Original Toto lead singer Bobby Kimball has a busy summer on tap, beginning with a series of 2012 shows with fellow band alum Fergie Frederikson.
Kimball was part of the first four studio albums by Toto, through 1984’s Isolation — a period highlighted by Toto IV, which earned six Grammy awards including record of the year for “Rosanna,” and album of the year. Frederikson then took over as frontman, and Isolation went gold on the strength of the single “Stranger in Town.” Kimball has since returned for a series of reunion projects with Toto, including 1999’s Minefields, 2002’s Through the Looking Glass and 2006’s Falling in Between before going solo again.
“Fergie and I will be playing some concerts together in the very near future,” Kimball says, in a new update on his Facebook page, “and I can’t wait to share the stage with him, because he’s singing better than ever these days. He’ll be singing with my band from Stockholm, Sweden on a tour in Finland soon, and then we’ll tour in Japan, then Sweden.”
Kimball also filled in for his old friend recently, when Frederikson — who announced two years ago that he had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer — couldn’t make a show.
“We’ve been friends for a very long time, and he’s done battle with one of the most deadly problems in life, so I will always be there for him,” Kimball says. “By the way, Fergie is now getting very healthy, and seems to be in great spirits these days — and nothing could make me happier for him.”
Both Frederikson and Kimball issued well-received solo projects last year: Frederikson’s Happiness is the Road and Kimball’s Kimball/Jamison (recorded with long-time lead singer of Survivor Jimi Jamison) were both released by Frontiers Records.
Kimball has been at work redesigning his personal Web site, too. Upcoming new features include a downloadable app to keep fans up to date on future concert stops and projects, and a new archival area where Kimball will be sharing things from the earliest days of Toto.
“I’m going to post things there you won’t be able to find anywhere else,” Kimball says. “I have some of the most unique recorded moments of early Toto, and a ton of artifacts that I collected over the years in my first run with them. I’m certain, if you’ve ever been a fan of Toto, you’ll find these things overwhelmingly interesting. Being a “pack-rat” and collecting so many things AND holding onto them as I did, will enlighten many of you to the very beginnings of Toto.”
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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Toto. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: TOTO: Critics hung soft rock around their necks after the success of tunes like “I Won’t Hold You Back,” “99” and “I’ll Be Over You.” But Toto was never so easily identifiable. A closer listen uncovers a musical pallette that brings in heavier guitar sounds, funk, soul, R&B, jazz, even prog rock. Top 5 hits like “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna,” and “Africa,” each as listenable as they can be, scarcely hint at that kind of complexity. Can this legacy be saved? That’s where we come in.
FERGIE FREDERIKSEN – HAPPINESS IS THE ROAD (2011): This album couldn’t sound more quintessentially uplifting, even if its 1980s-era melodic rock textures — layer upon layers of synthesizers punctuated by fleet and flashy guitar work, completed by Fergie’s now-familiar soaring vocal interplay — don’t do much to challenge expectations. But, really, why should they? In the end, this is the sound of Frederiksen’s era, the sound of the period when he last ruled the airwaves, and it’s hard to fault him for wanting to return to it.
ONE TRACK MIND: STEVE LUKATHER ON “I WON’T HOLD YOU BACK,” “99,” “I’ll BE OVER YOU,” AND OTHERS: Lukather provides insight into “I Won’t Hold You Back” and “I’ll Be Over You,” both signature ballads for Toto, and refutes the idea that he hates another of them — “99.” He also talks about how, despite the fact that his band never got the critical praise it deserved, the legendary Miles Davis tried to lure the guitarist away from Toto.