Frontiers Music SrlIt’s been a bittersweet month for Toto. On March 15, the veteran rock band’s longtime bass player Mike Porcaro lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease and was laid to rest just a few days before the release this past Monday of the group’s new studio album, Toto XIV.

In a new interview with ABC Radio, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather says he and his band mates are understandably going through an emotional roller coaster at the moment.

“It was inevitable but it was still very, very difficult for us,” Lukather explains of Porcaro’s passing at age 59. I mean, he’s at peace now but we’re still in a period of, you know, ‘What do we do now?’…We’re just kind of coming to grips with it all, in the midst of something very positive like a new record release…It’s a very emotionally confusing time for us, but we’re going to stay in the light with this one.”

Toto’s founding drummer Jeff Porcaro, Mike’s older brother, died in 1992 of a heart attack at the age of 38.

Toto XIV is the band’s first new album since 2006’s Falling In Between, and its first studio effort since reforming in 2010, with keyboardist Steve Porcaro and lead singer Joseph Williams rejoining the group’s official lineup for the first time since the 1980s.

Lukather tells ABC Radio that in putting together the album, the band made it a priority to include significant contributions from all of its core members — himself, Steve Porcaro, Williams and singer/keyboardist David Paich.

“I think it’s a really great representation of everybody’s songwriting, production and playing,” says Lukather. “And we all get a chance to shine, really.”

As for the sound of the album, the guitar whiz maintains, “There’s a lot of going back, but still with a modern twist to it in the sense of how we play now in 2014, 2015, as opposed to 1986.”

Toto XIV finds the band tackling a variety of topics, from prospects for the planet’s future, to religion-fueled military conflicts, to aging, to relationships. Musically, the record is packed with the impressive technical performances, inventive arrangements and soaring melodies Toto became known for during its early 1980s heyday, with a bit more aggressive rock influences thrown into the mix.

Toto will begin a tour in support of Toto XIV with a European leg that gets under way May 21 in Glasgow, U.K. Lukather reveals that the band will be bringing the trek to North America in August and September, and says they will be teaming up “with one of our favorite bands” for the outing. Paich recently announced during a video interview with VintageRock.com that the group will be hitting the road with Yes.

Visit TotoOfficial.com to keep up with the latest on Toto’s upcoming tour plans.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.