Former Toto bassist Mike Porcaro was one of three brothers to have starred in the band, along with his siblings Jeff and Steve Porcaro. Mike’s death on March 15, 2015, resulted from the motor neurone disease ALS. A few days after Mike’s funeral, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather spoke exclusively to Classic Rock about his friend and bandmate.
“We knew this was coming,” says Lukather, “but it was still kind of shocking when the news came. It was around one o’clock in the morning and I got the call from Steve Porcaro: ‘We lost Mike.’ I sat down, put on some tunes that we did together and I just remembered how brilliant he was and how much I miss his playing.
“For Mike and me it was a lifetime friendship. We went to high school together. He was a grade ahead of me, that’s all. I saw him every day, even before we were in the band together.
“Mike wasn’t a flashy player, but if you listen to the parts he came up with – his groove, his choice of notes – it’s undeniable how great he was. It was in the Porcaro bloodline. There’s so much depth there.
“Mike would say the most acerbic, funny things. There was always a little truth in his humour, which made it more interesting. There are so many reasons why I’m going to miss him. I have the memories and the music, but it’s hard to let go, man. What keeps me going is my own personal belief that he is with Jeff now in another dimension.
“I can’t help thinking about his parents, his kids, his wife. He really tried to hang in there, because his daughter’s getting married in a couple of months. His wife took care of him. The woman’s a saint – an unbelievably strong human being who did not run away and hide from an illness like that.
“I’m just glad that Mike is not suffering any more, because that was no way to live either. I have mixed emotions. Part of me is relieved that he’s not suffering. The other, selfish part of me is going, I miss him, I want to hold on to him. I want to hear him laugh again. But that wasn’t gonna happen anyway. So it’s best this way. I saw that in his mother and father’s faces. At least I got to say goodbye to him. The last time I saw him I said: ‘I love you’, and I’ll never forget that for as long as I live.
“I spoke at the funeral, but a lot of it was a blur to me. I had written a few things down, but everybody else had already said everything I wanted to say, so I just went into a stream of consciousness and spoke from heart, which is probably the best thing to do anyway.
“One thing is for sure: the world is a better place for having the Porcaro brothers in it. It hurts that Mike is gone. It hurts because I miss him. I loved him and I always will. But I’m happy that Mike is now at peace.”
Mike Porcaro: May 29, 1955 – March 15, 2015