How a Lawsuit Broke Apart a Pair of Longtime Toto Bandmates
Steve Lukather outlined the “ugly” legal battle that Toto lost against the widow of late drummer Jeff Porcaro and said it led to a falling out between himself and keyboardist Steve Porcaro, Jeff’s brother.
The lawsuit was raised in 2018, when Susan Porcaro-Goings claimed that Toto – owned by Lukather and semiretired co-founder David Paich – “refused to account and pay … for Jeff’s interest in the Toto name” since his death in 1992. Lukather said the disagreement cost the band $1 million and led directly to its latest lineup change, which leaves the guitarist as the only remaining original member.
“There was a mix-up with the name that goes back to our original management,” Lukather told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “I was victimized by that bullshit, too. And then she went public, without any corroboration, to say that David and I were stealing from her family. Like I would do that! As if I suddenly turned into an arch-criminal when I was 60!”
He added that Porcaro "is pissed off because he was out of the band for 25 years and he didn’t put any money into trying to fight [the lawsuit]. He wanted a part of the name for nothing. He didn’t emotionally support us. He didn’t financially support us. Why should he get it for free? And so now he hates my guts, and that makes this even more ugly.”
Porcaro – whose second stint with the band came to an end in the turmoil – disagreed with Lukather’s position. “I haven’t really spoken to Luke in the past year, but I do not hate his guts - nothing could be further from the truth,” Porcaro told Rolling Stone in a separate interview. “When I rejoined Toto, I planned on staying for one summer. … I wound up staying for 10 years, and I told them I was ready for a break. The last tour was pretty rough with all the stress and screaming and 14-paragraph emails.”
Porcaro confirmed that he signed away his rights when he originally left the band in 1987, but suggested his late brother did not. "He died before that could happen," he said. “To be honest with you, I think Lukather and the guys were ill-advised. I don’t blame them. I blame their representation for not telling them how the world works. They were ill-advised by shysters who didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about.”
The keyboardist sent his best wishes to the new version of Toto, which includes the returning Joseph Williams on vocals. “If Luke is putting together something, it’s going to be amazing," Porcaro said. "It’s going to be fantastic. No one plays guitar like Luke – and Joseph is singing better than ever.”