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22. Wywiad z Bobby Kimballem - styczeń 2006r.Talking about legendary bands in the rock history, the name TOTO should always be mentioned! With several hits like „Africa“ or „Hold The Line“ Steve Lukather and his boys have truly earned their place in the „Hall of Fame“ of rock´n´roll music. Now we have 2006 and Toto are back with their new masterpiece „Falling in Between“. So we took the chance to talk to extraordinary singer Bobby Kimball about the new CD and the future plans of the band...
Falling in between will be released on Frontier Records soon. How did you get in contact with the label first?
I’ve been speaking with the good people at Frontiers for about 2 years about a solo project I’ve been working on, so I knew them already. They contacted our management, Fitzgerald-Hartley, about the possibilities of distributing the new “Falling In Between” CD, and they came up with the best deal. So far we’re very happy with the results of their involvement, as they seem very energetic about getting us into the broad market of today’s promotion cycle.
I still heard a lot of influences on Falling In Between.Who was mainly responsible for the songwriting?
The new CD is a band-written CD (with the exception of a couple of songs). We all worked very hard on each aspect of recording the tracks, melodies, and lyrics. Of course, Simon Phillips was the master at putting things together to make everything make sense on the tracks. It was a new kind of experience for us, as usually a few of us bring in a fairly finished idea, and the band records it from there. This time we had no preconceived notions on any of the songs. We came into the studio and “jammed” until we had a good idea of what a verse or chorus might be. We recorded everything and took the best parts out and put them together. It was done on protocols first, then we learned the parts and recorded them in a more conventional manner. After a track was done, we would take it home and start with the melodies and lyrics. It was a very fun process and we’re all extra proud of this effort.
Is a Toto-Album always a joint effort by the whole band?
Not so much in the past, maybe with the exception of one other CD, however, this time we made a special effort to make everyone a writer on this CD. I think the results speak for themselves. That said, no matter the case, any song cut by Toto has a special signature that is undeniably “Toto”, and we, in that aspect, co-wrote on everything the band has ever done.
Did you ever think about hiring a songwriter from the outside?
There have been several songs that have outside writers on various Toto CDs, but we’ve found that we have all of the elements to do the songs ourselves without going to an outside source. There will always be time when you hit a “dry period” in your writing, but this is not one of those.
Every Toto-Album had this radio-friendly quality - do you have the perfect formula to write these special songs?
That’s the main thing that makes Toto interesting. We have no formula when we record our music. Each song is a whole new experience, and that keeps it interesting in many ways. No matter who comes up with the initial idea for a riff, the talent is there to take it to the next level and finish it off. The one thing that keeps us going is the fact that each of these experiences makes the band stronger and more fun to achieve the next level. We feed ourselves the best music we can, and it enriches us to the fullest.
There are also some progressive Rock elements in your music - who is responsible in Toto for these elements?
We all have some element of progressive rock in us, however, all of us have totally different roots in music. I find that one of the most interesting things about the music we come up with. Each of us has a role to play in the writing and performing of our music, and we get a chance to be ourselves to the fullest “musically” within the confines of the band. Any and all ideas are game for the CD, so we get to listen to a lot of different possibilities during the recording process. There’s no room for ego, as the “idea container” Is always pretty full.
Same as Steve you are involved in lots of different projects. Isn´t it quite difficult to get all band members together to produce a new Toto album?
It’s almost impossible, but worth it, for certain. We plan our work, and work our plan. There will always be a demand for the guys in Toto to do other projects, and we all stay very busy, but we also realize that Toto is our main issue and we try and keep it real by making Toto come first. Anytime I have a project other than Toto, I always contact the management and make sure there is no conflict with anything the band is doing. We all do this, and therefore it keeps us directed towards the higher goal of putting Toto first.
What can we musically expect from you in the not too distant future besides Toto?
I have a solo CD I’ve been working on for a couple of years. It seems that every time I get close to sinking my teeth into it, something with Toto comes up, and as I said, I won’t do anything to stop our band from making money or being the very best we can be. Hopefully during the course of this next year, I’ll find the time to finalize my CD. I remain optimistic about that. The songs are some that I’ve written over the past 20 years, and all of them are very close to my heart. I will take my time to get them right.
There were some quite dramatic changes in the rockbiz in the last few years. What do you think about these changes and of the current state of the biz?
It’s still changing day-to-day. Each new format they come up with make major changes in all of our decisions about how we will promote and sell the music. The idea of the big record deal is finished for us these days. We started our own label now, and we plan to open the “Toto Network”. It’s an internet marketing tool that we will be able to share things with the fans that were never possible. It will be a subscriber-based site that will open the doors on “all things Toto”. The things fans have been asking about over the past 15 years will now be available to the subscribers, so get ready for some real action on that site.
If you do a long-distance preview - will there be new Toto-Albums even in 10 or 15 years?
It’s not like we’re all going to start our new careers in a new field. I don’t like the idea of becoming a construction engineer, or a dental hygienist. We’ll be playing and recording as long as it makes sense for us to do so. I don’t think it will last forever, but then again, nothing does. We play to satisfy ourselves, and the by-product of that is we have a lot of fans that enjoy watching it happen. Even if the fans were not there, we would still enjoy getting together to experience the music we make. It’s a special kind of feeling that only happens when we get together. I don’t see an end to it unless something happens to make it end.
You´ve been in the musicbiz for a long time - what keeps you going?
The “music” keeps me going. I hate to associate the word “music” with the word ”business”. They don’t seem to go together for a real purist, but it’s a reality one must deal with. Otherwise, we could just play at home and not worry about sharing our experiences with the fans. But since we do have fans and we do make a living from playing and recording, there is the business. It’s a lot harder to deal with these days, but as long as we’re all still having fun at it, we’re going to continue on.
You´ll be on tour in Germany soon. Do you have some special words for your audience in Germany?
My roots are in Germany, as my grandfather was from Frankfurt. I felt so very “at home” in Germany, and I lived there for at least 5 years while I was not in Toto. It was some of the best times of my life. I know a lot of people know about the “Falling In Between” CD, and we hope they will come out and experience it live with us soon. I can promise it won’t be a disappointment when they hear it live. We look forward to seeing all of our fans in your great country.
Jörg “DJ Bonne” Bonszkowski
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