DFW Music News

For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure: A Brief Musical History of the Toadies (Slaphead!)

The Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase Concert is tonight in Deep Ellum, with Sarah Jaffe, Centro-matic, the Old 97's and the Toadies scheduled to play the outdoor stage beginning 'round 4:30, when Jaffe goes on, whilst some 50 others play surrounding venues. All of which feels very 1995, when the Toadies swept the music awards, and the 97's were voted Best New Act. It's on that note that I note the fortuitous arrival of recent items of interest on Guitars101, where someone known only as Zeppo last week posted several Toadies shows -- one of which is an early-days best-of that I recall (barely, as it was a New Year's Eve set at the late, great Bomb Factory on behalf of Q102), the other of which comes from a Trees gig in June 1997 made up almost entirely of songs from the second album that wasn't till years later.

For Rubberneck-ers, the New Year's Eve '96 set is full of set-list standards, some of which date back to '92's Velvet EP and, if you want to get technical about it, 1989's Slaphead cassette, which completists and the curious will find here ... and it is highly recommended. And for those who always pegged the band as Lil' Pixies, try Pylon too -- hence, the spot-on "Stop It" that somehow always slid by unnoticed as a point of entry.

Speaking of covers, the June '97 set -- which was one of Clark Vogler's earliest as guitarist, following the departure of Darrel Herbert and the dissolution of Funland a year earlier -- has two more, the Talking Heads' "I'm Not in Love" (a sharp choice done for the Basquiat soundtrack) and a dead-on "The Cowboy Song" from the '97 local all-star comp Come On Feel the Metal, most of which still holds up. But the Trees show is notable for the fact the band spends most of the night feeling out Feeler, which depending on whose history you believe, was either rejected by Interscope or ditched by the band, with just three pieces resurrected for Hell Below/Stars Above.

So that's that. But then, there's more. To the bonus round!

I just can't resist, especially after reading Pete's oral history of a "scene" that I'd like to think isn't such ancient history that it merits the Studs Terkel treatment at this not-late date. Or maybe it was forever ago. I do know one thing: Rhett Miller would love to pretend Mythologies doesn't exist. But it does, Rhett. It does. Right here. Tonight, if you can, request "Between Timid and Timbuktu." Do it.

Speaking of the Old 97's and the Toadies and Centro-matic, does anyone recall when the Old 97's and Funland song-swapped "Garage Sale"and "Stoned"? I only ask because I stumbled across that slab of vinyl here, along with Will Johnson's 1995 solo cassette-only offering as Centro-matic titled Non Directional Jetpack Race, which remains one of my favorite local offerings. Ever.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky