‘As good, or better than Toto’: Former frontman Bobby Kimball is planning a rival anniversary tour

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Toto is planning a 35th anniversary tour, and now so is former frontman Bobby Kimball — who fronted the band over an early period that included “Hold the Line,” the Grammy-winning band’s debut No. 5 hit in 1978.

“I was the one who sang that song, and it’s the first song that brought Toto into being a household word,” Kimball says, via Facebook, “so why wouldn’t I do this tour?”

Kimball has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the band since their smash IV album in 1982. He was only nominally involved with the 1984 album Isolation, before a split that would last through the late 1990s. A series of singers, including Fergie Frederikson and Joseph Williams, sat in before Kimball returned for a trio of albums between 1999 and 2006, including Minefields Through the Looking Glass and Falling in Between.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Avoiding Toto’s most familiar hits, we recently dug out five remarkable deep-cut gems — covering albums that spanned a period from 1978 to 1993.]

Since then, Toto has continued to tour with co-founders Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro. Nathan East and Simon Phillips make up the rhythm section, while Williams is handling the vocals once more.

“Joe is my friend, and I love his voice,” Kimball says, “but I am the one who sang the songs that he’s copying these days.”

Kimball has announced a new backing group and several upcoming tour dates, including shows this month in Germany, and then February stops in Scandinavia and Budapest. “Please come out and check out my new band from Stockholm, Sweden, because they are as good, or better than Toto on most of the Toto songs,” Kimball says. “I promise you, you will not be disappointed by my new solo band.”

Toto, meanwhile, will begin making concert appearances again in May, with dates following through June across Europe. That won’t stop Kimball from doing his own rival anniversary tour, he says.

“I was the first singer with Toto, and I sang on all of the biggest hit songs Toto ever had,” Kimball says. “So why shouldn’t I do a 35th anniversary tour of the first big hit song Toto came out with — because I am the one who sang that song. I hope you all understand why I’m doing this, because it’s only the truth about why Toto exists today.”

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