After a successful grassroots campaign from a teenage girl in Ohio, Weezer finally covered Toto’s massive 1982 hit “Africa.” First, they covered another Toto song, the 1982 #2 hit “Rosanna,” and both songs are being released on special limited edition vinyl by Urban Outfitters. The stunt netted Rivers Cuomo and company their biggest hit in years, and now, thanks in part to a couple of Los Angeles DJs, Toto are returning the favor.
On Wednesday, Ted Stryker and Kevin Klein, both DJs at the Los Angeles radio station KROQ, challenged Toto on-air to cover Weezer. Toto guitarist Steve Lukather happened to be listening to KROQ when the challenge was issued, and he got in touch. Toto had apparently already been working on a Weezer cover, and yesterday, they went on KROQ to chat and perform it live.
Which Weezer song did they pick to cover? The Green Album’s “Hash Pipe,” one of the 16 best Weezer songs since Pinkerton. “You know, we listened to ‘Beverly Hills.’ I wanted to maybe even do a real ‘Africa’-type version of that, I was thinking about for a minute,” Toto’s Steve Porcaro explained to KROQ. “But you know what? We wanted to make it different, but we wanted to do something rock ‘n’ roll. I wanted to show everyone what a good rock ‘n’ roll band we can be. I love the band. I love their music. [Lead singer] Joseph [Williams] and I were listening to different ones trying to figure out which ones he’d like to sing and we settled on ‘Hash Pipe.'”
“I thought ‘Hash Pipe’ had a better melody,” Lukather added. “I love the message, you know what I mean? … And we wanted to do it justice. We wanted to do our thing to it, but still pay respect to it. And we added a couple of our kitschy little things to it, which I hope that they laugh [at]. We wish we could be in the room when they hear it.”
Toto’s cover of “Hash Pipe” will reportedly be officially released “in the coming weeks.” And what did they think of Weezer’s “Africa” cover? “Here’s the thing,” Lukather said. “Our music has such little nuance. We spent so much meticulous time. These guys stood this shit up in an afternoon. And let’s face it: they kicked ass on it. I think Rivers has a great voice. And the way they did the harmonies with the auto-tune in there which gave it a kitschy thing. I didn’t know if I was gonna like it or not. I thought they were going to make fun of us.” When asked to give it a grade, they gave it a “B-double-plus.”
Inside the studio of #TOTO @toto99com 🙌🏻 Thank you Steve Porcaro and @stevelukather for the interview and hang! We’re blasting their @Weezer cover at 5pm on @kroq ….its so good‼️ pic.twitter.com/8a124Ttulu
— Ted Stryker (@TedStryker) July 27, 2018