Toad the Wet Sprocket’s musicians hoped they could restore their profile with the release of the 2013 album New Constellation.
Bassist Dean Dinning says it worked. This year, the band is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its collection Coil, playing major festivals, and releasing songs on a Roger Miller tribute and the soundtrack to the upcoming animated film Animal Crackers.
“There’s a lot that people can look forward to,” Dinning said. “One is a song that we did for a movie coming out in an animated film, Animal Crackers. We’re playing that one every night on tour.”
The dates include a Friday, September 15, show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
“We’re also putting a bit of a spotlight on songs from Coil,” Dinning explains. “We pulled out a few songs that we haven’t done in a number of years. I don’t think we’ve done some of them since the original Coil tour.
“It’s a great set. It’s fun to play every night. The audiences are really responding to it. I think it’s working well.”
“Don’t Fade” and “Desire” are among the songs Toad the Wet Sprocket are resurrecting.
“We’ve been doing ‘Don’t Fade,” which has a different ending than it had before. It’s very dramatic,” Dinning says. “We’ve also been doing ‘Desire,’ which is another really cool song. It’s different from any other Toad song out there. We play it the way it sounds on the record and it goes over like gangbusters.”
King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller, which is due November 4 on BMG, was inspirational to Toad the Wet Sprocket.
“It’s a really cool project,” he says. “Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson and other cool people from Nashville are on it.
“Then there are alternative artists like ourselves and Cake on it, too. So, we’re looking backward and forward at the same time.”
Animal Crackers turned out to be a difficult-yet-satisfying project.
“Originally, we were going to use an existing song of ours, ‘Something’s Always Wrong,’” he says.
“It’s for a montage in the middle of the movie where everything hits the fan and there’s a gigantic problem. It plays out humorously. However, lyrically the song fit, but in terms of the sound of the song and the tempo, which are so crucial, didn’t work. You don’t want to do anything to take the audience out of the picture.”
As a result, Toad the Wet Sprocket penned “One of Those Days.” The band had the luxury of looking at the storyboards while it was writing the track, something that doesn’t always happen. The song was written to go with the scene.
Besides the success of New Constellation, Dinning says he believes Toad the Wet Sprocket was invited to participate in these projects because its songs are timeless.
“There’s nothing that pigeonholes or dates the music,” Dinning says.
“It’s your basic setup—the same as The Beatles—two guitars, bass and drums with three singers in the front harmonizing. It’s just about good songs. The thing about the ’90s was the music was so diverse It wasn’t about one particular trend. The common thread was a lot of great songs.”
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.829.0607, luckymanonline.com, 8 p.m. Friday, September 15, $35-$65.