Alternative rock quartet Toad The Wet Sprocket, dormant for the past five years, is resurfacing not only with a previously announced engagement to open some December shows for the Counting Crows, but

Alternative rock quartet Toad The Wet Sprocket, dormant for the past five years, is resurfacing not only with a previously announced engagement to open some December shows for the Counting Crows, but also to headline an 20-city tour starting in February 2003.

Dates for the trek aren't finalized yet, but Toad will officially make its return to the stage Dec. 4 at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, Calif., for the annual Rape Crisis Benefit Concert. "We've supported the Rape Crisis Center in Santa Barbara for many years and felt that the benefit concert would be a great way to start again," said singer Glen Phillips in a statement. The group will be joined by Nickel Creek and a number of other special guests for the show.

The welcome back will be extended to the December California leg of Counting Crows' ongoing tour. Toad will open shows Dec. 10 and 11 in Los Angeles, a Dec. 13 show in San Diego, and a five-night stand at San Francisco's Warfield Theater.

"Our first two rehearsals have been very exciting," said Phillips about Toad's reforming. "We always said we'd get together again when it felt right -- and this feels good." The group has reportedly been rehearsing songs from all six of its Columbia albums, and guitarist Todd Nichols hinted some new material might be played as well.

Toad The Wet Sprocket has sold more than 3.25 million albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The group's biggest success came with 1992's "Fear," which hit No. 49 on The Billboard 200 on the strength of modern rock hits "All I Want" (No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100) and "Walk on the Ocean" (No. 18), going on to sell 1.4 million copies. After the group's dissolution, Philips released a solo album, "Abulum" (Brick Red), while bandmates Nichols and drummer Randy Guss released two albums with their side project Lapdog.

Here are Toad The Wet Sprocket's tour dates:

Dec. 4: Santa Barbara, Calif. (Arlington Theater)
Dec. 10: Los Angeles (Universal Amphitheatre)
Dec. 11: Los Angeles (Wiltern)
Dec. 13: San Diego (Cox Arena)
Dec. 16-17, 20-22: San Francisco (Warfield Theater)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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