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The Toadies Hop Ahead

by Nancy Dunham on August 28, 2014

Vaden Todd Lewis and The Toadies still have one show left of the tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Rubberneck,” the band’s 1994 break out album that was released August 23.
The band will play an “almost-acoustic” night on Friday, Sept. 12 with guest Rhett Miller, front man of the Old 97’s. Then they’ll jump back into playing “Rubberneck,” front to back, on Saturday, September 13 at Dia De Los Toadies Festival, Panther Island Pavilion, Fort Worth, Texas. The Old 97s, UME, Quaker City Night Hawks, and Pleasant Grove are also on the bill.

“This has been the first time we’ve played “Rubberneck” top to bottom,” said Lewis of the current tour, adding that all the songs on the album have made various set lists throughout the years. “We did go back and listen to the record extensively, from top to bottom, and nitpick the vibe and the nuances. It was a pretty cool experiment, [rekindling] the same urgency and kick-ass feeling” as when the songs were first recorded.

That vibe is also heard on the five previously unreleased bonus tracks on the remastered CD and vinyl editions the band released in April.

Although Toadies’ loyalists still mourn original members including bass player Lisa Umbarger – whose departure caused Lewis to temporarily disband The Toadies – Lewis underscores that the current line up has been together for seven years.

“When the band broke up in 2001 I was fed up with the business especially after Lisa bailed,” said Lewis. “I said ‘Fuck it. Forget this whole thing.’ But in six months or less I knew I couldn’t stand not doing music.”

Lewis returned to music with The Burden Brothers and other projects. In 2006 he was writing music for the Burden Brothers and discovered it sounded “very Toadies. Old school Toadies. So I called the guys in the Toadies to see if they would be down with a record and tour and they were.”

Tours and albums including “No Deliverance” in 2008 and Play.Rock.Music in 2012 followed.

Lewis and his band mates make music with the energy of the 1994 Toadies, but plenty of other things have changed in the past 20 years.

“This is real life now,” said Lewis noting the maturation of the band members led to a more measured approach to touring. “We usually play in three week increments….This tour was supposed to be over a month ago, but we are just really enjoying it so we decided to hit some more markets.”

And the passion is still there.

“It’s great because people are showing up and enthusiastic,” he said noting a 2015 album is under consideration. “That’s lead us to discussing another tour. We’ll see what happens.”


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