Given the challenge of coming up with the most ridiculous band name possible, you’d be hard-pressed to top Toad the Wet Sprocket. You can thank Monty Python legend Eric Idle for coming up with that unlikely combination of words as part of a comedy skit back in 1975.
“We didn’t even really choose that name — it was a placeholder until we could think of something cooler,” said Glen Phillips, lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket, which will open for Counting Crows Thursday night at the Hard Rock Live Arena at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood. “We thought it was hilarious, but we were gonna use it for just a few shows. And it just ended up sticking. It was either that or Poached Herring in a White Wine Sauce.”
Not surprisingly, had the band known it would go on to sell more than five million records on the strength of hits including Walk on the Ocean and All I Want, it would never have chosen such an absurd name.
“Oh, of course not,” said Phillips. “We tried really hard for that really cool name, but we were a bunch of dorks, so we couldn’t think of anything. But it worked out.”
Toad the Wet Sprocket, celebrating the 25th anniversary of its first album Bread & Circus, will take the stage for about an hour, performing a mix of fan favorites plus tracks from its new CD, New Constellation, released last October. But the road to a quarter century together hasn’t been all smooth sailing, and the band broke up in 1998, citing the dreaded “creative differences.”
The band performed together sporadically afterward, but more than a decade would pass until Toad felt comfortable committing to recording new material.
“We weren’t gonna force it just for the sake of business, and I think if we’d done that, people could tell,” said Phillips. “And we had a lot of pressure to do that, and we refused it. We waited till it was right for us.”
New Constellation has been well-received by critics and fans alike.
“I was scared to death that we would disappoint people,” said Phillips. “The great thing is, people seem to feel like we’ve made the record they wished we would make. I mean, it sounds like Toad, but it sounds like Toad with a lot more experience under our belt. We’ve been playing the new songs live, and the audiences are sticking around singing along instead of going to the bathroom [laughs].”
Toad the Wet Sprocket opens for Counting Crows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Hard Rock Live Arena at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, near Hollywood; Ticketmaster; $35-$55.