Toad the Wet Sprocket's Glen Phillips Is in Love and Writing Songs (Exclusive)
Jun 05, 2023
The '90s hitmakers are back with an updated version of "Best of Me" along with a new batch of tour dates
Back in the '90s, Toad the Wet Sprocket stepped on stage of The David Letterman Show a total of five times in the span of five years, and front man Glen Phillips remembers each performance like it was yesterday.
However, his three daughters Sophia, Freya and Zola do not.
“They don’t even know who Letterman is,” says Phillips, 52, with a laugh during an interview with PEOPLE. “They ask if he’s the old guy. [Watching that] stuff is strange because it just feels so distant. It doesn't feel like a thing I did anymore. It's really far in the past. And yet, it must have happened. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here doing it today.”
Indeed, the craving for nostalgia in this far-too-connected world has in turn created a musical craving for the iconic '90s band, who made a name for themselves with hit songs such as “Walk on the Ocean,” “All I Want” and “Good Intentions.” And it’s this craving that is being filled nightly, as Toad the Wet Sprocket embark on their buzzworthy All You Want tour.
“Music is a great form of time travel,” says Phillips, who with his Toad the Wet Sprocket bandmates Todd Nichols and Dean Dinning will embark on the next leg of the successful tour this fall. “It takes you back, even if it was a time when hard things were going on. It’s time travel with rose-colored glasses on.”
Toad the Wet Sprocket/ YouTube
Certainly, spending night after night singing songs on a setlist rooted in a decade far away does bring up its share of memories for the members of Toad the Wet Sprocket.
“Looking back on it, I mostly wish I'd been a little more grateful,” says Phillips. “I wish I had understood a little more how short those periods of time are and how irreproducible they are. I wish I'd had a little more strategy and a little more gratitude and made better use of it all.”
“The other thing coming from the alternative music world at that time was that it wasn't the right way of thinking to be looking around you going, ‘Isn't this great?’” adds Dinning, 56, to PEOPLE. “You always had to be uncomfortable with whatever was happening.”
It was a different time, certainly.
“There were all these bands like Counting Crows and Pearl Jam that were not playing their singles at their shows back then,” Phillips says. “We were all too cool for school. We were on major labels, but we were all pretending we were little indie bands who just happened to find themselves with major label record deals." He pauses. "It wasn't a good look in retrospect.”
Eventually, the band made the decision to take a break in the late '90s, but reunited in 2006 and have been together ever since. But both Phillips and Dinning agree that they would have a tough time starting out in these days in which a cringey TikTok dance just might make you a superstar.
“So much of it is totally unrelated to music and songwriting and being an artist,” says Phillips. “You don't want to ever use the word ‘content’ about your own stuff, you know?”
Nevertheless, the members of Toad the Wet Sprocket still have an insatiable appetite to get in front of their fans, fans that have grown up right alongside of them over the years.
“We have such devoted fans,” explains Phillips, who alongside his Toad the Wet Sprocket bandmates went out on tour with the Barenaked Ladies last year. “We see a lot of them over and over again, and we're getting new ones all the time.”
They are also making new music, including a lot more love songs such as an updated version of the lead single from their 2021s album Starting Now called “Best of Me (2023),” premiering exclusively on PEOPLE.
“I’ve been reflecting on it recently just because we have so little in the way of straight out love songs. It's a rare kind of song, but I fell in love again,” says Phillips, who split from wife Laurel in 2014 after 25 years together. But in 2018, he met his now-fiancée. “I didn't think I would fall in love again. I wrote some love songs, and it was nice to want to do that again.”
The happy couple, who have been together five years, are getting married in August.
“She's awesome,” Phillips tells PEOPLE. “She's a teacher. She was not a fan, if I'm correct. She didn't know about the band." He laughs, adding: "I mean, she'd heard of us. Her ex-husband liked us back in the day.”
See below for new tour dates.
7/13 Federal Way, WA Federal Way PAEC
7/14 Edmonds, WA Edmonds Center for the Arts
7/15 Portland, ORRevolution Hall
7/16 Boise, ID The Egyptian Theatre
7/18 Redding, CA Cascade Theatre
7/19 Novato, CA The HopMonk
8/31 Ojai, CA Libby Bowl
9/8 Omaha, NE Shadow Ridge Music Festival
9/9 Minneapolis, MN The Fillmore
9/10 Eau Claire, WI Pablo Center at the Confluence
9/11 Traverse City, MI City Opera House
9/13 Madison, WI Barrymore Theatre
9/14 Milwaukee, WI The Pabst Theater
9/15 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
9/16 Danville, KY Norton Center for the Arts
9/19 Munhall, PA Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
9/21 Frederick, MD Weinberg Center for the Performing Arts
9/22 Newport, RI Jane Pickens Theatre
9/23 Plymouth, NH The Flying Monkey
9/24 Plymouth, MA Plymouth Memorial Hall
9/26 New York, NY City Winery
9/27 Hartford, CT Infinity Music Hall
9/28 Red Bank, NJ The Vogel
9/29 Ocean City, MD Oceans Calling Festival
10/1 Charlotte, NC Knight Theater
10/2 Clearwater, FL Bilheimer Capitol Theatre
10/3 Ft Lauderdale, FL The Parker
10/5 Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
10/7 Opelika, AL Opelika Songwriters Festival
10/8 Nashville, TN City Winery
10/9 Hanover, MD The Hall at Live! Casino
10/11 Louisville, KY Louisville Palace Theatre
10/12 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
10/13 Memphis, TN Graceland Soundstage
10/14 Mt. Vernon, IL Granada TheatreSee below for new tour dates.