Toad the Wet Sprocket's Glen Phillips is getting all that he wants
Jun 09, 2023
Thu., July 6, 2023
If You Go
Toad the Wet Sprocket
When: 8 p.m., Tuesday
Where: Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave.
Cost: $36.50, $45, $65 and $75.
Info: (509) 227-7638, www.bingcrosbytheater.com
When Glen Phillips walked away from Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1998, the laid-back singer-songwriter never expected the straightforward rock band to be more popular than ever a generation after forming.
Toad the Wet Sprocket, who will play Tuesday at the Bing Crosby Theater, is packing theaters. “We’re playing to a lot more people these days,” Phillips said while calling from Chicago. “I think more people are coming out to hear live music since they were without it during the pandemic.”
Nostalgia also plays a part. A number of indie rock artists from the late ’80s, early ’90s, such as Pavement, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. played to sold out theaters during tours over the last year. Those bands performed in clubs and small theaters during their creative peaks.
Gen Xers are harking back to their salad days and younger generations are discovering music before their birth. “The crowds are made up of a diverse cross section of fans,” Phillips said. “The response has been tremendous.”
Toad the Wet Sprocket re-recorded its singles for a greatest hits album, “All You Want” so the band can own its songs. “It’s something a lot of recording artists are doing now,” Phillips said. “It felt so good for us to go back into the studio and capture that feeling with those songs again.”
Expect the hits, such as “Walk on the Ocean,” “Something’s Always Wrong” and “Come Down,” as well as deep cuts and a few new songs when the band, which also includes guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning and drummer Josh Daubin, plays the Bing. “We’re enjoying performing the crowd pleasers and some songs we’re dusting off from older albums,” Phillips said. “We’re covering all of the bases on this tour.”
Phillips, 52, is splitting time between Toad the Wet Sprocket and a solo career. Phillips impressed with 2016’s “Swallowed by the New,” which was inspired by his painful divorce. When the union with the mother of his three children, all of whom are in their 20s, unraveled, the leader of Toad the Wet Sprocket collected himself and wrote an array of moving tunes, such as “Leaving Old Town,” “Held Up” and “Reconstructing the Diary.”
“I wanted to make something when I was so bleeping broken,” Phillips said. “I was filled with a great deal of sorrow.”
The heart is a resilient muscle. Phillips bounced back and crafted “There is So Much Here,” which was released in November.
His latest solo album, triggered by Phillips’ relationship with his fiance, is an optimistic collection of catchy pop-rock songs.
“I allowed myself to have fun again,” Phillips said. “And it’s been wonderful.”
The double duty has inspired Phillips. “Having two different outlets has spurred my creativity,” Phillips said. “I can do my own thing and then there is Toad, which I appreciate now more than ever. I get how special this band has been. We’re all friends that have survived the ups and downs and along the way we’ve made music that’s really touched our fans.”
The band, which had the same lineup since forming in 1986, had its first personnel change during the pandemic. Drummer Randy Guss left in 2020.
“It’s so sad not to have Randy in the group anymore but he has a bone condition,” Phillips said. “Playing drums is an athletic position and Randy was in a ton of pain. Sometimes you have to move on and it becomes alright. You can be happy again.”
The Santa Barbara native and resident couldn’t be more pleased. “I never imagined that I would be so moved to create at this point in my life,” Phillips said. “I’m looking forward to the future.”
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