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Albuquerque Journal interview with Dean Dinning
Copyright 1994
Francine Maher
Albuquerque Journal

(Francine was a member of the Toad fan mailing list and emailed a transcript of her interview with Dean to the list.)

-- transcript of an interview with Toad's Dean Dinning follows --

FM: Well, are you ready to be drilled again?

DD: Sure, just try and make it as painless as possible. (laughter)

FM: OKAY The new album, this one is very different from Fear, is that done
on purpose? Did you try to go for a different approach this time?

DD: Well, I think we learned a lot when we made Fear, the songs were
embellished a lot, but that didn't necessarily make them better. In fact they
got better when we took them out on the road and started playing them in
front of audiences in a more stripped down form and so I think this record is
like more reflective of the last tour, you know, and the sound we were
getting there.

FM: Do you feel like you are getting more attention with this album than with
any of the others? To me it seems like your name has been coming up more...

DD: attention?

FM: yeah, more people seem to know about your band...

DD: Well I guess that's good

FM: Well, it may just be Albuquerque is finally finding out about your band
DD: UM Gosh, maybe we are, um it doesn't seem like we're (laughter) like
we're on MTV as much as we were with the last record just because you know,
MTV is a lot different now than it was back then

FM: Right...

DD: and um it used to be that, you know, I'd turn it on and see ourselves,
you know, accidentally a couple of times a day and um, I haven't noticed it that much, but, you know, I think, just the longer you stay around, naturally, people are going to know about you and you know, we don't really have that much national press, but i guess our longevity is something we have on our side , people will find out about us eventually. if we just stick around.

FM: The Rock and Roll party all night cd's...

DD: Yeah!

FM: What's up with those, are those meant to be kind of a secret, they're not
really played on the radio are they?

DD: no, not unless somebody at a radio station has signed up to be on the
mailing list, and buys one just like everyone else, they're not like service
to radio, for airplay, they're just kind of a little gifty we do for the
mailing list slash fan club people the people we want to keep in touch with
and treat a little specially and hopeful you know, who will remain fans of
the band for you know, for a long time hopefully.

FM: Okay, speaking of fan clubs, do you all know anything about the internet?

DD: Um, I'm aware of it. Um, I haven't gone in and read anything because
that would be like uh, like airing dirty laundry or something, or reading
about your dirty laundry (laughter) I don't know it's just kind of weird that
this stuff exists to talk about you.

FM: It's pretty interesting because there are people on there every single
day, talking about the band.

DD: WHAT do they talk about?

FM: Lyrics, songs, meeting you guys, music, complete reviews of the show,
sometimes even arguments about lyrics and what they meant..


FM: Gosh, just..

DD: The one thing I heard about that was on the internet thing that someone
told me about was that somebody went on there and wrote, after we had gone on
the Letterman show, they went on and kind of like gave a critique of our
appearance on Letterman, it was like "God they looked really tired and
like they weren't really into it" and all that kind of (laughter) stuff and
it was like, God, that's the last thing you want to hear.

FM: Right...

DD: you know its like, we had come into New York on a, you know, sleeping on
a bus that morning and we had a show to do that night and so we were going
back and forth between the Letterman show and sound check for our own concert
at the uh, Roseland, and its like, YOU try it.... laughter

FM: Right...well,

DD: We're human

FM: Well, someone came to your defense, I think it was a friend, came on and
said that and explained it all

DD: Yeah!

FM: so that was nice

DD: i thought, I mean we thought, we all were looking at it and going...
cause I don't know if you saw the performance we did on Letterman with THEIR
band, when we did All I Want..

FM: no, I didn't

DD: which, it was about three years ago, it was like we had, we HAD to do it
with their band playing with us and with all them singing too


DD: and it wasn't' the same, you know, we always wanted to do it by ourselves
as a band, and why couldn't we just go on and play by ourselves, and this
time we finally got to and we were all pretty stoked on it like "yeah, that's
the way it should go," you know, it actually sounded pretty good. so were
kind of going "yeah, i wish the other one had sounded that good", "boy
haven't we come a long way" and then you read this thing on the internet and
you go "ugh! oy! i should have smiled more!"

FM: (laughter) you know, that's probably the only thing on there that has
ever been negative, i don't even remember if it was really NEGATIVE, it's a
pretty positive thing, there are people on there every day, it's kind of

DD: yeah, i know

FM: I get a copy everyday and it's huge and i just can't get through it all

DD: yeah, and plus on the internet its just the way its' set up,

FM: uh huh

DD: you have to read through a lot of bullshit to get to the good stuff, so

FM: so none of you guys ever plan on getting on there or you know, dropping a

DD: I uh, I think, there's like something in the back of my mind tells me
that would be a good easy way to answer fan mail if you ever really wanted
to, to just kind of say "hey, i'm gonna be hooking into this thing like once
a month and I'm gonna answer like 30 you know, short inquiries or something,
you know, sometimes you just get people wanting to know SO much that its
daunting, you know, so if you were... if one of us were able to go on line
and answer, or talk to people i think that would be a great way to keep the
communication going and you know, we get mail all of the time and we always
read it, but sometimes its hard to get motivated to write back to some one,
even if they have a really good story that they've told, but we try..

FM: this is really a cool way to do it, you can type right in there

DD: yeah! it's more immediate that way

FM: i think that everybody would be really thrilled too

HIM; it's like you know, i just got like a computer this year and got myself
hooked into the networks and stuff and i've always been a terrible letter
writer all my life, but i have no problem with e-mail

FM: right

DD: for some reason

FM: it's weird like that

DD: it's really motivating some how, maybe just because its fun, its like
new wave and 90's

FM: (laughter) and it's quick

DD: it's very quick

FM: you don't have to drop it in the mailbox, you don't have to buy a stamp

MIM: Yeah, no, it's real quick, i like that

FM: that would be cool, that would be something I could tell them because
they all know i'm doing this

DD: really?

FM: yeah, i'm sure people will want the details

DD: (laughter)

FM: Well, there's a lot of interpretation of lyrics and some arguing..

DD: Right

FM: your lyrics are very intense, its not what you hear in a lot of bands...

DD: right

FM: they're always really great and intense, do you do that on purpose, is it
a way to get a message across...a way to get people to think, or is that just
what you end up writing about?

DD: i think in a way its a way to encourage people to get their own message
because the lyrics are vague enough that they can mean a lot of different
things to a lot of different people. and um the one thing that i think has
been avoided, and quite successfully I think,, is getting too specific and
too situational you know, um, i don't know, it's just kind of, it's great to
do music that has lyrics that affect people, its a powerful thing, some of
the letters we get about songs like hold her down, or before you were born,
you know, some of the really intense ones, you know, they bring tears to your
eyes, the stories that some people have about these songs and their lives is
just really moving. I don't think anyone should be fighting over what its
about i think it would be fun to see how many different meanings you can get
out of a song, you know, and have them all affect you personally.

FM: right, but I guess what they want to know is what...

DD: what specifically inspired it...

FM: yeah, where did it come from...

HIM, yeah, yeah...and sometimes if someone asks that, it's really up to glen
if he wants to tell them or not because sometimes its just too personal,
when you're dealing with lyrics that are emotional like these sometimes you
don't, you know, you want to protect peoples privacy and not say, even
within your own group of friends

FM: sure

DD: if um, if somebody were to read something that would pinpoint that you
were inspired to write some song because of some thing that happened to them,
you know, there could be all kinds of weird tension

FM: yeah, that could be real sticky

DD: yeah

FM: I read an article that you were the only all male band invited to play at
the national organization for women's rally

DD: yeah! that was the big NOW rally held on the mall in washington for
reproductive freedom

FM: and why do you think, do you know why you were the only all male band? Do
you think it had to do with your song writing?

DD: I'm not sure whether it worked out that way, um because of some of the
songs we've written, we've had kind of a thing going with women's issues from
the very beginning, one of the first, well one of the first i guess, issue
related songs we ever had was a song called one little girl which was on
bread and circus. and you know, people got that one and we sort of became,
we sort of decided , you know, we get asked to do a lot of charity work and
things like that and we got, we decided early on that we were going to stick
to one and well, one mainly locally, back when we were local anyway and we
started working with the santa barbara rape crisis center... so we would do
benefits for them and give money to them, you know, locally, its kind of ,
with hold her down on fear and it just kind of grew outward from there until
more people around the country were hearing about our work with either the
santa barbara rape crisis center or having tables from rape crisis centers at the shows when we were on tour and you know, our work with amnesty
international and things like that so, it was really just kind of , it just
seemed like a pretty natural extension of that. IT was a great thing to be a
part of

FM: yeah, that's really cool, do you know anything about rock for choice?

DD: we've done a rock for choice benefit in L.A. we played with like Dada
and some other people

FM: One last question, the fans that meet you always seem to have a great
report coming back

DD: Yeah

FM: of how receptive you guys are is that something you try to do on purpose?
do you usually try to stick around after a show trying to meet people and
talk to people?

DD: ummmm, yeah! no, its just fun, its fun to meet people to see whose
getting your music and you know i've, i don't know, sometimes i think about
when i was, well, i can't even say when I was younger, just the way i am now,
the way i feel when i go to concerts you know, and how much i'd really like
to meet that person, i sort of just project that into these people and you
kind of think "you know this is kind of cool, not only can i just go out
there and show them a little bit more of who i am than just that person on
stage, " you know you're always thinkin that people have this picture of you
either from the records or what you play or what you say, or what you write
and then your stage persona, you know, how ever you are, brooding or wacky
or whatever you are and they have this one image of who you are and the only
way to make, I think, to humanize, one good way to humanize yourself is just
to be normal and talk to people and make friends, it's really not that big a
deal and um, sometimes you have some weird experiences

FM: (laughter)

DD: you know, with so called fans, you know there's' a difference, some
people are there for the moment and some people are really there for the
music, and some like, one time there was this girl who was totally in mine
and glen's faces, just saying "oh god, don't you guys love this, don't you
guys just love being pressed by the crowd and all these people are just going
crazy, and isn't this just the greatest.." and we're just like uHHHH go away,
you know, we just want to meet some people (laughter) this is NOT beatlemania

FM: right, it must be nuts. you guys are doing a college thing this time
around, and those are usually all-ages

DD: yeah!

FM: do you end up getting a lot of younger girls that are maybe just there for
the teeny-bopper thing of it all?

DD: um, you know, I don't know, I think that... we have a large female
audience, its kind of weird, when we, just in general its been a thing that
i've noticed we've played some big radio festivals right, and when um, like
henry rollins is on, like all the bare chested burly guys come to the front
and their like "fuck yeah, rollins!!" (laughter) right? and then when we
play, all those burly guys go back and get bored in their seats and all their
girlfriends come up and watch us, or maybe they're on their burly boyfriends
shoulders you know, but its just like, there's this change that happens,

FM: just because of the nature of things i guess

DD: yeah i guess, i think its just maybe something in the music or something
that projects out of us, maybe don't know. we're not like a scary

FM: uh huh

DD: (laughter) you know?, its like I hate to use the word but i'd have to
say that people probably think that we're nice, whether that's good or not, I
don't know

, (laughter)

FM: I think maybe for women, it seems that you are very aware of things,
aware of issues

DD: Yeah!

FM: Some bands really are scary

DD: Yeah!

FM: I wouldn't want to stand up in the front and watch Henry Rollins right at
the front of the stage

DD: Right! Chances are, you know if people come up to the front at one of
our shows, you know , we're liable to go back stage and come out with a plate
full of cheese and pass it around, that's kind of just more the way things

FM: Do you ever get any time to hang out at all? Do you ever get a chance to
stop and hang out or is it town after town after town after town?

DD: Well usually its town after town after town but when ever we have a day
off, its never in a fun city like New York or something like that, its
invariably in like the proverbial like "bum fuck iowa" kinda place where you
know you have to get in a cab and go ten miles out of town just to go see a
movie or something and you're there because your playing at the college, but
we can always find things to do, we don't really tend to go out to clubs and
stuff, its kind of the last thing you want to do is go to a smoke filled bar
when you've been playing in smoke filled bars all your life, but um we
recreate, (laughter) definitely. sometimes you just have to be motivated and
reminded that there's cool stuff to do everywhere. and there are places that
we like to go and some days you just want to stay in your hotel room all day
with the tv on and call home sometimes that's know..

FM: a great day

DD: a great day!

FM: DO you ever get to hang out in Albuquerque at all?

DD: I've been to Albuquerque before because I have two older brothers who
live in Farmington New Mexico

FM: ewww

DD: I know, its gross, but i've been through albuquerque a number of times,
I haven't spent that much time there, but its probably a little nicer than

FM: One last question, everybody knows where the name came from, the big
question is...

DD: WHY???

FM: why?

DD: gosh, what people have to remember its like, when we started this band,
when we first started thinking about it, we were just kids, three of us were
16 and glen was barely born yet, (laughter) it was like, todd and randy and i
got together to record a song for a class as a final project and i had this
monty python record and we were a band but we were just screwing around so we
called it toad the wet sprocket, cuz, you didn't have to call it anything, but
was fun, and i could draw up little logos of frogs jumping through bicycles
and droplets of water spraying everywhere, randy still has the original toad
logo that i drew on a napkin at like carrows or something some restaurant in
the middle of the night and "here, we're toad the wet sprocket" ah, we were
constantly thinking of other names for ourselves and i just wanted to see it
in print once, just once, so when we had our first gig, umm, we told the
owner to put toad the wet sprocket in the paper and we were going to change
it, and um, unfortunately we either never thought of anything better or we
were just too damn lazy to change it, but i've thought about it a lot since
then, it kind of in a weird way, goes along with kind of the overall picture
of who we are i think, cuz, this thing that we do is really just about music,
we don't really have an image, we don't get like tons of press, there's no
fad or fashion about it, we're not COOL, the only reason that people like us
is the music, and that's the way we feel about it too, we put the priority on
the music and nothing else really matters, the name, who cares? getting on
the cover of rolling stone, screw it, it'll never happen, what's important
is, the 4 of us together making this music and if people don't like the
music, there's no reason for them to like us, there's nothing else there

FM: can I ask how old you guys are

DD: well, three of us are 27 and glen is 24 i think.