Steve Lukather and Toto Repay the Favor for 'Africa' with 'Hash Pipe' Cover
Toto was never considered one of the "coolest" bands back in the early 1980s, in fact, they were kind of, well "nerdy." But they're certainly not the nerds any more as their relationship and renewed popularity is a result of Weezer covering "Africa," Toto's sleeper hit from 1982.
Other songs that were out there at that time were from truly cool bands like Kiss and The Allman Brothers. So "Africa" was always a beautiful song with beautiful harmonies but nothing to get so excited about. Even Steve Lukather of Toto told KROQ-FM the other day that the song is "dumb."
The mainstream radio stations, which there were more of back then, seemed to go crazy for "Rosanna" as well as "Africa" also. All we music lovers knew -- or believed -- was that "Rosanna," with its bouncy beat was supposedly about actress Rosanna Arquette.
Toto, in the opinion of many, may have kept a low profile, but also kept good spirits and kept touring. The band survived tragedy with the deaths of band members, but has continued on for years with original members Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro.
We have video from Toto's concert courtesy of Mikey Eldey:
TUESDAY UPDATE With Toto Live 'Hash Pipe' VIDEO
By JOHN DALY
KROQ-FM got the scoop on everyone, grabbing a world exclusive premiere of Toto's cover of Weezer's "Hash Pipe" and getting the exclusive interview with Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro.
"Hash Pipe" is Toto's way of reciprocating for Weezer's mega-hit cover of their 1982 tune "Africa." Don't laugh, this is big business as the mutual admiration society between Toto and Weezer gets yet another page-turning chapter.
Toto and Weezer: Mutual Admiration Society
For those not in the know, the "Odd Couple" relationship between the legacy rock band of the late 1970s and '90s millennial whizzes Weezer is the hottest story in music. It all started when a fan requested Weezer to cover Toto's "Africa." Weezer responded with a cover of Toto's "Rosanna," and followed up with "Africa," the latter of which has been a huge hit for Weezer.
KROQ DJs Stryker and Klein got the scoop when they asked via Twitter whether Toto would return the favor and cover a Weezer song. Lukather responded to KROQ's Tweet and the DJs were invited to premiere the song and got an exclusive interview at Steve Porcaro's home studio. That's when it was revealed "Hash Pipe" was the cover.
Porcaro: Toto Debated about Covering Different Song
"You know we listened to 'Beverly Hills,'" Porcaro said. "It was one I really wanted, I wanted to maybe even do a real 'Africa'- type version of that, I was thinking about for a minute, but you know what we wanted to make it different, but we wanted to do something rock and roll, I wanted to show what a good a rock and roll band we could be. I love the band I love their music and Joseph and I were listening to different ones trying to figure out which ones he'd like to sing and we settled on 'Hash Pipe.'"
"We fought over this," Lukather added. " I thought 'Hash Pipe' had a better melody, I love the message."
"My neighbor across the street, who for the most part has not given me the right time of day in 15 years, he found out Weezer covered 'Africa' and came running across the street to me very excited and I told him we're thinking about doing a Weezer tune," Porcaro recalled. "He said 'There's nothing like driving down the freeway real fast with 'Hash Pipe' cranked.'"
How did the 'Hash Pipe' cover start?
"'Luk' was on the road, everyone was busy," Porcaro said. "Dave was dealing with personal stuff, we had just gotten back from the road, but I was here home in my studio where I'm happiest, and I saw this action going on with 'Africa.' They released 'Rosanna' they did 'Africa." I sent 'Luk" an email on the road. He was in Europe, I said 'Come on, we gotta return the favor let's pick out a tune and send it right back to them.'"
What did Toto add to 'Hash Pipe'
Lukather said, "We wanted to do it justice and pay respect to it. we added their own kitchy things to it which we hope that they like and I wish we were in the room when they play it
Toto formed in 1976 in Los Angeles. Band members are Joseph Williams on lead vocals, David Paich on keys and vocals, Steve Porcaro on keys, Steve Lukather on guitar and vocals, and the tour band members are Lenny Castro on percussion, Warren Ham on sax, Shem von Schroeck on bass and Shannon Forrest on drums.
Steve Lukather: Weezer's cover of 'Africa' was a Gift
DJ Stryker said he thought it was wild this is The No. 1 most-requested song on KROQ-FM.
"Africa was an experiment," Porcaro said. "It was the last song on the album, on Toto 4, it was the very last cut, it was buried. it barely made the album. I didn't think it should have been on the album."
About the song, Lukather said: "I love the track, the melody, and the colors, and the way we did the loops and with Jeff and Emil and Lenny. We worked hard, 24 track tapes. But when it came time to singing the lyrics, I said, 'Come on, dang, man, Serengetti? We're in North Hollywood.'"
The guys admitted they never expected the reaction even back in the day.
"Everybody loved the track and then the hook so the goofy lyrics and the verse, OK we'll just had something to put there we didn't think much. We were all hot on 'Rosanna' being our first single, record of the year and all that stuff. That's the ultimate Toto track."
Regarding "Africa," Stryker asked: "Did the guys in Weezer reach out to you directly ever and say we are going to to do this?"
Lukather said the manager reached out and said "Would you guys mind?"
Lukather said, "' Mind??' Please! You kidding me? Kick ass on it."