Joe Porcaro, jazz drummer and father of Toto co-founders, dies

The percussionist had worked with the likes of Pink Floyd and Frank Sinatra.

Jazz drummer and educator Joe Porcaro has died at the age of 90. He “passed peacefully in his sleep on July 6,” his son Steve—and former Toto member—confirmed on Facebook.

Across his varied career, Porcaro recorded with artists ranging from Madonna to The Monkees, Pink Floyd, Frank and Nancy Sinatra and more. Two of his sons—Jeff and Steve Porcaro—were founding members of the band Toto, which their brother Mike Porcaro joined shortly afterwards.

The late drummer contributed percussion to every Toto album from 1981’s Turn Back to 1992’s Kingdom of Desire, and according to Billboard, played bass marimba on Toto’s signature song “Africa.”


In his Facebook post on July 7 confirming his father’s passing, Steve Porcaro also wrote: “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 Family is heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Patriarch, Joe Porcaro. Surrounded by his wife…

Posted by Steve Porcaro on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Joe Porcaro’s work also extended to composition for film. He recorded percussion for the Ghostbusters and Signs soundtracks amongst many others, and collaborated with legendary composer John Williams. Outside of the studio, Porcaro co-founded and taught at the Los Angeles Music Academy, which is now known as the Los Angeles College of Music.


RIP, Joe Porcaro. Listen to Toto’s Kingdom of Desire here:

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