Toto has been out on the road on a North American tour that celebrates the band’s 35th anniversary.  A couple of the group’s founding members, singer/keyboardist David Paich and guitarist Steve Lukather, chatted about Toto’s exciting heyday, as well as to share some news about what’s on the horizon for the band.

Paich recalls that Toto’s versatile sound initially threw its record label “into a quandary” about how to market the group.

“They said there was no thread on [our 1979 self-titled debut] album,” he notes, “’cause you had this classical anthem that opened the album and you had some hard rock stuff and then you had R&B with ‘Georgy Porgy.’”

Paich adds that Toto ended up being known for its diversity, “because we were probably the only band that had the technique and was well-versed enough in all the genres.”

Lukather, meanwhile, points out that the band’s rocking material had “an R&B groove underneath it” that was “very sublimal,” for which he credits the group’s talented late drummer, Jeff Porcaro.  “It was rock ‘n’ roll but it had a little something extra that not straight eighth-note guys would play,” he maintains.

Not only were Toto’s members adept at playing their instruments but, according to Paich, they also knew their way around a recording studio.

“I think we were the first group to be able to produce ourselves, which gave us total freedom,” says David.  “So it was us doing what we do in the studio without any interference…It was a lot of fun and a lot of experimenting going on at the time.”

In addition, Lukather reveals that the band generally didn’t prepare too much when they went to make an album.

“We’d show up at Sunset Sound studio and go, ‘What do you got, Dave?…Anybody got a tune?,’” he recalls.  “Dave sat down, started playing ‘Rosanna,’ [and the band got the song down on the] second take.”  Adds Paich, “Everybody would go in the room and we’d play it for a second, but then we’d all of a sudden…just cut it, and that was it.”

While Toto has been looking back to their classic songs like “Holding the Line,” “Rosanna” and “Africa” on the current trek, Lukather reports that the band’s current lineup also is ready to make some new music.

“There’s talk of us doing another album,” he says, adding that the group plans to focus on that project next year after they put out a live DVD that’s in the works.  The DVD, which Paich says should be out in the spring, will feature footage from a concert Toto recently played at an arena in Lodz, Poland.

Toto’s current North American trek is scheduled through a September 14 show in Chandler, Arizona.