I first came across Toad the Wet Sprocket on an outstanding compilation bootleg titled The Best of Parking a Juggernaut. The Parking A Juggernaut series was a large set of compilations which exposed me to alternative rock, New Wave, and power pop music, I’ve seen references to there being at least 15 discs but I suspect there may be more. I was able to acquire five to date and they’ve opened my eyes to number of great tunes and great bands. Many, in my opinion, are highly underrated bands including Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Formed in 1986, Toad the Wet Sprocket (hereafter Toad..) includes vocalist /guitarist Glen Phillips, Todd Nichols (guitar) Dean Dinning (bass), and drummer Randy Guss.
They disbanded in 1998 (some solo work followed) but started doing some short U.S. summer tours in 2006. In late 2010 the reunited and started writing their first new material since 1997’s Coil release. They subsequently released their newest album, New Constellation, on October 15, 2013.
Trivia Alert: They took their name from a Monty Python sketch in which Eric Idle reads “Rock Notes”:
“Rex Stardust, lead electric triangle with Toad the Wet Sprocket, has had to have an elbow removed following their recent successful worldwide tour of Finland. Flamboyant ambidextrous Rex apparently fell off the back of a motorcycle. “Fell off the back of a motorcyclist, most likely,” quipped ace drummer Jumbo McClooney upon hearing of the accident. Plans are now afoot for a major tour of Iceland.”
Toad hit fortune and fame with their third album “fear”released in 1991. Driven by the singles “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean” the album soared into the top 20 and they reached platinum status.
When I first heard Toad I mistakenly thought I was listening to a new Gin Blossoms song. An honest mistake given their similarity – listen for yourself as I’ve added “Til I Hear It From You” for comparison. Hear it? I also hear a bit of Crowded House in some of their tunes too…
If you want to add some Toad to your collection, fear is a good place to start although their triumphant homecoming live release Welcome Home: Live at the Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara 1992 is a spectacular glimpse at their live show and contains many of their big hits. I’ve also added an acoustic version of “California’s Wasted“. Well worth a listen.