The Toadies' Best Album Is Getting Reissued: What's the Band's Legacy Now?

Categories: DFW Music News

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From the Rubberneck album cover.
Yesterday, an announcement was made that The Toadies' major label debut, Rubberneck, will be reissued in April on Kirtland Records. Remastered for CD and vinyl with five unreleased bonus tracks, this is obviously a pretty big deal for longtime fans of the band. The band will head out on an anniversary tour in the spring to promote it as well.

To discuss the band's history and legacy, Eric Grubbs and Darryl Smyers had a little chat about the impact of the record then and now. True to form of previous discussions on records like Too Far to Care and Vulgar Display of Power, they had a lot to say. And yes, the record came out 20 years ago this year.

Eric Grubbs: Rubberneck is getting reissued in April. Are you going to rush out and get the expanded, deluxe 180-gram vinyl reissue on April 1?

Darryl Smyers: Yeah! That and the reissue of [Old 97's] Fight Songs.

EG: Oh, you sarcastic man. I look at the album credentials and you can tell they had a majority of the right guys making that record. You had Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf, who would later work with Elliott Smith on some pretty fantastic records. Howie Weinberg mastered it. Andy Wallace mixed it -- the same guy that mixed Nirvana. Rubberneck was primed for rock radio. Correct if I'm wrong, but when this record came out in 1994, it was a slow burn. It didn't really catch fire until MTV started playing "Possum Kingdom" on a regular basis in '95.

DS: Yeah, I had been out of the country before then. When I came back to Dallas, that was one of first things I was exposed to. I was blown away by "Possum Kingdom," but when I bought the record, I thought the rest of the album didn't have enough punch to me. Maybe that's why it became as popular as it did because some of the other songs are the same. Even "I Come from the Water," which I love when I saw them live.

EG: Let me give you my perspective. In 1994, I was a ninth grader who had heard of The Pixies but had never heard them before. I think The Toadies were a good gateway band. So when I did hear The Pixies a couple of years later, I had the taste for it. Because of Darrel Herbert's lead guitar lines were very similar to Joey Santiago's. I played in a band that wanted to cover "Mister Love" and "Quitter." Fun songs, but we never got around to covering them. My point is, if you got into this record when you were in high school or college, you probably still love this record. Do you agree or disagree?

DS: I'm more jaded and older than you are. I was in my 20s when this album came out. I remember having a similar feeling when the album was released. When I first saw them, before they really broke, their crowd was more of the punk underground sort of thing. When they broke, the crowd was more cynical SMU frat boys. Guys with backwards hats on, proclaiming their love for Run-DMC. I kind of got more turned off by the crowd.

That album sold a million copies and then there was internal conflict in the band and what happened to band afterwards? They're one of those legendary Dallas bands that you can probably go to Denver or Chicago, Phoenix or L.A. and ask somebody, "Hey, you heard of The Toadies?" And they'd say no.

EG: Oh, come on. I don't believe that!



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15 comments
P1Gunter
P1Gunter

If memory serves, "Rubberneck" was actually a giant flop upon release. Outside of Dallas it barely sold until some random radio station in Florida picked up "Possum Kingdom" and put it in their rotation like 6mos after release. From there it spread to college radio stations and eventually to the corporate stations and then it blew up.


They were primed to have a hit second record, but their label (I forget who it was now)killed their initial attempt at their next record. It was recorded and mixed and ready to go, but the label axed it leading to a long delay between records that killed any momentum they had.


They could have been huge were it not for one stupid A&R Rep. That said, there are worse places in life to be.

darrylrs
darrylrs

i saw everclear a couple of years ago and they were awful. vacuous music is just that.

Leshabs77
Leshabs77

Rubberneck went platinum. You don't sell a million records just selling to fans in DFW and Oklahoma etc. I would say nationally they are on the same level as a band like Everclear, and there's nothing wrong with that. 

DavyCrockett
DavyCrockett

As of 2009, they could still pack a venue like The Metro in Chicago. Everybody knew the words to songs other than Rubberneck songs, too.

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

40 something white guy and I totally dig The Toadies but I do wonder if I ever would have heard of them if I wasn't living in DFW when they broke. 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

I was explaining the importance of this to my daughter just the other day!  To me it was a revelation, a heavy sound made by a band that didn't dress up like a bunch of fruits, in costumes.  The music stands up by itself.........it was like, heavy metal for regular people, who don't want to dress up in drag and smoke a bunch of weed! 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley 

Possum Kingdom got pretty regular air-play in the Chicago area in the mid-90's, but other than that, not so much. I think to most of the rest of the country they would be considered One-Hit-Wonders.

bagginsontour
bagginsontour

@TheCredibleHulk @The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

You couldn't be more wrong..PK got, and still gets regular airplay all across the country....hardly one hit wonders..there were 6 singles off of that record, and it went platinum.....they toured pretty much nonstop for two years to make that record happen....ALL in the U.S.and since they started touring again, they STILL draw well all across the country..

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bagginsontour @TheCredibleHulk 

Fair enough assessment.

I will say this, though, staying power is not the same thing as popular success.

I firmly remember the first time I heard PK, though, and part of the allure of the song beyond the chunky guitar and minor-chord feel was the inscrutable title: Possum Kingdom? WTF? Until I moved to North Texas, I had no idea . . . 

bagginsontour
bagginsontour

@TheCredibleHulk

Not sure how many "OHW" bands from 20+ years ago still even tour....outside of the occasional radio show...that's the thing...The Toadies are still out there touring and making records...and sounding better than ever...I really don't think there are many bands from that era, and some that are huge now that could have a 20 year career...There are those that may have not had any  huge radio hits that are still out there doing it...Social Distortion (Toadies did two runs with them a year ago) Reverend Horton Heat (going on 25 years now) The Supersuckers (over 20 years now, and will be out with the Toadies coming up in March-May)...It was tough back in the day, and even tougher now to find a band that is going to have the staying power to be around that long, and still be making great music..

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bagginsontour 

Nobody said they weren't reasonably successful, and many OHW bands still receive airplay and draw crowds on tour decades after their initial success. Just saying, as a rock radio listener from the midwest, we didn't hear too much beyond PK from them.

Out of curiousity, what national act of that era would you compare their success (not music) with?

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