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Leland Sklar to sit in for Mike Porcaro

Any fan who attended TOTO shows over the last year noticed that Mike Porcaro had toured after having sustained a very painful injury to his left hand. Despite the fact that it was difficult, Mike persevered and played each and every date of the first leg of the Falling In Between Tour. After returning home, Mike sought medical treatment and has been recovering nicely; however, he has not been able to recuperate in time to join the band on the upcoming tour.
"I was hoping that the situation would be better by now," Mike states, "but it hasn't improved. It's gonna take a while. I'm working on it, and I hope to be back in the saddle soon enough. But, unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to make this upcoming run. Nobody feels worse about it than me, but that's the reality of it."

Despite the short notice, TOTO have recruited one of the best bass players around to substitute for Mike: acclaimed session musician and life-long friend Leland (Lee) Sklar. "Those of you on the TOTO Network have seen Lee; he's a big part of the Network and what we're trying to do there with the web. He's going to play bass and you're going to love it. You're in great hands," says Mike, and jokes, "Come on down and see him play and see a real bass player."

Sklar, a renowned player whose credits include James Taylor, Hall & Oates, Jackson Browne, Phil Collins, Clint Black, Reba McEntire, and George Strait, is looking forward to playing with his long-time friends in TOTO. He will be filling in for Mike on all of the upcoming TOTO tour dates so that Mike has the time to fully recover. "I hope to see you all soon," says Mike. "I'm sorry that this is the way it is, but this is life and I'll hopefully be back really soon. So God bless and enjoy the upcoming tour!"

Mike recorded a special video message apologizing for not being able to do the tour and introducing Lee to the fans.

Leland Sklar bio

Leland (Lee) Sklar has been a prominent figure among studio/touring bassists dating back to 1970. Sklar (born Leland Bruce Sklar, May 28, 1947, Milwaukee, WI) has more than 2000 albums to his credit (and still counting), and is considered to be one of the "A" players in the highly selective L.A. rock music community where the competition for recording dates is fierce, and where only the strongest will survive. His very recognizable bass playing style, along with his beard, have been heard on hits by Phil Collins, Billy Cobham, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Hall & Oates, Jackson Browne, Tommy Bolin, David Bowie, Ray Charles, BB King, The Doors, Peter Frampton, Aaron Neville, Lyle Lovett, to name just a few.

The reputation of a fine session player is not held exclusively to the record industry. Television and motion picture musical directors have called upon Sklar for his expertise countless times. He has played on TV shows such as Hill Street Blues, Rockford Files, LA Law, Knight Rider, Simon and Simon, and also on many motion pictures, including Forrest Gump, Ghost, Kindergarten Cop, and My Best Friend's Wedding. The list is virtually endless.

Sklar moved from Wisconsin to Southern California when he was very young and started playing piano at age four. When he entered Birmingham Junior High in the San Fernando Valley he fully intended to continue as a pianist in the school music program but found that there was an overabundance of piano students, but no string bass players. His instructor, Mr. Ted Lynn, asked Sklar if he would consider playing bass and, if so, he would teach him. As Sklar stated it, "...my life changed. Piano took a back seat and bass was it!"

It was toward the end of the '60s and after completing his educationat California State University, Northridge, as a music/art/science major that Sklar met James Taylor and they started doing some gigs. They thought they might be playing together for about a month, but then Taylor's "Fire and Rain" became a huge hit and changed the musical landscape and Sklar's career began to gain steam along with James'. It was a collaboration that would last for 20 years. Sklar's first sessions were with Taylor. The buzz surrounding this new bass player didn't take long to spread around Hollywood, and suddenly there was an icon in the making.

Over the years Sklar has worked with nearly all of the top session players, but on the backs of album covers his name seemed to pop up most frequently alongside drummer Russ Kunkel, guitarist Danny Kortchmar, and keyboardist Craig Doerge. This quartet would come to be known as 'The Section' and they would record three of their own albums between 1972 and 1977 with guests such as Michael Brecker and David Lindley. The group toured through 1980, much to the delight of their esoteric followers who would seek them out and feast on their mastery. Great times were had by all. It was during this time that Lee started working with Jeff Porcaro and did countless albums with him and also started recording with Steve Lukather when Steve was around 19 years old. What a world/what a life!

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