News Column

Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket talks about life, the '90s and playing Greenville's Peace Center

June 12, 2014

By Jake Grove, Anderson Independent Mail, S.C.

June 12--Toad the Wet Sprocket is one of those bands you remember listening to -- and even liking -- but can't quite remember all its songs. It had plenty of hits, blockbuster albums and appeared on many soundtracks in the 1990s, but the specifics can be a little hazy.

It's not your fault. The fact is, Toad the Wet Sprocket broke up in 1998 and, save a few reunions for a tour here and a gig there, the band has remained broken up for much of the past 16 years. But not so long ago, in part due to a request from fellow '90s rockers The Counting Crows, Toad the Wet Sprocket officially got back together for an album and a new summer tour.

That tour will be rolling through Greenville on Sunday at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, and before the band arrives, lead singer and lyricist Glen Phillips took some time to reflect on the band's 28 years and what brought it back together after so long.

Jake Grove: What was it like to make the decision to break up the band in the late '90s, and how did it feel bringing everyone back together?

Glen Phillips: We actually got back together a few times here and there, but there has always been pressure to get the band back together. But we would get back together and when we did, it was just to play a few shows and we would all feel like we survived it. But no one would be looking forward to the next time. There were a few years where we tried and just didn't work, but we gave it time and got used to the idea and let it happen. Then, we finally reached a point where we played some shows and would give each other a hug and say, "See you soon."

JG: How did the tour with Counting Crows come about? Did you guys know one another back in the day?

GP: Strangely enough, one of the first shows Toad played together was with them. We met Adam when we went on their first tour, and he knew about us. He asked if we would open a few shows after five years of being broke up, and we went ahead and reunited Toad to open for the Crows in 2004. Those were the first shows we played together after breaking up, and we didn't play together for another year. So, it seemed right and familiar to do it with them when we got back together.

JG: What's easier for you, writing songs for the band or writing songs for yourself?

GP: I really enjoyed that process of writing for Toad this time around. I was able to directly write for the band, which I never did the first time. I asked myself what Toad was and what I wanted the Toad album to be. Back then, we would write 30 songs and pick the best ones and make a record. We didn't ask ourselves what we sounded like and what we want to say. This time, we got to start with that so it was a lot of fun to write this album ("New Constellation").

JG: What kind of experience do you get at a live show for Toad the Wet Sprocket today that fans didn't get to see or hear 20 years ago?

GP: I don't know. I think we are happier and there is more of a sense of fun on stage than there was back then. I think we are better overall. Now we are happy to have a song like "All I Want" and people who want to hear it. It means people care about it. I remember Pearl Jam wouldn't play songs because they said that radio ruined it. It was a weird '90s thing we all had back then. These days, we are having a good time playing and it's a good combination of deep cuts and new stuff and the stuff everyone knows.


Who: Counting Crows and Toad the Wet Sprocket

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Peace Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Main St., Greenville

Tickets: $65 to $85

Information: 800.888.7768



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Source: Anderson Independent-Mail (SC)

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