Toto has received more than its fair share of criticism and people making fun of the band over the years despite the group’s success and foothold in pop culture.
“This band will not die, and for 40 years we have taken every punch known to man,” singer/guitarist Steve Lukather said during a recent phone interview. “There’s not an anti-Toto spray that will keep us down. The naysayers have tried to kill us and we are living proof that we will have the last laugh.”
Toto will perform at Pala Casino Spa & Resort on Thursday, Aug. 31, and at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Friday, Sept. 1. Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo also are on the bill.
Formed by friends in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, Toto made its name in the music world with iconic hits such as “Africa,” “Rosanna” and “Hold the Line.”
And here’s proof of their strong musicianship: the group was the house band on Michael Jackson’s epic record “Thriller,” along with playing on an astonishing 5,000-plus albums as individuals.
“I played all the guitar parts except the guitar solo on ‘Beat It,’ ” Lukather said. “We didn’t just read the notes, we created and re-wrote and helped arrange and produce every record we ever played on.”
“We are not some pre-fabricated studio band,” he added. “We are actually a high school band that did good.”
“Human Nature,” from “Thriller,” is a song Toto member Steve Porcaro wrote, and when Quincy Jones, the album’s producer, heard the demo, he asked Lukather to funk up the guitar parts to ensure R&B and pop radio play.
“He thought it was a great pop song, so I came up with the guitar part on the spot,” Lukather said. “I had no idea what I was going to do that day which by today’s standards gets you songwriting credit. If the new rules were the old rules, I’d be calling you from my space shuttle right now.”
And with a resurgence of popularity, Lukather said the band is extremely grateful.
“All the stuff they…