During a recent appearance on Rock History Music hosted by John Beaudin, Toto’s founding member, Steve Porcaro, expressed his dislike for seeing Bobby Kimball, the band’s original frontman, leave in 1984.
When Beaudin asked how they decided to change their lead singer, the keyboardist replied:
“We’d worked really hard to get to that point, to have reached that point. Everyone was kind of fried. We’d been burning it at both ends, working until… touring with Toto and all that and then being home in the studio whether it was with Toto or Michael Jackson or Don Henley or whoever.
It just was a terrible time. It was a horrible time. I hated seeing Bobby go. I hated seeing our lead singer go. Bobby was very special. He wasn’t the guy to sing my songs per see, but it still was a very painful thing.”
“For every lead singer, you get the guy who’s gotta sing all the last whoever was behind them. They’ve got to sing their stuff too, and you don’t envy that. There’s especially a singer. It’s one thing to us musicians are expected to do, but it’s hard for a singer to be able to cover all those bases, but anyway, it was all I could say.
It was a very difficult time, and how we came to Fergie [Frederiksen], there were a lot of people we were considering, but there maybe should have been more. I don’t know.”
In early 1983, Kimball was arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to an undercover police officer. Then, Toto decided to fire him, not due to his arrest but because of the detrimental impact that his cocaine use had on his vocal abilities. Porcaro explained in a 2015 interview with Classic Rock:
“The bottom line was Bobby couldn’t sing. I stayed up all night. We all did. The next day my throat would be like ribbons. But I didn’t have to sing. Bobby had to, and he just wasn’t delivering.”
Later, the band recruited Fergie Frederiksen, a former vocalist of Le Roux, as their new singer. However, after touring with Toto in 1985, he departed from the band due to challenges encountered while working in the studio. After Frederiksen, Joseph Williams became the new frontman of Toto.
You can watch the interview below.