Toto’s Steve Lukather Loves Weezer’s ‘Africa’ Cover
The campaign to get Weezer to cover Toto's "Africa" may have started as a joke, but guitarist Steve Lukather was impressed by how seriously the band treated it.
Still, as he said in a new interview, he's enjoying how the 1982 hit has found continued life through covers, samples and internet memes.
"No one is laughing harder than me," he told Ernie Ball. "And nobody appreciates it more than all of us at Toto. But, on the other hand, this one is really hard to do. Harder than it sounds. I am out with Ringo [Starr] right now and we play 'Africa' live, and I go for a lot harder edge guitar on the choruses in Weezer’s honor for making this a No. 1 hit again."
Lukather is exaggerating the chart position -- the new recording reached only No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- but he noted that the "streaming numbers and radio play are insane. Maybe some kids will come check out the old guys play the original music. Us! We have found the hip-hop and EDM guys using our music has brought a whole new younger audience and the old school hipster press is dead, and kids like what kids like and we all win."
A week before they released their cover of "Africa," Weezer issued a cover of another Toto song, "Rosanna." Lukather admitted that he had initially questioned Weezer's sincerity with regard to his band's catalog.
"When I first heard about the covers and campaign, I thought, 'For sure it’s gonna be a total piss take,'" he said. "I could not imagine they liked us at all! I wasn’t sure at the time but their manager reassured me and said, 'Yes!'"
He also hinted that they could reciprocate by recording one of Weezer's many hits.
"It might take a little time, as we are all so busy," he said. "We owe them the play back and we will be serious about it! No jokes. Most of their fans have been very kind to us."
Lukather isn't the only member of Toto to give a full-throated endorsement of Weezer. Earlier this week, keyboardist Steve Porcaro joined them for a performance of "Africa" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!