Steven Maxwell Porcaro (born September 2, 1957) is an American keyboardist
, singer and songwriter
known as one of the founding members of the rock band Toto
and the last surviving Porcaro brother (after the deaths of Jeff
in 1992 and 2015, respectively). Porcaro has also done session musician
work for many other acts, including Yes
'' and ''Open Your Eyes
'') and Jefferson Airplane
(on their self-titled 1989 reunion album
). He was also a member of Chris Squire
's short-lived band, The Chris Squire Experiment, in 1992.
Just like his brothers Jeff and Mike, Steve Porcaro started out as a drummer under the tutelage of his father Joe Porcaro
, before taking up piano. In 1967, his father bought him an organ made by Rheem
, a company that specializes in heating and air conditioning. Soon after, he brought his father down to a Guitar Center
to trade in the keyboard for a Farfisa
with a Leslie 147 and preamp, which Porcaro called his "first real rig".
Porcaro's touring career began playing with Gary Wright
during his tour in 1977, supporting the latter's ''The Dream Weaver
'' album. Porcaro and the other original members of Toto then played with Boz Scaggs
before forming Toto.
Porcaro wrote or co-wrote at least one song on each of Toto's first six albums, with the exception of ''Isolation
''. His two older brothers Mike
were Toto's bassist and drummer as well as session musicians while his father Joe was a prolific session percussionist.
Unlike most of his Toto bandmates, he generally did not contribute lead or even backing vocals; he considered himself a weak singer, and sang lead on two of his earlier compositions only because he felt that the vocal styles of his bandmates, with the exception of Joseph Williams
, were not appropriate for his songs. The song "Rosanna
" was supposedly inspired by Porcaro's girlfriend at the time, Rosanna Arquette
but this has since been denied by the song's writer, David Paich, and Arquette herself.
He left Toto in 1987 after the ''Fahrenheit
'' album in order to pursue a more full-time songwriting
and composing career. However, Porcaro continued working with Toto in various supporting capacities, assisting with keyboards, drum looping, synthesizers
Porcaro composed the music for the song "Human Nature
" and produced the synthesizer for "The Girl Is Mine
" from Michael Jackson
's album ''Thriller
'', as well as playing synthesizer and keyboard on "Stranger in Moscow
" from Jackson's ''HIStory
Steve Porcaro is currently working on film score
s. He composed the music for the FX television show ''Justified
'', among many other projects.
He collaborated with his daughter Heather Porcaro on her debut album, ''The Heartstring Symphony'', released in 2009. Heather was featured in ''Paper''
magazine's "Most Beautiful People" issue in 2002.
Porcaro returned to play with Toto at live performances since 2010, when they decided to reform the band and tour in Europe to support Mike Porcaro. They scheduled further concerts in Europe. Porcaro performed on the band's 2015 studio album ''Toto XIV
'', co-writing and singing lead on 'The Little Things' and writing/singing lead on the Japan-only bonus cut, "Bend". When the band dissolved in 2019 and regrouped in 2020, Porcaro did not return.
Steve released his first ever solo album on June 10, 2016. ''Someday/Somehow
'' was co-written/produced by Michael Sherwood, former member of the band Lodgic.
The album contains 13 songs, one of which reunites Steve with his late brothers Mike and Jeff Porcaro, from recordings made prior to their passing.
Contributions are from Michael McDonald
, Jamie Kimmett
, Michael Sherwood
, Mabvuto Carpenter, Marc Bonilla
, Steve Lukather
, Lenny Castro, Shannon Forrest
, Jeff Porcaro
and Mike Porcaro
Steve Porcaro played a huge variety of synthesizers on Toto albums. While David Paich handled piano duties, it was usually Steve's job to complement the music with creative synth sounds. He was known to use Yamaha GS1, Yamaha DX1
, Yamaha DX7
, Yamaha CS-80
, Roland Jupiter-8
, Oberheim Xpander
, Polyfusion Modular, Dynacord Add-one
and Sequential Circuits Prophet-5
synthesizers among others. The synth solo in the Toto song "Rosanna
" is a noted example of his approach.
Nowadays he prefers working with software synthesizers. Onstage he is using two Yamaha keyboards (a Montage 8 and a Yamaha Motif
XF7) to drive his Apple MainStage
-based virtual synth rig,
which draws samples from Logic's ES2 plug-in
and Spitfire Audio
libraries among others.
Official Homepage on Toto website
*TOTO-Hydrasolation — Le site Web des Fans de TOTOHeather Porcaro official site – Steve Porcaro keyboardsSteve Porcaro
NAMM Oral History Program Interview (2006)
Category:American rock keyboardists
Category:Songwriters from Connecticut
Category:Musicians from Hartford, Connecticut
Category:People from South Windsor, Connecticut
Category:American session musicians
Category:American people of Italian descent
Category:Toto (band) members
Category:20th-century male musicians
Category:21st-century American keyboardists
Category:21st-century male musicians
Category:American male musicians
Category:20th-century American keyboardists
Category:American pop keyboardists