Starting a TOTO tribute band.....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Skywalker83, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Ok, this had been a loooonnngggg ambition of mine to do, and i think it's time to start putting wheels in motion.
    I've been a TOTO fan all my life and i've always wanted to create some kind of tribute band to them.
    I've played in many bands (and still play), amatuer, and semi-pro, pro over my years (as few as they may be) as a "musician", and feel very lucky to have had the oppertunities that i've had.

    This is my first real BIG venture in making a band of this calibre, and i'm sure it's going to have it's ups and down.

    As far as musicians go i dont think finding my Lukather, Paich and Phillips will be much of a problem, But i think find a singer with the vocal abilities of Kimball (or the vocal abilities he had back in the day) might be the first big hurdle.

    Can anyone offer any advice, support, ideas??
  2. crijan

    crijan Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2005
    Dallas, Texas
    Endorsing: JH Audio IEMs
    If you put a good, tight band together and show you have your plans in place to make a successful band you'll have no trouble attracting a qualified singer. Make sure you have everything in place, setlist, website, logos, name, etc. even if you don't have a band yet and you'll attract quality players.
  3. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Well, not to knock Kimball by any means but the benefit of covering those cats is that they had like 5 different voices going, and I think Hold the Line was the only one of the singles that BK sang by himself. Luke, Paich, Williams, those guys all had important vocal roles as well. So, while finding a fella to pull off Bobby is going to be important, the broader vocal palette will play an role too.

    nixdad likes this.
  4. I share your love of Toto, but I'm not convinced that finding the right musicians will be a walk in the park. Not too many cats played like Jeff Porcaro, for example. Also, are you sure there's a market for such a band? As I understand it, even the real Toto doesn't find it easy to get gigs, so I'm not sure how well a tribute band will pay off. Good luck to you, though...have fun!
    nixdad and lfmn16 like this.
  5. billjr


    Jul 25, 2006
    Darlington, SC
    Do you think there will be fan support for a Toto tribute band? I was a huge fan back in the day, but Toto does not seem like the musical force that would garner interest for more than a few cover songs.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  6. One thing about Finland i've noticed since moving here is the huge popularity of classic rock, and Finland is a very much rock cultured music society (as well as very heavy metal).
    I think if a product is marketed the right way and has the necessary musicianship then it could be a success.
    Also, the town/city i live in has no shprtage of good venues, and eager listeners, and news travels fast in this town.

    I think this is something i have to try, what's the worst that can happen? If it doesn't work it doesn't work. If it works, it works.
    nixdad likes this.
  7. Versatek6

    Versatek6 Fretless is like Trombone

    Oct 7, 2008
    Twin Cities, MN
    I was thinking the same thing, but didn't note where you were located.

    Toto is more popular outside the U.S. today than within.

    I hope you can make it fly. It sounds like it would be a blast!
    nixdad likes this.
  8. fishtx

    fishtx Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Genzler Amplification/Spector Basses/Mojo Hand FX
    finding a "Luke, Paich, Phillips" may be a bit more difficult than you think...
  9. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    It would also be difficult to find people who match the distinctive looks of Jeff Porcino, Steve Luckathor, and Nigel Tufnel.
  10. Trapezius


    Mar 1, 2009
    Oslo, Norway
    And remember, you all have to sing. Toto is nothing without all the big vocal harmonies.. (nothing being one of the best bands you can imagine, but you get my point, I hope..) :D

    Edit: Here in Norway we had tons of tribute bands a few years ago, I was in a Ozzy tribute band. There is a very good Toto band here as well.. but tribute bands aren't that popular anymore. Haven't had a Ozzy gig in 3 years, and we used to have quite a lot. Now people want cover bands who cover a wide range of music, from smooth disco to metal from the 80's... But I guess it depends on your location.

    Good luck with the project, I hope it works. I'd like to do some Toto myself. :)
  11. Craig_S

    Craig_S Inactive

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Rosanna (correctly)... nuff said.
  12. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I hate to beat this same old drum or come off like a know-it-all (I'm not), but...

    I'm not only in a successful tribute band, but our agent represents many so I have been around the scene for a bit and I think I know something of what I'm talking about.

    First rule of tributes - you must pick a product (band or artist) that "sells". They should be iconic and have NUMEROUS hits/recognizable songs, or it won't work. Plus, they should be VISUALLY RECOGNIZABLE (and the tribute band should emulate them). People should know their names (for the most part) and what they look like. It's critical to the tribute's success.

    Tributes that seem to work: The Police, Abba, AC/DC, Queen, the Doors, Aerosmith, Guns and Roses, Journey, Billy Joel, Springsteen, Van Halen, U2, Bon Jovi, jut to name a few. Common denominator? Huge hits, MANY hits over a long period of time. Recognizable people (almost everyone can name at least one person in these bands and/or recognize a photo).

    Here's my opinion: Toto won't work. They were popular for about 16 nanoseconds and honestly had I think 3 hits (in the States, anyway). You can't play a night of music that is 85% filler that no one knows. You can't build a following on a band that only had a couple of hits and disappeared almost as fast as they appeared. It won't work. I don't think many people could name even one member or even recall what they look like. They were never "that big". Plus, they don't "rock" - their music is awfully technical and mellow. Honestly, I can't see this working well.

    I've seen it before. There's a Queensryche tribute out here (God knows why...there's hardly any demand for the REAL band!). Someone here for a long time was trying to get a Radiohead tribute together. God only knows why.

    Being an "uber-fan" of a band is not a reason to do a tribute. You have to have a product that works. That is recognizable. If you want to be a success at this. If you don't care whether you are successful or not at it -- you're just doing it because you love the music and having a lot of fans and good bookings isn't important to you, then go for it.

    But I'm speaking from the standpoint of the US. Still, even in Scandanavia, I'll bet you'll have a hard time finding a big demand for Toto out there.
  13. I hate to say it, I like Toto, but I agree. The hits people know: Africa, Hold The Line, Roseanna, I'll Be Over You, I Won't Hold You Back. Maybe '99,' but it's a stretch IMO. So you basically have 5 songs that Joe Average has heard. Might be tough.
  14. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I was a DJ during that era and I don't recognize all the songs you listed. Africa, Hold the Line, Rosanna, 99 all come to mind. But that's it.

    And they are all so mellow. Dullish. It's like music to make you a p*ssy. Get people excited at a festival?? Hard to picture.


    Dec 27, 2007
    If it´s your dream, you´ll make it work...go for it!
    nixdad likes this.
  16. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    +1. Might not be so bad if you incorporate their collective studio work for others....Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, etc.

  17. Quadcam


    May 8, 2009
    good luck, the only reason I even listen to Toto is to work on the Roseanna shuffle.
    speaking from a drummers point of view it isnt easy to find someone who can groove like Porcaro

    heres the groove explained by porcaro himself, it's much harder to play than it sounds

    anyway, I'm not sure how well a Toto tribute would work even if you do find the right musicians. But hey all you can do is run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it
  18. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    if you incorporate that, you're no longer a Toto tribute band.
  19. mvw356


    Mar 2, 2006
    toto is still very popular in europe. their last tours were some of the biggest at the time in europe. the perception in the US of them seems to be 'one hit wonders' who disappeared quickly. not true, they stuck around for more than 30 years.
    nixdad likes this.
  20. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    As I said, different markets. You may be right.

    Toto here was pretty considered a flash-in-the-pan, adult contemporary bowl of pop goo. I don't think the real band would be able to fill a 500 seat venue, let alone a tribute band.