Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Named in honor of a sketch by the Monty Python comedy troupe, this 4-piece band of Santa Barbara, CA high school cronies came to be known as Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986. To this day, their mellow, melodic folk-pop sound made them one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the early 1990s.

Singer Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss spent time honing their skills in area bars. Then, in 1988, they entered a nearby studio and came out with their debut LP, Bread and Circus. Recorded in just 8 days and for a cost of $650, this inaugural recording was originally sold in Santa Barbara area record stores as a home- made cassette. While the band was recording their second album, Pale (16 days & $6,000) they caught the attention of the LA offices of Columbia Records. After agreeing to the band’s request to reissue Bread and Circus only in its original form — without any alterations or remixes – Columbia Records signed Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Then in 1991, Toad the Wet Sprocket’s commercial breakthrough came as the single “All I Want” (which had nearly been left off the 1991 album Fear) became a Top 20 hit. Gavin’s airplay reports also listed it as number one. After “Fear” was certified platinum, another single from the LP, “Walk on the Ocean,” also became a successful track for the band. They played over 300 shows on the Fear tour, a two-year marathon ending in throat surgery for Phillips’ overused pipes.

Three years later, Toad returned with Dulcinea, generating yet another Top 40 hit (not to mention a six week run as number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks) with the single “Fall Down.” Dulcinea then also sold enough copies to reward Toad with another platinum certification.

1995 brought In Light Syrup, a collection of unreleased material, B-Sides and movie soundtrack songs. Featuring “Good Inten- tions,” another hit single that’s also been featured on the platinum selling Friends TV show soundtrack, In Light Syrup recently became certified gold.

Coil, Toad the Wet Sprocket’s fifth proper LP, followed in 1997. Then in July, 1998, the group parted ways. Even so, in 1999, PS (A Toad Retrospective) was released. In 2004, Columbia/Legacy released Toad’s live CD Welcome Home, Live from the Arlington Theater.

Since 2006, the band has played to enthusiastic crowds of all ages across the country, proving that great music truly is timeless.

Driven by formative, familial experiences on their Arkansas plantation, born in Texas, and raised on the beach in southern California, PawnShop kings play the music of the American South with equal parts rock, gospel, country and pop. Their inspiration comes greatly from the melodic sensibility and purpose of the Staple Singers and Bob Marley atop the brilliant musical expanse of the Beatles. An early exposure to Southern black churches during their childhood fostered a deeper lyrical significance.

"Our songs come from the context of the people we love, the things we love and hate, and the experience that comes from all of it," explains Scott. "Like anybody else, we write the music we're into, and if we're lucky, other people get it."

"The sound reflects back to the roots of American music that we grew up on but adds a more contemporary edge that those particular early styles lacked to my child ears," adds Joel. "And we don't sing about getting drunk and laid – so we probably won't relate to the fan looking for that sort of immediacy. I'd like to think the music we're playing has a longer shelf life than that."

Clearly, PawnShop kings' musical identity defies easy description – and not only because of the amalgamation of styles. The lowercase "k" in the band's name suggests a church-borne intentionality that keeps the brothers as friends and from straying too far from faith and family.

"We love that pawn shops give people a second chance whether or not they use or deserve it," remarks Scott. "Our music, and the ability to build upon the gospel roots of our childhood, plays as our voice to that spirit of reinvention."

PawnShop kings released new DVD, "brother's keeper" in August of 2008.

PSk debut album, "Locksley," is available online and at shows.

They are currently in the studio finishing their next 2 Eps.

$35.00

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Toad the Wet Sprocket with Pawnshop Kings

Saturday, March 9 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at The Coach House