Hold the line? Not anymore. The rumours were true: guitarist Steve Lukather has officially quit Toto and announced the end of the band as a result. It's a sad day for AOR. Here's his full statement on the matter (you may need to make yourself comfortable because it's long):
"I would like to make a formal annoucement as I have been barraged by e-mails and speculations on various websites.
"The fact is yes I have left Toto. There is no more Toto. I told the guys before the last leg of our tour.
We had some differences in how business was being done. The other fact is that I have been the only guy who was at the first rehearsal till the last gig a month or so ago. When Jeff died part of us all died with him. We pursued it and had some great times. Simon was a champ replacing Jeff at a most difficult time. Bobby was out of the band for 16 years and then came back and you know the other singer stories. Other than Bobby, Joe was the only guy that really fit with us cause he was a high school buddy as well. No offence to Bobby at all.
"When Dave retired that was REAL hard for me cause we started the band together. Hell its 35 years if you count High School where the core all met. When Mike fell ill and had to leave that was it for me. If there isnt a Paich or at least one Porcaro how can we even call it Toto? It was bittersweet cause I finally got to tour with my dear friend and musical legend Leland Sklar whom I have known since I was 19 years old. We had some laughs and great times
Honestly I have just had enough. This is NOT a break. It is over. I really cant go out and play Hold the Line with a straight face anymore. I was 19 when we cut the record. I am 50 now.
"I have only the deepest respect for the guys that have been in and out of this band over the years. We had a great run and I owe an awful lot to the experience and the success we had. We hung in there hard despite being the most hated band in the world by most so called "rock critics". We took the punches and kept going. Our old label President Donnie Lenner ruined us in the USA by not releasing our records and not letting us out of our contract for over 10 YEARS! And that really set us back. Why? You have to ask the man himself cause we never knew why. He just didnt like our music or us personally I guess. We will never know.
"The USA turned there backs on us and it was very hard for me to keep smiling thru it all. It just sort of festered inside me and I was hurting myself in the process and eventually I had to be honest with myself and I was not happy at all. The guys in the current line-up could not be more different individuals and the only real thing we had in common was music. This was NOT the high school band of brothers that we started in the 70's. We had a magic thing and the same sense of humour and the same views on life. Somehow that was lost. Its not the new guys fault. It is what it is.
"I just cant do it anymore and at 50 years old I wanted to start over and give it one last try on my own. As the only original member that had NEVER ever left or missed even ONE gig or recording I figured I might as well do it myself now while I can still get out and do it and have a new record that just came out and a new band that is unreal and a tour booked that will take me thru the end of summer 2009 and beyond. The title of my record says it all. Ever Changing Times.
"Today I confered with my soul brother and founding member David Paich on this matter. He wrote me back and he said "We are FREE"! I laughed out loud. I dont think he thought this was Toto anymore either.
There are no bad feelings from me to the other guys at all. I wish them only the very very best and all the good things in life and I am sure we will run into each other here or there and it will be hugs and all, hope so anyway.
So, there you have it. I hope you will come out to one of my shows and thank you for 31 years of friendship."
No it's not finished yet either, Steve then made this addition to the statement…
"Hey guys, Well It seems I started a fire storm. That was never my intent. It was really to explain myself. My comment about Hold the Line was a bit harsh and it reads more serious than I meant it. I was a tongue in cheek statement. ALL those songs have been VERY VERY good to me and the guys. I am sorry if I sounded like an asshole. I would like to retract that statement. I am a bit BURNT on it but they have become somewhat classic so who am I to say such stupid things. I am sorry. YOU guys have made Toto and aslo been there for me as well. I hope that doesnt change.
"I also have nothing but the deepest respect for all the guys. I did not want to make it seem otherwise. This was a personal decision that I needed to make and they all knew it before the last tour anyway.
"I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and understanding. This is NOT a hateful move at all. It has been a long time coming for me and those around me. Paich and the Porcaro's knew and totally understood and I asked them before I posted. I was just getting alot of e mail about all of it due to my comments so I wanted to post my feelings. You might get other opinions from other people but speculation on WHY I left is ridiculous unless you know me or someone in the band and even then one mans truth is not another mans truth alot of the time.
Sometimes one just has to move on.
"I hope to see some of you at one of my shows and hope we can still be friends. I know some of you may be upset with me. I guess I cant help that Anyone who REALLY knows me knows where I am at.
I am sorry if I have upset anyone. The music will live on. I am very proud of what we have done over ALL the years and I am sorry if I made it sound like I wasnt.
Have a great day,