When Toad the Wet Sprocket made the decision to bring "New Constellation", their first set of fresh material in 16 years, to Kickstarter they had set a cost limit of $50,000 and promised investors they'd get to hear the album the moment the band reached their goal.
Expecting they would have plenty of time to have it done well within the 60-day time limit of the project, it then came as a surprise with 20 hours later, the group's coffers were fattened with more than what they asked for.
"We thought we might hit the goal in a couple of weeks perhaps," proclaims frontman Glen Phillips. "But it hit in less than 24 hours and took us all completely by surprise."
However, this led Toad into a bit of a conundrum as the band was on tour when the good news broke and did not have the laptop containing the mastered tracks. They also hadn't finished the album's artwork, thus preventing them from expediting the promise of delivering the full album immediately to their supporters.
"Delivery has been a bit of a challenge," Phillips explains. "We didn't quite understand a few of the particulars of the Kickstarter backend. We thought we'd be given emails of users as soon as we reached our initial goal, but we don't get them 'til the end of the campaign. That means we have to create a signup link outside the site to be able to deliver the download codes the way we wanted. It'll all come together soon, but we're a little embarrassed at being caught so off guard. The people at Kickstarter have been very supportive for us finding solutions that can work around the system. That's one of the nice things about crowd funding - everybody is on each other's side."
The album will be released Sept. 17 on their own Abe's Records imprint.
This long-awaited follow-up to 1997's "Coil" contains some of the band's most electric songs to date, including AOR-friendly cuts like "California Wasted" and "I'll Bet On You" as well as the infectious Jackson Browne-gone-120 Minutes title cut. According to Phillips, the absence of industry suit pressure added an abundance of room for growth and collaboration.
"Since we hadn't recorded in so long, we allowed ourselves to take a lot more time working things out in the studio," he explains. "We didn't do a ton of pre-production, but instead got to work out things on the fly. Some songs were pretty straightforward to knock out, but others took a lot of figuring out. You could do some of that in the 90's, but you couldn't just take a hard drive home and spend a day in the garage fooling around. It used to be you were on the clock and spending money whenever you recorded. It was great to have some of that pressure off and feel things out a little more."
Either way, the men of Toad, rounded out by original members guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning, and drummer Randy Guss, all share in the excitement and surprise of being welcomed back from such a long absence in such an organic and sincere way as the online campaign for the creation of "Constellation," which once again proves the promise of this bold new avenue for music acts to bring their art directly to the marketplace.
"Taking the record to Kickstarter just seemed to be the right way to go," Phillips said. "We wanted to get the record started without too much outside pressure or interference, and be able to go more directly to the most loyal fans. We hope they find our efforts worthy..."