Toad (band)

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Toad
Also known as Vic Vea Band
Origin Basel, Switzerland
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock, Heavy metal, acid rock, psychedelic rock, funk rock
Years active 1970–1995
Labels Hallelujah, RCA, Polydor, Frog
Associated acts Brainticket, Hawkwind
Past members Vittorio Vergeat
Werner Fröhlich
Cosimo Lampis
André Buser
Benjamin Jäger
Caesar Perrig
Claudio Salsi
Kelvin Bullen

Toad were a Swiss hard rock band, formed by ex-Brainticket members in Basel, Switzerland during 1970. Their best known songs were covers of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There", along with originals "Usin' My Life" and "Stay!". Their first two albums were engineered by Martin Birch.

Though the band was not commercially successful outside of their own country, they were a popular live act because of their furiosity, musicianship and stage antics. Most notably when lead guitarist Vic Vergeat played the guitar with his teeth. Their concerts were often compared to those of Jimi Hendrix.

The band went through lineup changes during its history, but the longest lasting and most consistent lineup was Vic Vergeat: lead guitar and vocals, Werner Fröhlich: bass and vocals and Cosimo Lampis: drums.[1]

History[edit]

In 1970, European psychedelic rock band Brainticket was about to release their first album, featuring Werner Fröhlich on bass and Cosimo Lampis on drums. They departed the group and formed Toad with Vittorio 'Vic' Vergeat, who was briefly in the British space rock group Hawkwind, on guitar. They began writing and recording material for their first album in late 1970, and in 1971, Toad released their self-titled album and the single "Stay!," which did fairly well and made a great deal of headway in the Swiss charts: a feet that no other hard rock band had ever accomplished in that country.[2] The album was mixed by the legendary British producer Martin Birch (who also produced for Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath). The album also features Benjamin "Beni" Jaeger on vocals, who would leave once the album was finished.[3][1]

As their first album was being released in 1971, Toad performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival that was recorded live by the Swedish Television, but the footage was lost and to date there seems to be no further copy.[4]

In 1972, the band released Tomorrow Blue, which was in a more blues direction and without a lead vocalist (with Vergeat and Fröhlich taking over vocal duties). Like their first album, it was engineered by the British record producer Martin Birch. The album also included Helmut Lipsky on violin, who played prominently on the tracks "Blind Chapman's Tales", "Change In Time" and the single "Green Ham."[5] Later the same year, the band recorded the album Open Fire: Live in Basel 1972 which included covers of Hendrix's "Red House" and the Band of Gypsys "Who Knows."

They waited until 1974 to release their third album, Dreams, which featured the popular single 'Purple Haze'. After that, their history remains largely undocumented except for a live album recorded in Geneva during 1978 and a studio album released in the early 1990s with different versions of the band. The rest of the 1970s and 1980s were spent appearing on a few compilations, releasing live albums and performing while slowly fading into relative obscurity.

Somewhere between 1979 and 1988, original bassist Werner Fröhlich left the group and was replaced by Kelvin Bullen, and after he too departed from the group in the early 1990s was replaced by André Buser who would remain with the band until its demise.

In 1986, Toad made an appearance at the "St. Gallen Open Air Festival" in St. Gallen, Switzerland.[6][4]

During 1993, Toad released the studio album, "Stop This Crime". Following its release, original drummer Cosimo Lampis departed from the group and was replaced by Claudio Salsi who would remain until Toad broke up. After Lampis departed from the band, he would go on to create a school in Sardinia.

In 1994, Toad played a concert in Brienz, Switzerland which provided the material for the popular live album, "The Real Thing."[7]

In about 1995, Toad broke up and have to date, not reformed.

Following Toad's demise, the album "Hate To Hate" was released, it contained the same tracks as "Stop This Crime" but with a different cover and title.

After Toad, Vegeat went on a solo career, releasing many albums over the years. He then formed and toured with his very own band, "The Vic Vergeat Band", he still records and plays live to this day (mostly in Europe). The other former members went on to other groups or retired from the music business altogether.

The band never achieved great success outside of their own country, but were very influential on the Swiss heavy metal movement during the 1980s, influencing such notable bands as Krokus[8] and Celtic Frost. They have seen renewed interest in the early 2000s among the European hard rock scene. Their albums have been re-released and remastered for new generation of listeners and a CD boxed set, packaged to look like miniature vinyl records was released.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • 1971 - Toad
  • 1972 - Tomorrow Blue
  • 1974 - Dreams
  • 1993 - Stop This Crime
  • 1995 - Hate to Hate
  • 2003 - B.U.F.O (Blues United Fighting Organization)
  • 2004 - Behind the Wheels

Live albums[edit]

  • 1973 - Open Fire: Live in Basel 1972
  • 1978 - Yearnin' Learnin': Live 1978 (recorded live in Geneva)
  • 1994 - The Real Thing (recorded live in Brienz)
  • 2005 - Live at St. Joseph (Basel) 22.04.1972 (copy from Live at St. Joseph)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1978 - The Best of Toad
  • 1979 - Tomorrow Blue
  • 1992 - Rarities
  • 1999 - Toad Trilogy
  • 2003 - Toad Box

Singles[edit]

  • 1971 - Stay!/Animal's World
  • 1971 - I Saw Her Standing There/Green Ham
  • 1972 - Fly/No Need
  • 1975 - Purple Haze/Making You Feel Right
  • 1977 - Baby You/I'm Going

Filmography[edit]

  • 1971 - Montreux Jazz Festival (recorded live by Swiss Television)
  • 1978 - Toad on the Road (directed by Paul Grau)
  • 1986 - St. Gallen Open Air Festival
  • 1994 - The Real Thing (recorded live in Brienz)

Band members[edit]

Original members[edit]

Later members[edit]

  • André Buser - bass
  • Caesar Perrig - bass
  • Kelvin Bullen - bass
  • Claudio Salsi - drums

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Freeman, Steven; Freeman, Alan (1996). A Crack in the Cosmic Egg. Audion Publications. ISBN 978-0952950608. 
  • Toad Trilogy 3CD Set: Toad, Tomorrow Blue, Dreams-Akarma AK 083/3 liner notes