Every once and a while, I like to read up on random 80’s groups, something someone might do when they’re sitting around reminiscing about that most righteous decade. Most recently, it was the band: Toto. I was just a kid during the 80’s, so I didn’t know much about these guys. All I knew was I LOVED the songs, “Africa” and “Rosanna”. On the strength of those incredibly layered and powerfully delivered songs, I decided to find out more about Toto.
Here are some of my Toto findings:
The first thing I noticed was these guys have had a lot more hits then I thought. And I knew most of them from the radio, like “Hold the Line”, “Pamela”, and “I’ll Be Over You”. In reading up on these dudes, I kept hearing about a song called “99”. I was sure I hadn’t heard it before. Then I went to youtube and checked out the video for myself.
In it, I found out the second thing about Toto, they are perhaps the nerdiest looking goofball group ever. The synthesizer dude and the drummer alone, who I found out are brothers, are enough to garner that dubious distinction. There isn’t a safe haven in this group for good looks except for maybe the bass player. The lead singer/guitarist looks like somebody you might avoid on the city bus. The piano player with the beard looks like a muppet. And the other piano player, the one with the incredible voice from “Rosanna” and other songs, looks like a young Captain Lou Albano, minus the good looks. This is one freaky looking group. I’m curious to know if this group could have ever had groupies. If you think I’m being harsh or exaggerating, kindly click on the “99” video. You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
The third thing is, well, I’m addicted to “99”, both the song and video. What the f is wrong with me? I go around humming and singing this incredibly simplistic song all day long. From the second I played it, I remembered hearing it at some point on the radio. The song itself is an homage to the heroine in the George Lucas pre-Star Wars movie, THX 1138, hence the all white video. I read that the lead singer thought the song was so silly he now refuses to play it live. What? I’m addicted to this song! Even the video, with the hunt-and-peck piano riff, and the super nerd grooving it up to the synth solo, and the hokey singer’s pining mug has only added to my weird obsession. I wanna be these nerds! All nerdy rejects should worship these guys, as the pinnacle of nerd-dom. As studio musicians, the members of Toto never got the chicks, and when they decided to join as one, and become Toto, well, they probably still didn’t get the chicks, but hey, they got me! And who wouldn’t want me? You? Me? You!
So, what have we learned here today? Toto rocks. To prove this, play “99”. When you’re done listening, I dare you not to sing the song all day long. Then, naturally, come back to the computer and play “99” again. Then again. When you discover yourself playing air-piano/synthesizer to the riff and solo, that’s when you’ll know you are absolutely hooked. And you will come to the realization that that synth player is no nerd at all. He is a super nerd. And that’s like way better! Exponentially better, as he would probably say.
Unite Toto Tots! Unite and be one! Live the Toto. Be the Toto! Or don’t. Whatever…