Just one year after Toto announced their breakup following a gig in Philadelphia’s Metropolitan Opera House, the band has announced a reunion with a radically revised lineup.
Founding guitarist Steve Lukather and long-time vocalist Joseph Williams are returning to the fold, but founding keyboardists Steve Porcaro and David Paich are both out of the group.
Joining the band for this new era is Huey Lewis and the News bassist John Pierce, Snarky Puppy drummer Robert “Sput” Searight, and keyboardist/background vocalist Steve Maggiora. They will be joined by keyboardist Dominique “Xavier” Taplin and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Warren Ham, both of whom played with Toto during their last few tours.
This new incarnation of Toto are plotting a world tour they’re calling Dogz of Oz where they’re promising to play “all the hits, deep cuts, and solo music from Lukather and Williams’ individual catalogs.” They’re going to preview the tour on November 21st with a livestreaming event. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday.
“We could not be more at peace with this move,” Lukather says in a statement. “There is a refreshing, optimistic enthusiasm to step into the future. At this moment, Joe and I are the only long-tenured members of the band that want to be on the road continuing to bring music to our multi-generational fan base. I’ve spent almost four and a half decades of my life as the only original member who never missed a show or an album nurturing this legacy while enabling the music to continually exist in the live concert setting. That is something I’ll never stop doing.”
“The Dogz of Oz global tour offers a rare opportunity to reimagine our personal futures while simultaneously preserving the deep connection that exists with the audience while likewise yielding continual discovery,” he continues. “The hope is to move forward with the planned itinerary for summer 2021 that will bring us back to our fans across the world.”
Williams echoed the sentiment in a statement of his own. “Luke and I have been through a lot with one another,” he said. “He’s like a brother to me. Our creative partnership has always enriched our lives. As we look toward what’s to come in unison, there is nothing but anticipation to bring everything in our minds to life. I can’t think of anyone else on earth I’d rather launch the next chapter with this lifelong, loyal, and gifted friend and bandmate. We’re the last men standing…the Dogz of Oz!”
Toto’s popularity peaked in 1982 when their singles “Africa” and “Rosanna” became massive hits all over the globe. They’ve held onto a devoted cult fanbase ever since that time, but they saw an incredible resurgence in popularity a few years back when a new generation of fans discovered “Africa.” Weezer covered the song in 2018 and turned it into a hit yet again.
The renewed attention helped draw many new fans to Toto concerts, but a lawsuit by Susan Porcaro Goings, the widow of late Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, stalled their momentum. She claimed they weren’t paying money that was owed to Jeff Porcaro’s estate.
“A lot of kids were coming to see us [because of Weezer], believe me,” Lukather told Guitar Player. “I didn’t want to stop this way. We were doing amazing shows, so it’s sad and disgusting to stop this way because of a legal issue. We have a big debt to pay. The process made us break down financially. Getting to the point that we need to make a deal that didn’t favor us…This action stuck a knife in us and it is a lot to endure. The final show was ‘bittersweet’, to say the least.”