they want us to re-sign.
Bobby: Funny that should come at the same time!
What a coincidence!
Luke: We've got them by the balls. We're squeezing them. And we have hang nails.
Simon: Like the AC/DC song, "I've got you by the balls".
How did you chose which songs from "Mindfields" to play when you were compiling the set list?
Luke: Mike, answer this question. You haven't said a word.
Mike: Out on rehearsal, the songs that sound best live are gonna be the potential songs for the live show. The first release, "Mad about You", we wanted to make sure it was in the set. "Caught in the Balance", we open the show with, that was a good live song. It went very well at the rehearsal. So that's essentially how we do it. Some songs we held off on maybe they needed too much extra production, too much enhancement to really do right away. We've since added some of those also.
Luke: We have like 15 records, there's a hundred songs we could play and we only got 2 1 hours to do it. We have to play certain songs... And the album was just gonna be out like a week before we hit it, so we didn't wanna overdo the set with all new material cause nobody would know.
Bobby: As it is, we got a 2 1 hour set. We're not playing a lot of songs that we'd probably like to play.
David: There's a lot of songs on "Mindfields" we'd like to play. We dropped some, like "Mysterious Ways".
Luke: Who knows what the fall set might be, depending on how the singles go and the record. We'll come back with maybe some different old songs and stuff, depends how much time we have for rehearsal. Keep it interesting...
A lot of fans have written in asking why you're not playing any songs from "Isolation" and "The Seventh One".
Mike: There's obvious reasons. Fergie's not with the band, Joseph's not with the band, we get Bobby back. It's time to go back to having songs that can have the original singers on as opposed to try to cover material with a different singer than who actually sang it originally.
David: She just said something about songs that Dave's on...
Yes, Dave's songs from "Isolation", a lot of people ask for that stuff, "Holyanna", "Stranger in Town"...
David: Really? Well, maybe in the fall we'll surprise you with some of that stuff... But like Mike said, we wanted to take advantage of having Bobby back, and perform material with him and Lukather... I do "Africa" which is fine for me. Sometimes when you hear something that sounds good on a record like "Holyanna" or "Stranger in town", they aren't necessarily the greatest live things. They're good records, but they're not necessarily killers live as we find out. We play "Melanie" sometimes and it kind of sits there, if you know what I mean. And I love the record, but some things don't go over live that great.
Luke: We changed the setlist, we threw some things in, taken things out..
We've heard that you've changed the setlist several times during the tour. Will you make some more changes for Japan and the second European leg?
Luke: For Japan I think we'll probably keep the same set, as "Mad about You" is the single there, plus that comes off pretty good live. As we develop the tour, we've now got about 6 weeks under our belt, the band's very relaxed, our pacing is there.
What can the U.S. fans expect for the West Coast tour? Will you bring at least part of the big production there?
Luke: No, we can't afford to do it. We're doing these gigs purely for a laugh. Our record's not even released yet. We're having a huge ugly scene with Sony in America right now.
David: So our family and friends can see us play in the United States. It's just expensive shipping everything over...
Luke: We have a different crew... If we could do the size of buildings we're doing here, great... But like the House of Blues, we could barely be able fit our band gear on. They added a second night cause we're selling really well, but In Vegas they only want us to play like a 75 minutes set. So it's like we do the hits and get off. So unfortunately some of our real hard core fans are gonna be really disappointed. But that's the policy of the building we play. When we play the clubs we'll do our normal 2 1 hour show. So maybe we should warn everybody ahead of time, so they're not going "What's with the f****** 75 minutes set. Man we got burned!". It's not our fault!!!
[Notice: TOTO will play at least 90 minutes in Reno and Vegas]
David: They don't wanna be late for Shecky Greene.
Luke: Exactly. I'll be appearing in the lounge next door for my comedy set afterwards.
Bobby: We're having old Sammy on stage.
Luke: Steve Lukather IS Sammy Davis Jr.
David: Plus we have to make sure that the 25 minutes that you do doesn't cut into our 75 minutes. We'll give you an extra billing.
Luke: I'll be the opening act.
David: Or close for us!
Luke: Exactly. Unfortunately we won't be able to be as loose. It's unfortunate, we wish it would be different, and the only reason we're playing those shows is to be able to afford to do the other shows because they're the only ones paying any money.
David: That's the way it works with Vegas.
Luke: We never thought we would gonna be a lounge act. It's not a lounge act, we're playing a big building, they are like 1500 seaters or something like that.
So you will only do this West Coast tour, no other parts of the U.S.?
David: Not right now.
Luke: Not right now, man, I mean it just doesn't make sense for us to do it. We'd love to do it but we need support! If we don't get any support...
David: You have to have the same kind that Sony does over here, you put a record out, they put a big push behind you. Everybody knows it, so promoters around the United States would say "Hey, well this band is serious here, they'll be promoted and we'll take a chance on a billing", but promoters don't even know our band's together in the United States.
Luke: I mean really, the media and our record company killed us in the States, killed us dead.
David: The media's right in there with it.
Luke: As far as the United States is concerned, we're just like, "Oh, they're that band from the eighties". Only our hard core fans know that we're there. And we can't afford to go out and lose money.
David: Unless we get invited to appear with Sinbad down in Antigua after K.C.
Luke: Exactly, yeah we could go on one of the oldies review tours. We actually tried to put a package tour together with some bands maybe from our era, no-one wanted to play with us. Cause they were scared we'd f****** blow them off. They were like "No way, we're not playing with those guys". Not one person wanted to play with us!!! So we couldn't do it ourselves and no promoter would take the chance, take the risk.
But from what we've heard the U.S. dates are selling pretty well...
Luke: Yeah, they are. So there are people out there, there are fans. They don't know that we were out there, we don't have a record, and Sony's f****** with us by arguing, "Maybe we won't, maybe we will, maybe we should put it out". It's like put it out and do what? The same shit they've been doing for ten years?
Bobby: Our promoter in the U.S. IS the TOTO99 page.
Luke: There it is. Yeah.
Simon: One thing you could mention actually, there's been a rumor that Las Vegas is sold out, that is untrue. If you would post that.
David: None of the shows is sold out yet.
We haven't printed that...
Simon: Some fans put it on.
Is there any truth to the rumor that Steve Porcaro and Joe Williams will be at the Las Vegas gig?
Luke: I think Steve will play with us in L.A., man.
Bobby: It would be great if Joe came in and did some stuff at the House of Blues.
David: That's rumors, we won't know until we get into it a little closer.
Luke: He may come up and sit in on a song or something like that, but doing a whole set with different songs, we don't have time to rehearse.
David: It's basically the band is the band that you see now. Very delicately balanced I might add.
Luke: It would be fun maybe have Steve come up for the encore or maybe Joe come out and...
Bobby: And do "Pamela".
Mike: We don't really have time to rehearse.
Luke: Zip. We get home for three days.
David: If he could do "Goin' Home" or something like that. Maybe.
Are there any touring plans for other continents like Africa, Australia, South America?
Mike: Yeah, there's talk of South Africa this summer. Sometime in the summer they want to get us down. I think with BB King or maybe somebody like that. But it's just talk right now. That would be a nice little trip.
Luke: When they invent the Star Trek machine let me know. That was a painful 24 hours to get somewhere.
David: And back... We also get a lot of mails from people from South America, Australia and all these countries...
Luke: We have the same problem in Australia as we have in America. We have a record company down there that maybe just throw the record out, they don't promote it, they don't do anything. We went down there once, we had a wonderful time, but we lost money. Because you see how much gear is on stage, you know what that costs to ship?
David: It's impossible to tour unless you have support from your record company, unless you're independently billionaires or something like that. It has to be a cooperative financial escapade to move around the world with our size show. If we're renting gear, we were a three P, we were like the Knack or something like that used to be, you can do that, but not when you're trying to put on a mini version of The Wall every time you play.
Luke: Exactly. We refuse to go down there and just rip people off so we can make a quick little take. Either you see us the way we really are, or we'd rather not do it. And it's a shame, we love our fans, we appreciate everybody around the world who digs us. I mean people want us to come to Turkey and stuff like that.
Yeah, there are a lot of fans all around the world.
Luke: We'd love to be able to do all these things, but at the same time, we all have kids, so you can't stay on the road for 365 days a year.
But I think it's good if we make it clear that it's not your decision to not go there but the lack of support from Sony.
Luke: It is not our decision. You have to understand... like I said the cost of moving this... There's 40 people on this payroll. God knows how many tons of gear. It costs us a $100,000 in plane tickets.
Bobby: We have three busses just to move the people.
David: The pre-production just to get it going, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been committed even before we leave town. It's a big show, and yet we're not the kind of band that goes out and does the 3-year, 4-year kind of tour, we do it sporadically. So it's a little bit different for us, because we have families.
It's a very big production this time with the screen...
David: It's very close to the way we always wanted Toto to be seen.
Luke: We put our money into the show. We make a lot less money because we say our fans expect to see something great. Tickets are expensive, we don't wanna rip people off. We give them a long show, we give them a great show so that when we come back next time, next record or whatever, or next leg of the tour, people are gonna talk about it "Man, you gotta see this!" instead of like "It's good, but how many times can you see the same band play the same song?" That's why we changed what kind of songs we play. Some favorites were left out. "Stop Loving You" is stuff like that, I mean, to be honest with you... I don't miss that at all.
David: We have to change our show, we have to keep it fresh for us, otherwise the audience will pick up on that.
Luke: Yeah, if you give them the same songs every set.. We're not doing "Home of the Brave" this time. We did other songs that we haven't been able to play in 20 somewhat years. It's a give and take.
And so you'll probably change again for the fall?
Luke: A little bit.
David: Not much, maybe a little.
Luke: We're playing in different cities so those people haven't seen the show yet. Maybe one or two things. It's working. Plus, we don't have a lot of time to rehearse. With this big of a production, you have to rehearse.
What will you do this summer? Do you have any plans?
David: I'm working on an album with Boz Scaggs right now.
Luke: I'm gonna produce this kid, Eric Gales. This is a blues guitar player that's unbelievable. A Hendrixy thing.
There's a rumor you're doing another solo album...
Luke: When this is all over with then I'll do that. Next year, 2000 sometime.
David: He goes by the name of Eric Gales now.
Luke: I might sell some records in the States if I did.
Simon: I have a live album coming out in late May. I might do some shows in the summer, some festivals.
Bobby: I'm producing an album with this little kid in Louisiana, a vocalist - or co-producing actually.
Iheard you had an album of your own somewhere in the closet - so will that be released?
Bobby: Yeah. [jokes] It's a closet album.
David: We're waiting for Bobby to come out of the closet.
Luke: I read somewhere that Joseph's got a record coming out with his brother and every single one of us is on it. Writing songs and have played on tracks that I don't remember doing any of them.
Simon: [jokes] Produced by Tommy Denander.
Luke: [gets mad] I'm tired of this guy. We don't speak to him, he is NOT a friend anymore and I was very upset by his derogatory comments about the band and my guitar playing... He has used us to sell himself and used us and our fans to promote himself.
So Mike, what are your plans?
Mike: My plans are to catch some sun in the backyard.
David: He's the smartest one of us all.
Mike: We're starting up in October, there still may be some dates that come around this summer, so we've been told to expect. But in the meantime I'll really enjoy the time off.
Ihardly dare ask about the Porcaro Brothers...
Mike: That's something we might get some more work done on, that's up to Steve. Steve's got a couple of movies he's had back to back now. And that's gonna go for another month or two.
David: I can tell you that's work in progress but it's gaining momentum. When it comes out it'll probably be pretty significant.
Mike: There's some good songs, Steve's been writing some great stuff lately, he played me a couple of things last time I was home. So maybe we'll get around to a little more work on that. That would be nice.
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