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Music / Toad the Wet Sprocket

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An American alternative rock band formed in 1986 and active through the mid-90s, best known for their Top 40 hit "All I Want". Their sound can best be described as a warm, relaxed rock style with some country and folk influence, although they do have some heavier songs under their belt. Their best-selling album, Coil, reached #19 on the US Top 200 list.

The band broke up in 1998, although they embarked on several small reunion tours in the following years. In 2010, the band announced a return to full-time recording and touring, and released their 2013 album New Constellation independently by way of a very successful Kickstarter project.


Band members:

  • Glen Phillips – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin, keyboards (1986–)
  • Todd Nichols – lead guitar, backing vocals, mandolin (1986–)
  • Dean Dinning – bass, backing vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar (1986–)
  • Randy Guss – drums, backing vocals (1986–)

Former member:

  • Steve Brown – drums (1986)

Studio discography (notable songs in italics):

  • Bread and Circus (1989)
  • Pale (1990)
  • Fear (1991): "Walk on the Ocean", "All I Want"
  • Dulcinea (1994): "Something's Always Wrong", "Fall Down"
  • In Light Syrup (1995; outtakes and rarities collection): "Good Intentions"
  • Coil (1997): "Come Down"
  • New Constellation (2013): "California Wasted"


This band provides examples of:

  • An Aesop: "Hold Her Down" is an uncharacteristically angry, unsubtle song against rape - the band had concerns it'd be seen as exploitative to release it as a single, but ultimately did so because they felt the message should be heard.
  • Concept Album: Coil, loosely centered around the idea of a simple, spiritual life.
  • Cover Version: of "Hey Bulldog" for the I Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack, and "Rock And Roll All Nite" for Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: They were named after a band from a Monty Python sketch from the album Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album. Eric Idle, who wrote that sketch, came up with the name because he thought it was so dumb, it would never be used by a real band. His reaction to hearing about this band's existence?
    A few years later, I was driving along the freeway in L.A., and a song came on the radio, and the DJ said, "that was by Toad the Wet Sprocket", and I nearly drove off the freeway.
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  • "I Want" Song: "All I Want"
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Type 1. They also get bonus points for being the only line-up.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Pale has this.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Subverted with "Jam". The title does not appear until the actual song ends; then one of the band members says "Jam!"
  • Protest Song: While they're not usually a political band, their song "Crazy Life" laments the arrest and imprisonment of Native American activist Leonard Peltier.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Pale is this in spades. Its a highly underrated album that was overshadowed by the loud grunge noises that came out just years later, then overshadowed by the future commercial success the band had.
  • Religion Rant Song: "Fly From Heaven" is an interesting meta take, as it's written from the perspective of Jesus' brother James lamenting how Paul has twisted Jesus' teachings.
  • The Something Song: "Reincarnation Song"