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CANCELED: Toad the Wet Sprocket No Idle Threat At House Of Blues On September 12

08 Sep

toad the wet sprocket

By Brian M. Howle

(Editor’s Note: HOB has announced that, unfortunately, this show has been cancelled. Contact point of purchase for ticket refunds.)

Whenever any musicians worth their salt start out, one of the most important decisions they’ll ever face is naming the band. It is one of those things you need to put a lot of thought and creativity into, just in case you turn out to actually be a good band. Which was a good thing for these guys, as all of that fell right in line, and way back in the day (late ‘80s, kids), the world gasped and took note of the band with the way-cool name: Toad the Wet Sprocket.

And if you missed them when they broke out in 1989 – or in the twenty years since – you can make up for lost time, as Toad the Wet Sprocket rocks out House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, September 12, 2009.

And now, a little background info, gathered from the annals of Wikipedia:

Toad the Wet Sprocket was formed in 1986 at San Marcos High School just outside of Santa Barbara, California, when singer/songwriter/guitarist Glen Phillips was only 14 and a freshman; the other members – guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss – were 17 and juniors. The band drew its name from the Eric Idle monologue “Rock Notes” on Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album from 1980, although the name is featured in a parody of The Old Grey Whistle Test on Rutland Weekend Television in 1975. The band’s first public appearance was at an open-mic talent contest in September 1986. The band lost the competition.

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s first album came out in 1989. Bread & Circus was self-financed through their label, Abe Records. The album spawned the singles “Way Away” and “One Little Girl”, which made the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, but did not receive much attention.

The follow-up to Bread & Circus, Pale, was released in 1990 and saw their sound mature. During the recording of the album, Toad signed to Columbia Records while declining the opportunity to re-record Pale, but negotiating to have Columbia Records reissue Bread & Circus. Featuring the singles “Jam” and the Modern Rock Chart hit “Come Back Down”, the album was still not a success; but the singles received heavy airplay on college radio stations and the band’s first music video (for “One Little Girl”) was directed by Mark Miremont and aired on MTV’s 120 Minutes.

The band finally achieved fame with their third album, Fear. The album was released in 1991, and saw the singles “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean” reach the top twenty of the Billboard Hot 100. The album became the band’s first RIAA-certified platinum album.

In 1992, the cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured the song “Little Heaven” and was included in the movie soundtrack.

In 1993, the Mike Myers feature film So I Married an Axe Murderer included the song “Brother” on its soundtrack. “Brother” later appeared on the In Light Syrup compilation album, as well as on the 2004 release of the live album Welcome Home: Live at the Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara 1992.

In 1994, after years of heavy touring, the band released Dulcinea, their follow-up to Fear. This album spawned the hit singles “Fall Down”, which reached #1 on the US Modern Rock charts, as well as #5 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and “Something’s Always Wrong”, which also charted. Like Fear, this album was certified platinum by the RIAA.

A compilation album of b-sides and rarities, In Light Syrup, was released in 1995; it included the singles “Good Intentions”, which was featured on the soundtrack for the television show Friends, as well as the aforementioned “Brother”. The compilation was certified as a gold album in 2001.

The release of Coil in 1997 acted as the proper follow up to 1994’s Dulcinea. Featuring a more electric, rock sound, it featured the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock hit “Come Down”, as well as the singles “Crazy Life” (previously featured on the soundtrack for the film Empire Records) and “Whatever I Fear”.

Toad the Wet Sprocket formally broke up in July 1998, citing creative differences. Though officially broken up since then, the band has worked together off and on over the years. Continuing throughout the 2009 summer, the group played a second 12-stop mini tour which started with a show at the House of Blues in Houston, TX.

Here’s their official update, from their MySpace site:

What’s up with the band?
Glen: Earlier this year Glen released an EP called Secrets of the New Explorers, and has played a number of shows supporting it. He also has a new band (still unnamed), which has completed a record that should be out some time in the next year. The album was recorded and mixed by Jim Scott, and the other members are Sean and Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Luke Bulla (Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs), Greg Leisz (Lucinda Williams, Wilco), Benmont Tench (Heartbreakers), Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello), and Davey Faragher (Cracker, Elvis Costello). In October, He’ll be co-headlining a tour with Jonatha Brooke, and next January he’ll be on the Cayamo cruise with Shawn Colvin, Lyle Lovett and many others.

Dean: Dean just finished composing and performing his first movie score for the independent film “Desertion”. Dean also wrote and performed 3 new songs for the film. Todd Nichols produced and recorded the score as well as 2 of the new songs. Dean also is the current manager for Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Todd: Todd has been busy producing bands and solo artists at his studio “Abe’s” in North Hollywood CA.. Check out http://www.myspace.com/abesstudio for more info if you are interested in recording with Todd.

Randy: Randy plays the drums.

So harken back to the days of way cool band names, and get a double dip by means of these guys being one of the preeminent, way-cool ‘90s bands, as Toad the Wet Sprocket rocks out House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Friday, August 21, 2009. Doors open 7:30pm. For ticket info call 843-272-3000 or Ticketmaster 843-679-9333; or visit http://www.houseofblues.com or http://www.ticketmaster.com.
(Editor’s Note: HOB has announced that, unfortunately, this show has been cancelled. Contact point of purchase for ticket refunds.)
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The previous article also appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine, August 27, 2009.

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