Toto’s Bobby Kimball “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” Giveaway
Goldmine reached out to Toto’s Bobby Kimball on his new solo album of 11 original songs. He also discussed another new album of cover songs, Toto, his Louisiana roots and an early connection to Three Dog Night.
To win a copy of the CD (above) see below for details.
By Warren Kurtz
GOLDMINE: I enjoy “Desert Dancing” by S.S. Fools from 1976, reminding me a bit of a Jay Ferguson-style pop record, like his “Thunder Island.” How did you migrate from one LA, Louisiana, to another L.A., Los Angeles, to join S.S. Fools?
BOBBY KIMBALL: After Edgar Winter’s White Trash disbanded, their saxophonist, Jon Smith, called me about S.S. Fools. Three Dog Night had released an album called “Seven Separate Fools” which included the hits “Black and White” and “Pieces of April.” That 1972 album title was a tribute to the full seven member group, including three vocalists and four musicians. By the mid-‘70s, when the vocalists determined they could go on without the four musicians, the musicians decided to form a new band named after the “Seven Separate Fools” album, shortened to S.S. Fools. Like Three Dog Night, their debut album would be produced by Richard Polodor, but they needed a lead vocalist. Jon asked, “Hey Bobby, would you like to come to L.A. and sing with the musicians for Three Dog Night?” I replied, “Try to stop me!” So, I moved to L.A. and during the S.S. Fools rehearsals, Jeff Porcaro and David Paich would hang out and we became friends. Jeff and David were working on Boz Scaggs’ “Silk Degrees” album, where David co-wrote half the album, including the hits “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle.” Later, they talked about starting a band together and included me, Jeff’s brother Steve, another Steve, Steve Lukather, and David Hungate and named the group Toto.
GM: “Hold the Line” was such a powerful debut single. It sounded great playing that song and the album over our record store speakers in 1978, continuing into 1979, as two more hits in our area, “I’ll Supply the Love” and “Georgy Porgy,” came from the debut. A big family favorite came a few years later, “Africa,” when my wife Donna was pregnant with our daughter Brianna. For decades Brianna wanted to visit that continent and this year she taught math there. We sent her off at the airport with your new recording of “Africa.”
BK: That is one of three songs I sang in early December at the Venetian in Las Vegas as part of the Voices of Rock and Roll show with Mickey Thomas, Mike Reno and others. CD. I redid all three of the Toto gold singles, “Africa,” “Hold the Line” and “Rosanna” on my new CD of covers called “Mysterious Sessions.”
GM: You covered a lot of ground on that CD with great versions of Aerosmith’s “What It Takes” and Journey’s “Who’s Crying Now.” Having both Bob Kulick from Balance and Bruce Kulick from KISS on guitars on your new version of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” makes this an amazing cover. My overall favorite track is the surprising, tender cover of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance.”
BK: That one has special meaning to me. My mother was musical. She had perfect pitch and taught me piano at the age of five in our town of 3000 people in Vinton, Louisiana. She and my father would hold dances at a building there. They would charge people a quarter to get in and used the money to buy records for the next dance. At the age of six, I collected money at the door. I played “The Dance” at my father’s funeral.
GM: On the other new CD, the one we are giving away, “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore,” I can almost divide the songs into three styles. First, there is an Earth, Wind & Fire jazz-soul sound with “On My Feet” and “Some They Do,” which reminds me a bit of their “Shining Star,” and has a great trumpet solo from Jim Foster.
BK: “On My Feet” should appeal to many people. There are three trumpets and a trombone on it. I wrote the lyrics of “Some They Do” about songwriting, in terms of a record becoming a hit, well, “some they do.” I co-wrote all the songs on the CD with John Zaika and Dave Barnett.
GM: There are sweet and soulful songs that take me back to your composition, “Waiting for Your Love,” from the album “Toto IV.” I hear that reflected in the new songs “One Day,” “You’ll Be with Me,” and the spiritual sounding “Hold On” with the “take time to believe” message.
BK: With the “Toto IV” album we had the most fun ever. After our second and third albums didn’t do as well as our debut, we knew we had to do our best for our fourth album. Fortunately, it paid off with four Top 40 singles in a row, “Rosanna,” “Make Believe,” “Africa,” and “I Won’t Hold You Back.” “Waiting for Your Love” was our fifth and final Top 100 single from the album. I wrote it in the ‘70s and originally called it “You Got Me.” With the new song, “Hold On,” I was inspired to write this for a friend who had a scary episode of having a stroke on a plane, right before landing and is doing fine now, fortunately.
GM: A third category I would put some of the new songs in are ones that remind me of Jason Scheff-era Chicago with some great keyboard and string sounds as heard on “Met Her For” and the beautiful finale “You’re Not Alone.”
BK: Dave Barnett, a great friend, provided vocals, guitar, and keyboards to “Met Her For.” He also did the orchestral arrangement on “You’re Not Alone,” which is about the healing process and navigating through it.
GM: I see you are touring in the UK from late January through early February with another family favorite, Fran Cosmo, who we know from Boston and from Barry Goudreau’s solo album. Is there anything else on the horizon?
BK: There is a special song I recorded for my induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in Baton Rouge, named “Tanner’s Song,” after a 52 year-old shoe shine guy who I would visit at the barber shop when I was a boy. I wrote songs growing up based on the rhythms that he would teach me. In the segregated south, the barber shop was one place we could come together from different races. Tanner told me, “Don’t live life with hate or anger. Don’t give orders or take orders. Only do things that make you the happiest person you can be.” I want to write a book and a movie script called “Tanner’s Song.” Danny Glover told me, “Please let me be Tanner.” Meanwhile, there are plenty of new songs on “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore,” as Dorothy said to Toto, for the Goldmine readers to enjoy and try to win a copy of the CD too, with all the lyrics included.
To win a sealed copy of Bobby Kimball’s “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” CD, all you have to do is put your email address in the box below by January 15 11:59 p.m. You will immediately be entered in the Giveaway and as a bonus you will receive Goldmine’s informative weekly eNewsletter (collecting news/tips and exclusive articles and interviews with your favorite classic artists). We will randomly draw winners from the entrants. We have two sealed CDs to give away, so your chances are doubled.
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