I got back about an hour ago from a Toad the Wet Sprocket concert at the House of Blues Orlando. It makes me think about the fan letter I never wrote to them as a teenager. Even then I wasn’t one to gush. I simply wanted to enjoy the music and thank the men who created it. I’m still that way. Artists deserve praise like that and the respect to leave them to their lives. Psycho stalkers and obsessed fans scare me, and I’m not even a public/famous person.
That being said, prepare yourself for the gushing. It’s past due.
I discovered TTWS when I was 13, maybe 14. So that means I’ve been listening to their music for some 15 odd years. Someone bought Fear for me as a Christmas present. This is before they hit the Billboard charts. I played it over and over, and eventually wore out the cassette tape. That album held something that spoke to my teen angst and all the insecurities I hid. Add to that Bread & Circus and Pale, and I became a fan. Toad’s songs helped me through a rough few months of family deaths, love and heartbreak, and being a geek girl that didn’t quite fit in anywhere. I was not a happy camper in any form, and the songs’ melancholy matched my life. The music let me know that I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. Fast forward to college when they released Dulcinea. I made trips to two local colleges to see them perform. I even tried to arrange an audio interview for the college radio station (it’s probably good I didn’t because I wouldn’t have known what to say!). Coil is released, and then TTWS say their goodbyes and go separate ways. My mental state improved. I matured. Finished school – twice – and started a Master’s degree as well. Things are good. I continue to follow Glen’s solo career and Lapdog, Todd and Randy’s Dean’s band. I even get to see Glen in concert a few times!
Imagine my surprise when at tonight’s show they play their entire set, and three songs for the encore. The last song is I Will Not Take These Things For Granted. With the first three notes, my eyes well up with tears. All those old feelings rush back into my memory, and I’m reminded once again of the power of music in my life. The power to be the helping hand. The power to empower. The power to depress. The power to see beyond the present and look towards the future.
So, a deep felt Thank You goes Dean Dinning, Randy Guss, Glen Phillips, and Todd Nichols for creating your music. I wish I could explain in words what your music did and continues to do for my life. Thank you.
And no, I’m not a crazy stalker fan. Just someone who wants you to know that you’ve done good.