Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket

When Monty Python's Eric Idle created the fictional band "Toad the Wet Sprocket" for
the program "Rutland Weekend Television" in 1975, he never dreamed that anyone
would actually use such a silly name. Fast forward to 1986, when four California teens
desperately needed to come up with a name to call their band for an upcoming gig at
a Goleta, CA watering hole called The Shack.
Since that day, "Toad the Wet Sprocket" has been the name of the four piece
California rock band consisting of lead singer Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols,
bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss. From 1989-1998, they made 5
studio albums which combined sold over four million copies, had five major radio hits,
and won over audiences across North America and Europe.
After breaking up in 1998, Toad would get together sporadically to play shows on a
casual basis, but their hard core fans never gave up hope for a new album. After
successful tours in 2006-2010, the band finally decided to put the last piece of the
puzzle in place, and committed to working together on new music. They also decided
to update their classic catalog, and created a new Greatest Hits album "All You Want",
which came out in 2011.
Toad the Wet Sprocket are currently in the studio with producer Mikal Blue, and fans
can look forward to a new release and extensive tour in 2013.

Lee DeWyze

With his rough-hewn voice and laid-back Midwestern charm, Lee DeWyze won over millions of viewers as a contestant and eventual winner of the ninth season of American Idol. An accomplished singer, guitarist, and songwriter who had already built a following on the Chicago club scene by the time he auditioned for Idol, DeWyze displays his true nature as an artist on his major-label debut Live It Up. The title track captures the easy-going sprit of the album — a breezy blend of rootsy pop, rock, and folk, anchored by DeWyze's soulful, husky voice and bright-sounding acoustic guitar.

"I love guys like Cat Stevens, Kris Kristofferson, Dave Matthews, and Ray LaMontagne," DeWyze says. "I'm a sucker for hard-edged vocals over pretty melodies and catchy grooves, so that's what I wanted to do on this album. It shows the flip-side of what I was able to present on Idol because it's 100 percent me. I'm so proud of it."

Working with top-notch collaborators such as Toby Gad (Alicia Keys, Fergie), John Shanks (Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow), David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson, Weezer) and Norwegian production team Espionage (Beyoncé, Train), DeWyze co-wrote nearly every song on Live It Up, which he recorded while on the road over the summer with the "American Idol Live" tour. "To see my name listed in the credits was really important to me because I'm a songwriter," DeWyze says. "I also loved working with such talented writers. They all brought so much to the table and really helped me flesh out my ideas."

An engaging raconteur, DeWyze tells a story on each song on Live It Up, while sketching out a compelling tale of a relationship, with all of its ups and downs, over the course of the album. After setting a free-wheeling tone on the irresistible first single "Sweet Serendipity," DeWyze explores themes of romantic uplift ("Weightless"), regret ("Stay Here" and "Dear Isabelle"), and expresses a passionate urgency on the piano-driven "Me & My Jealousy" and "Beautiful Like You." "The first line of 'Beautiful Like You' is 'Everybody wants to look into the mirror and feel a little better now.' Who hasn't been there before?" DeWyze says. "I want people to relate to these songs, that's why lyrics are important to me. I love stories in songs and always try to write from an honest place. It's about capturing emotion, so that when you listen, it takes you back to that place. My best memories are all connected to music and I want to create those moments for other people."

DeWyze created his own musical memories growing up with three siblings in Mount Prospect, Illinois, where his mother worked at a local hospital and his father was a postal carrier. "Sunday was my dad's day off, so that was when he'd put on records and we'd just listen to music all day long," DeWyze says. "I have such vivid recollections of that time. We listened to Simon & Garfunkel, Grand Funk Railroad, The Mamas & The Papas, and Cat Stevens. Tea for the Tillerman was my favorite album. I have the lyrics to 'Father and Son' tattooed on my arm." When DeWyze was 14, he hauled his dad's old guitar out of the closet and begged him to get it restrung so he could learn how to play. Working with a book of Beatles chords his father gave him, DeWyze began to teach himself basic progressions. "I'd play the chords and sing my own thing to them because I didn't know how to write music. So I'd sing my own lyrics along to 'Yellow Submarine,'" he recalls with a laugh.

As time went on, DeWyze's musicianship improved and he began writing his own songs. At age 17, he was discovered by the owners of a Chicago indie record label, which released two of his independent albums. In January 2010, DeWyze found himself, at the urging of his bandmates, standing in line at Chicago's United Center along with 12,000 aspiring singers waiting to try out for American Idol. "It was literally a question of 'Why the hell not?'" says DeWyze, who was the only male contestant never to wind up in the competition's bottom three.

In August 2010, DeWyze was back at Chicago's United Center, this time to headline the "American Idol Live" tour — a far cry from that first cattle call audition that sealed his future: putting out Live It Up on 19 Recordings/RCA Records. "Releasing an album on a major label is why I did the show," DeWyze says. "American Idol didn't teach me who I was an artist. I already knew who I was. The hard part was learning how to be on the show, avoiding cameras flying around, and surviving the judging panel. But my attitude was to go out there, sing the songs, have fun, and whatever happens, happens. Every week I was still there, I felt grateful. Even though I hadn't won, this is what I would be doing. I just want to make music that I love and that other people will love."

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Live It Up was released on November 16th, 2010
by 19 Recordings/RCA Records.

$30.00 - $32.00

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The Altar Bar

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Toad the Wet Sprocket with Lee DeWyze

Monday, November 11 · Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM at The Altar Bar