Over the past year, the @WeezerAfrica Twitter account has led a valiant effort to convince Weezer to record or otherwise perform a rendition of Toto’s “Africa”. The campaign picked up momentum in recent months, with Weezer first trolling fans by performing Toto’s “Rosanna” in late May. After the Rivers Cuomo-led “Rosanna” cover went viral, the band eventually acquiesced to the Internet’s request, performing “Africa” to close out the month. They later released their rendition of “Africa” as a single, and the cover’s popularity and amusing backstory have since made it Weezer’s highest-charting hit in years. Toto’s own Steve Porcaro even joined Weezer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! for a rendition of the song back in June.
Weezer with Steve Porcaro – “Africa”
[Video: Jimmy Kimmel Live]
With the Internet properly satiated and Weezer having finally covered the iconic 1982 hit (with a member of Toto, no less), we thought, perhaps unwisely, that the saga was over. Happily, for all of us, it wasn’t. Last week, two Los Angeles radio personalities on KROQ brought forth the idea of that Toto should cover Weezer, bringing the cycle of covers full circle. It just so happened that Toto guitarist Steve “Luke” Lukather was listening as DJs Ted Stryker and Kevin Klein issued the challenge, and he called into the show to confirm that he and the rest of the band had already been planning to release a cover of a Weezer song. A few days later, Toto’s Porcaro and Lukather stopped by the station, detailing Toto’s upcoming cover of Weezer’s “Hash Pipe”, off 2001’s The Green Album, which is expected to formally drop in a few weeks.
Porcaro explained that Toto’s cover of Weezer had actually been in the works since Weezer’s initial Toto covers went viral. He noted,
We had just gotten back from the road. … But I was here, home, in my studio, where I’m happiest, and I saw all this action going on with “Africa”. They had released “Rosanna,” they did “Africa.” I sent Luke an e-mail on the road—he was in Europe. I said, “Come on. We gotta return the favor. Let’s pick out a tune and send it right back to ’em.”
He continued, noting how the band eventually landed on “Hash Pipe” to cover.
You know, we listened to “Beverly Hills.” … I wanted to maybe even do a real “Africa”-type version of that—I was thinking about for a minute. But you know what? We wanted to make it different, but we wanted to do something rock ‘n’ roll. I wanted to show everyone what a good rock n’ roll band we can be. I love the band. I love their music. [Joseph Williams] and I were listening to different ones trying to figure out which ones he’d like to sing and we settled on “Hash Pipe”.
In response, Lukather added,
I thought “Hash Pipe” had a better melody. … I love the message, you know what I mean? … And we wanted to do it justice. We wanted to do our thing to it, but still pay respect to it. And we added a couple of our kitschy little things to it, which I hope that they laugh [at]. We wish we could be in the room when they hear it.
Lukather also offered some more details on how Weezer’s initial cover came about and what he thought of the group’s rendition.
Their manager reached out and asked, “Would you guys mind?” Mind?! Please. Are you kidding me? Kick ass on it! I actually reached out to Rivers on Twitter like, “Hey man, thanks a lot.” I don’t know if it’s a piss-take or not, but it’s a win-win for everybody. …
Our music has such little nuance. We spent so much meticulous time. These guys stood this shit up in an afternoon. And let’s face it: they kicked ass on it. I think Rivers has a great voice. And the way they did the harmonies with the auto-tune in there which gave it a kitschy thing. I didn’t know if I was gonna like it or not. I thought they were going to make fun of us.
It seems like members of both happy with how this silly string of tributes has gone down. As Lukather explained, “We love the thought of maybe some Weezer fans checking out Toto a little deeper, and, you know what? At the same time, I love the thought of maybe some snooty Toto fans checking out Weezer, loosening their wigs a little bit and enjoying some good rock and roll.”
Stay tuned for Toto’s forthcoming cover of Weezer’s “Hash Pipe”, which will be formally released to the public in the coming weeks!
Inside the studio of #TOTO @toto99com 🙌🏻 Thank you Steve Porcaro and @stevelukather for the interview and hang! We’re blasting their @Weezer cover at 5pm on @kroq ….its so good‼️ pic.twitter.com/8a124Ttulu
— Ted Stryker (@TedStryker) July 27, 2018