Interview FIB 2006 Melodic Rock
Original Lead Vocalist Bobby Kimball is well and truly part of the Toto team again and his input on the new album is invaluale. Bobby talks about the new tour and making way for 5 other vocalists on the new album.
First of all Bobby - congrats on a very fine sounding record indeed!
Thanks Andrew, we know we did our best on this CD, took our time, did it the best we possibly could.
This sounds like a true band record, with everyone involved in both writing and every part of the performance. True?
It is a band-written album, with the exception of a couple of cuts. One by Luke and one by David. In a true sense, one would call it a 'band-written' album, depending on what era you came from. I call it a band-written CD. Probably everyone below 25 years old will call it a band-written group of MP3 Tracks!
Directly to your contributions - you co-write on many of the songs, but are listed as principal songwriter for King Of The World. An important song for you?
It just ain't so Andrew. I love the song, but I was not the principal writer on it. I wrote some of the lyrics, but the MVP on that one was David.
We all participated as much as possible in our own way, but there were beginnings that were taken to another level by someone else, due to their style, and endings that were completely changed by someone that didn't start the song. Lyrics that were changed to the point one wouldn't recognize the way the original ones started. It was an incredible experience writing this way, and I think we may have found the new platform for writing the next CD for Toto.
I commented to Steve that I had never heard you sing like you do on the opening track! That is a pretty powerful vocal!
What can I say but, thank you, my friend. Anything else would sound too much like an inflated ego.
And No End In Sight and Hooked are also great vocals. You sound as if you are in the best shape in years?
The songs are very in my range, and Simon Phillips and David Paich know how to bring the very best out in my voice. I feel very lucky to know them, much less, sing in a band with them. I am honored.
Taint Your World features another smoking vocal. It's nice to hear you really rip on that track… “And that's what I call a nice fucking boogie!” I can't argue with you on that Bobby!
Nice fucking Boogie indeed!!!!! Luke started that one off, and the band fell upon it with the gusto of a hounddog. It went straight through the roof that day. I wrote most of the lyrics from a documentary I was watching @ the time about alien abductions.
Didn't anybody get the cipher (license plate number) from that flying rat machine? It was all in good fun, and it sort of fits the bill for the way the song goes.
I commented that this record is at times 'less is more' - it leaves you wanting more - case in point the opening track....I love the vocal, yet there isn't a lot of it!
If you were singing it, you would think it was just quite enough. Always remember, whatever we do in the studio, we usually have to do it live too. That's a bitch to sing, but, once again, it's something really in my range and rather easy for me. Don't try this at home kids.
Toto has always been a band that features multiple vocalists, but I don't recall any Toto album featuring as many vocalists as Falling In Between! I know singers that would take this as a hit to their ego. How do you address / handle it?
Sorry, but I had to get a baseball bat and kill Joseph Williams. YIKES!!!!! Not really, OK? I loved having all the guys share the vocals, as it's been a Toto trademark from the beginning to have vocal trade-offs. Our signature songs are done with multiple vocalists, case in point: Africa, Rosanna…etc. I really like to mix it up and show the different sides of the band vocally. If ya got it, flaunt it.
It was awesome to have Joseph Williams and Jason Scheff sing on the CD. They're both very good friends of mine and I've worked on many projects with them.
Do you like the effect of coming in where one of the others has sung on the verse and taking the song over the top with a big chorus? It's another aspect of this album that I love.
That's exactly the point. On Spiritual Man, it was so great to have Dave sing the beginning, then I did a mid-range burst, and Greg took it to heaven on the ending. It's like the purest form of communication when we trade off vocals, as we try to best one another in our own way. It's not competition, but more a way of letting the band know it's going to be great.
There are some songs featuring four of you on lead vocal! How did you work out the plan for who's vocals would go where and when? Whatever you did - it works!!
We just let nature take its course. When the track was playing in the studio, someone would sing a part, and they ended up owning that part. If it was me, or Luke, anyone, they could throw down what and when they wanted and it would either stick on the track or not. It was the total lack of ego that made this CD possible. Everyone giving from the heart, and being the very best we could be. It's a Masterpiece to me, but I just love this band.
I must jump in and say how much I am blown away by your lines in Spiritual Man. They just burst through those speakers and blow me away!
Thanks again guy. It was the part that took me by surprise. I thought Dave was going to sing the whole song, then he asked me to sing on the 3rd verse. I was wondering if I would sing the rest of the song, but Greg was so awesome on the last verse, it wouldn't have been the same song if I had finished it.
Are you happy with the feedback from fans and press so far?
One thing I can say is, we have some of the greatest fans a band could ever want. They've been so endearing over the years, even through some of our toughest times as a band. When we had the dark days they never faltered on us. It's a testament to how people who love music are so true to themselves, and even more so to the bands they love. We thank you for being there for us.
How are you going to arrange vocals live on stage? Steve said you guys had a lot of rehearsal time due to the complexities of the new material. How did it all turn out?
Of the songs from Falling In Between that show up on the setlist, we've got them covered. Now are you fishing for the setlist, or just asking about our rehearsals? (just kidding). The rehearsals we so much better than our expectations. It looked like a David and Goliath story at the beginning, and we were almost certain some of this material was insurmountable, but all of the new songs come out great. We've even changed some of the old songs to a new format (just a couple of beginnings that are designed to shock).
Raring to go?
You bet your ass!!!!!
What are your favourite songs to sing live?
Fishing again? Love the new arrangement on Rosanna, Hold The Line, and some real surprises that will poke their heads out in London next week.
How do you keep yourself fit and healthy on tour - being that this is such a long tour for you all?
It's really important to avoid alcohol, non-sleep, drugs, too much talking, and general rock n roll behavior. I'm so conscientious about getting enough sleep and not overdoing the talking thing on the road. It's almost all I can do to get through the set each night, but it's because I take good care of myself that I get healthier as we stay on the road.
I drink about 6-8 liters of water during the set, so I'm constantly keeping my vocal cords wet and in shape. It's a must for doing the type of material we do.
You have been back in the band a while now. It was great to see you return for the Mindfields album. Did you just get to a point in your life (Luke also) where you thought, fuck it, I don't want to argue anymore?
Something like that, but not quite that simple.
It's a very long story that I'll tell you sometimes when Luke and I are together. I don't want to step on any toes or tweak anyone out over the past bullshit at this point. Things are great amongst us now, and I'm about as happy as I've been in 17 years.
You were (I believe) working on a new solo album over the last year or two, which gave way to work on the new Toto album. Where does that project stand today?
Anything I'm doing at the time a Toto CD gets in the way of, I drop it and do what's needed there. The solo CD has been written for a long time. As a matter of fact, there are a few of them written as of now, but we're going on the road now, so it'll have to wait again. I have a lot of options at this time, so I'll git er done when it's time.
And last I heard, you might be appearing on the next Mecca album on a couple of tracks?
That's very true. Joe Vana is a great friend of mine, and of course, being that David Hungate is playing bass, I couldn't refuse if I wanted to. What a great band they have. I fell in love with the first Mecca CD, and I used it to work out to in the gym. If, and when it happens, I'll be there.
Anything else on your plate Bobby?
Just the Toto Tour 2006. We're looking at about a 2 year run on this CD, but I'm certain we'll be writing for a new CD while on the road. There are so many possibilities at this time.
Anything you would like to add/say to fans?
Just that, if you've never seen the band live, you've missed a great chance to see one of the best bands out there right now. These guys are technician's technicians.
They know how to craft a song and recreate it live like no other band I've ever seen. We would love to have you out for a bang-up evening if you have the time. If you don't, check out Falling In Between. You'll find the time!
Interview By Andrew McNeice