In recent years, Toto keyboardist David Paich has been plagued by health problems from time to time. In the interview with eclipsed, however, there is no sign of this: The 68-year-old appears at midday with a baseball cap, but without the obligatory sunglasses for the interview and seems very tidy. He covers a wide range of topics, from his solo debut "Forgotten Toys" to his childhood, when his father, the arranger Marty Paich, took him to the large recording studios of Los Angeles - an experience that was formative for the rest of his life
eclipsed: I recently read in a biography about the late Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro that you wanted to record a solo record called "That's The Way I Am" back in 1974. What became of those songs?
David Paich: "The Way I Am" ended up on Billy Preston's album of the same name [not released until 1981; note] and was produced by my father. That's when I first thought about a solo career and took my album to Lou Adler [producer of Carole King, among others; note], who was my mentor and convinced me that it would be better to join a band with like-minded musicians because the pressure on a solo artist was too great and because the whole lifestyle was not recommendable. After the formation of Toto, I suppressed the desire for a solo album - because my songs were played by the best musicians and mixed as well as possible
eclipsed: Your first solo album "Forgotten Toys" contains seven tracks that you had in your personal archive. When did you write these songs?
Paich: Some ideas came about ten years ago. For "All The Tears That Shine," for example, I had a little piano riff, but the actual melody came years later when Mike Sherwood [brother of Yes bassist Billy Sherwood; note] was composing with me. I used his vocal recording because he died in 2019 and I wanted to honor him-he was a phenomenal singer. So I had some pieces lying around, and when Covid broke out, the time seemed right. Steve Lukather had just finished his solo album, and Joseph Williams was working on his own, and we were sending sound files to each other over the Internet. By now I've heard the songs hundreds of times, but they still sound fresh. I am happy and satisfied!
eclipsed: Were the songs already composed when you planned this album or did you have to do some fine-tuning before recording?
Paich: I definitely needed to do some fine-tuning. "Lucy" was mostly finished, however, I then added James Tormé, Mel Tormé's son, who contributed scat vocals and background vocals. Also, Joseph Williams helped me put all the pieces of the puzzle together. On four songs, he helped me get the song structures and lyrics right
eclipsed: Your Toto buddies Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams released their current albums on the same day last year and made it to #16 and #30 in the charts in Germany, respectively
Paich: That's great! I was hoping to get my butt up in time - like the last-place racehorse trying to run a little faster after all (grins)
eclipsed: Actually, you could have put the best stuff from your three solo records together - then you would have had an excellent Toto album. You could have also included the great Ringo Starr track "Let's Change The World", which was written by Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams
Paich: Thank you, that's great to hear! It's funny that you mention Ringo, because when I listened to his solo album "Ringo" I noticed that he had hired John Lennon and George Harrison for it - so he didn't stray too far from his bandmates. I was inspired by that and hired the best musicians I know - and that includes Luke and Joe
eclipsed: The short instrumental "Forward" would also have fit the "Dune" soundtrack from 1984, while "willibelongtoyou" and "Spirit Of The Moonrise" are strongly reminiscent of Toto's "Fahrenheit" and "Isolation" era. Were these tracks originally planned as Toto songs?
Paich: No, those were always my songs that were intended for a future project. If I hadn't done this solo album, I might have said to the others, "Hey, guys, if we did another album, would you consider doing these songs?" That could have happened, but right now Toto is just a touring band
eclipsed: The orchestral bridge and the final part of "willibelongtoyou" sound like Steve Porcaro [ex-Toto keyboardist; note] contributed some ideas and sounds, however he is not there
Paich: I'm going to tell Steve that. Because when he heard the song, he laughed and said, "That's brilliant!" That's a typical section where in the past we would have said to Steve, "Do your thing!" But because it's my album and Joseph and I were up for all kinds of jokes in the studio, we did it ourselves
eclipsed: Did you actually ask Steve if he wanted to be part of this project?
Paich: No, because I wanted to see if I could stand on my own two feet. Besides, Joseph is such a good keyboard player and mentor that he could take Steve's position
eclipsed: On the first single "Spirit Of The Moonrise" and on "Queen Charade" you also play electric bass - something you rarely do otherwise
Paich: It's just a keyboard bass, though. I use a Paul McCartney sound on it, which I love. I probably would have made a great bass player in a band.
eclipsed: The most unusual track is certainly "Lucy," a jazzy piece sung by Mel Tormé's son James and dedicated to Mel and your father Marty. How did this piece come about?
Paich: I was always a big fan of Vince Guaraldi, who composed the "Peanuts" music and the title track "Lucy And Linus. "Lucy" reminded me of my sister, though her name wasn't Lucy [but Lorraine; note]. My father was a jazz pianist, and jazz was always playing in our house, including by Mel Tormé, who visited us when I was a kid. My father and he had great success with their joint albums - my father arranged, and Mel sang. So with "Lucy," I thought, Let's do a Paich-Tormé reunion! I had already produced an album for James Tormé, and he recorded the scat vocals in one take and then added background vocals
eclipsed: In preparing for this interview, I also listened to some of your father's tracks. To what extent are you yourself influenced by the recordings that your father and his dek-tette made with Mel Tormé?
Paich: I'm influenced by it, but at the same time I have my own style, which also has a jazzy touch. When my dad performed live with his group, it sometimes sounded like a big band was playing
eclipsed: The harmonies of these pieces sound pretty hot and modern, yet the arrangements were made in the mid-50s
Paich: My father also worked with the Hi-Lo's, an extraordinary jazz vocal quartet. With them, such harmonies also appeared ...
The complete interview is part of our online subscription, see https://www.eclipsed.de/de/abo