‘Possum Kingdom’ Rockers The Toadies Still Make Great Music


Image of the rock band The Toadies.

The Toadies – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Interview: The Toadies guitarist Clark Vogeler discusses the long-lasting popularity of “Possum Kingdom,” the band’s new album and more

The Toadies’ “Possum Kingdom” is one of those songs that’s instantly recognizable. From the track’s initial guitar riff to the opening lyrics of, “Make up your mind,” “Possum Kingdom” is simply a classic. The track, which appears on 1994’s “Rubberneck,” is also still a regular jam on rock radio.

Now, nearly 30 years later, The Toadies still make great music. They’re favorites in their home state of Texas and continue to churn out the jams. Most recently, the band released a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s chart-topper “Since U Been Gone,” as part of the compilation “Texas Wild” honoring 100 years of Texas state parks.

The band also recently finished recording a new studio album, which they’re hoping to get out in 2024. Before then, The Toadies have four gigs lined up to close out the year, Dec. 28 through 30 throughout Texas. Find the band’s current roster of shows here.

The Toadies guitarist Clark Vogeler spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio in a new interview about what the band has been up to, as well as the long-lasting popularity of “Possum Kingdom.” So, what makes “Possum Kingdom” such a popular song, decade after decade?

“The riff is unusual, and it’s cool, and I think it sticks with people,” Vogeler said. “I think people are drawn to it because of the world (vocalist Vaden Todd Lewis) creates with his words and the way he sings them. Of course, it’s melodic and catchy and has a good groove and is recorded well, but I think the lyrics take you to a place, and they raise just enough ideas in your brain that you want to know more.”

He continued, “But, he doesn’t paint the whole picture for you. He like to leaves it so you have to connect the lines. I think that’s what people like about it. Some people think it’s about vampires. Some people think it’s about a serial kill. But, really, it’s about neither one of those. He was reading a lot of Stephen King at the time, so it’s got some weird, mystic story thing going on. But, that’s what I think people connect with. Plus, there’s the build up, the quiet down and the screaming part. It’s got a little bit for everybody.”

Vogeler added, “We were surprised that song has stayed around as much as it has. But, it’s also meant that we’ve had a career for this long. It has really driven that. So, we’re happy to play it anytime someone wants to hear it.”

Switching gears to the influential 1990s music scene, while the scene filled with grunge, plenty of bands that weren’t grunge often got lumped into that genre. The Toadies were one of them.

“I feel like a lot of the things that I would characterize as grunge, The Toadies don’t really work in those terms,” Vogeler said. “I think we get grouped with it, just because of the time. Also, certainly, if grunge hadn’t happened, The Toadies wouldn’t probably have been signed and probably wouldn’t have had a successful first album. It’s got some things that share with it, but really, it’s kind of separate from what I think of as grunge. We’re fortunate to be around at that same time, and 30 years later, people just kind of considerate it grunge, because it was popular in the mid-’90s. But, if you get down to the details and get semantic about it, then I would not consider us grunge.”

Listen to Vogeler’s full chat with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio on Apple Podcasts here, Spotify podcasts here and via the audio player below. Also, speaking of grunge, find some very underrated grunge albums here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Interviews, Music, Rock