All drummers remember that Wednesday August 5 1992, the day Jeff Porcaro died at the age of 38 while gardening in his home in Los Angeles.
Here is the cause of his death explained, with the intricate stories that goes from the insecticid, coke, heart issues, smoking habits, irresponsible journalism and a memorial concert...
1. First Report : Jeff Porcaro died of an apparent allergic reaction to pesticides.
The first report is from APP News (The Associated Press)
The next album was planned to be released in the coming weeks and Jeff was preparing his garden into celebrate the launch of the new album "KINGDOM OF DESIRE". He was just back from vacations in florida.
Theses days in California, once had the habbit to get rid of insects using round-up insecticid, specially after the invasion of Mediterranean fruit flies called "the medfly attack".
Jeff used 2 cans of it to clean up the backyard and apparently inhaled some of it.
A funeral was scheduled the next Monday in the San Fernando Valley.
2.Jeff Porcaro and his Smoking habbit
Bandmate Steve Lukather claims that Porcaro had also been suffering from a long-standing heart condition and a smoking habit, both of which contributed to his death. It's quiet easy to check this info while looking at his pictures in studio and on stage : always smoking a cigarette !
3. Jeff Porcaro's heart dicease
While others say Porcaro's heart was weakened by smoking and cocaine use, there is a family connection to heart disease : It made Jeff Porcaro unable to fight off an allergic reaction to the spray.
He had a bad heart, with two uncles who died when they were 40 years old from heart disease. A genetic predisposition.
But there is another insidious story coming over this : the coke.
4.Second report : the insecticide test was negative and found a positive cocaine test
One month later, the Los Angeles Times publish a news report on Sept. 4, 1992 with more details :
The coroner determined that the heart attack was due to occlusive coronary artery disease caused by atherosclerosis - this is typically what happended when someones uses cocaine.
According to the toxicology report, there were cocaine and a byproduct of the drug in Porcaro’s blood. But the toxicology report wasn't mean to be public news : Nobody in Toto's band did say anything for one month, everyone thought it was an insecticid cause, till the L.A Times start to dig out the official story.
Tests performed to detect the presence of the insecticide came up negative, but there was .21 micrograms per milliliter of cocaine in the musician’s blood.
5. Irresponsible journalism
It wasn't supposed to be published and Jeff bandmates were really upset at the Los Angles Times accusing them as "Irresponsible journalism".
A normal dose of Cocaine is 50 mg and the amount of cocaine found in Jeff's blood was a one hundredth of a microgram of coke = 0.00001 mg.
That’s like two crystals on an fing matchstick That ain’t gonna give someone a heart attack believe me - steve lukather
Thanks to Steve, we all know how it was to be a Rockstar at this time : "The rest of us were doing a hundred times more than that and we all lived to tell the tale"
But the legend was done : Publicly dying of coke use means you loose your honor.
Close friends of late Jeff Porcaro claim that the drummer hadn’t abused substances for years, especially his wife.
6. A memorial Concert in December
Later in 1992, was held a concert dedicated to Jeff Porcaro and the proceeds of the concert were used to establish an education trust fund for Porcaro’s sons.
Tot didn’t have time to deal with too many emotions, with the "Kingdom of desire" ongoing tour and right after was held the memorial concert.
Proceeds from the show - which are the Toto’s last - will be used to build an education trust for Jeff’s three young sons. A way to say how much all the music people liked him so much (as the drawing says : Jeff plays for michael jackson, paul mccartney, elton john, bruce springsteen, eric clapton and many more).
A memorial concert to get rid of the negative impression of the l.A times news report.
7.A special gift for jeff porcaro fan : the biography portrait !
You may be or know a fan of Jeff Porcaro, and the biography portrait is a good idea as a present to show your frinds how much you liked this drummer and Why : everything is drawn inside the picture. Get your signed copy here :
8.more drummer art, life and illustrations
Visit my drummer illustration page !