March 15, 2015 – Michael Joseph Porcaro (Toto) was born in Los Angeles on May 29, 1955 and was the middle brother of Jeff Porcaro and Steve Porcaro. Their father was jazz drummer-percussionist Joe Porcaro.
Porcaro worked as a session bass player before replacing Toto original bass player David Hungate in 1982 shortly after the band completed recording the award-winning Toto IV album. Porcaro played cello on a track for the album and subsequently appeared in the band’s videos and performed as a full band member on the world tour in support of the album.
Toto was originally formed in 1977 by a group of successful studio musicians including brothers Jeff, a drummer, and Steve, who played keyboards. Jeff died in 1992.
Toto sold more than 40 million records in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Its album “Toto IV” won the 1982 Grammy for album of the year, and its song “Rosanna,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart, was record of the year. The band also collectively won the producer of the year Grammy. As bassist, Porcaro appeared on such albums as Isolation (1984), Fahrenheit (1986), Mindfields (1998) and Through the Looking Glass (2002).
Along with Toto, Porcaro played numerous sessions in Los Angeles, and toured with Michael Franks on his first tour. He then toured with Seals and Crofts, Larry Carlton, and Boz Scaggs. He appears in the video for the song “JoJo” by Scaggs.
Porcaro stopped performing with Toto in 2007, suffering from a growing numbness in his fingers that made it increasingly difficult for him to play. He was replaced by Leland Sklar for the remainder of the tour and Toto disbanded in 2008, but reunited in 2010 in support of Mike Porcaro’s financial needs in the advance stage of ALS.
On February 26, 2010, it was announced via official press release that Mike Porcaro was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and that former band members of Toto, including Steve Porcaro, would reform and do a short tour through Europe in support of him in the summer of 2010.
The regrouped Toto continued to tour and perform for Mike’s benefit during 2011. Nathan East was the guest bass player for the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 tours.
He was inducted alongside the band into the Musician’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
In September 2012, it was reported in Classic Rock magazine that he was doing as well as could be expected with his disease, but he was in a wheelchair as the disease was progressing.
In an interview with the website Something Else! in 2012, Toto keyboardist David Paich spoke about Porcaro’s condition at the time. “He’s been going downhill for the last three years here, because it’s a very slow, degenerative process. But, again, Mike mentally is fantastic and if you talk to him, his spirits are up and he’s great and like the old Mike Porcaro, except that he’s disabled, he’s in a wheelchair and can’t move; can’t walk and can’t play which is a heartbreaking drag.”
Mike Porcaro was 59 years 9 months 14 days old when he died of the disease on 15 March 2015.