On this page you will find the introduction by Robyn Flans and the contribution of Luke, because of his special relationship with Jeff. "Borrowed time (on Candyman) was inspired by Jeff Porcaro's death. I don't think I'll ever get over that loss. He was my brother. It can relate to losing any loved one really. It's one of my favorite self penned compositions." (Steve Lukather on stevelukather.com)
Robyn Flans: On August 5, 1992, incredibly, we lost drummer Jeffrey Porcaro to a heart attack. Even as I write the words, it seems inconceivable. To those who knew him, the pain of his loss is excruciating. Jeff was one of the most vibrant, vital people on the face of the earth. His entire demeanor radiated energy and spirit. He had a way of expressing himself - a sort of mocking cool that couldn't help but sound hip - and a huge contagious laugh that I vow to always remember. He was opinionated, at times controversial, sometimes eccentric. Always, you knew where you stood with him. He had a way of making you feel so special that it made you just want to be around him. The moment he entered a room, he lit everyone up. He defined charisma.
Jeff touched music with the same magic. It was inevitable that his warm, emotional, and passionate personality would come through his playing. If you listen to Boz Scaggs' Low down, Jo Jo, or Lido shuffle, Steely Dan's Gaucho, Michael McDonald's I keep forgettin', or any of Toto's music (most notably Georgy Porgy, Hold the line, You are the flower, Rosanna, Africa, I won't hold you back, Pamela, These chains, and Anna) then you know the key words that describe Porcaro are feel and groove. It just always seemed to be the perfect part for the song, from the very romantic When I need you (Leo Sayer, Endless flight) to the more jazz attitude of Your gold teeth II (Steely Dan, Katy lied).
This is why I've never made any bones about saying he is my favorite drummer. Oh, sure, there are drummers who have technique for days. (Actually, if you ever had the chance to see Jeff play at the Baked Potato - where he was able to stretch out more than usual - you might have been surprised to see him play in a way you didn't know he could.) But for the most part, Jeff's playing was not about chops, it was about how it made you feel inside when you heard it. It was heart and it was soul. He set a standard that made artists, producers, and musicians want to work with him.
Steve Lukather: If it wasn't for Jeff, I would have no career. I was in a band in high school with Steve Porcaro, and through him I met Jeff, and he just took a liking to me. Jeff was the guy who told Boz I should be hired. He was the guy who got me on my first dates. He was the guy who talked Paich into having me in the band. I owe my whole career to him.
One thing about Jeff is that you always knew where you stood with him. If he was angry with you or disagreed with you, it was right to your face. He would also be the first person to give you a hug and kiss and tell you how much he loved you. There was never any vacillation or bullshit about him. We had words - usually when I would be doing something stupid. He'd bust my chops if I was being an asshole, like you are when you're young. There were a couple of times we'd disagree on a musical thing, but not very often. We were the guys who used to sit up in the double-decker bus on the road, listening to Hendrix. I spent a lot of quality time with Jeff. I may as weIl have been his flesh and blood. He was my best friend. He spent so much quality time with his kids too. He would spend hours making models with the kids. He'd get up early and stay up late with little Nico and let Susan (his wife) sleep. He'd write lyrics and hang out with Nico. He spent so much more time with those kids than a normal parent would in a whole lifetime.
We co-wrote this whole new album (Kingdom of desire) as a band, so as a writer, there's so much of Jeff in it. It's not just David and me writing the songs. There's some real stretching on it. It's some of Jeff's best work on record, I think. We were all really proud of it.
We were so excited about the new album. The tour was all sold-out in Europe. The family has asked us to do it, so we're going to do it, and Simon Phillips is going to play. Susan wanted us to do it, and Joe Porcaro took us all aside and said: "Jeff would have wanted you to." It's not like we put together a tour after the fact; everything was already sold-out. Hopefully it will help the family. We're giving him his share as if he were there. At first I thought it was in bad taste. I couldn't imagine playing with somebody else. But I thought: "If I passed away, God forbid, I'd want them to grab somebody and follow through with what I started."
Jeff was Toto's spiritual leader. He was the final word. 'What do you think, Jeff?' We wouldn't necessarily always agree on everything, but most of the time we did. He would just always know. He'd say, 'There's just some- thing not right about the groove. Why don't you re-balance this here and do this?' and all of a sudden, what sucked five minutes ago was now happening. He just had that ability to polish a turd.
There were a lot of guys who played faster or with more chops, but there is no living soul alive who played a groove like him. When you think of drums, a lot of people think of technique, but really, drums are a rhythm instrument, and the basis of all music is the rhythm. And the basis of all grooves is the drums. I could play just straight 8th notes, and he could play something and it would make me sound Godlike. It's all finesse. It's that little extra something. You either have it or you don't. He was touched by God when he was born.
On the new record there's an instrumental called Jake to The Bone. There are some unbelievable grooves on this new record. Gypsy train is like second-line meets Zeppelin.
Modern Drummer, December 1992