Joe Porcaro, Drummer and Father to Toto’s Steve, Jeff and Mike Porcaro, Dies at 90

Joe Porcaro

Joe Porcaro, the acclaimed jazz drummer and percussionist whose sons Steve, Jeff and Mike Porcaro co-founded Toto, died Monday at the age of 90.

Over a decades-long career, Porcaro performed on scores of albums for the likes of Madonna, Boz Scaggs, Glen Campbell and Barbra Streisand, and cut a string of records with Rosemary Clooney and Lalo Schifrin.

Porcaro’s musical talents clearly rubbed off on his boys, who repaid their gifts by inviting their dad to guest on several of their albums in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

The late artist contributed percussion for Toto’s iconic 1982 album Toto IV, which scored six Grammy Awards and yielded the classics “Africa” and "Rosanna". Indeed, it was Joe who performed the bass marimba part on “Africa,” the California rock band's signature song.

Steve Porcaro announced his father’s passing. “The Porcaro Family is heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Patriarch, Joe Porcaro. Surrounded by his wife Eileen and his family, Joe passed peacefully in his sleep on July 6 at 11:37 PM,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

“Please allow a few days before reaching out with phone calls and texts. Given the enormous amount of people who Joe considered family and whose lives Joe has impacted, it would be overwhelming to respond just now. Please know that we so appreciate your love, thoughts, friendship and can’t wait to celebrate his amazing life with all of you.”

The Porcaro patriarch outlived two of his sons. Jeff, Toto’s drummer, died in 1992 (aged 38). And Mike, the band's bass player, passed in 2015 (aged 59).