Mike was not Toto's original bass player. In 1980 then bass player, David Hungate, decided to retire from touring. So Mike was asked to join his brothers Steve (on keyboards) and Jeff (on drums) in Toto... at least on the road. Following the success of Toto IV, David Hungate decided to retire from the band altogether and became one of the most in demand session bass players in Nashville. Mike officially became a full member of the band at that point.
I saw Toto live but once in their 30+ year career. It was a chilly November night at the House of Blues in Chicago on their Falling In Between tour. Mike was there, sitting on a stool playing bass like a trouper. He did not look comfortable but he played like a true champ. I later found out that he was having medical issues even then (2006).
A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Mike's former bandmates, vocalist Joseph Williams, on the telephone. He regaled me with the following tale of Mike Porcaro:
...when we walked out on stage during that same tour in Hanover, Germany and Mike Porcaro slipped and shattered his elbow before we had even played the first note and he put the bass over his shoulders and manged to get through about four tunes and then he just couldn't do it any longer and Jeff had to get up and go stand out in front of the audience and tell them that Mike had broken his arm and that we were gonna have to stop and that was actually the last show on the Fahrenheit tour. And Mike was taken to a doctor and [he] put a cast on his arm and we all came home and that was the end of that tour.
In light of Mike's illness, some former members of Toto including guitarist Steve Lukather, keyboardists David Paich and Steve Porcaro, vocalist Joseph Williams, drummer Simon Phillips, and special guest Nathan East on bass are getting together for a small European tour to raise money to help pay for some of Mike's medical bills (the disease has already started to adversely affect his ability to play bass-- his livelihood. He sat out the band's final tour in 2008 on doctor's orders).
This tour will be the first time that Steve Porcaro has toured with Toto since their 1997 mini reunion tour and only the 2nd time touring with Toto since he left the band in the eighties. It's also the first time David Paich will have toured with Toto since 2002 or 2003. He retired from touring for undisclosed family reasons at that time and was replaced on the road by grammy winning keyboardist, Greg Phillenganes.
It's interesting to note that this band is more "Toto" than the band that was on the 2008 farewell tour which only had 2 original members (one of which, Bobby Kimball, had been fired in 1984 and re-hired in 1998). This tour will feature 3 original members (Paich, Lukather, and Steve Porcaro) not to mention fan favorite vocalist Joseph Williams (Toto's lead vocalist from 1986-1989). I wish they were playing some dates in the US... Hopefully they'll release a live album from this tour with some of the proceeds going to either help out Mike and his family or possibly to some ALS medical research foundation.