Thursday, May 24, 2012


An Imagined Conversation With the Guy Who Wrote Toto's Wiki Entry

Us: Hey.

The Guy: A lot of people I talk to think that Steve Porcaro left in 1988 and never looked back, but he returned on synthesizers in 2010.

Us: That's cool. We love your infographic! It's really exhaustive.

The Guy (modestly): Thanks. You know, it's not perfect, not yet.

Us: Yeah, I mean, are you open to taking notes?

The Guy: Um, yeah, I guess.

Us: It's just, wow, SO much detail on instrumentation and timeline, which is great, but those of us who might not, you know, have a formal Toto background might like to know more about WHY people left? Like, we didn't know that Jeff Porcaro is dead, so maybe you could use a different notation to indicate "left" versus "passed away." Or, to be even clearer, a third thingie for people who left and THEN passed away later.

The Guy (stiffly): I feel like most people who are looking at my infographic have enough of a Toto background to know that Jeff Porcaro is dead.

Us: But, what if you didn't really know about Toto until the last episode of Family Guy featured a strip club scene with "Africa" playing in the background?


Us: Okay, next question. Looking at the infographic, which, again, so helpful, we're noticing that there's not a lot of crossover between vocals and OTHER THINGS. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but the only person who sang AND played an instrument was Steve Lukather?

The Guy: That's not so strange. Not everyone was Levon Helm, you know.

Us (triumphantly): OKAY, I think we have a correction, then, because within your own entry, there's a second chart that makes it appear as though David Paich supplied keyboards AND vocals, as did Greg Phillinganes. But that isn't visible in your infographic.

The Guy: Look, the infographic may not be as complete as it could be, but do you actually want me to add an extra line every time a musician hummed along? The infographic is obviously meant to represent the PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES of the band members.

Us: Then, maybe a note to that effect? Like "this infographic is for entertainment purposes only, please do not think it's a valid representation of the actual musicianship of Toto"?

The Guy: What, exactly, is your dog in this fight? Do you even know that "Rosanna" is named after BUT NOT ABOUT Rosanna Arquette?

Us: We're just people who think that if you're going to do a job, you need to do it right. Simple people. Internet people. Thanks for talking to us today.

30 Comments / Post A Comment

Jolie Kerr

In my mind The Guy is Alex Balk. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


@Jolie Kerr In my mind, The Guy is Steve Lukather.


@Jolie Kerr @gobblegirl

In my mind, he is the Comic Book Store Guy from The Simpsons. All of Wikipedia is written and maintained by the Comic Book Store Guy.


@City_Dater I was hoping someone else would mention Comic Book Guy!

Also, I dated a Wikipedian, and he was a liiiiittle bit like CBG- not in personality, but in fastidious attention to detail. Perhaps because of him, I occasionally edit articles myself.


@Jolie Kerr In my mind, this is my husband, who is way too fastidious in his knowledge of Toto, Rush and ELO for anyone that was born after 1970.


@Jolie Kerr My paper just did a story on THE Comic Book Guy, i.e. the first guy to reach 1 million wiki edits.


Ham Snadwich

@Katastrophe - How is that even possible?

Also, they spelled loser incorrectly.


@Katastrophe NUVO! You live in Indy too! :)

Of course his degrees are in philosophy and poly sci. Haha. But seriously, this guy sounds really cool and I hope I run into him sometime.

Reginal T. Squirge

FYI: The same dudes wrote "Human Nature", which is tied with "Leave Me Alone" for The Best Michael Jackson Song.

Meredith L.

OK, so I make stuff like that for a living and my first instinct was "LAY OFF, GUY'S JUST MAKING A GRAPH." But then I looked at it and now I got issues: Like, if you'e going to include the Album Lines, why not indicate in anyway what albums those were? Did they really release two albums in 1984? Will this be updated for 2012 soon or do we have outdated data? (What is this, some sort of open-sourced, free service?) Clearly I have found my Memorial Day project.


@Meredith L. Also, what instrument is the yellow line in the infographic??

Nicole Cliffe

Synthesizers! (Full infographic at the first link.)

Meredith L.

@Nicole Cliffe But he also has one marked for keyboards? Are synthesizers and keyboards DIFFERENT? ::brain explodes::

Nicole Cliffe



What if your only exposure to Toto is due to being a college a capella groupie? WHAT THEN?


@Ophelia me tooo. Toto done by a semi-circle of dudeboys in wrinkled trousers and button downs? panties. dropped. good lord.


This man's deconstruction is all I need to know about Toto, and Africa, and Toto's Africa.


@hopelessshade Oh man, this was great. "It was like God channeling it!"


I have these imaginary conversations a lot. I also like to read wikipedia contributions to myself and imagine them in the voices I think the people have. Especially the contributions to the inevitable dozen or so anime related entries under the "In Pop Culture" heading of virtually every wikipedia article.


How much more could I have enjoyed this post? The answer is none. None more enjoyed.

runner in the garden

@laurel - yeah, strangely enough this is the post that convinced me that hiring Nicole a stroke of genius.


Is no one else distressed that someone could have gone this long without knowing the amazingness that is Toto's "Africa"?!?!

Also, this: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/totos-africa-by-ernest-hemingway


All anyone needs to know about Toto is contained herein:


Also Betty White sang an a capella version with Troy and Abed in the Morning. Toto guy should add that in.

Heat Signature

"A formal Toto background" almost made me loudly guffaw in my place of employment but ALSO is something I sort of wish I had.

maybe partying will help

This person is legit and I'd like to be friends with them. Author(s) of the Toto Wikipedia entry, call me!

Also, this reminds me that Place Vendome's Wikipedia page is maybe not up to the objective/neutral standards, as it contains this line: "The album received very positive reviews and was hailed as vocalist's Michael Kiske's glorious return to a heavier rock sound."

Glorious return, eh?

runner in the garden

@maybe partying will help - Michael Kiske was pretty glorious in 2001!

maybe partying will help

@runner in the garden

Oh Michael Kiske is always glorious. Indeed I'm beginning to think that I'm the author of the Place Vendome album page and just don't know it. That line just made me giggle, since it's a pretty brief page and then has this I AM A HUGE FAN line in the descriptive paragraph. :B

PS Tobias Sammet's Avantasi wat up


what if your only exposure to toto is the karl wolf remake of africa?

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account