Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Toad the Wet Sprocket: Hot Number

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Toad the Wet Sprocket: Hot Number

Article excerpt

THE LAST TIME that Toad the Wet Sprocket recorded an album live in the studio was in 1989.

Fresh from making a debut album, "Bread and Circus," for the miniscule budget of $650, the band was not yet officially signed by Columbia Records and was virtually unknown outside of its Santa Barbara, Calif., home base. It knew the second record it was about to make, "Pale," would have modest expectations to go with another modest budget.

Now it's five years and one platinum record (the 1991 release, "Fear") later, and the contrast between 1989 and 1994 did not go unnoticed when the four members of Toad the Wet Sprocket decided to return to their old ways of recording live in the studio for "Dulcinea," the band's recently released fourth record.

"Occasionally, thoughts would creep in like, wow, we're going to put this out and people are going to listen to it this time," said guitarist Todd Nichols.

"Before, you know, we're putting it out and we'll be lucky if someone hears it. And this time, we knew right away that a certain amount of people would hear it right of the bat. So that for a while freaked me out. It didn't affect the songwriting or how we operated. But just on a personal level, there were some worries there."

With "Dulcinea," Nichols and his bandmates - singer/guitarist Glen Phillips, bassist Dean Dinning and drummer Randy Guss - have fashioned an album that fits firmly within a framework of medium-tempo, folk-tinged pop, spiced by the occasional harder-edged tune. It's a sound the band began to forge in 1986 with frequent gigs at a Santa Barbara club called the Shack that only booked groups playing original music.

"Bread and Circus" was recorded mainly as a way to share some of their music with friends. To the band's surprise, the tape caught on locally, and soon copies had drifted south to Los Angeles, where it began circulating through record-company offices. …

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