Toto plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its debut album in style next year — starting with a new best-of compilation, 40 Trips Around The Sun, that features three previously unreleased songs, including the brand new track, “Alone.”
The set, due out Feb. 9, coincides with a world tour whose European leg begins Feb. 11 in Helsinki, Finland, with North American dates slated for the summer. the band will also release a limited edition box set featuring remastered versions of all the band’s albums and more unreleased material, including 1981-84 tracks recorded with the late members Jeff and Mike Porcaro.
“We’re still here, man, and I’m proud of that,” guitarist and co-founder Steve Lukather told Billboard magazine. “We’ve taken every punch known to man. We have been running up a vertical glass mountain with butter on our feet for 40 years, hanging on for dear life. We were never cool; In fact, we were the antithesis of that. We came out the same time as the Sex Pistols, and that was a really unfair comparison. Just ’cause we were studio musicians and studied our instruments — since when is being good at what you do a deficit?”
Trips Around The Sun will make the case otherwise with singles such as “Africa, “Rosanna,” “Hold The Line,” “I’ll Supply The Love” and more in addition to the new songs from the Toto catalog. “Alone” is a brand new track that Lukather calls “a great representation of where we are at today,” written and recorded by himself, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams.
“We wrote four brand new songs from scratch, top to bottom, just the four of us sitting in a room,” says Lukather, who played bass on the track. “We wrote everything, recorded everything, played everything together. ‘Alone’ is a real up, positive thing even though the song is called ‘Alone’; It’s about growing old and stuff like that, but it’s really energetic and, I think, an interesting take on it.”
Also on 40 Trips are the new “Struck By Lightning and “Spanish Sea,” one of five vintage unreleased tracks Toto found in its vaults as it prepared the box set (the other four will appear on the box and may be released with the four new songs as a standalone album later in the year).”The reason we didn’t use these originally is we figured they weren’t up to standard,” Lukather explains. “But they sound like they were recorded last week. So we were able to go in there and change the bass part, rewrite the chorus and just make those parts we didn’t like up to standard. It was really cool to be able to go back and do that.”
Next year’s schedule will include an appearance by the band on Family Guy as well as the publication of Lukather’s memoir, The Gospel According to Luke, which includes material about his session work and solo career as well as his life in general. But he says the tone will be celebratory, as will the rest of Toto’s 40th anniversary activities.
“It’s gonna be a big year,” Lukather says. “The next couple of years could be the hugest in the history of the band. People are looking at us differently now. We’re getting some respect for what we’ve done over the years. We have a big audience, much bigger than I thought, and it’s like, our music has transcended 40 years. Forty years?! We never would’ve guessed it. And thanks to all who were on the positive side and, ‘Ha, ha, ha, eff off!’ to all the other people. Success is always the best revenge.”