The ‘Best New Band’ at Planet Rock Radio’s The Rocks 2020 awards, Attic Theory’s release their debut EP The Sign Of An Active Mind on their own ThunderGun Records label on 27th November 2020. Matt Simon from Attic Theory tells us why he loves the American AOR giants, Toto
There are so many bands that have inspired me over the years; each one just as important to me as the last. But, for me, there is one that stands out and has helped to define me as a drummer and the way I think about music.
My band members have had to listen to me talking about this countless times, but now they’ll be glad to know, it’s your turn.
I’m a huge fan of Toto. I love their versatility and every line-up they have had has been an amazing cocktail of session musicians who are at the very top of their game.
Every musician has that Holy Grail album, whether it be legendary albums like Appetite For Destruction, or Led Zep I.
There is one album that always pulls me back and that is Toto’s debut album, simply titled ‘Toto’. When I first heard this album, I was blown away and I knew it had everything I needed musically. From that first explosion of notes in the opening instrumental track Child’s Anthem, I was hooked.
Who can forget Steve Lukather’s heavy guitar riffs in Hold The Line, topped off with that lovely solo that will send shivers down your spine? It’s unmistakable! Another favourite of mine is the hard hitting song Girl Goodbye. For me, it just hits the right spot.
Despite any preconceptions people may have about Toto, these guys have a ballsy rock sound and when they first hit the scene, I think they were years ahead of their time in their writing and from a production perspective.
Aside from the rock aspect of Toto, the thing that really grabs my attention is the depth of their music. There are so many interesting things happening. They have everything from swing, soul, funk and elements of Afro-Cuban. In everything they do, you can really hear what inspired these guys and that is a really important quality.
It has become a code I myself live by as a musician. I think it’s really important to give a nod to those old styles that shaped music to be what it is today. People don’t necessarily always hear it, but there are elements of old styles in all music. Music is an evolution and it all has to come from somewhere. The best thing to do is use these styles and enjoy them.
If you listen closely to Attic Theory, you can hear this code. We’re not a conventional rock band. Beneath the rock, there are aspects of funk, disco, Latin percussion parts on congas and even traditional African rhythms that myself and bassist Kenny have picked up.
My first ever inspiration was my dad, who taught me to play drums from a young age. When he died, I knew I had to find my own way in music and that’s when I discovered the late, great Jeff Porcaro. I learned so much from listening to Jeff and the signature he brought to Toto. He knew how to sit perfectly in a groove and I can see why he was one of the most sought after session drummers of his time. That lovely half time shuffle in ‘Rosanna’ speaks for itself.
Give me Toto any day. No matter how many times I listen to them, I’ll always hear new things I’d never noticed before. They have the perfect magic musical ingredients to make them my kind of band.
They are every style, yet at the same time, no style in particular. They are simply TOTO!
Our thanks to Matt for taking time to join us and write about Toto.
Here’s the official video for Attic Theory’s My Own Design:
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