10 Questions with ... Glen Phillips
August 12, 2013
1. What got you interested in the music business?
I got interested in the music business by finding myself part of it ... I had intended on an academic path, but my high school band inexplicably found itself with a record deal.
2. Who were your favorite bands to listen to when you were a kid?
My first two album purchases were the Muppet Movie soundtrack and Saturday Night Fever. I was really into dancing and disco as a kid, but switched over to Rush and Ozzy in junior high. When I met Todd Nichols, the guitarist in Toad, he turned me on to the Replacements and Hüsker Dü and everything changed.
3. What may surprise people the most about you and/or the band?
Hmm. Someone was shocked last night that the three of us who got married (all in our twenties) are still married. Not very rock and roll, but statistically uncommon for musicians.
4. What has been the band's biggest career highlight?
The coming year, I hope.
5. While you were pursuing a solo career - after the band went on hiatus -- were the other bandmembers doing the same?
Todd and Dean Dinning had a band called Lapdog that put out a couple records, and they've more recently been a writing team and head to Nashville from time to time. Randy Guss managed a couple artists and has done some session work. I'm the only one who stayed on the road. I'm glad I stayed in the game a little, as it's changed so dramatically since the time we split. It's made the learning curve less brutal.
6. What prompted the band to start touring again after the breakup? Tour plans for this year including Farm Aid?
We've always had a lot of pressure to get back together, but we've tried to keep things on our own terms. We just needed some time to get over ourselves and grow up. Bands are ... strange families. We're doing a ton of shows this year all over the states, and will continue deep into 2014.
7. When did you decide to enter the studio again?
It seemed like it would be possible to make a record about three years ago. We moved slowly, though. We needed to have the material together, and needed to feel strong enough as a unit that we could go through the process of putting out a record and touring again.
8. How long did it take to write the 15 songs for The New Constellation?
It was about two years of writing, but we were also writing for other projects in the meantime. This is the first Toad record we've done where it wasn't our only project, which for me made it a lot more enjoyable. I like variety.
9. How did Mikal Blue get involved as the producer?
I'd done some writing and recording with him, and he introduced himself to the rest of the band at a show. He is an old school Toad fan -- we were the first show he saw when he came to the States from England. He had a great understanding of what makes Toad unique, and was a great positive force.
10. Looking back, in what ways does the band interact now that it didn't in the beginning?
We've gotten better at communicating and taking things less personally. We're also playing better; we didn't realize quite what an amazing opportunity we had been given the first time around. We're looking at it all now with more seriousness and more gratitude.
What are your favorite charitable or humanitarian causes?
I'm big a fan of Direct Relief International, Doctors Without Walls (Santa Barbara Street Medicine), and MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America).