No One Is "Laughing Harder" at Weezer’s "Africa" Cover Than Toto
By Andrew Magnotta
June 13, 2018
In case there was any doubt as to Weezer's appreciation of '70s - '80s hitmakers Toto, the band invited Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro to perform Weezer's faithful-to-the-original version of "Africa" during their recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Porcaro hopped onstage to perform his famous 8-bar keyboard solo before bowing and stepping aside for Weezer to finish the song.
In just two weeks, "Africa" went from a fan request gone viral to a surprise hit for Weezer — and no one was more surprised than Toto!
"No one is laughing harder than me!" guitarist Steve Lukather told the Ernie Ball Blog. "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."
Upon the release of the cover in late-May, Toto's official Twitter account congratulated Weezer on a job well done. Weezer's "Africa" is the band's highest charting song in nine years, having reached number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"The streaming numbers and radio play are insane," Lukather continued. "Maybe some kids will come check out the old guys play the original music."
Lukather added that he's well aware of the hints of irony that have followed the song over the years. He says he thought it was ridiculous when he first heard in in 1981!
"I still laugh but [Toto singer] David Paich really captured a vibe with the song and we worked really hard on it back then, and to see this all blow up again when we are 60 years old is remarkable, funny, and awesome."
The Twitter account @weezerafrica appeared in December as a joke by a teenage fan named Mary, who told Noisey the idea came to her after the hit Netflix series Stranger Things used the song. Over the next several months, Mary Tweeted at Weezer and its band members almost daily urging them to release a cover of "Africa."
Weezer trolled fans by releasing a cover of "Rosanna" just days before dropping "Africa." Lukather wrote via Twitter at the time that he was "flattered" by the attention.
Photo: Getty Images