Monday, June 02, 2008


Jeff wrote in to let me know about an interview of Toto's Steve Porcaro. You can find it here. The following is an excerpt Jeff called on the synth solo for Rosanna:

"Flash to 3 AM in the morning, the day Greg Ladanyi is suppose to mix Rosanna. David and I are in the studio, everything's setup and working great. ‘We’re gonna finish this ****er, it's the eleventh hour once again’. We decide to use everything in the room and just go around and fill the holes with different “events”. We had the opening line. Then David came up with the descending sequencer line using our Roland Microcomposer playing a Jupiter 8. Then David overlapped that with the gliding Minimoog sound asking me to cop that Rick Wakeman thing with the filter being tracked by the keyboard ala "Catherine of Aragon..."

Lead sound answered by horns answered by lead sound, then David on that sliding ribbon controlled CS-80 riff, then we're stuck. Engineering all of this myself (for which I was nominated for a Grammy award, thank you very much), led us to a happy mistake. Needing tracks, I had erased David's old solo. These were the days when you had to make decisions. Or so I thought. When David and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do for an ending and we just listened through, the final riff appeared out of nowhere, and at the perfect time. I hadn't erased his track all the way through. Thank god. We had all the pieces recorded and sounding great at which point David said "Let's leave it and wait for Tom Knox to come over and bounce it properly". I said "let's not", bounced exactly what we were hearing with all my effects that I was always made to hold off on until we mixed, (then never heard again), and then just hours later beamed, as I watched Ladanyi crank up only two faders, that was our solo. I've always taken credit for the Rosanna solo where in reality, Paich had as much to do with it as I did. Especially the synthy stuff ! All I played was the opening line on the modular horn sound and it’s answers later. What I will take credit for is conceptualizing the whole thing. Thinking like that. Really orchestrating a solo and using all these synths I spent so much time with and showing what could happen when I was given some space that could never ever happen with everyone breathing down your neck."

You can hear the synth solo at 2:52:

Toto - Rosanna

Published on Jan 10, 2013 TotoVEVO


  1. Yep... the Rosanna solo was a big influence on my 12-year-old brain. Every time the song played on the radio I had to stop whatever I was doing at the 3-minute mark and just absorb the majesty...

  2. Jeff Porcaro was the engine that drove Toto. One of the greatest drummers of all time who died tragically young in his late 30's. I saw him drum with Steely Dan on the Pretzel Logic tour when he was 19 YEARS OLD!
    his groove is unmistakable and without it this song would have been very different,

  3. Killer solo that used every drool-worthy synth of the time. I figured some guys here would dig it.

    Are there any other notable uses of Polyfusion on record, by Porcaro or otherwise?

  4. If you click on the Polyfusion label at the bottom of this post you'll find everything I've come across and posted.

  5. There was a really drum tuition site which had a whole bunch of drum videos - one of them was Jeff Porcaro where he demonstrates those grooves - they are quite complicated.

    I didn't know he died though...

    But anyway, enough of the music, let's talk about Cynthia Rhodes... :) (the dancer in the Rosanna video...)



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