The saga of @WeezerAfrica continues today, as 80’s hitmakers Toto have released their reciprocal cover of Weezer‘s “Hash Pipe”. The existence of the track was revealed by Toto guitarist Steve “Luke” Lukather recently on Los Angeles radio station KROQ.
In case you haven’t been following along with the surreal series of events surrounding Weezer, Toto, and an enterprising Twitter account reportedly run by a 14-year-old named Mary, here’s a quick recap: 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—with a screenshot of @TweezerAfrica’s initial tweet as the single art—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 “Africa” back in June. Now, Weezer regularly includes the song in their live shows to the wild excitement of their fans. On Wednesday, they even welcomed Weird Al Yankovic to shred an accordion solo on their rendition of “Africa” at the L.A. Forum.
Last month Lukather and Porcaro explained that Toto had been planning cover of a Weezer song since Weezer’s initial Toto covers went viral. In the KROQ interview, he talked about the band’s reactions to the @WeezerAfrica hysteria, noting,
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 their rendition, explaining,
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. …
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.
So what’s next? Weezer/Toto mash-ups? A joint performance? Who knows. The whole saga is stranger than fiction, anyway. But it does seem to have some serious legs. We’d bet this isn’t the last time you’ll hear Toto and Weezer mentioned together.
You can listen to Toto’s cover of Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” below via Spotify and Apple Music
Toto – “Hash Pipe” [Weezer cover]
…And here’s Weezer’s original version for comparison:
Weezer – “Hash Pipe”