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Band Bio

Photo by Steve Visneau.

Photo by Steve Visneau.

Todd Lewis (Vocals, Guitar)
Mark Reznicek (Drums)
Clark Vogeler (Guitar)
Doni Blair (Bass)

25+ years. That’s a long time to maintain relevance, especially in the music community. But that’s exactly what Rubberneck has done. Released during the height of the grunge era, it’s mistakenly labeled a grunge record. But it’s not, not by a long shot. Described as “the Pixies meets Metallica”, the Toadies had their feet firmly ensconced in indie, alternative, punk and (near) metal to forge a sound truly all their own. 11 songs without a wasted stroke, from the first strum of the instrumental “Mexican Hairless” announcing the arrival of Rubberneck to the heavy, near post-punk feel of the closer “I Burn,” the Toadies wasted nary a note, beat or word, 36 minutes of pure original Texas sonic-boogie bliss, this was an album that could only be forged by Texans, attempting to reclaim the rock world from Seattle’s grungy little fist.

Not being grunge, punk or metal, Interscope originally went with the latter, placing the Toadies on hair metal (HAIR METAL!) showcases and festivals with the likes of Dokken and Great White. Therefore, their eponymous debut album was not met with the overnight success many people might believe. 2 singles and videos (“Mr. Love,” “Backslider”) had already come and gone in the time between late August and Christmas, and it certainly wasn’t a hit. Small tours with Samiam, The Goats, and Big Chief had done little to dent the band in the public eye, all the while turning them into a four-headed rock machine. 4 months of constant touring will do that to an already tight band, and they roared into 1995 as a juggernaut. With only a few thousand copies sold, they had one last chance to impress, and that came in the form of a ghost story centered on a North Texas lake called “Possum Kingdom.”

One creepy video and a slot opening for British upstarts Bush later, people were finally taking notice and Rubberneck started picking up steam. Of all places to break first for them, Florida jumped right on board. Subsequent tours with All and a very young Sugar Ray only tightened the band as it headed into summer, with one of the most endearing singles of the year on their hands. “Possum Kingdom” was inescapable during that summer, and neither were the Toadies.

Very little press and very little support for the scrappy Fort Worth quartet turned them into a touring monster, essentially selling ONE MILLION copies on their own. Constant touring and hunger kept them on the road for 2 years, in North America alone, winning over person after person, ear after ear, making indelible impressions on their listeners. They acted like fans themselves, hanging out and chatting every night with whoever wanted to stick around, devoid of ego or any rock star persona. And that’s how they sold over a million records – being a band of the people with a scorching record and live show on their hands. Anyone would have hated to be a headliner over them from 1994-1996. Because you were blown off the stage – no matter who you were. And audiences responded, which is why we’re still talking about and listening to Rubberneck today.

There’s a place in the hearts for Rubberneck that seems to transcend generations. Parents are bringing their kids to shows, they know all the words to the songs, get tattoos, wear the shirts and generally go crazy when any of those 11 songs come up in Toadies sets. “Possum Kingdom” remains one of the most played recurrent tracks on Active Rock and Alternative radio and still pops up all over the place to this day: Earlier this year Ultimate Guitar named Rubberneck one of the Top 10 Grunge albums that survived the ’00’s and the album also made Rolling Stone’s ’50 Greatest Grunge Albums’ as well as their list for 1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative’s Greatest Year.

Tracks from the album continue to appear in unexpected places from Guitar Hero to as far away as England’s NME, including it in their A History Of Rock’N’Roll in 100 Riffs right along with Johnny Cash, Beatles, Stones, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Queen Ramones, The Smiths, Metallica, Rage, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Muse, and White Stripes. TV shows from This is Us to For All Mankind on Apple + have included Rubberneck tracks. Robotman in Season 2 of Doom Patrol even wore a vintage Toadies shirt. Girl Talk’s ‘This is the Remix’ sampled ‘Possum Kingdom,’ while Kelly Clarkson was seen and heard singing along to the song in her dressing room during an episode of last season’s The Voice. Indie chanteuse, St. Vincent also covered the song on a Sirius XMU Session.

More inspiration from Rubberneck has made its way to the written page with Marvel Comics featuring the band in two X-Men comics and NY Times and USA Today best selling author Xio Axelrod’s latest novel The Girl With the Stars in Her Eyes has the main character’s band cover Toadies ‘I Burn’ off Rubberneck. Vaden Lewis has also done his own series of lyric comics including ‘Tyler’ and ‘I Burn’ (due out this August.)

Toadies have just announced new dates to their twice rescheduled Rubberneck 25th Anniversary (and then some, and then some…) where Toadies will be playing Rubberneck from start to finish. Fellow Texans, Reverend Horton Heat are on all dates and will play their Al Jourgensen produced Liquor in the Front in its entirety. Drakulas start West Coast dates, while Nashville Pussy kick off the bill on the East Coast.