Drum Transcription: Simon Phillips on TOTO’s “Dave’s Gone Skiing”

In 1991, TOTO returned to the studio and recorded their eighth album Kingdom of Desire. The band was planning a tour for the late summer of ’92…

A month before the release of Kingdom of Desire (1992), Jeff Porcaro sadly passed away from a heart attack. His loss was lamented from the band, Jeff’s family, fans, and the worldwide music community. His legacy is still celebrated, inspiring thousands of drummers. TOTO decided to play for the Kingdom of Desire Tour, selecting a new drummer to replace Jeff. They were searching for a drummer who put his own signature style to the TOTO sound. Steve Lukather suggested rock/fusion drummer Simon Phillips, who played with Jeff Beck, Santana, Jimmy Page, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, and many other artists. Phillips kindly accepted the task of joining the band on the imminent tour.

simon phillips toto daves gone skiing drum transcription

The future of the band was unsure, in fact, many people thought the Kingdom of Desire Tour might be TOTO’s last one. The band, in order to honor the memory of Jeff and respect the requests of the fans, decided to continue to play together, asking Simon Phillips to join them permanently. In 1993, TOTO began to work in the studio on a new album. Tambu was released on May 9, 1995, it was the first with Simon Phillips. His style and perfectionism on drums were highly appreciated by TOTO and fans, recording and playing with the band until 2014, when he left to pursue other projects.

Tambu was appreciated by the fans for the different sounds compared to the TOTO catalog. The instrumental track “Dave’s Gone Skiing” is a fusion composition, that alternates 9/8, 7/8, and 4/4. The Phillips’ open-handed drumming is a treasure of combinations and new rhythmic solutions. In the solo section, he creates a great climax playing a double bass drum pattern, in addition to the Hammond organ from David Paich. The precise Phillips’ drumming creates perfect chemistry with the band, contributing to precise overall performance. On Tambu, he also recorded additional keyboards and drum loops. In 2006, Paich said to Inside MusiCast that Phillips played essentially like a drummer, whereas Jeff Porcaro approached his drum parts more as a songwriter.

Here’s the drum transcription for “Dave’s Gone Skiing.” The drum sheet music (5 pages) is available for free and includes a drum notation key. It was a challenge to transcribe this song, in the near future I’ll consider adding the sticking. All the best!


toto daves gone skiing drum transcription


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