Toad The Wet Sprocket
The first time I heard the name “Toad the Wet Sprocket” and the beginning drum beats of “All I Want” played, I was immediately a fan. Can you instantaneously fall in love with a band off of their name and 5 seconds of a song? In the case of me in 1992, and Toad The Wet Sprocket, yes.
The name “Toad the Wet Sprocket” came from a Monty Python comedy sketch called “Rock Notes,” in which a new journalist delivers a nonsensical report: “Rex Stardust, lead electric triangle with Toad the Wet Sprocket, has had to have an elbow removed following their recent successful worldwide tour of Finland. Flamboyant ambidextrous Rex apparently fell off the back of a motorcycle.”
A band name off a Monty Python sketch? Heck yes!
Toad the Wet Sprocket formed in 1986, and consists of vocalist and guitarist Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss. As the band’s first gig approached, they had not yet chosen a name. The members jokingly adopted “Toad the Wet Sprocket” because it was “hilarious”. Glen Philips later said the band name was “a joke that went on too long…and it was probably meant to be temporary at the time”. Their first album “Fear” was released in 1991, and their two singles “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean” reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song “Good Intentions” was produced for the TV show Friends, but not released as part of the track list on Fear.
“Nothing’s so loud as hearing when we lie
Truth is not kind, but you’ve said neither am I”
This song doesn’t exactly come across as a love song, but it’s part of the love story of Taylor and I. We met on an internet dating site in 2004. Our first date went well, but our second date was very awkward. He probably would have written me off (since most guys were scared of dating divorced moms), but on our second date he let me borrow his Toad the Wet Sprocket greatest hits CD.
Because our date didn’t go very well, and we were more interested in other people at the time, we didn’t communicate much for the next two months. I got a call from Taylor asking me on another date, and I was sure it was some kind of pity date so he could get his CD back. But he was brave – he agreed to go to my extended family’s Fourth of July BBQ (after not seeing me for almost 3 months). My family loved him, we felt some chemistry, and the rest was history. Would we have gotten together without Toad The Wet Sprocket? The world may never know.
Eric Idle, the sketch’s original performer, talked about the band’s name in a 1999 performance: “I once wrote a sketch about rock musicians and I was trying to think of a name that would be so silly nobody would ever use it, or dream it could ever be used. So I wrote the words “Toad the Wet Sprocket”. And a few years later, I was driving along the freeway in L.A., and a song came on the radio, and the DJ said, “that was by Toad the Wet Sprocket”, and I nearly drove off the freeway.”