I heard that Jeff Porcaro, drummer for Toto, actually died in a “tragic gardening accident,” a la Spinal Tap. Can that be true?
Porcaro–who was also a top studio drummer, with credits such as Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, and Bruce Springsteen–keeled over suddenly on August 5th, 1992, just 38 years old. The initial reports from Toto’s record label was that Porcaro had expired because of an allergic reaction to pesticide while spraying his garden–which, bizarrely, would indeed qualify as a tragic gardening accident. A month later, however, the coroner’s report revealed that there was no pesticide in his bloodstream–the cause was actually a heart attack due to hardened arteries from his extensive use of cocaine. This, of course, provokes further questions: What sick minds cooked up a Spinal Tap alibi for Porcaro’s death? And why they didn’t instead claim instead that he had spontaneously combusted or choked on somebody else’s vomit? I grilled a source who had been close to the band. A decade down the road, he requested anonymity but insisted that the initial report wasn’t a coverup of a drug binge, just a mistaken conclusion reached when Porcaro keeled over in his garden.
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)