Interview with Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket
Toad the Wet Sprocket will grace the stage at the Belly Up Tavern in San Diego this Thursday night, March 7, 2013. Best known for their 1990’s chart-topping hits like, “All I want”, “Something’s Always Wrong”, “Walk on the Ocean”, and “Fall Down”, Toad has reunited and begun work on their first studio album in over 15 years.
Glen Phillips, vocalist and guitarist, said, “we went through a lot together and have been through many changes. It’s been a strange experience because when we got back together after our first break-up, it didn’t click and we ended up parting ways. This time, when we got back together, we were just happy to see each other again. We put the drama behind us. Everyone is just cool again; that’s why we’re doing another record, that’s why we’re doing more shows together.”
Music entered Glen’s life at a young age. “It came through my brother, actually. My brother turned me onto music and I used to sit in his room and listen to The Beatles and The Wall.” While home fostered his love of music, school was where he gained experience with performing. “I did choir all through school, I was usually one of only two guys who did it. Randy (drummer), did choir with me. Actually though, I’d classify myself as more of a theater person. Todd (guitarist), Dean (bassist), we were all theater kids in high school.”
Glen never thought about a musical career and instead imagined being a teacher. “My father taught Physics at a university and I used to think that was a cool gig. Then, I had a great theater teacher named David Holmes. He had a great attitude about being an artist and a teacher at the same time. He wanted to see people make art and help them at it. So that’s what I dreamed of doing, I dreamed of being a teacher.”
With a chuckle, Glen said, “life is strange. When the band happened, it was initially just a high-school band that started when I was 16. By the time I was 18, we had been signed.” Toad the Wet Sprocket found success, but it was not for the stereotypical reasons. “In the 1990’s, everyone was competing to be edgy. You had to be rock or goth or metal. The kind of music we made wasn’t there at that time. We were authentically vulnerable at time when not many bands were doing that.”
Glen recalls that at festivals alongside alternative rock bands like Green Day, Toad the Wet Sprocket was the unique act. “Early on, I guess you could consider our music authentically awkward. But it wasn’t a bad thing because life is like that. Life is awkward; you feel too strongly about certain things and are trying to figure stuff out. Our music was about asking those life-questions. It was about those moments when you’re lost and trying to find your way.”
Who would have guessed that after nearly two decades, the songs that Glen Phillips wrote would still be toured. In blending the new with the old, Toad the Wet Sprocket continues foster happiness in the fans and bring them a kind of music that can only be described as beautifully authentic.