from the Oct. 5, 1989 Rolling Stone:
The tensions are
mounting in the Los Angeles rehearsal
room where the four members of Toad the Wet Sprocket are shooting
their first video clip. It seems some bigwig at the band's new
label, Columbia Records, wants to have them lip-sync their moody
rocker "One Little Girl", but the musicians are dead set against
taking such a direct approach to their song.
The young band is
used to charting its own creative
course, and the members feel a little weird about making a
$25,000 video for a song that last year cost them less than $100
to record. Formed by schoolmates aching to escape the suburban
claustrophobia of Santa Barbara, California, the band started
three years ago with no real professional aspirations in mind-
just friends playing for fun.
Appearing under such
names as Three Young Studs and Glen,
the foursome became the house band at a local watering hole
called the Shack. "We never got paid for playing there," says
Randy Guss, the elfin drummer who provides a steady snare behind
singer and guitarist Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols and
bassist Dean Dinning. "The owner would sometimes give us free beer
and peanuts, so we played for peanuts, because we weren't old
enough to drink."
During these gigs,
they forged their own musical identity,
performing tight yet atmospheric rock. Their enigmatic personality
developed even further after they took their unusual name from an
obscure Monty Python skit that lampooned rock-news reports. A
local singer asked them to back him during a recording session at
a sixteen-track garage studio, and in return for their work, they
were allowed to cut two of their own songs; they later raised $650
to record eight more tracks. Last year duped cassettes of the
album on their own imprint became the hottest item at independent
record stores around Santa Barbara. The buzz spread quickly south
to Los Angeles, where major labels began vying to sign the band.
Columbia came out
on top, agreeing to release the original
$650 album, Bread and Circus, without any new production.
Surrendering creative control helped Columbia catch Toad, and the
finished clip for "One Little Girl" has won the band's seal
approval - there's no lip-syncing and only vague, fleeting images
of the four musicians jamming around the rehearsal hall.
"If a song is
ambiguous, you can bring out a feeling in
somebody else," says Glen Phillips. "If they're allowed to read
between the lines and put what they want there, they'll get a lot
more out of it than if you give them everything."
(Author - JEFFREY