Update: The Dia is upon us! The Toadies' festival kicks off tonight in Fort Worth. Prepare yourself with a second video of Vaden Todd performing in Klyde Warren Park -- this one's for "Magic Bullet" and it's at the end of this post.
Original post follows...
This weekend, Fort Worth institution The Toadies will hold their annual festival Dia De Los Toadies, and for the first time it will be set in their hometown. Specifically at Panther Island Pavilion, which will allow them to uphold the tradition of causing people to bring flotation devices to this thing. "It was imperative to have some water element," says guitarist Clark Vogeler. "I understand there will be some tubing."
This year's Dia will actually be two dias, on Friday and Saturday. The lineup includes Gary Clark Jr., Eisley, Centro-Matic's Will Johnson and plenty more. Tickets will run you between $30 and $120, and you can find all that logistical information on the web site. The reason we're here is that our ongoing series with Globe Trek Productions featuring busking musicians has The Toadies in its tenth episode. Well, really just The Toadie, Vaden Todd Lewis, who played a couple songs for us in the playground that is Klyde Warren Park. The first one is "Tyler," and you can watch it below.
See also: "Busking" archives
The Toadies are in a comfortable place right now, career-wise. They've long since ditched a tumultuous relationship with major label Interscope in favor of one with locally based indie Kirtland Records. "We spent seven years between Rubberneck and our second album, just trying to get Interscope on board with what we were doing," says Vogeler. "They totally stymied the band at a time when it was really important to keep momentum." But they found it at their new home. "Our experience with Kirtland has been the antithesis of what we experienced on Interscope."
And now, three full-length albums into that partnership, The Toadies have no interest in going back. "The music business has changed so much," says Vogeler. "We have zero interest in working with a major label. And they have zero interest in us. They only want the huge hits, five or ten million records."
The Toadies have never been a five or ten million unit band, though "Possum Kingdom" certainly wrecked its way through the charts. Today they're happy on Kirtland, where they have the freedom to pursue music however they want, including hosting Texas-centric music festivals in strange locations.
Dia De Los Toadies has traditionally been a sort of backwoods campout affair -- the first one was held at Possum Kingdom Lake and later installments were down past Austin in New Braunfels. "We like the kind of destination thing, but it was time to bring it home," says Vogeler. He cites one particular show last year at Billy Bob's Texas. The crowd was exceptional, and he remembers thinking, "Why aren't we playing Fort Worth way more often?" So they are.
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Vogeler lives in California now, and the rest of the band isn't exactly flush with spare time. Usually these days they only get a couple days to prepare for a big festival gig. But this is different -- it's their big festival gig. So they've spent every day for the last week and a half in the rehearsal space, working up a setlist of deep cuts that don't often make the live show, learning new covers and perfecting the hits.
Lewis certainly seems ready, and Vogeler sounds genuinely giddy about the lineup. "I love watching Centro-Matic play. [Will Johnson] brings an intimacy to his performances that brings a crowd in, and I love being a part of that," he says. "Gary Clark is the real deal." He could go on.