Glen Phillips

Glen Phillips

Glen Phillips
Glen Phillips performing at the Lowell Summer Music Series in August 2011
Background information
Born (1970-12-29) December 29, 1970
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock, rock, folk rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1986–present
Labels Columbia
Associated acts Toad the Wet Sprocket, Mutual Admiration Society, Works Progress Administration, Plover
Notable instruments
Fender Telecaster

Glen Phillips (born December 29, 1970) is an American songwriter, lyricist, singer and guitarist. He is best known as the singer and songwriter of 1990s alternative rock group Toad the Wet Sprocket.


  • Personal life 1
  • Music 2
  • Discography 3
    • Studio albums 3.1
    • Other major releases 3.2
    • Tracks available for download 3.3
    • Collaborations 3.4
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Personal life

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 wife, Laurel, have three girls (Sophia, Freya, and Zola).

Phillips injured his arm on October 8, 2008 at a friend's house when a glass coffee table he was sitting on collapsed.[1] Phillips had surgery to repair a damaged ulnar nerve and muscle in his left arm.[1] 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 have recently joined Phillips on the road to provide accompaniment.[1]

Phillips is frequently barefoot when performing with the band.


Phillips began Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986, at the age of 16.[2] 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.

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 latter 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 has been involved in the soundtrack of the film Imagine That. He covers The Beatles's song "I'll Follow the Sun."


Studio albums

  • Abulum (CD) - Brick Red Records - 2000
  • Winter Pays for Summer (CD, LP) - Lost Highway Records - 2005
  • Mr. Lemons (CD) - Umami/bigHelium - 2006
  • Tornillo (digital) - independent release - recorded in 2003; available for download in 2010
  • Coyote Sessions (digital) - independent release - 2012 [5]
  • Options - B-sides & Demos (digital) - Umani Music - 2014

Note: Abulum was released independently in 2000, then under Brick Red in 2001.

Other major releases

Tracks available for download


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


  1. ^ a b c Heinz, Frank (November 20, 2008). "Toad's Glen Phillips Plays 'Intimate Evening' in Dallas".  
  2. ^ Fleming Artists: Toad the Wet Sprocket biography.

External links

  • Glen Phillips The official site with news, tour dates, blog, photos. (.com)
  • Glen Phillips The official site with news, tour dates, blog, photos. (.net)
  • Glen Phillips message board Official message board.
  • Glen's MySpace site Glen's MySpace site with blog, photos and information on any upcoming tour dates.
  • This Toad the Wet Sprocket site also has a great deal of content devoted to Glen's solo career.
  • A large database of downloadable live performances. The shows are also indexed at
  • Works Progress Administration The official site for WPA.
  • PopGurls 20 Questions with Glen Phillips. Interview from 2003.
  • [6] PARADIGM interview with Glen Phillips
  • [7] Glen Phillips on
  • Glen Phillips JBTV interview on Interview from 2007
  • [8] Glen Phillips BrightSideBroadcast Podcast.
  • 2010 Half-Hour TV Interview on The Creative Community