The Story Behind Toto
Toto (or Tosca) is the name of a legendary dwarf monkey from the African continent. It lived with her foster family in Nairobi, Kenya before it was rescued by American zoologist Dr. Richard F. Wilson, after it was injured during an elephant hunt. The diminutive monkey, which was described as being as small as three inches when fully grown, made a living in a tree house on the forested outskirts of Nairobi. The story of Toto goes back to one of the many legends that surrounded the lives of bushmen in the region.
According to some versions, Toto had been brought to Nairobi as a slave on a cargo ship headed for Great Britain. One of the crew members named him Toto because he was so small. When the ship landed at the dock, the other crew members mistook him to be a toy monkey. Because of this and other reasons, Toto was treated roughly by his master and eventually left on board a ship headed for Singapore. He was separated from his family, and all but one eye was eaten by one of the crew. When the ship was eventually sold, the remaining eye was replaced by a hard rock.
When the American Rock Band Tubas (which later changed to Moby) made a tour of Southeast Asia in the late seventies, Toto followed. She appeared regularly on stage with the band and even went on to have a number one hit in the United States, “Don’t Take Me Alive”. By this time she was a major pop star in her native Japan, and was known for her loud and aggressive performances. This led to her becoming the first ever porcelain idol in Japan, and she began a successful career there as well.
Toto became a popular topic in American pop culture through the albums of the band Cream, which featured members like attorney-turned-rock-star John Lennon and guitarist Ginger Baker. The group’s lyrics were mostly about drugs, such as their hit track, “Pills”. The subject matter was heavy, and toto was often mentioned as being on narcotics. In a 1980 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Cream bassist Ginger Baker said of Toto: “To be honest with you, Toto is an alcoholic. She’ll come on the bus, set off a fender bender, get into a car crash, knock over a few bottles of beer, leave the bar, get herself into another car, get herself into another bar, and then start fending off against the cops that are sent to her door.”
Following the death of band member Ginger Baker, the surviving members of Cream reunited in a band called The Addiction. Eventually they moved to California, where they began to work on new music. Their first album, titled Just A Little Night, was released in early 1985, and the band went on to record several singles and an album entitled Hollywood Forever Never Dies. A version of this title was also used for the soundtrack of the movie, The American Dream. However, Toto never uses the name “TOTO” on any of their later records. Cream also parted ways with their original bass player, claiming he was too much of a drug user, and replaced him with bassist Mike Portnoy.
Throughout the years, Toto has gone through many different bass players, most notably Don Williams, who played electric guitar in the band Cream. Portnoy is currently the only remaining member of Toto, and Portnoy is well known for his energetic live performances, especially on his band’s platinum-selling album, Porcelain Vinyl. This article is under GNU FDL license and can be distributed without any previous authorization from the author.