When “All I Want” became a hit, I was 16 and angsty. Hell, I’m 41 and angsty. But you get the picture. I was squarely in Toad The Wet Sprocket’s key demographic. Well, except for the being Black stuff (and I’m not saying this to be shady or accusatory towards Toad, it’s just to say that I know no other Black person who is a fan of the band.) Anyway, I can’t remember whether I first became aware of the band when “All I Want” debuted in the Top 40 (I was an inveterate AT40 listener) or on NBC’s Saturday Morning Videos, which I watched religiously on account of not having MTV. I do know that I was transfixed almost immediately and, additionally, developed a massive crush on Toad’s lead singer Glen Phillips that has so far survived two face to face meetings, a Twitter argument (over Kanye West of all people) and four concerts. And still exists to this day.
I also have to shout out my high school friend Ben Lam (more on him when we get to the “D”s), who dubbed me a copy of Fear (the album that contains “All I Want”) during senior year of high school. I was on a pretty severe budget and could rarely afford tapes, so most of my collection at that point was either cassingles or bootleg cassettes that I either bought on Fulton Street as I was coming home from school or on Church Ave. and Utica Ave. when I was near my house. The bootleg tape selections were almost all reggae, R&B or hip-hop (no surprise, given the demographic of both neighborhoods circa 1992), with the exception of the occasional West Indian woman-friendly pop artist like Michael Bolton (more on that later, too). Needless to say, none of these folks were stocking Toad The Wet Sprocket tapes.