Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1981

DESPITE THEIR appearance on the original “Metal for Muthas” album and being at the forefront of the ’78 metal deluge, Toad The Wet Sprocket have hardly set the world on fire.

Formed in the mid-seventies Toad battled against the punk tide and gig promoters, who were, at the time, only booking bands with pink hair and safety pins up their arses. However, the band were prepared to bide their time playing the few pubs and clubs whose owners saw a potentially large audince with nowhere to go.

Anyway, things started getting better and the band found their way onto the aforementioned “Muthas” album, which in turn generated as much press as a story of my cat farting. You see the snag was the band weren’t exactly into custom fitted leather trousers and studded wrist bands. And as is apparent from their ‘Muthas’ track, their music, although heavy metal, didn’t fit the stereotype the cheque-book-weilding record company boys had in mind, and again the name didn’t help.

How on earth did they come up with Toad The Wet Sprocket? Lead singer Mick Mustafa explains “we were watching a television programme which had a fictional band in it called Toad The Wet Sprocket and we all thought it was great, so from that day on that’s what it’s been.”
Getting back to the band’s (mis)fortunes, it soon seemed that a band from darkest St. Albans, who wore T-shirts and jeans on stage and didn’t mind admitting that they quite liked metal in its’ pre-punk days, were going to have to bide their time and, as the saying goes, ‘not give up their day jobs’. Only this time they decided to go out and record a single on their own label, and the resulting ‘Reaching For The Sky’, recorded with the line-up of Pete Austin (bass), Mick Mustafa (vocals), Martin Wightwick (drums) and Mark Rideaut (guitar), shows the band as exponents of the more bluesy metal that seems to have gone the way of the Dodo since the invention of the “I can play more riffs a second than you” syndrome. Not that the band aren’t akin to a bit of mania, as anyone who’s seen them live can testify, but it’s heartwarming to know there are some people who are in no hurry to swap their guitars for pneumatic drills.

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