Teens of the 90’s throughout New England are gearing up for the return of alternative-music favorite Toad the Wet Sprocket, who will perform at Boston’s The Wilbur Theatre on Friday November 1, 2013, at 8:00 p.m.
BCSE: Hi Glen, how are you doing?
GP: I’m doing alright. Thanks.
BCSE: Excellent. So, I have to say I’ve been a big fan of yours for quite some time so I’m very excited that you guys are coming to Boston.
GP: Oh, thank you. It should be a good time.
BCSE: Absolutely. Tell me a little bit about the new CD.
GP: Uh, well, I don’t know. I mean, we haven’t done something in sixteen years, so there’s time we've all been back together, a lot of time, the original four members. I think its good. I don’t know what else to say. Well, what about it would you like to know?
BCSE: Well, tell me about the decision to regroup and come back together and put out new material.
GP: I mean, it happened, we tried getting back together and playing shows a number of times and found ourselves kind of often drifting back into maybe the same kind of behaviors or relationships that made us break up in the first place, so we would re-engage and then fall apart, re-engage and fall apart. At some point we re-engaged and we’d all grown up enough that everything seemed to work again and it’s been a few years where kind of our baseline was more pleasant and cooperative and then realized we could make a record. And you know, talked about it for a while and finally just started working on new material and started playing some new things live, and we were all more than anything, just really happy to have some new stuff to play. We had been going out and playing the same songs for quite a while even though, you know, we’d all been writing, doing other stuff, having other projects. I tour a lot outside of Toad. But you know, Toad was trapped in a little time bubble and as soon as we broke out of that bubble it became a whole lot more fun.
BCSE: Right. Yeah. That’s awesome. I mean, I know that many, many people are excited that you guys are officially back together. I know I am. And, you know, I know that it has been talked about ad nauseam, but as a huge Monty Python fan, tell me about how you guys decided to go with that name.
GP: It’s a good absolute lesson. Never having a stand-in for something you really want. We were going to come up with a really cool band name but we had a gig and we thought it would be hilarious to be Toad the Wet Sprocket and print one, just because it was this awful joke band name that Monty Python came up with, and we thought it was a really funny joke and that it would just be a temporary placeholder. And then, a year later, we still hadn’t come up with anything cool, and by that point it was kind of too late. So, we just stuck with it ever since.
BCSE: Nice. Nice. How did you feel when Eric Idle actually mentioned hearing about you guys?
GP: We were very, very happy that he knew of our existence.
BCSE: Yeah, that must have been pretty cool.
GP: Yeah. We were big fans, I mean we had all the old LPs. Yeah. [chuckles]
GP: Always a big fan.
BCSE: Nice. Now, I saw a TV spot you guys did recently and you had mentioned that your sound has evolved with the times, and for me, I think part of the band’s appeal is always that you always sort of had a timeless sound to begin with.
GP: I think we are still very identifiable as ourselves, but we don’t sound like ourselves in the nineties. Does that make sense?
BCSE: It does.
GP: We sound like ourselves now. And if we got back together, we did a record that has all the sonic signatures of the records back in the day, it would sound a little strange. I mean, I’ve noticed this record that I kind of, in my memory, I’ll superimpose the production characteristics with stuff that’s going on right now. I’ll superimpose those characteristics on them in my memory and when I listen to the record, I’m always a little shocked at how dated it sounds. So, I think that’s all we were saying with that. I think there are a few elements, maybe stylistic things that we wouldn’t have done back in the day, but I don’t think anything is untrue to who we are, or trying to chase what’s current. There are a few little items, when we broke up, it was before, maybe it was just when the Strokes were starting, but there was this whole kind of re-appreciation of new wave music and taking all that early XPC stuff and I was always an XPC fanatic and all that guitar interplay and there were these bands that were doing a kind of idealized version of the best parts of new wave music and we broke up before that happened. So taking a little bit of that where you can take synth sounds, and it’s more of their production aesthetics that have changed a lot, I think is what it is.
BCSE: Right. Right. Now are you still doing your solo career in addition to this?
GP: Yeah. Probably the next record I make is going to be a solo record and so haven’t put, I’ve put it on hold while Toad’s is happen. But for me, I’m able to do Toad as long as it’s one part of many things, instead of the kind of the end-all, be-all of things. It’s probably why we broke up. We were all ready for some other projects and some other outlets and we trapped ourselves a little I think in having it be the only thing we did.
BCSE: That definitely makes sense. So, you guys are back together. This is not a reunion thing; this is not just a one-off tour. So, fans should be really, really excited.
GP: No, I mean, we did an album. We’re touring this and we’re going to be out the majority of next year and I think we’re also comfortable saying, I don’t know what that means long term. It has to remain creatively vital and I know people are really excited about seeing it, and we’re very excited about going and doing it, but I don’t know what that means really. We’ve done this record and we’re really proud of it. We’re going to work hard for it, and that’s about as far as we’re planning at the moment. So, there’s no master plan, a ten year strategy, or anything. We’re doing it because it feels right and we have the chance to make a record that we could be really proud of. And I don’t think a lot of bands that break up get to come back and do something that feels vital again, you know?
GP: We could have at any time gotten together and done something for business reasons, and done something that was kind of soulless and that we didn’t have passion behind, and we waited to do it until it could have a little more passion, so it is what it is. We’ll see what the future brings.
BCSE: Awesome. I think what’s going to be really cool is to see if you guys can sort of bridge a generation gap. I mean, I was a huge fan of you guys. I’m thirty-five, I’m sure there are people my age with teenage children that would probably love you guys.
GP: Yeah. We’ll see. It’s a very different world right now, right. We’re not a brand new band getting signed; we’re not, like, young pretty boys. So, we’re not going to, this age, have a big record company push and we’re not that band anymore. I mean, what excites me a little is that I see my kids finding music through Spotify, through Pandora, and they have no idea what bands look like. I always talk about my daughter Zola, who is getting really into the Zombies, and she got into them, I think, on a Devendra Banhart station she made.
GP: And she thought they were kind of a cool, psychedelic, current band. She had no idea that they were the band that made that sound that all these bands today are copying, right? And so, she was really surprised. When she started playing Magic Card stuff, she didn't know that the dated year was whatever it is, twenty-something years old.
GP: She just thought it was a really great song. So, I'll be curious. You know, our audience is older, but we're not... there's kind of no guarantees. So, we're just going to kind of just go out and play a bunch of shows, and we will see if people find it or not. I mean, if we can find just a fraction of our old fan base, and reach them through, you know, the current noise level of media and the internet and everything else. We'll be really happy if we can find ten percent of our old fan base, and just make then know that we're even playing shows again. [chuckles]
BCSE: Yeah. Well, I don't think you will have any problem with that.
GP: Yeah. I mean, we'll see. I'm, once again, I'm not saying anything in terms. I'm happy with the music, I'm happy with where we are. It's more, you know, there's so many democratized tools right now. Everybody has access to the internet. You don't find stuff unless you're looking for it, most of the time. There's sometimes happy accidents, but, as much as everybody has this access to the same media, I think it is just as difficult as it ever was, or possibly even more difficult, to find new listeners, because there is so much good music out there. There are so many people clamoring for everybody's ears, and you know, the good part of that is at least we have the problem of having too much great music in the world.
GP: Ten years ago, I don't know if I would have said that, but right now, it's like there's an awesome band every time you turn around, and you know, it's a hard time for competition, but it's a great time to be a singer.
BCSE: Right. Well, I think that you will find that you have a very loyal fan base.
GP: Yeah, and that's the other thing, is we do have a group of people that have really stuck with us over the years. I mean, I think we were before being a geek was kind of cool, and you know, before you could make a movie about a guy like Steve Jobs. You know, we were geeks, before geeks were okay to be.
GP: [chuckles]. You know, I think for our audience, who a lot of them were a little like us, they were, there's a certain loyalty to that.
BCSE: Absolutely. Well, I know I am looking forward to it. I can't wait to see you guys on stage.
GP: Thank you. It's going to be a lot of fun.
BCSE: It really is, and I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Like I said, I've been a fan for a long time, so it's truly a delight.
GP: Well, thank you. Please say hi at the show.
BCSE: Definitely, definitely. We'll quote some Monty Python together. [chuckles].
GP: Sounds good. [chuckles].
Toad the Wet Sprocket hit the stage on Friday, November 1 at 8:00 p.m. at The Wilbur Theatre, which is located in Boston’s historic theater district. Tickets are available now through The Wilbur box office.