A Band Of Brothers

lost_sheep_pic

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? ~ Luke 15:4

99
I’ve been waiting so long
Oh 99
Where did we go wrong
Oh 99
I love you

With the recent and untimely passing of yet another one of the famous Porcaro brothers – Mike this time – I felt compelled to feature a Toto song this month. I thought this song, in particular, might be a good one to share.

99
I keep breaking your heart
Oh 99
How can we be apart
Oh 99
I love you

Of all the parables in the Bible, those that feature the “Good Shepherd” theme are some of my favorites. And this one, with it’s message of unconditional love and concern is particularly touching. Isn’t this the perfect picture of agape love? That He would turn his back on the whole tribe just to find a single lost member? Does that not truly express the value that God places upon each and every one of us?

I never thought it would happen
I feel quite the same
I don’t want to hurt you anymore
I never knew it would work out
No one to blame
You know i love you 99

The Porcaro’s (Jeff, Mike and Steve) truly were a “band of brothers”. The three were sons of Joe Porcaro, himself an established LA studio percussionist who passed his musical talent and passion on to his three sons.

Jeff got his start as the drummer in Sonny & Cher’s touring band and went on to play with Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Michael McDonald and dozens more before founding Toto in 1977 with his brother Steve, and buddies David Paich, Steve Luthaker and David Hungate. The third brother, Mike, joined the band in 1982, replacing David Hungate on bass after the recording of Toto IV was finished.

Unfortunately, Jeff passed away suddenly in 1992 after suffering from insecticide poisoning ingested from treating his lawn. There has been debate that the underlying cause for his death may have had something to do with drug use, but the family has maintained that was not the case.

99
You keep holding my hand
Oh 99
They don’t know who i am
Oh 99
I love you

Mike Porcaro was also an accomplished LA studio musician; a bass playing wizard touring with Boz Scaggs, Michael Franks, Larry Carlton, Seals & Crofts and Joe Walsh, among others.

And now we have another brother, Mike this time, leaving us way too soon. Mike was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2007 and had to give up touring with the band at that time. Toto wound up disbanding in 2008. Mike finally passed quietly, in his sleep, at his home in LA on March 15th.

I never thought it would happen
I feel quite the same
I don’t want to hurt you anymore
I never knew it would work out
No one to blame
You know i love you 99

Which leaves us with Steve, the keyboard player and last survivor of this band of brothers. Steve always seemed to be more in the background, more of a composer and writer, and more closely fitting in as a “behind the scenes” studio player, albeit an extremely talented one. Steve was the composer for Michael Jackson’s hit “Human Nature” and wound up leaving Toto in 1986 to further pursue his writing and composing interests. He currently is deeply involved with writing film and television scores.

99
I can’t take it no more
Oh 99
Oh we were so sure
Oh 99
I love you

Pure is the word, I think, for Toto and much of their work. The lineup for the band has evolved continually throughout the years, but the Porcaro bloodline runs clearly through it.

So, take a minute to toast the musicianship on this classic cut and all the years of hard work – in studio and on the road – that forged this great band. Here’s to the memory of Jeff and Mike and cheers to the one brother who labors on…alone.

Listen to the original here:

Fantastic live version with the reunited brothers here:

 

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