Canada’s Theory of a Deadman may be seeking a mainstream rock career path, but its sophomore album, “Gasoline,” displays a more independent streak than its 2002 self-titled debut.
“Following our first album, we were advised to write the same record, just better,” the band’s singer/guitarist Tyler Connolly says. “We said, ‘Screw that! We don’t have to go after the same things.'” TOAD includes David Brenner (guitar) and Dean Back (bass).
“Gasoline,” out March 29 on 604 Records in Canada and on Roadrunner Records elsewhere, was produced by Howard Benson and engineered by Mike Plotnikoff in Los Angeles. While there are similarities to its debut album, including an emphasis on pop-driven rock, the follow-up is far more ambitious and distinctive.
The band’s debut, co-produced by Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and Joey Moi, has sold 190,000 copies in the United States and 79,000 in Canada, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The first album’s leadoff single, “Nothing Could Come Between Us,” received widespread airplay at U.S. active and modern rock radio. Follow-up singles, however, fared less well. Still, the band won a Juno Award for best new group in 2003.
A chance meeting in 1999 at a Vancouver party between Connolly and Kroeger led to the Nickelback hitmaker mentoring TOAD. U.S. labels’ interest in the group accelerated in 2001, as Nickelback and Default —- also developed by Kroeger —- were storming rock radio throughout North America. Kroeger and entertainment lawyer Jonathan Simkin launched 604 Records and made a deal with Roadrunner for TOAD.
Despite TOAD touring North American for almost two years in support of its debut, playing with Nickelback, Saliva, 3 Doors Down and Three Days Grace, the Vancouver-based band couldn’t shake the stigma of being “Nickelback Lite.”
“Every interview we’d be asked what Chad was up to,” Connolly says. “With this record we consciously made an effort to get away from being from the Nickelback camp. We’re not from any camp.”
To set up “Gasoline,” TOAD began a six-week U.S. tour with Shinedown in mid-January. Another tour with Breaking Benjamin started March 1, and runs until late April. Show attendees receive a two-song sampler featuring first single “No Surprise” and “Hating Hollywood.”
“No Surprise” has quickly taken off at active rock radio in the United States. The single is No. 16 on the Billboard Radio Monitor Active Rock Tracks chart. In Canada, the track is No. 4 on Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems’ rock chart.
The album will receive additional exposure through the inclusion of the track “No Way Out” on Sony PlayStation’s “MLB 2006” game.
Excerpted from the April 3, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.
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