Texas' contribution to grunge, the Toadies
  • Texas' contribution to grunge, the Toadies
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“The band never went all the way away.” Vaden Todd Lewis would know. As one of the Fort Worth band’s founding members, he is also one of its survivors. The band broke out in 1994 on the strength of a song that I still max out the car stereo volume for and rattle the speakers whenever it gets radio airplay. Which is relatively frequent.


Toadies, "Possum Kingdom"

“Possum Kingdom” may be the perfect song of the ’90s. Sadly, the band was never able to make that happen again. Surely this frustrated Toadies fans as much as it did their label, and ultimately, the Toadies themselves — Lewis, with guitarist Darrel Herbert, Mark Reznicek on drums, and rock-steady bassist Lisa Umbarger. She quit six years after the single hit big, and that’s when the wheels came off the band.

There actually is a place called Possum Kingdom Lake from which the band got the name for the song. Creepy video: it shows a (presumably full) bodybag being dragged from a lake with a surprise ending that I won’t spoil for those of you who have not seen it yet. Lewis, though — I have to wonder. He wrote a song about self-immolation, and “Possum Kingdom” was its part two in which “smoke beings” roam the lake looking for people to join them. Creepy.

Past Event

The Toadies

  • Saturday, September 23, 2017, 8 p.m.
  • Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach
  • 21+

But, grunge straight out of Texas: while the rest of grunge music was home-based in Washington state, Toadies made it happen far away from the epicenter of the movement. They toured hard for years on the strength of that first album and single, and they (and radio) stitched “Possum Kingdom” into the fabric of pop culture. It is impossible to un-hear it. Lewis and Reznicek are back together now, with new members Clark Vogeler on second guitar and bassist Doni Blair. New music? Yes. Last year Toadies released Heretics and this year, The Lower Side of Uptown was birthed.

Local H also performs.

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