Toad the Wet Sprocket was an American folk rock band consisting of singer Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss.
Toad the Wet Sprocket was formed in 1986 at San Marcos High School just outside of Santa Barbara, California, when singer/songwriter Glen Phillips was only 14 and a freshman; the other members 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-microphone 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. See the Biography section. 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.
The band finally achieved fame with their third album, fear. The album was released in 1991, and saw the single "All I Want" reach the Top 20 on the 1991 Billboard Hot 100. The single "Walk on the Ocean" also reached the top twenty of the Hot 100, and the album became the band's first RIAA certified platinum album.In 1993, the Mike Myers feature film So I Married an Axe Murderer included the song "Brother" on its popular soundtrack. "Brother" later appeared in 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 their follow-up to fear, Dulcinea. 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," which did not chart. The album, despite the success of "Come Down" as a single, failed to reach any sales benchmarks. This failure is often attributed to the label doing a poor job of promoting the album.Toad the Wet Sprocket formally broke up in July 1998, citing creative differences.
Toad since the breakup
Toad the Wet Sprocket, though officially broken up since 1998, has worked together off and on over the years. They performed on several occasions in 1999, although only short sets. Also in 1999, they recorded two studio tracks for a compilation release, P.S. A Toad Retrospective, including one of the first songs they wrote together as a band, "P.S.".The band temporarily reunited in late 2002, playing a benefit for the Rape Crisis Center in Santa Barbara, and opening a few shows for Counting Crows. The group then played a few months of full-length shows in early 2003. Although seemingly successful, at the end of the tour the band decided to continue on their separate paths and careers.In 2004, Toad released an album of a live show that was put to tape in 1992. This album, Welcome Home: Live at The Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara 1992, showcased the height of their popularity during the tour for fear.In the summer of 2006, the band reunited for a 34-date nationwide tour of the United States.They're also set to play at Rock VIII in January of 2008.
Glen Phillips' solo career
Immediately after the July breakup in 1998, Glen Phillips began his own solo career. He has toured almost constantly up to the present time, usually just him and his guitar, but often with regular guest musicians. He has a close friendship with the members of Nickel Creek, and they often perform together; they recorded a studio album called Mutual Admiration Society in 2000, released in 2004. In addition to that collaboration, Glen has released three solo studio albums, Abulum (2000), Winter Pays For Summer (2005) and Mr. Lemons (2006), along with a live album, Live At Largo (2003). Also, in spring 2006, Glen released a studio EP titled Unlucky 7, featuring outtakes from his studio sessions.
Todd, Dean and Randy have also continued in music. In the late 1990s, Todd and Dean formed a new band called Lapdog. They recorded and released the studio album Near Tonight (2001), and toured minimally. After this, Dean quit the band to split his time between recording and producing local music and pursuing his acting career, and Randy joined Lapdog as their drummer. Again Lapdog recorded and released an album, called Mayfly (2002). Since then Lapdog has kept a fairly low profile, though they still occasionally perform publicly.
Toad the Wet Sprocket released five studio albums, two live EP's, a rarities compilation, a posthumous live album and a hits compilation for Columbia Records. The band was also featured on a number of soundtracks and uncatalogued singles and tapes.
- Toad the Wet Sprocket's songs have been used in the soundtracks of over a dozen movies and episodes of television series. IMDb: Toad the Wet Sprocket
- "All I Want" was the theme song for the NBC show, The Round Table, which was cancelled after less than ten episodes.
- "Fall Down" was used in the My So-Called Life episode "Other People's Mothers".
- Emery covered "All I Want" for the punk rock cover compilation Punk Goes '90s.
- Toad the Wet Sprocket has three cover songs on compilation albums: John Lennon's "Instant Karma!," featured in the album A Tribute to John Lennon; The Beatles' "Hey Bulldog" featured in the I Know What You Did Last Summer Soundtrack; and Kiss's "Rock and Roll All Nite" featured in the album Classic Kiss Regrooved.
- A band of the same name Toad the Wet Sprocket - nwobhm.info: was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene in the late 1970s.
- In an episode of Pinky and the Brain, Brain forms a band called Frog the Dry Widget.
- In the Futurama episode "Futurestock", Leela says, "This toads the wet sprocket!"
American rock music groupsAmerican folk musical groupsAmerican alternative rock music groupsCalifornia musical groupsTaper-friendly musical groups1990s music groupsToad the Wet SprocketToad The Wet SprocketToad The Wet SprocketToad the Wet SprocketToad the Wet SprocketToad the Wet Sprocket