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wywiady > wywiad 17

17. Wywiad z TOTO - czerwiec 2005r.

During their recording sessions for the new album, we caught up with the band in the studio over telephone to get all the latest scoop on the upcoming release.

Hey Luke and all, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about the new record!

Luke: You've caught us at a great time, we're just hanging around. Paich isn't here yet, can you believe it?

I guess to begin, can you tell us what the current status of the recording is? How many tracks have you laid down? How many more do you want to record?

Luke: We have 10 so far. We're working on it now, we laid it down yesterday. We're working on it some more today, and then I'm out! We won't record again until August because I've got this Les Paul thing and then I leave on my solo tour. Some of the vocals are going to be laid down when I'm gone. In August, we'll finish - we may lay down one more, but I'm not sure. We're very happy with what we have. At this point, I'd say the record is about 2/3 of the way done.

Mike: I'm really excited about the new album. I think everybody is. It's going REALLY well, even tunes I thought we should go back to the drawing board, once we'd put vocals on them, they'd sound incredible. Everything is really falling into place and moving smoothly. We have lots of fresh-sounding stuff for us, but that isn't too far out of the mainstream. I don't think anybody is going to be disappointed. Very positive initial feedback on everything we're doing. You really should hear some of this stuff, it's moving along and starting to sparkle! It doesn't sound mundane. It's a little bit bold and progressive for us, but in the right way.

So 2/3 of the way down, 15 track record then?

Luke: No probably only 11. A lot of the songs are longer. There are many longer pieces of music. And who wants to sit through a 90 minute record anyway!

Are there any confirmed song titles that we can share with the fans so far?

Luke: Yeah man, I can give you a bunch of titles! There's one that's called "Falling in Between," "Dying On My Feet," "Simple Life"

Yeah I heard that one, "Simple Life." In Verona. Fantastic track.

Luke: Yes, it's a bit of some ballad action there. There's also "Spiritual Man."

I heard a very early cut of that track. Paich's baby, right?

Luke:Yeah, it's almost done except for Dave's vocals, of course. Then we have a song called "Hooked" and then an untitled song. Then a song called "Reefer Man," an instrumental bebop song. That's probably going to be our Bonus Cut. It's kind of out there, but it's a fun thing that we really dug. Then there's a song called "Taint Your World" and then "No End In Sight" and a few other untitled songs. We haven't finished the lyrics yet.

And, will there be the "token" chick song, ie Rosanna, Pamela, etc?

Luke: No! Absolutely not! We're going to start writing about men

David: Hey website guys, this is David Paich, how are you! We're cutting another track. Excited to talk to you guys! You guys are fabulous, we love you. Appreciate all the hard work. Let me know if there's anything I can do...not that I'll do it, but you can always send me an e-mail.

[laugh]

Thanks, Dave. Anyway, how many ballads will be on the record?

Luke: I wrote a really good one. One of my best, I think. It's a short piece of music, but I think it's really strong. We just wrote a ballad-esque song yesterday - David, Simon, and myself. It's almost like world music. It's got a lot of percussion, and it's a really beautiful song.

Recently Greg Phillinganes became the newest "official member" of the band. I know he's been a bit MIA since the birth of his daughter last week, but could you describe any noticeable change that Greg's presence has brought to the music?

Luke: He's definitely kicked us all in the ass and given us a hell of a lot of fresh energy! He hasn't come in and changed the whole sound or style of the band, if that's what you mean. He enhances it, in away. It will be hard for you guys to tell who's playing what. I mean, there's such a strong presence between Greg, David, and Steve Porcaro, who's just been absolutely ASTOUNDING in his contributions, almost more so than when he was in the band. There is some wacky shit, man, it's really fun. We're having a blast. I feel better about this than I have in a long time because it's so fresh. And we don't have the pressure to write a "radio song." We have longer pieces of music, and I'm playing weirder stuff. I'm not trying to play as fast as I can to impress the guitar fans. Although there's some flashy stuff, I'm trying to push the limitations of what I can do. And sonically, it's unbelievable. 85% of the songs were written collaboratively by everybody in the band. I've written one on my own, as has Dave. There's still maybe 1 or 2 left that we're going to take a look at in August. Right now we're doing vocals. Bobby has sung most of it. I, so far, have only done one. I'm doing one more, Dave is doing one. Greg is stepping out here and there as well. And the background vocals are really killer. We're really stacking them on there.

Mike: Yeah, Greg is working out GREAT. Singing great. Contributing a lot. It's adding a whole new element to our overall sound and strengthened our vocal department! We can't wait for everyone to hear it.

The new record has been described as a far more progressive rock album. In addition to guitar solos, will there be any keyboard/bass/drum solos on the songs?

Luke: Well, we were talking about at one point... Don't know if it's going to happen, but... We were going to give everyone 5 minutes to do whatever they want. It could be a song, a solo, and we might edit it all together like the second side of Abbey Road. But I don't know if we're going to have time to do it or if everyone would even want to contribute to that. Given the time, we might do some stuff like that. But, solo spots on records don't come across as well as they do live. It could be a little dodgy. But you know, drum solos on a record, it's like... why?

In this album, is the band perhaps branching out into uncharted territory as far as genres are concerned? In other words, are you trying out any new types of music, some never before attempted under the 'Toto' name?

Luke: Well we're really reinventing the sound a bit. It's still going to be Toto, I mean, what else could it be? But there's a lot more in there to make people smile and say "whoa." There's a lot of fresh energy here. It's not like we're walking through. We're taking a long time to make sure it's right, recutting stuff that we don't like. Steve McMillan is going to mix the record. But, I'd say half of it is a bit more progressive and heavier, but then, the album really has a little bit of everything. The stuff is coming out cooler and fresh, but it's still melodic. It's not a jazz-fusion record. It's really instrumental pieces strung out in songs with vocals.

You've mentioned that along with Steve Porcaro and Lenny Castro, you'd like Joe Williams to guest vocal on the record. Has he made it over to the studio yet? Have there been any other guest musicians?

Luke: Lenny has definitely been there. Also, Ian Anderson plays flute on one of the tracks called Hooked. There's one section of the song that sounded a lot like Tull, so we asked him to play. It's a fun little section. As far as Joe, we're going to have him in August.

Luke, what sort of rig do you have set up, and which guitars have you been using on the record?

Luke: I'm using the MusicMan. Acoustically, I'm using the Ovation stuff. Ironically, there's a Vintage Guitar Store next door to the studio that I may wander in to to get some weirder sounds on the record. As we get some vocals on things and there are some last minute changes, I may put some weirder stuff on there. I want to find some weirdo instruments.

What synthesizers/pianos/instruments are Dave and Greg using on the new album?

Luke: Dave is using his Hammond and his 9 Foot Grand that we've used on every record from the beginning. Steve Porcaro is using all the maniacal shit that he has at his place. All the old, big poly-fusion shit is being whipped out so we have all that shit going. Simon's playing his monster Tama set.

To Mike: Which bass guitars do you find yourself using during the recording this time around?

Luke: Mike's playing like nine different bases. I don't know what the fuck's going on with that shit.

Mike: Yeah, I'm using my standards that I've always used like my F-Basses, that are made up in Canada. They are custom made instruments. I've also been using a new bass by a Japanese maker named Sugi Moto called Sugi basses. 4 String and 5 String. I'm actually helping him develop these instruments. I've also been using a classic Hoffner, Beatle bass on a couple of tunes. And anything else I can get my hands on! We're not done yet!

Has an artwork/cover concept or design been decided yet, or has it been narrowed down to a few selections? If so, would you mind describing it/them briefly? Will the sword come back on the cover?

Luke: We just started that yesterday. We've looked at some very interesting stuff. There's a lot of fresh things in the wind there that I can't really discuss yet because I'm not sure what they will end up being. We're still throwing around album titles and stuff like that. As far as the sword... Probably not. At one point someone suggested the record title "Bury the Sword" because that was almost 30 years ago. And now Greg's in the band, and there's a fresh sort of vibe to the band... You may see, it but it won't be obvious. It will be very subtle.

Any chance of seeing some footage of making this record?

Luke: We're filming a lot of the process. As a matter of fact, that information will come later. We've captured a LOT of stuff, what the studio looks like, the gear we're using, people that come by to hang. As a matter of fact my son Trev and one of his buddies came in and recorded some vocals with us. People just wander in the studio and we put them on our record!

Do you have any plans on how to do the distribution and promotion of the album or is it too early to even thing about this?

Luke: I'll put it to you this way. For the first time in many, many years, we have many people who want this record. There are a LOT of offers on the table at this point. Right now, we're letting management handle the business aspect and we're focused on writing the music. I have a feeling there will be a lot of different ways this record can come out. CD, downloadable, etc. There's some very exciting things in store for us, and we've gotten a hold of some technology that nobody else has.

Mike: Oh yes. As soon as we can get a clear-cut explanation as to what we want to do, we will get the websites involved. But more on that later. Lots of good things getting ready to happen, new fresh things that everyone will be REALLY in to. We're going to be breaking new ground for EVERYBODY.

Have you played parts of the record for these people who are interested in the distribution?

Luke: Oh yes. Mark [Hartley] went and played a few things for people who flipped out and dug it. And these were VERY rough mixes and vocals were very rough. They got excited because this wasn't just the same-old, same-old. But you know, the record is going to sound totally different once it's done. It's going to be completely buffed out. It's going to be very meticulously put together.

And you're shooting to try and get it out by September?

Luke: We're hoping. At this stage, it's going to be a fall release, with maybe 2 separate releases, in Fall and January before our February World Tour. And when we're done mixing some stuff we may release little tapes to give people a taste so they can get the vibes from it. Or not depending on where we're at!

Mike: As soon as we can get this stuff out to you, we will! There's just so much to do.

It's so great to have some new stuff. Just like all the fans, we're excited too!

Mike: Well we're hoping the fans get as excited about it as we are. That's the big question!

I can tell you just from the talk back on the Message Board, the fans are really digging the process and the updates. We're all going crazy, drinking up whatever information we can get! And we get a lot of e-mail requests to hear early cuts!

Mike: Great!

Will Toto play anything of the new material during the summer shows in Europe in July?

Luke: Unfortunately, they're not done yet. And being that I don't even have time to rehearse my OWN band! These songs are all very complex, and we just wouldn't have the time to rehearse. I think we're going to save everything for the World Tour that starts in February. I'd love to, but I just don't think we're going to have the time to do it.

Many thanks to TOTO

www.toto99.com