Toadies: "We Just Picked Up Where We Left Off"

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Matt Cooper/Kirtland Records
Saturday's BestFest headliners the Toadies were in town fairly recently, and they should be back soon when they promote their next album. In the mean time, however, we'll have them here this weekend, and we're hoping that a lot of you will join us to bask in their unique and slightly off-putting lyricism, mixed with '90s-era grungy alt-rock. First though, a little history from our side.

Rocks Off first heard The Toadies years and years ago on mainstream radio in the back seat of our mom's Suburban during our mid-week commute to middle school. We knew nothing of the band, but the building bass riffs, scratchy guitar and lyrics we couldn't quite understand (but were pleased to see raised our mother's eyebrow) peaked our interest. Later in life, having learned that the band was Texas-based, we were ecstatic.

So, given the chance to speak with drummer Mark Reznicek was something of a childhood dream come true. That being the case, we apologize if our Q&A seems a bit giddy.

Rocks Off: Firstly, and we apologize for having to ask this, but we were begged to do so... Do you really come from the water?

Mark Reznicek [Laughs]: Well, I think all of us do, according to the song.

RO: Since the five-year hiatus, from 2001 to 2006, during which time you played with the country-western band Eleven Hundred Springs, did the band's dynamic change? What was it like getting back together?

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MR: There wasn't a whole lot of change. We all kind of kept in touch and, from time to time, would see each other. A few times, Todd (Lewis, Toadies vocalist/guitarist) came out and saw me play with Eleven Hundred, and I saw his band, the Burden Brothers, a few times, and ran into Clark (Vogeler, guitarist) a few times when we would be on tour and stop in L.A.

So it wasn't like complete strangers reuniting or anything. Actually, It was pretty cool how everything kind of fell back into place. We just kind of picked up where we left off.

I guess the one thing that did change was that we have a new bass player, Doni Blair, and he brought a lot of enthusiasm. We've known him since the '90s. He was in this band called Hagfish, who were kind of big around this area. He's been a friend and fan of The Toadies ever since then. So for him, it was kind of a dream come true playing with the band. And having that enthusiasm was infectious for all of us.

RO: Did you bring any country-western style back with you? Will we hear any of that on the upcoming album?

MR: I really learned a lot playing country music. I had never really played it much before I joined that band, and there are different styles you have to master to do country - swing, train beats, stuff like that. Even on our last album we did when we first reunited, No Deliverance, I definitely brought some of the new stuff I learned and whipped it out. Now that I have that under my belt, I can mix and match it with my other old tricks. Everything is a learning experience, you know?

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RO: You re-released the original version of Feeler last year after Interscope Records denied its initial release in '97. What's the response to the album been like?

MR: A lot of the old-school fans who had already found it lurking out there on the Internet were really excited. We actually rerecorded a lot, because we had trouble tracking down the masters of the original recordings from '98, and we were never totally happy with the performance anyway. And the way it was recorded wasn't really... Well, It was unfinished at the time, so we decided we should finish it. We needed a little closure on it.

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