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Four decades on, Toto's getting cool

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2014

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Toto has sold more than 35 million albums and won five Grammy Awards during the 35 years since its first album was released.

But guitarist Steve Lukather feels that it's taken nearly that long for the group to get its due -- particularly from the critical realm, which was quick to write the band off due to its mainstream pop success.

"We took our f***in' punches, bro," says Lukather, 56, who co-founded Toto with boyhood friends who amassed credits as session players before the group was born. "We got our butts whipped every which way but loose. We lived through death, illness, divorce, children, addictions, changes of members, being ripped off by accountants, being ripped apart limb by limb by the rock journalists of our day..

"But, y'know, we're still standing here by reasons of sheer perseverance and a lifetime of brotherhood and friendship. It's not just the guys that gave you 'Hold the Line,' y'know? We have a pretty huge career if you collectively look at it, which most people don't."

Lukather is quick to point out that collectively and individually, he and the other Toto members have played on more than 5,000 albums that have received 225 Grammy nominations. The group has also been inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville. The guitarist himself has played with Boz Scaggs, Michael Jackson and scores of others; he's also released seven solo albums and for the past two years has been part of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band.

Toto, however, is a priority. He and co-founders David Paich and Steve Porcaro still lead the group, while bassist Mike Porcaro, who has ALS, is still considered part of the corporation. The group's last studio album, "Falling In Between," came out in 2006, and Lukather says Toto is a good 10 tracks into a project he hopes will come out in 2015.

"We're pretty excited about this," he says. "We sort of came into this having to go and do a record to fulfill a contractual obligation and not get sued, and then we turned it into, 'If we're gonna do this, we're gonna give it everything we got.'

"So I can tell you we're not phoning it in. We're really, really trying to make the best Toto record you can. If you like our music, you'll love this record. And if you never did, I don't know what to say."

Toto and Michael McDonald

8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31

The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, 377 Riverside Drive East

Tickets are $31-$65.

Call (800) 991-777 or visit www.caesarswindsor.com

Web Site: www.caesarswindsor.com

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