Jeff Porcaro

© 2006-2017
Julia Stoff

" Our love
doesn't end here
It lives forever
On the
wings of time "

jeff porcaro, biografia, dyskografia, drum patterns, porcaro, zdjęcia, prasa, informacje, jeff porcaro

prasa > Musician, październik 1992

Musician, October 1992

In Memoriam - Jeff Porcaro - 1954-1992

By Matt Resnicoff

Seven drums sat waiting at the front of the chapel as the eulogies commenced for Jeff Porcaro, who died August 5 of an allergic reaction to pesticides he was using in his yard in Los Angeles. Lined around the drummer's casket were a wreath with a red ribbon reading "Toto," and several photos of the young man who had become one of rocks finest drummers: one serious-looking portrait, a shot of Porcaro ablaze behind the kit, one in tuxedo with the familiar horn-rimmed glasses, a proud smile and a Grammy Award clutched to his chest. Porcaro, eldest brother in his family--Steve and Mike worked with him in Toto--and the father of three boys, was 38.
As the congregation entered the Forest Lawn Memorial Park's Hall of Liberty auditorium on the afternoon of August 10, a repeating cycle of four songs--Steely Dan's "Home at Last", "Deacon Blues" and "Third World Man", and Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary"--rippled over the hilly cemetery yard and, inside, filled a hall of musicians, friends and family. Porcaro's mourners represented a broad cross-section of the music world, where he was generally considered the studio kingpin of his generation. He had worked with Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Roger Waters and hundreds of others. Porcaro had a take-charge attitude with rhythm, an intense gift for moving things along in the music he touched and in his life. Mike Porcaro joked the day before the funeral, "It's just like Jeff to go ahead of everyone, just to make sure it was cool up there for the rest of us."
"I know he's laughing at me real good up there, because he'd love to see me squirm," Jim Keltner began in his eulogy. The veteran sessioneer was a mentor to Porcaro since meeting him 20 years ago. "He was more mature at 17 than most guys I was working with in the studio. He was cool and he was so BAD. He had so much chops, that I guess he got from his dad, and was worried he would overuse it in the studio. He told me all the time, 'I wanna be like you, Jimmy, I wanna just play simple and GROOVE.' That flattered me, I felt responsible to follow up. He would follow me on sessions; one night we were with Arlo Guthrie and we did 'City of New Orleans.' I said, 'Jeffrey, this is not gonna be a rockin' session, it's gonna be just brushes, so I'm probably gonna sound terrible.' I was floundering all night, but I could feel him watchin' me, so I was REALLY tryin', and finally I got the take and I look back and he was snorin'.
"Jeffrey never stopped inspiring me since the moment I met him. He had the rare combination of all the qualities a drummer should have: articulateness, the deep, deep, wonderful pocket, the feeling, and most of all, time that was RIGHT outta heaven--I don't know any other way to describe it. When I would hear it I would stop, turn it up and listen, study and check and be so inspired. Now, of course, it's gonna be like that but I'm gonna be crying my eyes out all the's just gonna be so much more special."
Hartford-born Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro had attitude--that much was as apparent in his playing as in his eulogists' reminiscences. He propositioned his wife Susan, a journalist, immediately after she interviewed him for a piece on Toto. According to his manager Larry Fitzgerald, he "traveled with a storm cloud wrapped around him, an intense energy. Everything about him came together in his playing. He gave it all for everything, no matter what."
"When he was in the room, " said James Newton Howard, one of the pallbearers, "it was easy to determine truth and falseness, in a take, in an idea. Jeff challenged the limits of our ability and busted us with one of those looks of his." As a sideman on a Steely Dan tour in England, Porcaro once ditched his B-level hotel and showed up with luggage at 2:30 a.m. at employers Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's luxury accommodations, yelling, "Where's the party?"
Producer Gary Katz read from a letter sent by Becker and Fagen: "In 1974 we decided to sell out and do commercials for Schlitz beer--here we were in Hollywood, it seemed like the thing to do. Our guitarist, Denny Dias, knew of a drummer in the Sonny and Cher band and set up a meeting. On the appointed day, a cocky little Italian kid walked in and said in a voice that seemed an octave much to low for a person of such diminutive stature, 'Yo guys, let's groove!' The session was pretty silly for reasons too complex to mention. Ultimately, the Schlitz people said 'pasadena' on the jingle, but Jeff was a keeper, not just as a musician, but as a friend. Fans would always think of Jeff as a great musician; the musicians he worked with will always think of him as a great guy."
Katz spoke of an enormously soulful spirit he said Porcaro shared with everyone. "Every moment I spent with him, I had a smile on my face. I met him in '74 at Cherokee Ranch when I was working on Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic; Donald and Walter had a song called 'Night by Night' that wanted more precision and exactness than they were able to give, which for them is saying something. Late one night Denny recommended Jeff; Donald said we'd give it another day and told Denny to make the call and see if we could get the guy out here. Denny hung up the phone and said, 'They're on their way.' Cherokee Ranch was a studio built in a barn, and had above its doorway an ornamental rope with a noose attached. Forty-five minutes later Jeff arrived and saw the noose; Denny introduced us and Jeff's first words were, 'I know you guys have a rough reputation on musicians, but this is way out of line!'
"When Jeff was working," Katz continued, "especially with Donald and Walter, his sense of devotion was unmatched. If he'd feel he wasn't doing exactly what Donald wanted, Jeff--being the huge fan and the man that he was--would throw his sticks at the wall in frustration and say, 'Get someone who knows how to play a shuffle! Call Purdie!' A few minutes would pass, he'd collect himself and do another take, and on those occasions he always brought to my face another smile." Jeff's formidable efforts on behalf of "Gaucho," Katz noted, rescued the track from being scrapped.
In the past year, Jeff had turned down offers to tour with Bruce Springsteen and Dire Straits so he could devote attention to Toto and to his family. In a letter to Susan Porcaro, Springsteen called the drummer "a kindred spirit whose beauty went beyond craft and precision, into the realm of spirit. With that he graciously blessed my music. He was a soul man." A tape followed of Springsteen describing Jeff to the crowd at a concert the night after his death, and singing "Human Touch" in tribute. Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler had planned to return to the studio with Porcaro in November. "One main reason for my enjoying making our last record more than any other was Jeff," Knopfler said. "He was great as a person and as a musician. If I can find any consolation it is at least that I had the delight and honor of working with and knowing Jeff. And that he was, he told me, proud of the work he did for us."
At the conclusion of the indoor service Porcaro's casket was opened and his drumsticks were placed inside. His fellow drummers--Keltner, Mike Baird, John Robinson, Rick Marotta, Harvey Mason, Willie Ornalles, Lenny Castro--strapped on the tom-toms and played as they walked to the gravesite, followed by Porcaro's family and friends. Hundreds gathered near sunset on Lincoln Terrace, at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, where Boz Scaggs sang "The Lord's Prayer".