Interview with the Toadies

Hey, how are you guys?

Clark Vogeler: We’re all doing well. The crowds on this tour so far have been amazing. But so has the food, so we’re probably gaining weight.

Your album, ‘Feeler,’ was meant for release in 1998 until Interscope Records scrapped it. After 12 years, the album is available to fans. How does it feel being able to finally release it?

Clark Vogeler: It’s really satisfying for us to finally get ‘Feeler’ out for fans to listen to, and judge for themselves whether or not Interscope had any business rejecting the album.

Tell us a little bit about ‘Feeler.’ Where did you draw inspiration from?

Clark Vogeler: I think that ‘Feeler’ is the sound of the Toadies evolving, growing up and maybe shedding some of the influences that were so prevalent in the earlier stuff. I wouldn’t say we chose a direction and started writing songs. It was more of an organic process. The songs grew from all the time we spent together in that damn rehearsal space. We were doing little more than writing for 2 years solid.

Why the wait? Were any changes made to the record since you first tracked it in 1997?

Clark Vogeler: Since the release of Hell Below/Stars Above, we’ve felt like these songs should see the light of day. Even after we broke up in 2001, we tried to get Interscope to license the recording we’d made in 1998 to us so we could release it, but we couldn’t get anyone on the phone that knew what we were talking about. Eventually, the re-record clause expired so we just dropped into a studio, laid it down quickly and got it out. For the most part, we left the arrangements identical to the ’98 recordings. Todd did make a couple of small changes lyrically, but for the most part it’s just a better recording, with better performances.

Where were the songs on ‘Feeler’ written?

Clark Vogeler: We wrote these songs in our rehearsal space in Dallas, right down in Deep Ellum. Plus, Todd wrote a good deal of it at his place, a loft down on Main St.

What’s the story behind the songs “Pink” and “Waterfall”?

Clark Vogeler: You know, I’ve always been curious about the “Pink” lyrics too, but Todd’s not very forthcoming with regards to the meaning of lyrics. Sorry, but I can’t help ya.

Do you feel you have more creative freedom on an independent label as opposed to a major label?

Clark Vogeler: It is like polar opposites comparing our situation now, with where we were at in 1998. It’s almost like we had to go through all that other stuff, just to get to where we are now. It feels like all the work has paid off. We get to record what we want, when we want, and release what we want. Kirtland’s been way better for us than Interscope ever was.

You guys are heading back to your home state of Texas in August. Do you find that there’s a different vibe when performing at home?

Clark Vogeler: Whenever we play in Texas, the crowds really make us feel like hometown heroes. In Texas, we’ll have 3 generations of the same family show up, and they’re all Toadies fans.

Toadies have opened and headlined some great shows, what is your most memorable tour experience?

Vaden Todd Lewis: We were playing a show in Abilene last year and the police showed up during the second song. They claimed that if we made any more amplified sound they would arrest the band and the club staff. Something about a sound ordinance I think. The crowd was already a little drunk, and the presence of the police was making them a little edgy. It really could have turned into a real bad scene. While we negotiated with the police and tried to talk the crowd down our crew grabbed some acoustic guitars from the bus. We continued our set unplugged, camp-fire style. Turned out to be a highlight of the tour.

Are you playing some of the songs from ‘Feeler’ on the road?

Vaden Todd Lewis: We’ve been playing a good hunk of ‘Feeler’ live, and we’re surprised how many people we see singing along. It’s as if they’ve had some of these songs for ten or eleven years.

How is the new record coming along? What plans do you have for it?

Vaden Todd Lewis: I’ve been writing during our down time. Our plan is to release an EP of new material sometime early next year.

What does the future hold for the Toadies?

Vaden Todd Lewis: We’ll continue to release music and tour on it, but beyond that I have no idea what the future holds for the band. Or anything else, for that matter. I do know that if Palin’s in charge I’m moving to Canada.

Thanks Clark and Todd!

Pick up Toadies’ new album Feeler

  • Jared Singleton

    I really enjoy Feeler a great deal, and I am happy as hell that it has finally seen the light of day. And I am right there with Todd on the Palin comment.