Hey, Lick This, J.T. – The Toads Are Bringing Goofy Back
Everything comes back in 20-year cycles. And though it may go by different names (garage, power-pop, indie), the stripped-down, revved up sound of ‘90s pop-punk complete with all its goofball antics is having a resurgent moment as those that grew up listening to it come into their own. Portland trio The Toads, who blast out short, snarky, snarls of catchy guitar pop, and will be playing a pair of shows in the Rogue Valley in March are a great example. The band took the time to preview their upcoming gigs by answering a few questions for The Messenger.
RVM: Power-pop? Pop-punk? What do you call your sound and why?
MATT D: It’s a bit of both. I’m okay with geek rock as well. But I don’t want to have to call our sound anything in particular. Sometimes I tell people it’s like the Beatles turned up to 11. It’s loud, it’s fun, it’s catchy, there’s harmonies, there are sweet guitar solos, there are jokes and feels,.
RVM: How did you find your sound? Was it a choice to emulate particular influences, or a natural sum of the various parts?
NATE: It’s a funny story. Well, now I can find it funny. I was walking by the Willamette River and our sound (who I had never seen or heard before) ran up and punched me in the face. Knocked me right on my ass. I got up and tackled it and we’ve been knocking others on their ass with it ever since.
MATT K: Did we find our sound? Or did it find us?…
MATT D: “Be the band you want to see on MTV” Mohandas K. Ghandi, 1939
RVM: A lot of your songs and presentation are fairly tongue in cheek. Why is humor important to your music?
Matt D: The silly pictures exist to interrupt your normal experience of seeing a band, which is always like, four people looking very self-serious, standing in a scrap-yard, or like, lounging on a couch. But here we are with weird props and goofy grins, hopefully it just makes you think, “This is different” or at the very least just gets your attention. But also, lots of well-known bands in our genre do that—for example, Tacocat from Seattle, or Mean Jeans from Portland. We love Blink-182 as well—I think punk pop tends to be a bit clownish. There is humor in our music as well but not as much as it might seem. I can say some of my earlier songs in the Toads, like “I’m a Toad”, or “You Had a Baby” are overtly funny or satirical, but our songs have a full range of emotions, and most are quite sincere. We just have a blast playing them and that usually seems to transfer to anyone who is paying enough attention. Serious or funny, the purpose of our music is for the audience to have fun.
NATE: If you worry too much about taking your music seriously you become Billy Corgan. Everybody kind of loathes you, but you have a long career.
RVM: Is this your first time playing in Southern Oregon? Any thoughts or expectations?
NATE: That our amps plug in the same way they do up here. Do I need one of those international power cord thingies?
9 pm Sat., March 17
Oberon’s, 45 N. Main St., Ashland
9 pm Thu., March 29
The Sound Lounge, 22 SE H St., Grants Pass