After bursting onto the national scene with their breakthrough Rubberneck album, which begat their signature single “Possum Kingdom,” the successful follow-up single “Away” and the immense fan favorite “Tyler,” the Toadies returned to the studio in 1998 with the pressure of trying to match their first album’s success. The result was a disc called Feeler, an album the band’s then-label home, Insterscope Records, was supposed to release in 1998/99 but decided to shelve despite the band’s protests. So it was back to the drawing board for the 2001-released Hell Below/Stars Above, an awkwardly timed sophomore album that enjoyed moderate success and almost universal critical acclaim but was ultimately doomed because of the seven-year wait it took to arrive.
Disappointed and dejected, the band dissolved just a few months after that album’s release. Bassist Lisa Umbarger quit music altogether. Drummer Mark Reznicek joined Dallas country band Eleven Hundred Springs. Guitarist Clark Vogeler moved to Hollywood, where he became an Emmy Award-winning editor for breakout cable reality series Project Runway. Front man and primary songwriter Vaden Todd Lewis formed a new band called the Burden Brothers. It was a reunion show in Dallas in 2006, originally planned as a one-off gig, which reignited the band’s spark. The following year, the band embarked on a surprise tour of Texas. A year later, they fully re-formed, recording and releasing 2008’s No Deliverance for Dallas’ Kirtland Records and ushering bassist Doni Blair (formerly of Dallas band Hagfish) into Umbarger’s former role. Immediately, fans of the band ecstatically welcomed the Toadies’ return. On tours in support of No Deliverance, they played across the country to sold-out rooms and eager audiences. Refreshed and inspired, the band launched their own annual festival in 2008, and, each summer since, thousands have traveled to remote Texas locations to attend Dia De Los Toadies — not only to observe the festival’s namesake in action, but to watch the band’s favorite up-and-coming Texas talents as well.