Toto

BIUL_Toto

The track from Toto’s Dune soundtrack that I was most infatuated with was the “Desert Theme”. This isn’t the Commodore 64 version, but it’s still pretty sweet.

Brian Eno contributed an ambient track (“Prophecy Theme”) that reminded me of “Death of Optimus Prime” by Vince DiCola. It’s rumored to have been composed for an earlier adaptation of Dune, which would not surprise me at all.

You can criticize many things about David Lynch’s Dune, but you must respect its audacity. God knows whose idea it was to get Toto to do an orchestral sci-fi soundtrack, yet it somehow pays off (for the most part).

Most folks are familiar with Toto by way of “Hold The Line”, which I’d call their best song. Its guitar riffs are exceptional for a soft rock outfit, so it’s only natural that a mad scientist like Frank Zappa would secretly move to top it.

See, Zappa’s superb 1979 rock opera Joe’s Garage tells a story not only of Joe, but of his girlfriend Mary, who leaves him to become a “crew slut”… for a sleazy soft-rock band called “Toad-O”. Before long, she is literally glued to the seats of their tour bus. The sixth track of Joe’s Garage, called “On The Bus”, was originally entitled “Toad-O Line”. Get it?

Aside from a sly dig, that is a beautiful example of xenochrony. You can enjoy this track over and over, focusing individually on guitar, keyboards, or drums. It yields endless delights. Joe’s Garage closes with “Watermelon In Easter Hay”, which, according to Zappa’s son Dweezil, contains the greatest guitar solo Frank ever recorded. I wouldn’t argue with that if my life depended on it.

(I’m not going to post that here, though, because if you haven’t heard it, you’re meant to experience it at the end of Act III. If you’re going to deprive yourself of the bliss of hearing Joe’s Garage start-to-finish, I don’t want to hear about it.)

This is the guitar solo from Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie that Steve Lukather (Toto’s guitarist) did. Be forewarned: I’d call this the funniest scene of their filmography. I’m not responsible if you’re drinking something when you watch it, or for any computers you destroy with whatever shoots out of your nose. View with caution.

The death of Toto’s brilliant drummer Jeff Porcaro is hotly debated in some circles. Porcaro played drums on three Steely Dan albums- not exactly a job a cokehead could hang on to. Yet, people continue to believe Jeff Porcaro died from cocaine abuse, and not the rare genetic condition that killed him. If your arteries are hardening before you hit forty, an allergic reaction to a pesticide while gardening is a reasonable culprit. In any case, I’m gonna take Steve Lukather’s word as final on the matter.

Especially since Porcaro played drums on “Babylon Sisters”. If you think a cokehead could keep time like that, you’re crazy.

toto

Toto (the dog) was referenced on Zappa’s Just Another Band From L.A., during “Billy The Mountain”. Also in the same song is an allusion to a fissure that almost everyone misses. Think: who was famous for the song “O My Papa”?

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