Toad the Wet Sprocket: "We Were Never the Cool Kids"

Categories: Concert Preview

What can newcomers expect from a Toad show?
We'll play the hits and some favorite album tracks, as well as some tunes off the new record. No grand gestures, really. We'll make sure to tune up and stretch before we go on stage. Or not.

You toured with Counting Crows back in the day. Did that make this double bill a natural?
They're old friends. I mentioned to Adam (Duritz) that we'd be happy to play some shows with them and next thing I knew we were heading out for the summer. We couldn't be happier. It's going to be a great tour.

You have so many projects you personally juggle simultaneously. So what is the current status of WPA, Plover, your solo career etc. Will you still maintain projects on the side?
I'd like to be better at keeping the other projects up. I'm seriously overdue for a solo studio album, so that's next on the schedule. I hope we can make time for another WPA and RemoteTreeChildren record as well. One of the main reasons I was able to go back to Toad is that I have other projects. I like a lot of variety. I need changes of scenery to keep my creativity active, and Toad is just one part of that.

What's next for Toad? Another album perhaps?
We'll see. There are no firm plans. We may do another, but I have plenty of other work to do before we get to that.

Have you found that your former fans are returning to the fold despite your lengthy layoff? Are they still coming to the concerts, requesting the old hits?
They seem happy to see us. And they're singing along to the new songs, which means a lot to us. It's great to have people cheer when we start playing "California Wasted," and have the energy go up a notch for something new. They're happy to hear the hits too, but that's the good thing about Toad -- we were never the cool kids, never the critical darlings. The only reason to like us was because the songs meant something to you. That's still the only reason, and so the audience has been willing to listen to the new record and appreciate it. If they couldn't move forward with us, there'd be no reason to keep doing this. I'm not done as a writer, and we're not done as a band.

Do you feel like Toad set a high bar for itself? And if so, is it a challenge to meet the high bar you set early on?

We're just trying to write songs that feel authentic. That's the bar. The rest is just window dressing, really. If you can write a song that makes people feel something that's both new and deeply familiar, then you've done your job.

Toad the Wet Sprockett perform with the Counting Crows, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 12, at Hard Rock Live, One Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost between $59 and $369. Visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.

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