Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29: Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket- "All I Want" - is 43-years-old today.


Toad the Wet Sprocket released five studio albums, two live EPs, a rarities compilation, a posthumous live album and a hits compilation for Columbia Records. The band was also featured on a number of soundtracks and un-catalogued singles and tapes.

Glen Phillips was born in Santa Barbara, California, and began making music at age 14. He began Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986, at the age of 16. By 1988, they had signed with Columbia Records and recorded five albums and toured extensively until 1998.

The band drew its name from the Eric Idle monologue "Rock Notes" on Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album from 1980, although the name is featured in a parody of The Old Grey Whistle Test on Rutland Weekend Television in 1975.

(Continued below video and Amazon portal ...)

(Press album cover for direct links to Amazon):
Playlist: The Very Best of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Members of Toad The Wet Sprocket were (are) Phillips as singer and guitarist, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss. The band enjoyed chart success in the 1990s with the singles "Walk on the Ocean," "All I Want," "Something's Always Wrong," and "Fall Down," among others.

The band's first public appearance was at an open-mic talent contest in September 1986. The band lost the competition. Toad the Wet Sprocket's first album was released in 1989.

The band broke up in 1998 to pursue other projects and have not released a new studio album since 1997, but continued to tour the U.S. as a band in small-venue, short-run tours each summer starting in 2006.

During his time in Toad the Wet Sprocket, Phillips was involved in a pop rock project called Flapping, Flapping. Three years later, Phillips released his first solo album, Abulum, which was a change from the sound that Toad the Wet Sprocket was known. This was followed up by a self-released live album and solo touring, along with a reunion tour with his former Toad band-mates.

In 2004, Phillips, with the band Nickel Creek, released a long-awaited collaboration as Mutual Admiration Society. The self-titled album had been recorded in 2000 and featured songs written by both Phillips  and as collaborative efforts. 

In 2005, Phillips returned to a major label via Universal Records' imprint Lost Highway Records and released the critically acclaimed Winter Pays For Summer. The album included the radio single "Duck and Cover," but Phillips and the label would part ways due to creative differences.

Phillips released his third solo album, Mr. Lemons in the spring of 2006. In 2007 Phillips reunited with Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek as well as Grant-Lee Phillips and Luke Bulla to perform as part of "The Various & Sundry Tour."

In January 2008, Phillips released an EP with Talk Talk and Peter Gabriel influences titled Secrets of the New Explorers. That same month, Billboard reported that a new "super-group octet" had formed. The origin of the project came via a "Glen Phillips and Friends" evening hosted By the "Sings Like Hell" concert series at Santa Barbara's Lobero Theatre in February of 2007.

The ensemble reunited in Jim Scott's recording studio a year later and by September 2008 the collective settled upon the name, Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.).

In its octet configuration, WPA features Phillips, Sean Watkins on guitar, his sister Sara Watkins on fiddle, Benmont Tench on piano, Luke Bulla on fiddle, Greg Leisz on a variety of instruments, Pete Thomas on drums, and Davey Faragher on  bass. The group also performs as a quintet featuring Phillips, Watkins, Bulla, and bassist Sebastian Steinberg.

The results of the 2008 recording sessions were released as a self-titled album in September 2009.

Phillips has also completed an album with Neilson Hubbard and Garrison Starr under the band name, Plover, released October 23, 2008.

Phillips injured his arm on Oct. 8, 2008 at a friend's house when a glass coffee table he was sitting on collapsed. Phillips had surgery to repair a damaged ulnar nerve and muscle in his left arm. The injury hampered his ability to play guitar during his recovery, but he continued to actively tour despite his injury. Sean Watkins and Jonathan Kingham joined Phillips on the road to provide accompaniment.

In December 2010, Toad The Wet Sprocket announced their official reunion as a full-time working band and hinted at big plans for 2011.


For more about Glen, visit his Website at -

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