This story is featured in CityBeat's June 14 print edition.
When Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “All You Want 2023 Tour” arrives at the Taft Theatre later this month, the seats will surely be filled with fans ready to sing along. MTV darlings in the early ‘90s, the band (made up of Santa Barbara, California, pals who met in high school) produced a handful of smooth, indie-pop hits, grabbing national attention with the catchy “All I Want” from their platinum-selling third album, fear.
They followed that soulful confection with the darker, if lilting, “Walk on the Ocean.” Not content to be a one-album wonder within a market dominated by grunge, the band released Dulcinea in 1994, which produced two more hits — “Fall Down” and “Something’s Always Wrong.”
After the next album, 1997’s Coil, failed to hold the public’s ear, the band broke up, focusing on solo projects while still occasionally doing short tours. In 2013, they released New Constellation, a Kickstarter-funded collection of new music on their own label, Abe’s Records. They’ve been making music together ever since, including the 2021’s album Starting Now.
The group’s goofy name (swiped from a Monty Python skit) hasn’t aged as well as the songs, even for lead singer Glen Phillips. In a 2018 interview with Stereogum, he admits, “I don’t love it. It was a joke and it’s a good lesson in how … if you make a joke it might just stay with you.” But he’s made his peace with it, adding, “It’s what we are, at this point.”
Shows on the tour offer a blend of the biggest hits and deep cuts. If you think you’ve forgotten the lyrics to those songs, just wait for the opening chords. The words will come flooding back.
Toad the Wet Sprocket plays the Taft Theatre at 8 p.m. June 26. Doors open at 7 p.m. Info: tafttheatre.org.
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