Steve Lukather Discusses Toto’s ‘Soul Crushing’ Collapse
Steve Lukather discussed the legal fight at the heart of Toto’s collapse last year.
Last month, he and singer Joseph Williams unveiled a new lineup of the band, saying they shared “a refreshing, optimistic enthusiasm to step in to the future.” When the guitarist announced Toto's breakup a few days before their final show in October 2019, he referred to “horrendous, awful, mean, you-gotta-be-kidding-me kind of lawsuits” that he had lost.
In a new interview with Innerviews, Lukather said: “We worked really hard for 10 years to bring Toto back. We had lots of issues with previous managers and lost a lot of money. The original managers also screwed up ownership of the Toto name. Someone has made up a lot of stories about that which aren’t true, and things ended up on a really bad note with the band.”
He added that he hasn't "spoken in over a year to Steve Porcaro, one of my oldest best friends, and I don’t know if I ever will. I was accused of things I never did, and I was really upset by it. David Paich and I lost an incredibly expensive court battle over a mistake I didn’t make that was blamed on me. People made up their own backstories. It was really complicated.”
Lukather said the final shows were “miserable and hard,” although the band tried to deliver the best shows it could as the tour wound down. The experience left him feeling “isolated and blamed for things I didn’t do,” he noted. Even after he’d “proved [his] innocence,” there were “no retractions, as there was someone who wanted to destroy us and our friendships.”
The guitarist asked: “Where’s the thank-you note for keeping Toto on the road when it wasn’t going well? Who kept the wheels on the bus so we could pay our monthly expenses? Then it blew up and we started doing well again, and there was animosity about that. It’s like a 45-year marriage that went terribly wrong. It’s nearly 50 years if you count the time we spent together in high school. It’s all soul crushing. I didn’t want things to end, but we were sued out of it and now we’re buried in legal debt, and I don’t want to fight it anymore.”
On a brighter note, Lukather said the new lineup is “killer." “Rehearsals are going great," he noted. "David is with us as musical director for the rehearsals, and you never know when he might show up at a show, even though he’s not medically able to tour. It’s his band. He started it. I can’t wait to go out and play again. I’m feeling inspired.”