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Sun, 10 May 2015
The Porcaro Brothers Contribution To The Music Industry
In the history of rock music, many rock bands have come and gone. Some remained famous throughout the ages, but some are also forgotten and never rediscovered again. One of the more widely renowned rock bands that have shared the passion of many people around the globe is Grammy Award-winning rock band Toto, an American band that was founded in Los Angeles, California. Within that great band was a band of three brothers that possessed equally strong talents in music playing and creation. They are the Porcaro brothers.
Check below how they were able to find success and contribute their talents to the music industry:
Steven Maxwell "Steve" Porcaro
Steve Porcaro, born September 2, 1957, was one of the founding members of Toto along with Jeff Porcaro, David Paich, David Hungate, Steve Lukather, and "Bobby Kimball. Steve was one of the keyboard players of the group (together with David Paich)." The Porcaro brothers met David Paich when their fathers - Joe Porcaro and Marty Paich - were working together on a variety TV show by Glen Campbell.
In 1977, before Toto was formed, Steve was already playing for Gary Wright and Boz Scaggs during their album tours. Steve wrote songs (at least one for every one of their first six albums) for Toto but usually did not partake in their leads and vocals because he thought of himself as a weak singer. And in 1986, after launching their Fahrenheit album, Steve left Toto to pursue a full-time songwriting and composing career.
Steve co-wrote the song "Human Nature" and made the synthesizer for "The Girl is Mine" in the Michael Jackson album Thriller. In 1988, when Toto disbanded after seven albums (and reunited later on), Steve had launched a film-scoring career which included composing the music of the hit TV show "Justified" of FX.
Despite having a career outside of Toto, Steve still continued working with the band by providing assistance in any way he can.
Michael Joseph "Mike" Porcaro
Mike Porcaro, born May 29, 1955, was best known for his performance as Toto's bassist. He replaced the band's original bassist, David Hungate, in 1982. Before Toto, Mike was already doing well as a session bassist and he also played and recorded with Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs, Dionne Warwick, David Foster, America, Lee Ritenour, Johnny Mathis, Donna Summer, Seals and Crofts, Barbara Streisand, and many other popular musicians and singers. He also worked with great producers like Al Schmitt, Tom Knox, Elliot Scheiner, Humberto Gatica, and many others.
Mike's ability to play and work with drummers in creating the perfect rhythm was also well-respected. His bass approach is also said to be very reminiscent of Jeff Porcaro's drum approach, which is solid, musical, and lyrical.
In 2007, he had to retire from performing with Toto because he was no longer able to play the bass properly due to the growing numbness in his fingers. Leland Sklar replaced him until the band split up in 2008. He was later diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's and Charcot disease, and his condition was sadly announced on February 26, 2010.
This became a cause for the Toto band to reunite and perform tours to support Mike in the next few years. The band hired guest bassist Nathan East for their tours. By 2012, Mike was already in a wheelchair despite his claims that he has been doing well in the progression of the disease. Medications and other medical interventions can extend the length and improve the quality of life of an ALS victim, but there is no known cure for the disease.
Mike Porcaro died on March 15, 2015 at his home in Los Angeles while he was in his sleep.
Jeffrey Thomas "Jeff" Porcaro
Jeff Porcaro, born April 1, 1954, was an original member and drummer for Toto. He was one of the most-respected drummers of his time and his talent is well-recognized in the music history. It was his approach with the drum that made him famous. It was always musical and always focused on the song's importance; he had perfect timing and his drumming never sounded stiff. Though he was able to contribute to the music industry for only a short time, his performances were marvelous and everyone respected him. Aside from being the band's drummer, Jeff was also a songwriter and producer of Toto's earliest songs.
Before the formation of the band, Jeff was already performing for popular singers and musicians. He performed on the Sonny and Cher TV series and he played for Steely Dan on many of their hit records. He was credited for by many of the widely known musicians of the 1960's to the 1990's, including Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Boz Scaggs, Earth, Wind & Fire, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Lionel Richie, Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, Joe Cocker, Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, Michael Bolton, Rod Stewart, Diana Ross, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and many others. He was the prime choice of the major artists who made major hits during his time.
Jeff was the eldest of the Porcaro brothers. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut and attended the Ulysses S. Grant High School where he first met David Paich and formed the band Rural Still Life in their school. That was also the time when Paich started to think and discuss with Jeff about forming a serious band. In 1977, they recruited other talented members and the Toto band was formed.
Jeff married a television broadcaster, Susan Norris, on October 22, 1983. Three sons were born to them - Christopher Joseph in 1984, Miles Edwin Crawford in 1986, and Nico Hendrix in 1991.
His growing career was short-lived by his unfortunate death on August 5, 1992. The band blamed it on the pesticide that he used and sprayed in the yard of his Hidden Hills home. Jeff complained of feeling awful after spraying the pesticide, and on the evening of that same day, he died at the Human Hospital-West Hills. However, the cause of death that was listed by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office was not an allergic reaction or poisoning from the pesticide. The officially listed cause of death was a heart attack due to cocaine-induced atherosclerosis.
After his funeral and burial on August 10, 1992, a memorial fund was established to benefit the departments of music and art of the Ulysses S. Grant High School. It was called the Jeff Porcaro Memorial Fund. An educational trust fund for Jeff's sons was also raised by the members of Toto through a memorial concert held on December 14, 1992. The concert was an all-star lineup that included the popular artists that Jeff once performed and worked with.
Steve and Chris Duddy are now making a film that explores the incredible life story of the Porcaro family and their unprecedented contribution to the music billions of people grew up listening to.