The top 91X acts of all-time countdown rolls on and to help celebrate, one of our favorite places in town, the Belly Up in Solana Beach, has given us free tickets to three shows to give away for the next three weeks! To commemorate the announcement of #200-299 we recently gave away tickets to see act #219, SOUL ASYLUM who are playing the Belly Up on Thursday April 4th. This week for #101-199, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see TOAD THE WET SPROCKET.at the Belly Up on Thursday March 7th. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this blog or this Facebook photo and I’ll pick a favorite on March 5th, two days before the show.
Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the band, but I had a bunch of college friends that were, so I tagged along to some pretty interesting Los Angeles shows during their big year. Their album fear, was released in August on 1991 and they toured steadily, starting in October with a show at the Troubadour in Hollywood. Two months later, they were back in LA playing the Whisky A Go Go and the show was recorded for their Five Alive EP. I went with a ton of friends and, being a non-fan, I, of course, saved a guitar pick and took a sign off the wall near the entrance about the show being taped for my concert scrapbook. I recently re-found the sign…and lost it again. Click on the copy below, leave a comment and I swear if I ever find it again, I’ll mail it to whoever leaves the best one.
Less than two months later, my friend Dan Buczaczer asked me if I wanted to go to an industry showcase the band was playing at the Roxy. Sounded interesting in a “Yeah, I want to be packed into a club filled with music biz folks talking and see a band I’m not that crazy about” kind of way. I can’t remember the name of that first band but Toad producer Marvin Etzioni from Lone Justice and X was playing guitar. Since I’d agreed to jockey for position up front that meant I got a lot of Marvin’s sweat hitting me every time he shook his huge mane of hair. I saw him play at a Beatles benefit last week in LA and he gave everyone a heart attack when he walked out because he was such a dead ringer for Elvis Costello. Unfortunately for me, one of my least favorite bands ever, Live, was up next. I was surprised at how tribal they sounded live, almost Jane’s-y. But unsurprisingly, I could barely stand to watch their singer’s earnest intensity. “Put your soul in the water and join me for a swim tonight” is still my fave pretentious lyric of all-time. Of course, I grabbed their setlist…and Toad’s.
Less than three months later, I got cajoled into seeing them again at the Palace opening for Chris Whitely. I drove over the hill from Northridge, dropped my car off in Westwood near Dan’s UCLA apartment and we headed into Hollywood. Toad did their usual thing and afterwards we started to hear people suggesting that we leave immediately because people were rioting all over the city. I’m sorry did I forget to mention that it was April 29, 1992? Calm down, Sublime fans. Apparently, some of the streets we took to get to the show were now in flames, so we took some alternate route back to Westwood, where huge crowds were gathering right where I was parked. I got out of there, didn’t make eye contact with anyone going home and watched Westwood get looted on the news.
Two months later, a bunch of friends were planning to go see the band perform on the Tonight Show with their new host, Jay Leno, the day after the one month anniversary of his debut. So we blew off school, saw Helena Bonham Carter and tried to yell loud in quiet parts so we could hear ourselves later. It was a nice moment to witness, especially afterwards when their families and friends all talked outside the NBC studios. One of their moms was wearing an adorable shirt that said “I SPAWNED A TOAD”. Awww. Nice guys done good.
The band then did three months of US shows with the Gin Blossoms that ended at the Hollywood Palladium. I didn’t need to see them again but the Gin Blossoms had played a noontime lunch show at my school recently and were surprisingly fun, energetic and endearing. Hell, they covered the Rutles’ “Number One”! I went to the Palladium and it was definitely a kick to see Toad play a place four times bigger than where I’d seen them a year before. Good for them. So that was the last time I saw them that year- No, wait. On the other side of the page in my scrapbook, here’s a ticket stub with a handwritten lineup for the 1992 KROQ Acoustic show at Universal Ampitheater, the very next night after the Palladium show. Not only did I forget that Toad played but I also forgot Soul Asylum played and I just wrote about them too. Sorry, boys. Suzanne Vega, David Byrne, the Soup Dragons, Cause & Effect, the Violent Femmes and Duran Duran rounded out the bill. All I remember was David Byrne doing an awesome solo version of Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman” and the annoying girl in front of us who kept yelling “I love you Simon!”. I waited for a quiet moment and in the loudest, deepest voice I could muster, yelled “I WANNA FUCK YOU, SIMON!” which got a huge laugh. She quietly replied “That’s the spirit.”
I saw the band one more time, a year or two later at a benefit at the Santa Barbara Bowl with Soul Asylum, funny enough. Years later, I saw Glen do a great solo set at Bumbershoot in Seattle and side project Lapdog play a lunchtime set for the employees of mp3.com in San Diego. Now, I’m writing this blog. Sorry, this story doesn’t have a good ending.
I’ll pick a favorite entry by the end of Tuesday March 5th and announce a winner. “Like” our Facebook page to stay tuned for more prizes we’re sharing over the next few weeks!