Toad the Wet Sprocket
oad the Wet Sprocket was formed in 1986, with the members having known one another from High School near Santa Barbara, California. Glen Phillips (guitar/vocals), guitarist Todd Nichols (guitar), Randy Guss (drums; who replaced Steve Brown before the band was formed) and Dean Dinning (bass) were all teenagers, except Dinning who was 20. The band's first public appearance was at an open-mic talent contest in September 1986; they didn't win. The band name was taken from a Monty Python comedy sketch called "Rock Notes" in which a journalist delivers this nonsensical music news report:
There was also an extended skit about the fictional Toad the Wet Sprocket on one of Idle's later shows, 'Rutland Weekend Television' (Season 1, Episode 4).
Their first album was released in 1989, Bread & Circus, a self-financed affair released via their own label, 'Abe's Records'. The album spawned the singles Way Away and One Little Girl, that made the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, but received little more attention.
Pale arrived in 1990 and boasted a more mature style. Now on 'Columbia Records', they declined the opportunity to re-record the album, but negotiated to have Bread & Circus re-issued. The album received airplay by college stations, but was largely ignored by mainstream radio.
Their third effort, Fear saw them success in 1991 with the singles, All I Want and Walk on the Ocean, reach the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100; the album as a whole received platinum status.
The 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured the song Little Heaven; also included in the movie soundtrack.
In 1993, the Mike Myers feature film So I Married an Axe Murderer included the song Brother on its soundtrack. The track also appeared on their 1995 In Light Syrup b-sides and rarities compilation album, as well as on the 2004 release of the live album Welcome Home: Live at the Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara 1992.
After several years of heavy touring, they released Dulcinea (1994) that saw the single, Fall Down, reach 1 on the US Modern Rock charts, as well as 5 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The album once again received platinum status.
Coil (1997) featured a more electric rock sound, but despite the success of the Come Down single, failed to reach any sales benchmarks; a failure many attributed to the label not properly promoting the album.
The band split in 1998, citing creative differences but continued to work on-and-off with each other over the successive years, including performing short sets on several occasions in 1999. That same year, Phillips, Dinning and Guss recorded two studio tracks for the compilation release, P.S. A Toad Retrospective, including one of the first songs the band wrote together; Nichols declined to participate in these sessions and was replaced by Lapdog guitarist Rob Taylor.
The band temporarily reunited in late 2002 for a benefit for the Rape Crisis Center in Santa Barbara, and a few shows with Counting Crows with a few full length shows together in 2003 before deciding to continue together, returning instead to their short set gigs through 2010.
Their first track in 11 years came in the form of, It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas, a cover of a Sam Phillips original, released on their official site and available via "bandcamp" for free download just in time for the holidays that year. Their greatest hits album, All You Want, followed in digital and CD format via their official website. The album lacked some tracks the band was unable to get released from 'Columbia'. The studio album "New Constellation followed in 2013 with the EP, Architect of the Ruin arriving in 2015.