Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro 1954-1992

Have any artists' quotes about Jeff that aren't here?  Please send them to me, including the source, and I will add them to this page while extending proper acknowledgement to you.


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Friends Remember...

"As a husband and father, Jeff has been devoted. As a friend he has been constantly and relentlessly supportive. As a professional, he's been a consumate craftsman, inspired in his approach. He's been at the very heart of the world's music for some seventeen, eighteen years now, and to some of us, he IS the heart of it."
- Boz Scaggs; Rolling Stone

"Here was this seventeen year old kid who didn't talk or act like a kid, and who played like God"
- David Hungate, on his first time meeting Jeff at a session

"He was such a great drummer, and his personality really came out in his playing. He really changed the way people played the drums"
- Donald Fagen

"One of the reasons why I loved making this album so much was because of [drummer] Jeff Porcaro. He's an artist."
- Mark Knopfler; June, 1992 Guitar Player

"He had a tremendous beauty to his playing that went beyond craft and precision into the realm of the spirit. It was with that spirit that he graced and blessed my music. He was a soul man."
- Bruce Springsteen; August 1992

"By the time he died he was influencing people all around the world. He was a legend but he never wanted credit for anything."
- Jim Keltner

"Jeff had that rare combination of a brilliant mind and a sensitive artist's soul. To many he became the standard by which drummers are judged, yet to refer to Jeff only as a drummer is to somehow understate the case. He was a composer, arranger, and formidable wit who happened to express himself through his playing."
- David Hungate; Modern Drummer

"There were lots of guys who played faster or with more chops, but there is no living soul alive who played a groove like that...It's all finesse. It's that little extra something. You either have it or you don't. He was touched by God when he was born."
- Steve Lukather

"Jeff Porcaro left us far too soon, but his spirit still sings throught the hundreds of tracks that bore his unmistakable signature"
- Greg Rule

"Oh, sure, there are drummers who have technique for days. But for the most part, Jeff's playing was not about chops, it was about how it made you feel inside when you heard it. It was heart and it was soul."
- Robin Flans; Modern Drummer, December, 1992

"In 1974, we decided to sell out and do commercials for Schlitz beer -- here we were in Hollywood, it seemed like the thing to do.  Our guitarist, Denny Dias, knew of a drummer in the Sonny and Cher band and set up a meeting.  On the appointed day, a cocky little Italian kid walked in and said in a voice that seemed an octave much to low
for a person of such diminutive stature, 'Yo guys, let's groove!'  The session was pretty silly for reasons too complex to mention.  Ultimately, the Schlitz people said 'pasadena' on the jingle, but Jeff was a keeper, not just as a musician, but as a friend. Fans would always think of Jeff as a great musician; the musicians he worked with will always think of him as a great guy."
- Letter from Donald Fagen and Walter Becker read at Jeff's funeral

"He was one of the best drummers in the world.  Definitely the groove master.  He was just so heavy."
- Eddie Van Halen

"He was one of the most generous people I ever met.  When he came to a session he would light up the room with his enthusiasm.  And he didn't care if the clock was going late.  He wasn't worried about what he was getting paid, or any of that.  He was there for the music, and was there with everything he had.  He really made you feel comfortable, and he really made you feel like he cared about the music.  Jeff was one of the best drummers in the world."
- Don Henley

"Jeffrey never stopped inspiring me since the moment I met him.  He had the rare combination of all the qualities a drummer should have:  articulateness, the deep, deep, wonderful pocket, the feeling, and most of all, time that was RIGHT outta heaven--I don't know any other way to describe it.  When I would hear it I would stop, turn it up and listen, study and check and be so inspired.  Now, of course, it's gonna be like that but I'm gonna be crying my eyes out all the time...  it's just gonna be so much more special."
- Jim Keltner  (thanks to Kathrin Hackler for submitting this)

"To me, there was no better drummer than Jeff Porcaro. His musicianship and kindness to me will never be forgotten. Our loss is heaven's gain"
- Richard Marx

"The genius of Jeff was the interpretation. Jeff had chops, but we've all seen chops. He was the master of the pop song."
- Mike Porcaro; April, 2000 Bass Frontier

"He was the one person who changed my life. He was a very generous person, and that's something you don't see very often in this business. I thought the world of the guy."
- Michael McDonald; Dec 14, 1992, Los Angeles Daily News

"Jeff Porcaro, who gives his all. If you're recording with him, you had better make sure that the tape is running at all times, because he gives it all to you, and he gives it all to you NOW. If he has to do ten takes, as far as he's concerned, it don't happen." And later..."When we play, there's a whole different language going on. There were times when Jeff and I were playing with Boz Scaggs, and we were doing things that were just incredible. I wouldn't even be facing him and we would be playing together, like we had rehearsed it forever."
- Lenny Castro; April, 1989, Modern Drummer

"I always think that Jeff plays the same way he talks. He has a deep, resonant voice, and he carries himself in a very assertive manner, which is exactly the way his playing is. His playing always sounds very confident and commanding, just the way he speaks. And yet, when you talk to him, he's so self-effacing--sort of a contradiction! I must say, I think Jeff has the deepest pocket and the best time of ANYBODY playing today."
- Jim Keltner; December, 1991, Modern Drummer

Family Reflections...

Jeff with his sons, (L-R) Christopher, Nico & Miles (1992)

"Jeffrey got started so quickly.  I'd take him to rehearsals with me sometimes and let him play my drums when we were on breaks.  His feet could barely reach the pedals.  One time I remember Paul Humphrey heard him, and he said, 'Wow, this kid is gonna be a monster.'  Being a father and all that, I thought he was just trying to be nice, but deep down I knew Jeffrey had something."
- Joe Porcaro (father)

"We all started off as drummers.  We used to fight over the drum set.  But growing up, musically it was such a wonderful environment.  I remember Dad would come home at the end of the day, lay down on the couch, maybe put on a Miles [Davis] album, and we'd start playing on his practice set.  We'd take turns playing the cymbal beat for him... 'Hey Dad, dig my groove.'  {laughs}  But I eventually got into string bass, Steve went on to piano and Jeff of course..."
- Mike Porcaro (brother)

Jeff with his dad, Joe, and brothers, Mike and Steve

"Eileen, Jeff's mom, used to burp Jeff on his back to the rhythm of the jazz cymbal beat, that's no lie - all the time.  That's why Jeff had such great time.  Jeff and his brothers would always hang around when Joe and I rehearsed our bands, even when we played odd time rhythms.  They picked up on everything we did."
- Emil Richards (Jeff's Godfather)

"Even back in junior high school he had that deep pocket.  I mean, at one point in the school band they had two drummers.  One was the flashy soloist, but, Jeff, you know, he was laying it down."
- Steve Porcaro (brother)

Joe with Jeff's boys, (L-R) Miles, Nico & Christopher (1996-7?)

"When they won their first award, the whole orchestra turned around and smiled at me.  And then it kept going and going.  Album of the year, and this and that and on and on.  I was a basket case by the end of that night, and the orchestra wouldn't leave me alone.  I was so proud of those guys."
- Joe Porcaro (father), who was playing in the 1983 Grammy orchestra the night Toto took home 7 Grammys

"We were doing a song of mine, 'Lea', for Fahrenheit.  The demo had this simple drum machine beat and we knew we wanted a pulse kind of thing on it.  We'd talked about doing a tape loop, but it was still up in the air at that point.  I remember the phone ringing that morning, and it was Jeff.  It was pouring rain outside and he says, 'Man, seems like a great day to make a loop.'  So I went over to his pad, and he'd gotten together Steve Jordan, Jim Keltner, Lenny Castro, and himself, set up in a circle.  We made a loop for 'Lea,' and it was just a great time for me and my brother.  Here we are doing a rare song of mine for the band, and Jeff couldn't do enough for me.  He completely bent over backwards for me that day, and that's one of my favorite band memories."
- Steve Porcaro (brother)

jeff live (b&w)

{... [Jeff] had a take-charge attitude with rhythm, an intense gift for moving things along in the music he touched and in his life.  Mike Porcaro joked the day before the funeral, }
"It's just like Jeff to go ahead of everyone,  just to make sure it was cool up there for the rest of us."
- Mike Porcaro (brother), Musician magazine, October 1992  (thanks to Kathrin Hackler for submitting this)


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