Toto leader Steve Lukather has revealed that it looks like after the band wraps its current dates this weekend, the Grammy Award-winning group is being put on ice. In a new interview with Pennsylvania's The Morning Call, Lukather spoke about the end of Toto, explaining, "We worked really hard and this is a great way to. . . I don't know what the future's gonna be, but I do know that's gonna be the last show in Philly for the foreseeable future. And certainly the end of this configuration of Toto."
Lukather is leading the band without his fellow surviving co-founder David Paich, who has retired from the road: "It was really the scariest thing ever. He had some sort of a seizure or something like that. We went home and he had to retire from touring because of his health. Apparently he pushed himself a little too hard and he fell, y'know, so to speak. I mean, Dave's still playing. He can sing. He's up and about and he's happy and he's walking around. But he's not built for speed anymore, y'know what I mean? He came out in L.A. recently, played our first show with us, came out at the end. And that was a nice way to close the book -- at least this chapter."
Lukather also touched upon business problems that are causing the band members some grief these days: "Another bummer of our situation and why we're calling it a day. We've had some horrendous litigation. Horrendous, horrendous, awful, mean, you-gotta-be-kidding-me kind of lawsuits, and we lost the suit. So it beat us down. So we gotta get away from this. We gotta get away from the whole thing."
Lukather, who is a road dog if there ever was one, is always busy gigging -- most notably over the past decade as part of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band. He admits that for the rest of Toto, touring only seems to get rougher: "This kind of lifestyle is way harder than people think it is. They just think that we float around from city-to-city magically and live a life of luxury. And I'm not saying that we travel poorly, but it's a burden to be away from your family 230 days a year, like me. I go from tour-to-tour-to-tour. It's the other guys (that) don't do that."
Although over the past few years, Toto has returned to the North American concert circuit, Steve Lukather told us that Toto shying away from performing domestically ultimately boiled down to dollars and cents: "We haven't really worked the U.S. in all fairness. Y'know, we got beat up so bad and then we just decided, 'y'know what man. . .' And the offers that we were getting everywhere else in the world were huge! So, y'know, you go where people like you. And they've kept us so busy that, we didn't purposely turn our backs on (the States), but there's a big difference between making a quarter of a million dollars a night and making thirty grand a night, y'know what I mean?"
Lukather admitted that Toto still wears the scars from the critical lashings they received from the rock press over the years: "There's no other band like that, which is so funny why we get so much s*** from the mainstream rock press. Y'know, that hurt us, too. These guys just went for us, man: ‘The worst band ever,' y'know - ‘fake musicians,' y'know -- ‘put together by corporations like Sony,' or something like that, which was a bunch of lies. We were a high school band that could play well."
Toto performs on Saturday (October 19th) in Red Bank, New Jersey at Count Basie Center for the Arts.
The band will wrap its tour on Sunday (October 20th) in Philadelphia at The Met Philadelphia.
AUDIO: STEVE LUKATHER ON TOTO BEING BASHED BY ROCK PRESS
AUDIO: STEVE LUKATHER ON TOTO FOCUSING ON OVERSEAS MARKETS
It was 42 years ago Sunday (October 20th, 1977), that a plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in a swamp near Gillsburg, Mississippi. At the time, the group was en route to its next show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The crash took the lives of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant; guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines; Skynyrd manager Dean Kilpatrick, as well as the plane's two pilots Walter McCreary and William Gray. Three days before the crash (October 17th), the band released its fifth album, Street Survivors, which featured the soon-to-be classics "What's Your Name" and "That Smell." The album cover, which featured the band seemingly engulfed in flames, was eventually substituted with another photo in light of the horrific plane crash. In 2007, the 30th anniversary reissue reinstated the original album cover.
Lynyrd's Skynyrd's head of security Gene Odom, who was on the plane and one of the 20 survivors, spoke to filmmaker Tony Beazley and recalled the state of Ronnie Van Zant's body after the fatal crash: "Ronnie Van Zant had an eight-inch little nick and a fractured bone in his leg. His own father, when he went to identify the body the next day -- October 21st -- said also, that when they pulled Ronnie out, Ronnie looked like he was asleep. No injuries. He said that he just had a little bump right here behind his ear -- a little cut. And Lacy (Van Zant) didn't know his leg was broke. He says, 'He just looked like he was laying there asleep.'"
All the other members of the band suffered horrific injuries, from which they eventually recovered. Two years later, survivors Gary Rossington and Allen Collins (guitars), Billy Powell (keyboards) and Leon Wilkeson (bass) formed a new group, the Rossington-Collins Band. A decade after the plane crash, the surviving members of Skynyrd regrouped under the legendary name and played a series of dates to mark the anniversary with Johnny Van Zant, the youngest brother of Ronnie Van Zant, stepping in as his permanent replacement.
When we last caught up with Gary Rossington -- who broke both arms, both legs, both wrists, both ankles and his pelvis in the plane crash -- was asked what motivates him and his bandmates to keep the Skynyrd name alive: "Gosh, it's just, y'know, you gotta carry on, and go through it. If you take the lives of just any seven individuals and follow them, tragedy happens, y'know? And it just happened to us. And we just kept carryin' on, we're doin' it for the guys that aren't with us, and for us, and for the music and the name and -- it's what we are."
In August 2018, the definitive and authorized Skynyrd documentary, If I Leave Here Tomorrow, premiered on Showtime. Gary Rossington told Yahoo Entertainment why director Stephen Kijak's doc works where so many others failed, explaining, "All the other documentaries were negative, and they really didn't show how when we started, we were brothers. We'd die for each other. We grew up together, y'know? We were so happy, and it was a family. (The film) shows us, me and Ronnie (Van Zant) looking right at each other, and it was like, all my friends are dead and gone. I just went, 'Oh, my God.' It's just real sentimental to me. I see all the memories and they're alive; they're like jumping beans in my brain."
Lynyrd Skynyrd was filmed and photographed backstage at an event this week with Snoop Dogg. Co-founding guitarist Gary Rossington is seen in the shots sharing a spliff with the rap icon. (Ultimate Classic Rock)
Skynyrd plays tonight (October 18th) at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena.
AUDIO: GARY ROSSINGTON ON LYNYRD SKYNYRD
AUDIO: GENE ODOM ON RONNIE VAN ZANT
A British physician is refuting a claim that Eddie Van Halen contracted tongue cancer back in 2000 due to placing metallic guitar picks in his mouth. Van Halen's camp remains mum regarding the rumors that the guitar legend is battling either throat or lung cancer. According to a recent TMZ report, Van Halen has been traveling between the U.S. and Germany for treatment going on several years now. In 2000, surgeons removed roughly one-third of Van Halen's tongue due to the disease.
Back in 2015, Van Halen, a longtime heavy smoker and drinker, told Billboard the metalic picks were the cause for his illness: "I used metal picks -- they're brass and copper -- which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer. Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. . . This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it's possible."
According to Insider.com, Dr. Tom Micklewright, the medical officer at Push Doctor UK, guitar picks are most likely not the cause of Van Halen's cancer issues. He explained to Insider that neither copper nor the metals in brass are considered carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): "Copper coils have been used as contraception in the human body for many years without evidence in increased cancer risk. In contrast, numerous chemicals contained within cigarettes have been conclusively proven to significantly increase cancer risk, and the more likely cause of his throat cancer."
Micklewright went on to say that Van Halen may be confusing other metals, such as mercury, lead, cobalt, and nickel, which have been found to have carcinogenic effects: "However, the impact of these are far outweighed by the proven effect of tobacco smoke on a vast range of human cancers. It's disappointing to see so many publications focus on the metal in this case and miss the opportunity to reinforce the strong public health message about the harms of smoking."
Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood is the subject of a new official career-spanning documentary, titled, Somebody Up There Likes Me. The NME quoted portions of the upcoming doc in which Wood talks candidly about his freebase cocaine addiction, remembering, "I felt that with the base, the freebase, it was controlling me. I had no control over it. It took me about three years to get off it. I enjoyed the s*** out if it. Took it with me wherever I went. I thought it was the best thing going. I would take it to parties and go, ‘Everybody try this', get (a) great big Bunsen burner out, the pipes, the works, freebase and everything. And people would be going, 'You're f***ing crazy' but I would love it."
Wood, who fought long and hard for his sobriety -- finally kicking alcohol as the last of his major vices -- explained, "It's very difficult because you go through a period of dry and you go, 'I've done it. I've cleaned up now. I can have just one.' And that is a big mistake because you can't just have one. I probably like things too much, which is harmless for some things like music, but harmful in ways like dope and drink."
A while back, Ron Wood spoke frankly about the highs and lows of his decades of heavy drug use: "I took the good things out of the acid experience, for instance, and I think I did the same with the cocaine -- even though it took much longer to give up. The heroin was. . . I just used to smoke it in cigarettes and, like, phhh -- unbelievable windows that that opened. And I always thought, if I'm in my late-'70s. . . (laughs) Keith (Richards) and I said, if we're in our late-'70s and in pain, we'll take that up again (laughs), y'know? It's the best painkiller there is. But it's all an illusion, really. But it's always damaging you, like cigarettes -- they're the worst ones."
AUDIO: RON WOOD ON DRUG USE
Ringo Starr remains a sprightly 79-year-old, and shed some light on how he keeps himself positive and happy. Ringo, who'll release his 20th album on October 25th, titled What's My Name, told GQ, "I also feel that every day is a good day, but I can drag it down. I live a life now that if I'm in a great space and having a good day, I think that it will go on forever. And if I'm on a bummer, I'll say, 'This too shall pass.' I try to be honest through the day. But sometimes, things don't work out. Sometimes something happens and your plan gets changed. Somebody told me, which was great: 'It's great to have plans, but when they change, don't get upset.' But what about me, I'm going to miss the flight! Okay, so get the next one! All of your cryin' and moanin' is not gonna stop the plane from taking off."
Ringo spoke about his remake of John Lennon's 1980 song "Grow Old With Me," which reunited him with Paul McCartney for the track: "I did the vocals first and then I wanted real friends to come and play with me. I thought the only guy who could really play bass on this for me was Paul . And Paul happened to be coming into town. I said, 'I've done this song I just found and I'd love for you to play bass.' He said, 'Sure, okay.' And that's how I got Paul: I asked him and he said yes. He is the most melodic player, I love playing with him. He played beautiful and then he sang with me, that was nice too. (But) he's been on five or six on my albums, so it's not like the only time he's ever played with me."
Ringo touched on the other Beatles-related track on the new set: "There's also a cover of an old song, 'Money (That's What I Want).' I wanted to record 'Money' and I wanted to do it my way. That's the joy of making your own record: We wanted to do it, so we did."
Ringo Starr told us that although he's nothing but proud of his Beatles days and all the good that came along with it, he lives for the now and doesn't feel the need to relive the group's history: "I did all that in the ‘60s. We are The Beatles, we made those records, and now we're ‘Ringo,' and I do what I do now, y'know? That's how it is. Y'know, I don't sit here, y'know, dwellin' on the past. I'm trying, like, to get on with today. That's what I do."
AUDIO: RINGO STARR FOCUSING ON TODAY
It was 46 years ago Saturday (October 19th, 1973) that the Who released their second double album, the watershed 1973 collection, Quadrophenia. The set featured such classic Who songs as "The Real Me," "5:15," "I'm One," "The Punk And The Godfather," "Drowned," "Sea And Sand," and "Love Reign O'er Me," among others. A film version based around the album was produced by the band and released in 1979. The Who returned to the road in North America and Europe in 2012 and 2013 for their critically acclaimed Quadrophenia & More Tour, which saw the band reviving the album with a new, state of the art production.
Pete Townshend's long-awaited orchestral version of Quadrophenia, titled Classic Quadrophenia, premiered on July 5th, 2015 at London's Royal Albert Hall starring Townshend and Alfie Boe singing Roger Daltrey's original parts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Oriana Choir conducted by Robert Ziegler. The new ‘symphonised' version was orchestrated by Townshend's wife, musician and composer, Rachel Fuller, with a studio version of the work also released on CD. The team hit the road last year for five high-profile performances of the production in New York, the Chicago area, and Los Angeles.
In June 2014, the Who released the live package, Quadrophenia: Live In London. The set was recorded on July 8th, 2013 during the band's tour-closing concert at London's Wembley Arena. The collection is released in seven different configurations -- including a five-disc metal box. In 2012, the Who released the critically acclaimed Quadrophenia "Director's Cut" Box Set. The collection marked the first release of all of Pete Townshend's fully produced one-man-band demos for Quadrophenia -- including the tracks which ended up on the 1979 film soundtrack, along with previously unheard titles.
For Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend created a song cycle chronicling the life of "Jimmy" -- a pill-popping fashion conscious R&B loving "Mod" from London in the mid-'60s. The album focused on Jimmy's battles with his parents, the mod nightlife, his demeaning office job, and the mods' legendary beach rumbles against their cultural nemesis, the "Rockers."
The character of Jimmy was supposed to represent the four facets of the Who: Keith Moon (insane), John Entwistle (romantic), Roger Daltrey (bad), and Townshend (good).
During his guest lecture at 2007's South By Southwest festival, Townshend was asked which he prefers; the band's 1971 album Who's Next, which features only a selection of tracks recorded for his unrealized sci-fi follow-up to Tommy, called Lifehouse, or the more grounded Quadrophenia: "I like Quadrophenia better because it's purer. Y'know, it's complete. I had complete control of it, and I think that hurt the band a bit that I had such control over it -- particularly Roger, who had a feeling that he was on the outside, even though he is very much a pillar. Quadrophenia is also an iconic rock piece. Quadrophenia was also more self-contained. If in a way the failure of Lifehouse led to Quadrophenia then I'm happy, because I think I will never surpass it."
Townshend told us that for Quadrophenia, when writing and demoing the material, he simply followed the same template he had used for the Who's previous projects: "I put my brain into gear, y'know, get my guitar and keyboards out, go into my studio, and then try to start to serve the band in response. And I'd done it a few times. Y'know, I'd done it in the early days with a bunch of pop singles, I'd done it with Tommy, I'd tried to do it again with Lifehouse -- which led to Who's Next -- and with Quadrophenia, it just landed beautifully."
Roger Daltrey's tour-de-force lead vocal on the album's finale "Love Reign O'er Me" is one of dozens of examples of him taking a Townshend song and completely reinventing it as his own: "That's what I used to try and do is to leave people with a mood in a note, and a passion in the song. That in somehow or the other, either went against the lyric, or took the lyric to somewhere where you didn't think. . . It's like 'Love Reign O'er Me' for instance. Pete never, ever saw that as a loud screaming plea, the way I sang it. He saw it as a quiet song -- which obviously you can do. In the terms of the way Quadrophenia was, I saw it as that scream of desperation from the street. He didn't like it. He didn't like what I did with it (laughs) probably still doesn't!"
The Who began performing Quadrophenia as a whole in 1973, but eventually cut many of the songs out of the live shows due to problems in syncing the various live tapes and synth loops to the band's performance. Using various guest stars and supplemental musicians, the Who reunited in 1996 and 1997 and performed Quadrophenia in full. A stage production of Quadrophenia recently ran in the UK.
Even before first joining the Who in 1996, Quadrophenia has always been a family affair for Simon Townshend, who as part of the Who's touring band, performs the album's "The Dirty Jobs" in the Quadrophenia shows. In addition to his brother Pete writing and producing the project -- middle brother Paul Townshend and Simon's future wife Janie were actually featured as "Mod" teenagers in the album's booklet: "I didn't know a lot about it happening at the time. I guess I was about 12, Paul was about 16. I mean, y'know, I was heavily into music at that time, but, y'know, this was something that Paul was approached about and kind of passed me by, 'cause had I known about it I would've killed to be there. I probably was a bit young for the scene they were trying to create."
Pete Townshend told us that when writing the album in 1972 and 1973, he hoped that Quadrophenia would once again connect them with their early fans who followed the Who back in 1964 when they played such regular haunts as the Goldhawk Club and Railway Hotel: "I kind of hit on this notion that what had happened to the Who, was that we lost contact -- not with our audience, per se -- but with our original audience, with our very first audience. And it would be interesting to look at what somebody, like a kid y'know, from, y'know, the early days of the band; what they would feel looking at the Who -- not so much in the present day, but, y'know, in three or four years on -- and whether they would find themselves in that band or not. And if they did find themselves in that band, what would they find?"
In 1979, the plot of Quadrophenia was slightly altered for the cult classic movie version, which was produced by the Who. Although the band doesn't appear in the film, one rocker who shone in the Frank Rodham-directed Quadrophenia -- starring as "Ace Face" -- was none other than Sting in his first major movie role: "The movie came out just as the Police were having our first success, so there was a sort of double whammy of me (laughs) as a singer and then a figure in Quadrophenia -- which was quite a small part, but I seem to have made a big impact with a sort of iconic look. I'm not taking much credit for it, I didn't do very much in the film, but I thought it was a good film. I thought it was one of those films that summed up an era."
During the Who's 2006-2007 tour, the band dropped most of the material from Quadrophenia from their set lists after Daltrey complained that singing the material from their then-new album Endless Wire along with songs from Quadrophenia was too taxing on his voice. By their 2008 dates, Daltrey was back on board, tackling both "5:15" and "Love Reign O'er Me."
The Who's current "Moving On!" tour sees the band -- backed by a local orchestra -- performing a total of five songs from Quadrophenia -- "The Real Me," "I'm One," "5:15," "The Rock," and "Love Reign O'er Me."
The Who performs tonight (October 19th) at Seattle's T-Mobile Park.
AUDIO: STING ON 'QUADROPHENIA' FILM
AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON 'QUADROPHENIA' ADDRESSING EARLY WHO FANS
AUDIO: SIMON TOWNSHEND ON 'QUADROPHENIA' LP BOOKLET
AUDIO: ROGER DALTREY ON 'LOVE REIGN O'ER ME'
AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON CREATING 'QUADROPHENIA' FOR THE WHO
AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND AT SXSW ON PREFERING 'QUADROPHENIA' TO 'WHO'S NEXT'