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Mike from Toto

Interviewed by PuSSyCaT

With about a month away from Toto’s Falling In Between World Tour 2006 concert in Singapore, Pure Rock was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to interview bassist, Mike Porcaro and get his insight on their latest album, “Falling In Between”, as well as a few other personal questions.

Mike Porcaro
(Photo courtesy of Toto99.com)

PR: So, let’s set this straight once and for all – is the name “Toto” really taken from the Latin word for “everyone”, as opposed to the dog from Wizard of Oz?

Mike: Well, I think it’s 50/ 50 actually. I never really did get a straight answer from the guys myself!

PR: I heard that when Toto was playing in Japan in ‘79, you found out that “Toto” is the name of Japan’s largest toilet manufacturing company - well, in Singapore, “Toto” is actually the name of a popular million-dollar lottery.

Mike: Oh really? (Laughs)

PR: So, what is the strangest thing that you’ve heard about Singapore?

Mike: I don’t think I’ve really heard anything strange about Singapore actually. But I have gotten a warning that you shouldn’t spit out your gum on the side of the pavement or something – because it’s a banned substance?

PR: I was surprised to know that Toto was featured on the Netherlands-based, “Lords of Metal” website, since you are not really considered a Metal band. But perhaps this could be due to the fact that your latest album seems to be taking a “heavier” turn. Do you think you will get even heavier?

Mike: Yeah! Well, we’ll always have certain (heavy) songs and they’re all really guitar oriented. But it’s great that we’re now able to play what we want to because there are times when you’re pressured to do pop songs.

PR: Which is your favourite track off the “Falling In Between” album and why?

Mike: Oh my goodness! I really like this album and it’s one of my favourites from 3 - 4 other albums. This album has a true Toto feel to it. But “Bottom Of Your Soul” is my favourite. I was surprised to hear that this song is mostly everyone’s favourite – as well as “No End In Sight”. Yeah, these 2 songs seem to be people’s preference. It’s also great that we have some ballads.

PR: The song, “No End In Sight”, taken off your latest album, is probably one of my favourites. Bobby mentioned that it was inspired from a conversation he had with Luke about the war in Iraq. What are your views on this subject?

Mike: I don’t want to get all political about this – but I think it’s just time that the Iraqis can finally pick themselves up again and we should just bring our men home…

PR: In this album you collaborate with 2 of the members of Chicago as well as one of the members from Jethro Tull – who else would you like to work with in future?

Mike: There are so many guys! I mean, it was great to work with Jason Scheff and James Pankow (Chicago) and some people may think it doesn’t make sense that Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) would play with Toto! But he came in and did a whole lot of flute sections and said, “here, pick any one you like!”. But it’s all music anyway. Who would I want to play with? Everybody! There are so many great musicians!

PR: If you weren’t the Bassist for Toto, which other instrument would you rather be playing?

Mike: (Laughs) Oh my God….Drums I suppose. My dad’s a drummer, all the Porcaro brothers were drummers, I started out playing drums myself before I played the bass, so it’s a sort of family tradition. Yeah, I guess I would say the drums because it’s my first love

PR: If you weren’t in Toto, what do you think you’d be doing now?

Mike: Well, I guess this isn’t too difficult to answer, because before Toto, we all had studio careers and we still do actually. I mean, all of us have family who are into music so we all come from very nurturing environments. It’s like, I want to go into this music line and they’re all ok with it. Actually, I could not imagine doing anything which wasn’t related to music! I’ve never actually had to think about that before, because it’s just something which was never a problem

PR: If you could change one thing about Toto, what would it be?

Mike: Gosh! That is a tough question… (long pause as he thinks). Toto’s been together for 28 years now and it’s nearly our 30th anniversary, so we’ve really come a long way. There’s nothing I can say, I mean, it’s been working fine so far so we must be doing something right. I wouldn’t change a thing!

PR: Ok, the next few questions are crafted around some songs from your latest album. If you reached into the BOTTOM OF YOUR SOUL, what would you find?

Mike: Hmm… A person making his way through life – and is at peace with all that he has

PR: Tell us about an experience you had in life which made you feel like the KING OF THE WORLD?

Mike: When Toto received 6 Grammy (Awards) in 1982! I had just joined the band then and it was a great achievement, so yeah, I think that really made me feel like the King of the World!

PR: What are you currently HOOKED on?

Mike: I’m hooked on the band! It’s been a really nice run and all these good things are happening

PR: What particular event do you think has occurred to TAINT YOUR WORLD?

Mike: Taint my world? I just wish that there would be a resolution to the situation in the Middle East

PR: Where do you see Toto 10 years from now?

Mike: Good question! When the band’s in it’s 40th year, would you still be interviewing us? (Laughs). I don’t know, but I mean, you see a lot of bands hanging around for while – look at the Rolling Stones! But gosh, no no, I wouldn’t want to look like them when I’m onstage! (Laughs). But it would be great if we’re still around. I hope we’ll be – I think we’ll be! I mean, having great albums and songs have really bought us extra years and I do hope you will be interviewing us again 10 years from now!

Toto will be performing live on the 16th of May 2006 (Tuesday, 8pm) at Fort Canning Centre, Cox Terrace.

Tickets can be bought at all Sistic outlets.
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