Singer-songwriter relearns guitar, working on Toad discWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who play in alternative rock bands shouldn’t sit on glass tables.
Just ask Glen Phillips.
“I was at Sean Watkins’ house, the guitarist from Nickel Creek and also Works Progress Administration, and I was just sitting there. They have this glass coffee table, which immediately sounds — you know exactly where the story is going from there. It had a thick metal rim that I thought was supporting my weight.
“I had been sitting on it for like 20 minutes and suddenly it just went crack,” the guitarist said. “It sliced my ulnar nerve on my left hand, so my fretting hand. My pinky and the outer side of that hand is completely numb and kind of pins and needles like when you hit your funny bone really hard, and then one half of my ring finger is numb, and there’s a bunch of muscles that aren’t plugged in anymore.
“I had been asking for a challenge in my life — I’d been having this wandering around, I need something new, something to work at,” Phillips said and laughed about the 2008 incident. “I really wasn’t expecting it to come in that form.”
The frontman of Toad the Wet Sprocket usually jumps right into a new project, be it solo or with a band.
“With Plover and Remote Tree Children and Works Progress Administration and also with ‘The Secrets to a New Explorer’ EP, those were all — I had this huge burst of creativity a few years ago. I just decided to kind of leave any commercial aspiration behind and work with the people who made me the happiest and have the most fun I could,” Phillips said during a call from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif.
“I guess the problem with doing something that’s totally not commercially viable is that I did all of that and then I found that I was broke,” he said and laughed. “Back to trying to find a balance between passion and work, which is always the issue.”
Phillips will play songs from Toad the Wet Sprocket, Works Progress Administration and his solo career at 8 p.m. May 18 at the Ark in Ann Arbor. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Jonathan Kingham will open and accompany Phillips.
The singer-songwriter is working on a new disc with Toad the Wet Sprocket, best known for “All I Want,” “Fall Down,” “Something’s Always Wrong” and “Walk on the Ocean.”
“We have most of it written, and we’re recording a couple songs at a time. We’re hoping for later this year; chances are, it’ll be next year,” he said.
“The music I make on my own is somewhat recognizable as the guy from Toad, but it’s a really different thing. We only sound like Toad when we’re all doing it together.”