Jeff Porcaro

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Jeff Porcaro
Jeff Porcaro Toto Fahrenheit World Tour 1986.jpg
Jeff Porcaro on the drums on the Toto Fahrenheit World Tour in Blaisdell Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii, November 10, 1986
Background information
Birth name Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro
Born (1954-04-01)April 1, 1954
South Windsor, Connecticut
Died August 5, 1992(1992-08-05) (aged 38)
Los Angeles, California
Genres Hard rock, pop rock, AOR, progressive rock, jazz, jazz fusion[1][2]
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Drums, percussion
Years active 1971–1992
Associated acts

Toto, Sonny and Cher, Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Clover, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits

Jeff Procaro sig.jpg
Jeff Porcaro's signature

Jeffrey Thomas "Jeff" Porcaro (April 1, 1954 – August 5, 1992) was an American drummer, songwriter, and producer best known for his work with the rock band Toto. Porcaro was one of the most recorded session musicians in history,[3] working on hundreds of albums and thousands of sessions.[4] While already an established studio player in the 1970s, he shot to prominence in the US as the drummer on the Steely Dan album Katy Lied. Allmusic has characterized him as "arguably the most highly regarded studio drummer in rock from the mid-'70s to the early '90s", further stating that "It is no exaggeration to say that the sound of mainstream pop/rock drumming in the 1980s was, to a large extent, the sound of Jeff Porcaro."[4]

Biography[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Porcaro was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the eldest son of Los Angeles session percussionist Joe Porcaro and his wife, Eileen. His brothers Steve and Mike are also successful studio musicians and members of the band, Toto. Porcaro was raised in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles and attended Ulysses S. Grant High School.

On October 22, 1983, Porcaro married Susan Norris, a Los Angeles television broadcaster. They have three sons, Christopher Joseph (1984), Miles Edwin Crawford (1986), and Nico Hendrix (1991).

Career[edit]

Porcaro began playing at the age of seven. Lessons came from his father Joe Porcaro, followed by further studies with Bob Zimmitti and Richie Lepore.

When he was seventeen, Porcaro got his first professional gig playing in Sonny and Cher's touring band. During his 20s, he played on hundreds of albums,[5] including several for Steely Dan. He toured with Boz Scaggs, before co-founding Toto with his brother Steve and childhood friends Steve Lukather and David Paich. Porcaro is renowned among drummers for the "Rosanna shuffle," a drum pattern he used on the Grammy Award winning Toto song Rosanna, from the album Toto IV. [6]

Besides his work with Toto, he was also a highly sought after session musician. He collaborated with many of the biggest names in the music business, including Paul McCartney, Dire Straits, Donald Fagen, Steely Dan, Rickie Lee Jones, Michael Jackson, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Joe Walsh, Joe Cocker, Stan Getz, Sérgio Mendes, Lee Ritenour, Christopher Cross, James Newton-Howard, Jim Messina, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Eric Carmen, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John , Larry Carlton, Seals & Crofts, and David Gilmour. Porcaro had contributed drums to four tracks on Michael Jackson's Thriller, as well as played on the Dangerous album hit "Heal the World". He also played on 10cc's ...Meanwhile (1992). On the 1993 10cc Alive album, recorded after his death, the band dedicated "The Night That the Stars Didn't Show" to him.

Richard Marx dedicated the song "One Man" to him and said Porcaro was the best drummer he had ever worked with.[7] Michael Jackson made a dedication to Porcaro in the liner notes for his 1995 album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.

Death[edit]

Porcaro died on August 5, 1992 at the age of 38. The rock star fell ill after spraying insecticide in the yard of his Hidden Hills home and died that evening at Humana Hospital-West Hills. According to one LA Times Report, The Los Angeles County Coroner's office lists the cause of death to be a heart attack from atherosclerosis induced by cocaine use,[8] not from an allergic reaction to the pesticides as presumed immediately after his death (and stated by Toto in the band's official history).[9]

In a Podcast recorded with "I’d hit that" in late 2013, Steve Lukather spoke about Jeff Porcaro’s death:[10]

Steve Lukather: I spoke to him the day he passed...he said, 'yeah, man I'll see you this weekend and we’ll have a BBQ at the house and we'll go clean up the yard'...and that’s when he got poison on himself and it turns out he had a bad heart anyway, he had two uncles that died when they were 40 years old from heart disease so it was genetic...this whole drug thing that came out its so insidious, and I hate the fucking fact cause he was never the bad drug guy...he’d be the guy going "what are guys staying up all night, you idiots"...in the early '80s and late '70s early '80s it was crazy man, we’re not gonna (sic) deny any of it, but by the time he passed it was never, I don't know, people just love to roam the dirty laundry as Henley wrote you know...and you read these Wikipedia shit, that’s right there, its like does anybody ever do a homework on these facts...he just had a genetic predisposition...this whole thing with his arms hurting and all this, he was always, 'my arms, my muscles', it wasn't his muscles, it was the fact that the blood was not getting to the extremities, he had hardening of the arteries at 38 years old.

Interviewer: How long was he complaining of the pain in the arms?

Steve Lukather: Years, it was debilitating to the point where touring became difficult for him.

Porcaro's funeral, attended by an estimated 1,500 people (friends, family, colleagues and fans), was held on August 10 in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery, where he was buried on the Lincoln Terrace, lot 120.[11] The Jeff Porcaro Memorial Fund was established to benefit the music and art departments of Grant High School in Los Angeles, where he was a student in the early 1970s. A memorial concert took place at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles on December 14, 1992 with an all-star lineup that included Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen, Don Henley, Michael McDonald, David Crosby, Eddie Van Halen, and the members of Toto. The proceeds of the concert were used to establish an educational trust fund for Porcaro's sons.

Porcaro's tombstone is inscribed with the following epitaph, comprised by lyrics from Kingdom of Desire track Wings of Time: "Our love doesn't end here; it lives forever, on the Wings of Time."

Equipment[edit]

Porcaro was a renowned endorser of Pearl drums,[12] pedals, racks and hardware, Paiste cymbals, Remo drumheads and Regaltip drumsticks. He had his own Regal Tip Jeff Porcaro signature drumsticks, which are still made by the company as of 2014. He used other brands of drums until joining Pearl in 1982, notably Ludwig-Musser, Gretsch and Camco.

Discography[edit]

With Toto[edit]

Other artists[edit]

See also[edit]

Love & Money- Strange Kind of Love (Album)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stan Getz - Apasionado CD Album". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  2. ^ "The Sheffield Catalog // Sheffield Lab Audiophile Recordings | The reference standard for musical and sonic excellence". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. 2011-10-09. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  3. ^ "Freedrumlessons.com". Freedrumlessons.com. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  4. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Jeff Porcaro". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  5. ^ "Jeff Porcaro's official discography". Toto99.com. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  6. ^ "onlinedrummer.com". 
  7. ^ "liner notes "Paid vacation", see quote about "One man"". Geocities.jp. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  8. ^ Julie Tamaki (September 4, 1992). "Drummer's Death Linked to Cocaine, Coroner Says : Autopsy: Report finds no evidence to support earlier belief that Toto's Jeff Porcaro died of an allergic reaction to a pesticide". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ "Official TOTO Website - Band History". Toto99.com. 1992-08-05. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  10. ^ "Episode 50 - Steve Lukather". I’d Hit That - A Podcast for Drummers. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  11. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6330
  12. ^ "Pearl Drums: Rembering Jeff Porcaro". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 

External links[edit]