Jeff Porcaro is still revered today as one of the most prolific studio drummers in all of music history, as well as a founding member of the epic rock band TOTO. Jeff’s work can be heard on hundreds of timeless recordings by artists such as Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Boz Skaggs, Barbara Streisand, and Bruce Springsteen. Porcaro also contributed drums to four tracks on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, one of the best-selling albums of all-time.
His untimely and suspicious death at the age of 38 cemented Porcaro’s name in rock-and-roll lore.
Robyn Flans, a music journalist with more than 40 years working for such publications as Modern Drummer, County Weekly and People has tackled the life of Porcaro in her new biography titled It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro – The Man and His Music (September, 2020).
Covering Porcaro’s professional career in its entirety Flans presents Porcaro’s growth from a backyard garage musician to a superstar on the world’s biggest stages.
Relying on in-depth quotes from those that worked with Porcaro or knew him best Flans paints an intimate portrait of the man both in front of and behind the drum kit. This takes the reader on a journey that follows Porcaro from his teenage days as a budding drummer all the way to his end of days as a successful songwriter and producer.
Readers may be surprised to find facts such as that Porcaro started out as the touring drummer for Sonny and Cher or that he was a very talented artist who was the Art Director for all TOTO’s imagery.
Flans shys away from Porcaro’s controversial death in August of 1992 which was determined to be a heart attack from either spraying insecticide in the yard of his Hidden Hills home or coronary artery disease which ran in his family or was caused by cocaine use. This book focuses on the positive life of Porcaro instead.
Flan’s publisher Hudson Music was kind enough to send a review copy to Off Beat. I was able to read the entire book in two short sittings as it was an enjoyable and easy read. Flan’s 40 years of writing shines through.
As a fan I had been familiar with the overall career of Porcaro from reading about him in Modern Drummer and on Drummerworld but I had no idea of the detail that Flans provided. My respect for Porcaro has deepened and I am even more impressed with his discography.
Off Beat asked Flan a couple questions about her book:
MA: What inspired you to write this book?
RF: A desire to honor my friend, keep his memory and legacy alive for generations who are yet to be born and give everyone back some time with Jeff who they’ve missed so much.
MA: What do you want readers to come away with?
RF: Just the joy of spending time with Jeff and hopefully a chance to get to know him better.
For fans of TOTO or drummers looking for inspiration It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro gets inside the mind of a legend. The book is available on Amazon, HudsonMusic.com and where most books are available.