Toto has concluded work on a new studio album: ‘It harkens back to another era’

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Toto’s forthcoming studio effort has been completed. Steve Lukather reports thatToto XIV is officially done; we are mastering today and tomorrow,” in advance of a “Spring 2015 worldwide release.”

Lukather had previously confirmed that the supporting tour to follow will also feature David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Joseph Williams, returning original member David Hungate and — making his stateside Toto debut — Keith Carlock. Best known for his work with Steely Dan, Carlock replaces Simon Phillips, who’d been with Toto since co-founder Jeff Porcaro’s sudden death the early 1990s.

“It harkens back to another era,” Lukather says of working with Carlock, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “It’s completely different, without trying to be anybody or anything. You know, when Jeff passed we wanted somebody completely different, and we got Simon. Simon was brilliant — still is. He put in a strong 20-plus years. When he left, we thought: We don’t want to get somebody that plays like Simon. I had run into Keith, and I thought — this cat would be really interesting and, I thought, perfect for the gig. Turns out I was right. And it just all fell together organically.”

Phillips left to restart his own band, Protocol. Lukather said early Toto dates in the Far East confirmed his suspicions that Carlock was the right man to step in next. “He wanted to do it, and when he played with us, we all just started laughing,” Lukather adds. “This is a nice pocket. It feels good. So, we’re all in. Japan was sort of like: Let’s see how this goes, and it went better than expected. His playing is obviously brilliant, but it’s his personality, too — and that’s important too.”

Carlock had some concluding Steely Dan dates to do before officially joining. (Shannon Forrest, who’d earlier played with 2014 touring mate Michael McDonald, played Toto’s most recent shows.) At the same time, a hit concert film titled 35th Anniversary Tour: Live from Poland has given fans a chance to say goodbye to Phillips.

“We got this great live DVD to showcase the last incarnation of the band, as we move forward. It’s a great snapshot of this band with Simon,” Lukather tells us. “So, it’s bittersweet, because I do love Si so much. This didn’t end badly. Nobody was fired. It didn’t end weird. It was just, like, he was overbooked. So, he decided to go his way, and we went ours, and I guess everybody wins at this point.”

Beyond Toto, the busy Lukather is also touring with both Larry Carlton and Ringo Starr.

His stint with Carlton includes stops in January and February of 2015 across Japan, with additional dates in Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong. Ringo’s All-Starr Band, also featuring Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren and Richard Page, will play a schedule of February and March 2015 dates that include Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada and California, as well as stops in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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