Toad the Wet Sprocket, new album in hand, hops into Tower Theatre

The Fresno BeeApril 30, 2014 

Toad the West Sprocket plays the Tower Theatre on Friday night.


There were two possible paths for Toad the Wet Sprocket's future.

One path relied on its catalog of existing material and success as an alternative rock band in the mid-1990s. The other — the one it ended up on — had the band making new music, recording and ultimately self-releasing "New Constellation," the group's first new album in 16 years.

"The fans have been asking for a long time," says bassist Dean Dinning, who is on tour, including a show tonight at Tower Theatre, in support of the album.

"It reinvigorates the fans. It reinvigorates the live show," Dinning says of the new material, which was produced by Mikal Blue, who has been a fan of the band since hearing them in 1989.

"This is what he wanted to do," Dinning says, "He had a great awareness of what the band does well."

Band members put material aside for two years before they started working on the album, even as they were working on other projects. That material was passed between band members, who would add tweaks in their home studios.

"We had a policy where we had to beat the demo," Dinning says.

The album represents more than just new music.

The band self-released "New Constellation" with fan funding it received from Kickstarter. They hadn't planned to use the crowdfunding site, but they realized that record labels wouldn't wait for the album, Dinning says.

It took nine months before the first single hit.

"Record labels just don't have that kind of patience anymore," he says.

So the band is now the record label. Members deal with everything from quality control to radio promotions and publicity. Success is measured on a smaller scale, Dinning says.

Their single is doing great in Boston, he says.

Still, the band is in the midst of a resurgence. It embarks on a national tour this June with alternative rock contemporaries Counting Crows.

"It's going to be the best summer in a long time," Dinning says.

Show information

Toad the Wet Sprocket, 8 p.m. Friday at Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. Tickets are $34.50-$44.50. Details: (559) 485-9050,


This reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, or @joshuatehee on Twitter and Instagram.

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