Glen Phillips (singer)

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Glen Phillips
Glen Phillips.jpg
Phillips at the Lowell Summer Music Series, August 2011
Background information
Born (1970-12-29) December 29, 1970 (age 48)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, rock, folk rock
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards
Years active1985–present
Associated actsToad the Wet Sprocket, Mutual Admiration Society, Works Progress Administration, Plover

Glen Phillips (born December 29, 1970) is an American songwriter, lyricist, singer and guitarist. He is best known as the singer and songwriter of the alternative rock group Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Personal life[edit]

Phillips was born in Santa Barbara, California, United States, and began making music at age 14. Glen grew up in a household where Reform Judaism was practiced and Eastern Religion was studied, and his spiritual curiosity has been one of the major themes of his writing.

Phillips and his ex-wife, Laurel, have three daughters, Sophia, Freya, and Zola.[1] The couple was married from 1989 to 2014.[2]

On October 8, 2008, Phillips injured his arm while at a friend's house when a glass coffee table collapsed while he was sitting on it.[3] Phillips had surgery to repair a damaged ulnar nerve and muscle in his left arm.[3] His ability to play guitar was hampered during his recovery, but he had been actively touring in spite of his injury. Sean Watkins and Jonathan Kingham recently joined Phillips on the road to provide accompaniment.[3]

Phillips is frequently barefoot when performing with the band.[4]


Phillips began Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986, at the age of 15.[5] By 1988, they had signed with Columbia Records. They recorded five albums and many major tours until 1998.

During his time in Toad the Wet Sprocket, Phillips was involved in a pop rock project called Flapping, Flapping.[6]

Three years later, Phillips released his first solo album, Abulum, which was a change from the sound that Toad the Wet Sprocket was known for. This was followed up by a self-released live album and solo touring, along with a reunion tour with his former Toad bandmates

In 2004, Phillips, with Nickel Creek, released a long-awaited collaboration as Mutual Admiration Society. The self-titled album had been recorded in 2000 and featured songs written by both Phillips alone and as collaborative efforts, and was released on Sugar Hill Records.

In 2005, Phillips returned to a major label via Universal Records' imprint Lost Highway Records and released the critically acclaimed Winter Pays For Summer. The album included the radio single "Duck and Cover," but Phillips and the label would part ways due to creative differences. A compilation of six outtakes from the album were published as an EP titled Unlucky 7, the first track ("The Hole") of which was featured in the second episode of the AMC television series Breaking Bad.

Phillips released his third proper solo album, Mr. Lemons in the spring of 2006. The music video for the album's first single, "Everything But You," made its debut as a Yahoo! Exclusive Premiere on May 11, 2006.

In 2007 Phillips reunited with Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek as well as Grant-Lee Phillips and Luke Bulla to perform as part of The Various & Sundry Tour.

In January 2008, Phillips released an EP with Talk Talk and Peter Gabriel influences titled Secrets of the New Explorers.

In January 2008, it was reported by Billboard that a new supergroup octet had formed. The genesis of the project came via a "Glen Phillips and Friends" evening hosted by the Sings Like Hell concert series at Santa Barbara's Lobero Theatre in February 2007. The ensemble reunited in Jim Scott's recording studio a year later and by September 2008 the collective settled upon the name Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.). In its octet configuration, WPA features Phillips, Sean Watkins (guitar), his sister Sara Watkins (fiddle), Benmont Tench (piano), Luke Bulla (fiddle), Greg Leisz (various), Pete Thomas (drums), and Davey Faragher (bass). The group also performs as a quintet featuring Phillips, Watkins, Bulla, and bassist Sebastian Steinberg. The results of the 2008 recording sessions were released as this album on September 15, 2009.

Phillips has also completed an album with Neilson Hubbard and Garrison Starr under the band name, Plover, released October 23, 2008.

In 2009, Phillips was involved in the soundtrack of the film Imagine That. He covers The Beatles' song "I'll Follow the Sun."

On April 5, 2018, Glen Phillips announced that he had signed with Compass Records Group.[7] His recently released 2016 album, Swallowed By the New, was re-released on May 4, 2018, with a new bonus track: "Nobody's Gonna Get Hurt."


Studio albums[edit]

Other major releases[edit]

  • Live at Largo (CD) – independent release – 2003
  • Unlucky 7 (EP) – independent release – 2006
  • Secrets of the New Explorers (EP) – independent release – 2008
  • Tornillo (digital) – independent release – (recorded in 2002 with producer David Garza but scrapped in favor of making "Winter Pays For Summer" with John Fields. made available for download in 2010 as a Christmas gift for fans that had been asking about the sessions for years)
  • Coyote Sessions (digital and limited CD) – independent release – 2012 (compilation of previously unreleased songs, recorded live in studio with one central microphone)
  • Options – B-sides & Demos (digital and limited CD) – Umami Music – 2014 (primarily outtakes from the 2003–2004 "Winter Pays For Summer" with some older demos thrown in)

Tracks available for download[edit]


  • "Scare Goat" by MC Frontalot – independent release – 2008
  • Sobriety Kills (CD) by Jason Karaban – 2009 (composer on some songs)

Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ Scheinberg, Celeste (September 20, 2007). "Coming & Going". Montecito Journal. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Norbom, Mary Ann (February 2, 2016). "Santa Barbara to Nashville to Santa Ynez, Glen Phillips makes music happen". Santa Maria Times (Santa Maria, California).
  3. ^ a b c Heinz, Frank (November 20, 2008). "Toad's Glen Phillips Plays 'Intimate Evening' in Dallas". KXAS-TV. NBC Universal, Inc. I can kind of play guitar. I feel like I am about 10 years back in my ability, but I can play somewhat," Phillips said. "It will be very interesting to see how it goes.
  4. ^ Knittel, Shaun (August 6, 2010). "Toad the Wet Sprocket still hot after all these years". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  5. ^ "Glen Phillips". Fleming Artists. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  6. ^ "flapping, Flapping". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  7. ^

External links[edit]