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A brief chat with Toadies


Alt-rockers Toadies come to Denver at the start of the August with the Summerland package tour, so we spoke to Doni Blair about the show, and the forthcoming Heretics album.A

Yellow Scene: Heretics is out September 18 – are you guys excited about the fans hearing this record?

Doni Blair: Oh my God, yeah. We’ve been listening to it for two years, so we’re just like, enough. We want to share it with people. I think it’s the best thing in my recorded career that I’ve ever done. It’s the thing that I’m the most happy about. I feel like a real musician. It’s varied and all over the place, and I think it just came out to be the perfect thing we had in our brains. We had a good idea, but we didn’t know exactly how it was gonna come out. This is how we wanted it to come out, we just didn’t know if it was going to. We couldn’t be happier. I definitely couldn’t be happier.

YS: You joined the band in 2008 – how do you think the record stacks up next to classic-era Toadies?

DB: You know what? It works. It’s different but it needs to be. We could have gone back in the studio and made another rock record like No Deliverance or something like that and that would have been fun, but I think fans and people watching us play that would have known that we were faking it. It wasn’t where our heads were at, and this isn’t the kind of band to go, “Oh well, gotta make a record, let’s bang out some rock riffs.” It doesn’t work that way with us. A lot of bands, it does. They go in and hash it out. I think that’s why our fans like watching the shows so much, because we believe in every note we’re playing. So if we’re going to go out there and play a bunch of songs that we don’t believe in, they’re gonna see it. I think this stuff, along with Hell Below/Stars Above, which to me is the better record, that was a push. The record label wanted to hear Rubberneck II, and they were like, “This is the record you’re getting. This is way better.” This goes along with all of it. It’s a push in the right direction. It’s trying to expand things for our sound. Not like in a Pink floyd kind of way. We’re in our 40’s and 50’s, so we’re already writing right now and start recording next year for another brand new record. This might be coming out now, but it’s two-and-a-half years old to us. We’re ready for it to get out there so we can tour it, and then make a new record. We’re already looking at that.

YS: Do you like playing Colorado?

DB: Oh God yeah. I spent a lot of time up in Fort Collins. My friend Bill Stephenson has a studio there called the Blasting Room. I’ve been going up there for 20 years with other bands, making records and stuff. I love playing up there. It’s always been fun, it’s always been nice. We’ve done Boulder and Colorado Springs. We haven’t played Fort Collins yet, but we always do really well in Denver so we’re really excited about it. I love it. I also love that you have Dazbog coffee. Oh my God, it’s amazing. They have cafes all over Colorado. If that’s looked upon as a plug for Dazbog, go for it. I don’t mind.

YS: What can we expect from the set?

DB: A lot of awesomeness. Each of the bands on the tour are doing 35 minutes. We’re trying to pack in the songs people want to hear with some deep cuts as well. We like to do that. We don’t like to just pack a set with 35 minutes of songs that you’ve already heard, like the hits. We like to put in stuff from the last record and a brand new song from the new record, just to shake it up and give people a preview of what’s coming. We’re trying to always turn new people onto the band instead of just preaching to the converted.

YS: When the Summerland tour is over, what’s next?

DB: Right after this, we’re home for two weeks and then we get ready for Dia De Los Toadies, which is a two-day festival we put on every year. The first night is actually where the Heretics record came out of. We do smaller venues, only like 400-500 people. It will be us shaking up the arrangements with different instruments. Like, we’ll play “Tyler” and Clark [Vogeler] will play it on a Fender Rhodes piano, and Vaden is playing it with a mandolin. Or we’ll do “Jigsaw Girl” in a slower tempo with more piano. We’ll just different things for fun, no big deal. The first night this year is actually being looked upon as the release of the record. The next day, we’ll do a big loud rock show with Local H and other bands playing with us. It’s a great festival, and we pick every band on it. Right after that, in late October, we’ll start the Heretics tour. I believe we’re playing in Denver, but I believe we’re playing smaller venues, sit-down places where people can enjoy the music. We want the record to be presented well, not in a loud rock setting. Listen to it with headphones, because there are small things here and there that you need to pick up on. We want to present it in the liv format in the same way, rather than at a loud rock show where people are screaming for “Tyler” all night long. Then we start working on another record, and we’ll do the whole thing all over again. It’ll be fun. We know how to work in time to not get too burned out, but when the work is there we like to take it.

Toadies play with Everclear, Fuel and American Hi-Fi on the Summerland Tour at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 1 at the Denver County Fair; denvercountyfair.org.


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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