McDonald and the members of Toto are old friends, dating back years prior to the singer's appearance on Toto's “I'll Be Over You,” from the “Fahrenheit” album in 1986. Toto members Mike Porcaro, Jeff Porcaro and Steve Lukather collaborate with McDonald on his RIAA gold certified solo debut “If That's What It Takes” (1982). The trio all performed on “That's Why” and “No Such Luck,” while Jeff laid down the drums and Luke contributed guitar on “I Keep Forgettin'.” Lukather also played on “I Gotta Try” and “Believe In It.” In 1977, Keyboardist David Paich arranged horns and strings on the Doobie Brothers “Livin' on the Fault Line.” Even earlier, in 1972, Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro extended the invitation to McDonald to join Steely Dan.
"I so look forward to the dates I'll play with Toto this Summer,” McDonald said in a press release promoting the tour. “Not only because they're old friends but also because they're one of the most talented and significant American bands."
"I can’t wait to get out on the road with Michael McDonald and his band,” Toto’s Steve Porcaro said. “There is some deep history between us and it’s always a great hang. Michael surrounds himself with the best people, the crowds are great, and I for one, never tire of hearing his amazing band play and hearing those classic songs sung by one of my all time favorites."
Over the course of four Steely Dan albums, from “Katy Lied” to “Gaucho,” McDonald became an integral part of the group’s sound contributing backing vocals on classic tracks like “Rose Darling,” “Any World That I’m Welcome To” and “Peg.” In 1975, another session player friend, Jeff Baxter, asked McDonald to join The Doobie Brothers. It was on 1976’s “Takin’ It To The Streets” LP that McDonald really hit his stride artistically. Channeling his Motown and R&B roots through a more relaxed West Coast sensibility, his songs had a laid-back groove and emotional immediacy that record buyers and radio embraced. And at the heart of it all, there was that unmistakable voice.
McDonald belongs to an elite group of blue-eyed soul vocalists – Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, Daryl Hall – whose sound is recognizable after a mere two notes.
Much like the members of Toto, McDonald was a sought after session player in Los Angeles in the ’70s. Aside from his hits with The Doobies as well as a solo artist, McDonald lent his voice to records by various artists, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill, Grizzly Bear and Holy Ghost. Meanwhile, his solo career in the ’80s and ’90s zoomed from success to success on the wings of evergreen hits like “I Keep
Forgettin’,” “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own” (a duet with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning duet with James Ingram “Yah Mo Be There.”
McDonald continues to tour the world, from Europe to Asia to Australia, while moonlighting alongside Donald Fagen and Boz Scaggs with The Dukes Of September, an 11-piece soul supergroup. As one more feather in his cap, in May 2011, McDonald received an honorary doctorate from Berklee School Of Music.
Though McDonald’s illustrious career has encompassed every variety of success, from five Grammy Awards and hit singles to sold-out concerts and high-profile collaborations, he doesn’t hesitate when asked what’s the most meaningful part of it.
“Bottom line, there’s nothing better than when I’m up on stage playing music with my friends,” McDonald said. “Or when I’m in the studio listening to something play back with the guys, and we have this kind of collective zoom in our hearts over a good take. That’s the happiest I’m ever going to be. I think when you try to measure your success by any other standards, you wind up expecting too much. You have to learn that it’s the simple thrills that matter.”
Few ensembles in the history of recorded music have individually or collectively had a larger imprint on pop culture than the members of Toto.
As individuals, the band members can be heard on an astonishing 5,000 albums that together amass a sales history of half a billion albums. Amongst these recordings, NARAS applauded the performances with more than 200 Grammy nominations.
With more than 35 years together and thousands of credits and accolades to their names, Toto remains one of the top selling tour and recording acts in the world. They are the benchmark by which many artists base their sound and production, and they continue to transcend the standards set by the entire music community, being simply synonymous with musical credibility.
They are one of the few ’70s bands that have endured the changing trends and styles, and more than 35 years in to a career enjoy a multi-generational fan base.
Toto recently released “35th Anniversary Tour – Live in Poland” via Eagle Rock.
Filmed on June 25, 2013 in Lodz, Poland, the offering captures the band in the midst of a standing-room-only European tour of 29 cities staging successful concerts Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Toto World Tour 2013 featured Luke, David Paich, Steve Porcaro on keyboards, and singer Joseph Williams, who sang the hits “Pamela” and “Stop Loving You” on the worldwide platinum release “The Seventh One” (1988). Williams is also featured on the platinum certified “Fahrenheit” (1986), “Toto XX” (1998), the track “Bottom of Your Soul” on “Falling In Between” (2006), and the multi-platinum release “Past to Present 1977-1990” issued in 1990.
The band is working on a new studio album planned for release in 2015.
It will be their first since “Falling In Between” (2006).
“The repertoire is coming together so naturally it is as though we never took a break from creating as Toto in the studio,” said keyboardist David Paich in a press release. Paich is a founding member of the band. “For the fans who have been waiting patiently and continually showing the band support and love over the last decade or so, this one’s for you. Collectively we can’t wait to share these recordings with the world.”
Toto also continues to raise awareness for ALS, for their brother and friend, Mike Porcaro, who has been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. The band commits energies towards fundraising for Police and Fire Departments of California and the Fallen Heroes initiative, and helps the United Nations in their humanitarian endeavors through music.