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Why Jeff Porcaro played the drums on Pink Floyd’s “Mother”

Jeff Porcaro


Why Jeff Porcaro played the drums on Pink Floyd’s “Mother”

The late drummer Jeff Porcaro was one of the most versatile musicians of all time, besides being a famous member of Toto he was an accomplished session drummer and worked with hundreds of artists from different music genres. The American musician born in Los Angeles, California in 1954 simply worked with names like Michael Jackson, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen and many more.


Proving that he could really perform with anyone and was a really respected musician, he even was asked by Pink Floyd to perform in one of their most famous tracks. It was in 1979 that he was asked to perform in the song “Mother” from their groundbreaking album “The Wall”. But if Pink Floyd always had Nick Mason on drums why the band decided to replace him with Porcaro in that particular song?

Why Jeff Porcaro played the drums on Pink Floyd’s “Mother”

Roger Waters who was the band bassist, singer and main songwriter at the time said that he decided to bring Jeff Porcaro to play in that particular track because Nick Mason wouldn’t be able to play it, because the song had 5/4 bars. The guitarist and singer David Gilmour recalled that in an interview with M. Resnicoff in 1992.

“On Mother the timing follows the words: ‘Mo-ther-do-you-think- they’ll-drop-the-*bomb*?’ How many beats is that? Nine. It was very very difficult to get it to work. You can’t (mimes standard Floyd 4). There’s no rhythm that carries on straight through like that. You’ve got to find a way of floating through it, which Jeff Porcaro did immediately,” David Gilmour said.

Curiously Jeff wasn’t the only Porcaro who performed on “The Wall”. His father Joe Porcaro, who was also a respected session drummer (He passed away in 2020 at the age of 90) played the snare drum on the track “Bring The Boys Back Home”.

Besides David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Jeff Porcaro, the track also had Bob Ezrin the producer of the album. Since Richard Wright was out of the band, he was the one who played the harmonium, Hammond organ and piano.

Nick Mason loves Toto and Jeff Porcaro

The legendary Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has no hard feelings about Jeff Porcaro’s work with Pink Floyd and even revealed he loves him. The musician praised the late drummer and his band Toto in an radio interview in 2020 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).

“I’ve always liked Toto; liked those songs, liked what they do. But also, Jeff Porcaro, who’s the drummer, is a drummer’s drummer.”

“And I realized this completely apart from my own view of it. (It was) when my grandson told me what he was learning in his drum class. In fact, it was, of course, a Toto track. So it’s three generations of fans really,” Nick Mason said.

“The Wall” is Pink Floyd’s second best-selling album and topped the United States charts for 15 weeks at the time. It is one of the best-selling albums of all time with an estimated amount of more than 33 million copies sold worldwide. But that number wasn’t enough to reach “Dark Side of The Moon” (1973) which sold more than 50 million copies.

Porcaro worked with David Gilmour and Roger Waters on their solo careers

Besides working with Pink Floyd in “Mother”, Jeff Porcaro was invited by Gilmour and Waters to work with them on their solo recordings. He first worked with the Pink Floyd guitarist on his second solo album called “About Face” in 1984. That album was produced by Gilmour himself and “The Wall” producer Bob Ezrin.

Besides Porcaro, who played drums in all the tracks, the record also had some special guests like Steve Winwood, Jon Lord and Roy Harper. Also the lyrics from two songs of that album were written by The Who’s Pete Townshend.

8 years later Porcaro was invited by Roger Waters to play on his 1992 album “Amused to Death”. But the American drummer performed in only one song called “It’s a Miracle”. That record had many special guests including two other Toto members: Steve Lukather and David Paich.

In that same year Porcaro tragically passed away at the age of 38. The reports suggested that he became ill while spraying insecticide in his yard. But the coroner also said that his heart condition might have contributed to his passing.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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