“I was reading Stephen King and a lot of that kind of stuff at the time, and I wrote a bunch of fiction songs,” Vaden Todd Lewis once told me about a song he wrote called “Possum Kingdom.” “It’s kind of a go-to way to write for me, to find a good story and flesh it out.” “Possum Kingdom,” released in 1994, is still in alt-rock radio rotation across the country. It centers on Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas: “I’ll not be a gentleman/ Behind the boathouse/ I’ll show you my dark secret/ I’m not gonna lie,” sung to the visual of a body bag being dragged from the lake’s waters in the accompanying video. “What I like about music is that I can be very vague and make it be about what I want it to be about,” says Lewis, “without having to be upfront about it.”
The Toadies started in 1989 in Ft. Worth, Texas. It took them four years to release their first EP, Pleather, which brought the band to the attention of Interscope Records in 1993. They disbanded after seven years, following the release of their second album Hell Below, Stars Above. For a while, Vaden Todd Lewis performed with the Burden Brothers. But by 2007 the Toadies, now minus bassist Lisa Umbarger, were back in business. At the time, I asked Lewis if he’d ever tried writing short stories, but alas, his answer was no. “I’ve never tried writing short stories, but I imagine that would involve being a little more direct.” 2008’s No Deliverance (Play.Rock.Music. was released this year) actually seemed more about real people and places. “Some of it was real,” Lewis admits, “and some of it was based on, well, my wife is a psychologist. So, I hear a lot of good stories. No names, but stories. Some of those songs are about some of those people.”
Helmet and UME also perform.
Toadies: Belly Up, Sunday, October 21, 8 p.m. 858-481-8140, $18 advance/$20 day of show