Quick (DFW) interview with Vaden Todd Lewis

Jason Janik

Jason Janik

Rockin’ Toadies return to their kingdom

By HUNTER HAUK/Staff Writer [ original article ]

There’s no better song to set the tone of the new Toadies CD – the band’s first in seven years – than its title track.

“No Deliverance” touts the same sort of iconic riffs and seductive vocals that gave ’90s hits “I Come from the Water” and “Possum Kingdom” their staying power. Though sonically familiar, it’s also a welcome departure from modern-rock radio’s never-ending angst parade.

“We’re proud of it,” Toadies singer Vaden Todd Lewis said of the new album during a phone chat last month.

“We went out of our way to make it as gritty and firsthand as possible.”

Lewis, 42, called us from the road shortly before he and bandmates Clark Vogeler, Mark Reznicek and Doni Blair took the stage at Lollapalooza. The foursome comes home to the Palladium on Friday. Here’s more.

Q: The new album has universally been called a return to form, but what about it feels new for you?

A: Let’s see … That’s an interesting question. … Huh. … That is an interesting question. [Laughs.]

Q: Well, did you do anything differently when making it?

A: The approach that I took on it was, like you said, a return to form. Rubberneck was real bare-bones, with minimal overdubs. In my opinion, kind of punk rock in its attitude. In the second record, we expanded on the production aspect a bit, and when I got into the Burden Brothers [band], that whole production thing just went crazy. But I decided for this to get back to the original bare-knuckles approach.

Q: Does the word “comeback” amuse you, since you’ve never really stopped making music?

A: I guess it’s inevitable. I’ve gotten the question a thousand times about what I think about all these bands reuniting. Funny thing is, I’ve gotten that question since 1992. It’s just what bands do. They make music, part ways, get back together.

Q: What is your assessment of the state of rock music now?

A: I think it’s still strong. But it’s hard to find, unless you want to go online. That’s just the way it is. But hopefully radio will turn a corner and figure out how to broaden a bit. I feel like, right now, there’s a lot of the same stuff being played. But when you get to satellite or Internet radio, it blows your mind as to how many new things are going on and what we aren’t being exposed to.

Q: In regards to the industry, you’ve done the major-label thing, and now you’re with a smaller one. Have there been unexpected advantages to working with Kirtland on this new CD?

A: It’s great. It’s basically what you’d get with a major as far as getting things done. But on a major, they have their in-house guys, and then they end up farming a lot of things out. So why would I give them a share of my record sales when they aren’t even doing the work? At an indie, I’ve ended up working with a lot of people I’ve known over the years.

Q: What’s the live reception to the new material been like so far?

A: I’ve been blown away. I didn’t want to be the band that comes out and plays only new material; nobody wants to see that. People want to hear songs they’re familiar with, and I’m cool with that. But on the new ones, people went nuts. I was surprised. Another thing is, I ask during the shows how many people have seen us before and how many are first-timers. And the first-timers far outweigh the diehards.

Q: One of the tracks on No Deliverance that stuck out in my mind was “Song I Hate.” What inspired that one?

A: That was the last song I wrote for the record. We had all the music for it, but I could not seem to make the words happen. It was pissin’ me off. I just wanted to get it done. It was the song I hated, so I decided to be literal about it. That’s the way I usually approach writing lyrics – I put a relationship spin on them to make it easier to discuss what I’m really thinking about.

Q: Who are your favorite rock vocalists?

A: Back in the day, it was Bon Scott. He’s the guy who made me want to start doing rock ‘n’ roll. He had an attitude and was super-unique. Other than that, my vocal hero is Chris Cornell. He’s amazing. I wrote that he’s my favorite on my MySpace, and people get really pissed off about that for some reason. They tell me that I can’t be serious. And I’m like, “It’s my opinion, and it can’t be wrong, so shut up.” [Laughs.]

Q: Cornell eventually struck out on his own. Have you ever considered a solo project?

A: Definitely. I started out with this wanting to do a solo record, but I got into it, and the songs I was writing all sounded Toadies-ish. So I got a wild hair and called the guys, and here we are. But yeah, I still want to do solo stuff someday. Who knows how it will sound or come across? It’d be something that people wouldn’t get, but I don’t care.


2 Responses to “Quick (DFW) interview with Vaden Todd Lewis”

  1. Didi on August 22nd, 2008

    He is very georgeus.

  2. Lacey on August 31st, 2008

    I went to your show last night and august 29th in houston @ the Verizon wirerless theater. Wow i had brought my ex-husband of 10 days previous w his date and my room mate as mine. By the end of the night we are back together. I am just stoked by the preformance. The crowds energy was amazing. It was by far the best time i have had in the last 5 years at a concert!!! I wish i had tickets to your next gig here in september : ( I absolutly love your music… everytime i see ya’ll i am blown away! FAN tasic job you guys!