Toad the Wet Sprocket “Brings It”!
Vocalist Glen Phillips talks New Constellation and touring with Counting Crows
Whether together or apart, the members of Toad the Wet Sprocket (yes, that’s a real band name – kudos to Monty Python’s Eric Idle for the sketch that inspired it) have been making music since 1989. After a band break-up in 1998, Toad’s “hardcore fan base” was stoked with the release of New Constellation, the band’s first album in 16 years. Though the album came out last October, the band is currently celebrating the “new life” for their music with a cross-country tour with Counting Crows. We recently got the chance to chat with lead vocalist Glen Phillips about the band’s summertime tour – and their go-to morning snack. The tour’s epic conclusion will take place at Norwalk Concert Hall on August 29. Be sure not to miss out on Toad!
How has being on tour with Counting Crows been?
The tour’s been great. They have a real listening audience, which really helps. People seem really stoked. The response has been good every night. It’s good hearing them play. We’re lucky we’ve had an audience and we’ve been able to go out and do less of the small festival things but still have a hardcore fan base. It’s been great to get in front of some new faces and show that we can bring it.
What stop on this tour has been your favorite so far, and which one are you most excited for?
My 17- year-old daughter actually came out for a week, and we just had an amazing time in New York. We had a couple of days to tour in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We ate great there. We’ll probably have to eat peanut butter for the rest of the tour, but it was so worth it.
What is your favorite song to play on tour?
It changes all the time. Right now I’m really enjoying the new songs. It’s great to play the songs that are familiar to people, and we’re really proud of what we’ve done. But it’s great to have stuff with new life in it and to see the audience’s reaction to the new stuff.
New Constellation is your first album in 16 years. How does this one differ from your old stuff?
After having done so many other projects over the years, it’s so amazing to come back and bring in anything, and as soon as the four of us play it, it sounds like a Toad song.
What’s the deal with “Toad the Wet Sprocket” as a band name?
Look, the only reason we kept [the name] is because a year had passed, and no one had thought of anything really cool. On the one hand, it’s very memorable. But we are perfectly aware that it is the worst band name ever. That’s exactly why we chose it, Because it is hilarious. We were in on the joke.
How do you feel the music industry has changed since your return as a band?
It’s completely and utterly different. It’s a harsh education in how much things change. We have our small but hardcore fan base. We’re really lucky to have had the impact that we’ve had. We’re really lucky. With social media, everybody’s got more access than they ever had which is great, but it also means EVERYBODY’S got more access than they ever had. It’s hard to get a band to get enough supporters to pay for the music to make a living when there are so many people out there trying the same thing. It’s a brave new world.
If you could play alongside any artist or band, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’m going to have to say The Beatles.
What is your favorite summertime snack?
On tour, every morning there’s a utility player and a good friend of mine who makes our Morning Elixir. It makes the whole day work. You take a blender and throw in celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, carrots, ginger, apple, banana, avocado – the avocado is really important because it makes the thick texture that holds the whole thing together. Oh, and you have to throw in a lemon too!
Toad the Wet Sprocket
August 29, 2014
Tickets: $35.00, $45.00, $55.00
125 East Avenue, Norwalk