When he looks back on the 40 years together as a band, Toto founding member David Paich said he still cannot believe the group’s success.
“It’s gone by so quickly,” Paich said in a recent phone interview. “We only thought we’d do it maybe 10 years if we were lucky, but because of the loyalty and our good fortune … We’ve had great fans that keep asking us to play globally and around the world. It’s gone by in the flash of a pan.”
The multi-Grammy Award-winning rock band visits F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. for “An Evening with Toto.”
Toto’s two-hour performance will feature repertoire from their latest studio album, “Toto XIV,” as well as classic hits and both band and fan favorites from their vast catalog, including singles like “Africa,” “Rosanna” and “Hold the Line.”
“We know we have to play some of our hits, but we’ll also reach back and do some of our deeper cuts,” Paich said. “For those who have been fans for the 40 years, we want something that someone hasn’t heard in a while. It won’t be the same show that we did last year. We do something different when we play in the same places. It’s new and fun and exciting for us, so it should be exciting for the crowd.”
Paich, who plays keyboards and sings for the American rock group, said the first time he fully realized the breadth of Toto’s fame when their eponymous debut album went double platinum.
“When we heard the words ‘double platinum,’ we were excited, like little kids,” Paich admitted. “Like it was our first day of the music business. Here we were, experienced professionals, calling each other on the phones about the radio. It couldn’t have been a more innocent or exciting time. Looking back on it, it was just a thrill.”
Throughout the years, Toto’s band members and ensemble have rotated and changed, but the group remained strong throughout. For the Wilkes-Barre show, the core members — Paich, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams — will be joined by Lenny Castro, Shannon Forest, Shem von Schroeck and Warren Ham.
As individuals, the band members can be heard on a whopping 5,000 albums that together amass a sales history of half a billion albums. With four decades together and more than 14 studio albums, Toto remains one of the top-selling touring and recording acts in the world.
In 2015, they released the first new studio album in ten years, “Toto XIV,” which debuted Top 10 in nine countries around the world and became their most successful album since 1988 in the United States and the United Kingdom. But even with all of the success, Paich noted some minor changes he would have made when they first started touring.
“I wish, being the nature of the ’70s and ’80s, if I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself,” Paich said. “I wish we toured the United States more in the earlier days. We found that the U.S. was so big, we were having to be an opening act, whereas in Europe or Japan we were headlining. But we’re trying to make a speedy catch-up (in the states) now.”
Over the years, the band performed in top-ranked venues, ranging from Zenith Paris, the Forum and the Staples Center to smaller, local clubs in various countries around the world — all of which are considered “magical moments” for Paich and the rest of the group.
And even though Paich admits to disliking the business side of the music industry, he thinks that the current lineup has been performing better than ever, and he aims to keep it that way.
“I’ve got a band full of guys that are eager to get out there,” Paich said. “I can sit by the ocean and look for shells, myself … I will always love making music and playing for people, but the music business wears on you after a while.
“We’re going to do this as long as we can. We’re going to be having fun as long as our fans want us. When we’re on that stage, there’s nothing more fun than playing in a band like ours for people.”
— charlotte l. jacobson

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