Steve Lukather: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hates Toto's guts

Toto in 1982
Toto in 1982 (Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

Toto guitarist Steve Lukather has claimed that the reason the band isn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is because the organisers "hate our guts".

In an interview with Misplaced Straws to promote his upcoming solo album I Found The Sun Again, Lukather is asked why the band haven't yet been recognised by the Rock Hall. 

"Because they hate our guts and have [since] 1978," Lukather responds. "Now, the interesting part about that is that for the first time in 43 years, I was just called to do an interview for Rolling Stone

"And I asked my PR people, 'Is this a setup?' Because they shit on me in the Ringo [Starr] band. I'm in Ringo's band and they shit on me. And then some other ass clown wrote some horrible shit about Africa, a song that was written in 1981 by the way. Okay. 1981 and it's still fucking everywhere. 

"It's like herpes, it comes back when you least expect it, but at the same time, it's a golden nugget. But that's the golden nugget that the Satan person has, and they hold it over our heads now. And it's like they think we're only worth one song because they own it. And it's like, 'Dude, we got a lot of material.'"

In a 2018 article headlined, "How Toto’s ‘Africa’ Became the New ‘Don’t Stop Believin'" Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield described Toto's Africa as "ridiculous by definition" and claimed that the accompanying video was "mind-blowingly racist". 

Africa has enjoyed a cultural resurgence over the years, becoming a meme in its own right and finding itself at the heart of many an unlikely project.

There’s the popular video which features footage of an empty shopping centre, as Africa plays in the background. There’s the heavy metal cover version. There’s a version by The Floppotron, in which 64 floppy disc drives, 8 hard drives and a 2 scanners are programmed to play the notes that make up the song, with it all sequenced to re-imagine Africa as as series of mechanical bleeps and screeches.

There's a version where the song's undoubted poignancy is destroyed by two subtle, infuriating tweaks. There's a version played on Butternut Squash and another on Tesla coils. And it's been covered by everyone from Matt Heafy to Weezer

Steve Lukather's I Found The Sun Again is released on February 26 2021

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.