Doni Blair, bassist for The Toadies opens up about the band’s foray into comics and the MCU, touring ‘Rubberneck’ after 25 years, and the potential of UK shows.
As The Toadies ready themselves to embark on a massive US tour to promote the 25th Anniversary of ‘Rubberneck’, we catch up with bassist Doni Blair (formerly of Hagfish) to discuss the band’s legacy. When reflecting on the longevity of tracks like ‘Tyler’, Doni says that he loves that people from all over the world enjoy the music, but is concerned about how some people interpret the songs: “We’ve had people say that they’ve walked down the aisle to ‘Tyler’,” he laughs.
On The Toadies reputation for dark lyrics, and how fans interpret them differently, Doni comments that it really is just how Vaden sees the characters that he writes about in the band’s most notable tracks: “It’s not that Vaden isn’t looking at the positive side of things, it’s just that growing up in Texas, we see a lot of crazy, weird stuff and people.
“That’s where ‘Tyler’ came from – there’s a town called Tyler in Texas, and Vaden’s parents has a cabin there, they’d heard a rumour about a guy going round and looking inside cabins, and that’s where the story in the song comes from. Vaden is more like a narrator, and a storyteller. Even when Vaden is frustrated, he is going to tell you a story. He heard about that, created a story, and brought a light to it, to say to people listening, ‘that’s not cool’.”
Doni is so enthused by how much people still love the band, and the bassist says that he feels honoured that Toadies can sell out venues with 1,000 people per night in America, and that they are still interested in hearing new material too. On that note, the band is set to record with legendary producer, Steve Albini (Nirvana, Mogwai etc) in October: “We are so excited about that, and what we have written is amazing. We’re putting out an EP before the tour as well, called ‘Damn You All To Hell’, because we are kinda bummed about the state of our country right now.”
Doni reflects on the longevity of The Toadies’ back-catalogue, and why he thinks the band has survived (and thrived) the way it has: “We really enjoy being around each other, and we have to [enjoy it] because we are with each other, all day long. We are all married, and we are all in our 50s, but it makes sense, because when we are together, we have a great time! We still laugh, and joke about things that 50-year-olds shouldn’t be laughing about!”
Not content with being a world-renowned group, synonymous with grunge and alternative rock, in recent years, the band has crossed over into the pop culture and comic book world, with Toadies featuring in an X-Men comic (Earth-92131), and Vaden producing his own lyric comics (Jigsaw Girl), while Mark Reznicek has his own book (Buzzkill) as well: “We are all comic nerds, except Clark Vogeler, who is more of a cinematic nerd. The three of us grew up around comics. To see myself and my band in that X-Men comic was unbelievable. My dad turned me, and my brother on to comics. He passed away in ’91. He would have thought it was so cool that we were in an X-Men comic.”
For more on how the band enjoys working together these days, and a deep discussion on comic book heroes and villains, listen to the full chat below: