Toad the Wet Sprocket
Named in honor of a sketch by the Monty Python comedy troupe, this 4-piece band of Santa Barbara, CA high school cronies came to be known as Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986. To this day, their mellow, melodic folk-pop sound made them one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the early 1990s.
Singer Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss spent time honing their skills in area bars. Then, in 1988, they entered a nearby studio and came out with their debut LP, Bread and Circus. Recorded in just 8 days and for a cost of $650, this inaugural recording was originally sold in Santa Barbara area record stores as a home- made cassette. While the band was recording their second album, Pale (16 days & $6,000) they caught the attention of the LA offices of Columbia Records. After agreeing to the band's request to reissue Bread and Circus only in its original form — without any alterations or remixes – Columbia Records signed Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Then in 1991, Toad the Wet Sprocket's commercial breakthrough came as the single "All I Want" (which had nearly been left off the 1991 album Fear) became a Top 20 hit. Gavin's airplay reports also listed it as number one. After "Fear" was certified platinum, another single from the LP, "Walk on the Ocean," also became a successful track for the band. They played over 300 shows on the Fear tour, a two-year marathon ending in throat surgery for Phillips' overused pipes.
Three years later, Toad returned with Dulcinea, generating yet another Top 40 hit (not to mention a six week run as number one on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks) with the single "Fall Down." Dulcinea then also sold enough copies to reward Toad with another platinum certification.
1995 brought In Light Syrup, a collection of unreleased material, B-Sides and movie soundtrack songs. Featuring "Good Inten- tions," another hit single that's also been featured on the platinum selling Friends TV show soundtrack, In Light Syrup recently became certified gold.
Coil, Toad the Wet Sprocket's fifth proper LP, followed in 1997. Then in July, 1998, the group parted ways. Even so, in 1999, PS (A Toad Retrospective) was released. In 2004, Columbia/Legacy released Toad's live CD Welcome Home, Live from the Arlington Theater.
Since 2006, the band has played to enthusiastic crowds of all ages across the country, proving that great music truly is timeless.
Jason Gallagher, front man for Leroy Justice, is talking about Above The Weather – the band’s first major label release, coming in April 2013 on the Elm City Music label with distribution by Caroline/Capitol Music Group.
“We felt that if we wanted to keep playing music, we would have to explore new ways to write, arrange, and produce songs. The result is an album where we pushed our limits creatively, while still living in the world of rock and roll we love.”
The album title, he explains, “was inspired by the weather itself. There was a time when it seemed to rain every time we played a show – it became a running joke.”
Above The Weather is the next level for Leroy Justice, and a potential career breakthrough for the New York City quintet with roots in the Wyoming Valley (Scranton/Wilkes Barre) region of Pennsylvania. Here is a multi–hued portrait of a band that reaches back to the American musical bedrock – and the best qualities of the American character – to create contemporary rock music that may question our troubled present but also points to the better world that may yet be possible.
It’s a diverse and dynamic set that showcases Leroy Justice’s musical maturation since the release of The Loho Sessions in 2009. The new album also introduces 22–year–old guitar wunderkind Justin Mazer, who makes his disc debut with Leroy Justice on Above The Weather.
“The Valley is our home,” says Jason. “The music scene there is so alive with amazing players and bands. We knew Justin through friends, and after playing with him just once, we knew he was the perfect fit.”
The ten songs that comprise Above The Weather were subject to extensive pre– production rehearsals in the band’s own Pennsylvania rehearsal room. Jason Gallagher explains: “It's a converted bakery – there’s still a gigantic oven the size of a studio apartment, and there was no heat or a/c until we installed a heater. But the room sounds great.”
As album producer, Jason worked closely with two important non–members.
John Siket, credited with mix engineering and additional production, has participated in every Leroy Justice album since their 2006 debut Revolution’s Son in addition to working on projects with the Dave Matthews Band and Yo La Tengo.
Bil Emmons, whose credits include Lykke Li and Sonic Youth, came aboard as the band’s new front–of–house sound mixer but soon applied his talents as chief engineer for the Above The Weather sessions.
On Above The Weather, Leroy Justice displays the kind of songwriting and arranging skills that have characterized great American rock bands from Neil Young & Crazy Horse to the Allman Brothers Band. Songs like “Up On The Mountain,” “Blue Eyed Blues,” “So Long,” and “Two Trees” are destined to become staples of Leroy Justice’s compelling live show, an emotion–packed thrill ride shared by musicians and listeners alike.
That commitment to a collective musical experience is one that this group shares with such like–minded acts as the North Mississippi All Stars, Blues Traveler, and moe. – all of whom have been warmly supportive of Leroy Justice, sharing stage time, advice, and encouragement.
The highway calls, the crowds await...and Leroy Justice is ready to roll with Above The Weather.