Music: Q&A with Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Santa Barbara local, Glen Phillips, is well known for his lead vocals and guitar in the hit band, Toad the Wet Sprocket. The band, then teenagers, were recruited to the big leagues right out of high school – a total of 25 years in the music business and counting. When TTWS isn’t on tour, Glen is busy as an acclaimed solo artist. Catch him at the SOhO Restaurant and Music Club on September 8 and show him some local love.

What’s your earliest memory of wanting to be a musician?

Besides pure fantasy, I don’t know if I had a vision of that until it was starting to happen. I was more into theater as a kid. My theater teacher in high school was David Holmes at San Marcos high school, it was his first year.  He had come straight out of college, and he explained to the class the reason he was a teacher is because he loved the theater more than anything and that he knew he didn’t have the ambition or ego or thick skin to run to Los Angeles or New York. So instead of getting his heart broken, he decided he would teach. I thought that was the best idea. I knew I was an artist of some kind and that sounded like a great plan to me.

And Toad was just my high school band and we ended up getting a record deal! So the idea of actually doing that professionally and making that my thing, I thought I would do it maybe in an educational way. I never expected that I would end up being a touring artist.

What is your favorite song to play live?

It totally depends on the night. If there is a song that’s kinda fallen on the back burner for me and somehow seems relevant again, I really like that.

What can people expect at your upcoming SOhO show?

(Laughing) I have no idea. I tend not to write a set list for solo shows. I tend to just go up and read the room and let it take itself where it will. A bunch of solo songs, some Toad songs, some covers, probably some random and odd stories, or maybe I will just stare at the ground the whole time. You never totally know.

What do you love most about your hometown, Santa Barbara?

The people I love. It’s that simple. My community, my friends, my family.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

(Laughing) More gratitude, less moping.

Q&AB
Photo: Rob Shanahan