Best of the Rest, Vol 12: Toad the Wet Sprocket
Occasionally, when the “Deloreon in my mind” zooms me back to better days, I land somewhere in ’93-’94.
There I am in Boise, Idaho.
I’m carefully full-stopping Mom’s white Dodge Caravan with the faux wood siding—you know the one.
Hands dutifully at 10 and 2…
Not even remotely cool, high-school-me…not even a little bit.
That said, the tape deck worked like a charm and my cassettes themselves were oft strewn unceremoniously about the front passenger seat.
Rattling at every turn.
Screaming Trees Uncle Anesthesia, The Replacements Don’t Tell a Soul, Concrete Blonde Bloodletting, Catherine Wheel Adam and Eve, Soundgarden Badmotorfinger...
Not bad high-school-me, not bad at all.
Toad the Wet Sprocket’s fear is another of those cassette-sized album covers that I can see sitting there plain as day. The yellow album image really stood out amongst the others.
Did I play the shit out of that tape? I just plain wore that thing out.
What a goddamn glorious hunk of record.
Toad is just one of those bands that if you get it, you’re all in.
If you get it, you really get it.
The historically terrible band name aside (Monty Python strikes again), Toad the Wet Sprocket occupies an inherently odd place in 90’s music and beyond – mostly because the band is NOT what you think it is.
It never was.
If your view of the band was purely shaped by hits like “Walk on the Ocean,” “All I Want,” “Good Intentions or even “Come Down,” then you had them cast as a pretty muted, mainstream, spritely, alt-rock band that always seemed to be strolling down a beach with smiles on their faces.
Those “in the know” know differently. Toad always resembled a far darker indie rock thing than any of the hits led pop culture to believe.
Chief songwriter Glen Phillips is a dark dude and most Toad songs are indicative of a whole lot of human struggle.
It’s that running dichotomy that continues to make Toad a viable creative force to this day. They recently released a commendable LP Starting Now and are on the road (safely) as we speak.
As per usual, I’ve included a playlist of 10 non-hit Toad bangers for your listening pleasure.
The long and short of it being – Toad the Wet Sprocket is a really fucking good band that you should be listening to at this very moment instead of reading this nonsense.