Since their formation in 1989, the Toadies have achieved a solid fan base. Many fans remain stoked on the band’s raw yet catchy brand of alternative rock, along with the intense energy that front-man Todd Lewis exudes in live performance. But if you saw the Toadies in person, you would probably never guess that they would be the ones playing their music onstage.
“We play at these music festivals and see the other guys with their stylin’ clothes and tattoos, and we just don’t really fit well into that whole thing. Many times, people think we are the relatives of other bands playing,” guitarist Clark Vogeler said in a phone interview with the UVU Review.
Yet, as anyone who has seen the Toadies play live can attest, their looks are deceiving.
All throughout the set, lead singer Todd Lewis somehow manages to scream his guts out without losing his voice. There is little to no mindless “how is everybody doing?” banter in between the songs, so that, as Vogeler puts it “we can let the music do the talking.” It is a constant bombardment of authentic rock that unapologetically knocks you out of concert complacency.
Many more people are now likely familiar with The Toadies because their hit song “Possum Kingdom” is on Guitar Hero 2. Speaking for himself, Vogeler claims to be the Guitar Hero champion in the band and crew.
“It’s funny because they actually make it a lot harder to play in the video game than it is to play in real life,” Vogeler said.
The Toadies have come back from a very long hiatus since their release of Hell Below/Stars Above, an album that, despite being filled with great rock gems, failed commercially in large part because of their record company’s apathetic promotion at the time. The fact that they have stuck together and returned to music led to the name of the latest album, No Deliverance.
“We thought it reflected the sorts of experiences we’ve gone through. As a band, we’ve given up on making music a few times over the years, but we always seemed to be pulled back into it somehow,” Vogeler said.
In comparison to their previous albums, No Deliverance retains The Toadies’ characteristic sound. It is a sound that, although heavy, betrays a sophisticated cynicism of sorts, an often sarcastic tone of a musician who does not take himself too seriously but still wants to rock out hard.
Yet, while the new album retains many of these same qualities, it also pushes the envelope further. A play-through of the album makes the listener realize that the Toadies are only cranking up the energy more rather than going soft.
“Its interesting to me that as we’ve gotten older we’ve gotten harder,” Vogeler said. “You would expect the opposite, but if you listen to the new album it’s pretty heavy.”
What sets the Toadies apart from so many other bands is the fact that they have sustained for so long. The solid composition of a previous album, Rubberneck, combined with the tenacity of the band has served to create this longevity. It serves them well, as the band has established a sizable fan following.
“That’s how it has seemed to work out. A lot of people just love Rubberneck as a whole album, and a lot of the younger generation has been turned onto it as well so that when we play there are a lot of stoked people. Especially in Texas — it’s nuts,” Vogeler said. The Toadies hail from Fort Worth Texas, and are naturally quite popular in that state.
The Toadies are coming to play at The Depot in Salt Lake City on April 21, and the cost is only $15. If you’re one who has become disillusioned by predictable and mundane concerts, then seeing The Toadies may be just what you need to restore your faith.