Toad The Wet Sprocket
In a '70s Monte Python sketch Eric Idle delivered rapid fire "music news" making up outlandish group names along the way. Solely for comic effect, he spit out the words Toad The Wet Sprocket. It got a laugh. Obviously, no one would have such a ridiculously silly moniker. Right?
From Santa Barbara, Toad The Wet Sprocket consisted of Glen Phillips (vocals), Todd Nichols (guitar), Dean Dinning (bass) and Randy Guss (drums). Following their formation in '86, they spent the next couple of years on the bar band circuit.
At a local studio in '88, Toad The Wet Sprocket laid down the tracks for their debut "Bread and Circus" in eight days and at a cost of only a few hundred dollars. Cassette tapes were made and only available at local music stores. However, one cassette made it to Columbia Records (just a few miles - 90 or so - down the road in L.A.) who signed the group and re-released "Bread and Circus." The low-key "Pale" appeared in '90 but failed to make a lasting impression. From "Fear" released a year later, the upbeat, ethereal, jangle Rocker, "All I Want" put Toad The Wet Sprocket on the map. Also, the somber "Walk On The Ocean" was also a hit.
"Fall Down" from "Dulcinea," released in '94, kept Toad The Wet Sprocket rolling. But '97's "Coil," failed to connect with the music buying public and a year later Toad The Wet Sprocket was history.
"Fear" and "Dulcinea" catch Toad The Wet Sprocket at their commercial and artistic peak (funny how often those two go together). Other albums, the earlier "Pale" and the later "Coil," are often plodding and wallow in self-indulgent ramblings. Too bad. "Fear" and "Dulcinea" keep these tendencies in relative check.
For the true believers, "In Light Syrup," arriving in '95, contains previously unreleased material.