Melbourne’s TOEHIDER have announced their final shows for 2016, supporting post-rockers MENISCUS on their album launch shows in Melbourne and Sydney this November.
Frontman and multi-instrumentalist MIKE MILLS has also announced these will be the final shows for the foreseeable future with the current “Mark 2” touring lineup of guitarist Lachlan Barclay, bassist Amy Campbell and drummer Mike Solo. Toehider will continue as a live act with a new live lineup, whilst the current lineup amicably disbands as Barclay, Campbell and Solo pursue other activities.
Mike Mills & Andrew Saltmarsh released the following statements:
“Hello! So next year I’m super keen to get back out and play a lot more shows and tour more often with Toehider. I feel like the chemistry between myself, Amy, Mike Solo and Lachlan has been great, it’s getting us all in the same room together to rehearse that’s been the tricky part! I’ve been pretty content these last few years playing the odd show here and there when we’re all free and willing, but lately I’ve really been feeling like I need to honour the amount of support the fans (you guys!) have been giving Toehider, which really means getting out more frequently and playing the music live.
It’s inevitable that priorities change over time, so it’s been mutually decided that Toehider soldiers on with some fresh faces and in a slightly different configuration. But more on that later…
Amy Campbell, Mike Solo and Lachlan Barclay are all wonderful, beautiful, talented human beings who I’ll no doubt work with again in some capacity in the future, and I’d like to publicly thank them all for putting up with my control freak-isms, my inability to set up a merch stand to look nice, my mental health ailments, the sweaty hugs, and most of all for smiling politely when I quote Teen Wolf even though I know you guys don’t like the movie that much. No but seriously, thanks for your dedication and delivering 110% of your heart and soul into every single performance.
The art and recorded music of Toehider will continue to be a collaboration between the mighty Salty and myself, and Mr. Solo will still stay on board as co-manager and spiritual advisor. But again, more on that later…
Stay tuned! See you soon xoxox”
“There’s not much else I can say that Mike hasn’t already said. Amy, Lachlan and Mike Solo (ee oh ee ooooh) are people that I will always be proud to call friends. I’m sure whatever they head off to do next will be amazing and I wish them all the best of luck. Three friendlier and more generous people you’d be hard pressed to find.”
Barclay, Campbell and Solo also released statements below:
Lachlan Barclay (guitar):
“Where do I even start??
Playing in Toehider has brought me so much happiness. It’s like God himself sat down and said “I will give you a band, and yea, it shall be everything you have ever wanted.”
My favourite memories of Toehider will be all of those gigs where we were the unknown band. While setting up on stage, the audience’s expressions were always “what kind of band is this? I’m going to hate it”. They would stand there with arms crossed, frowning. We’d kick off with “Lie Still”, and the audience would move from outright hostility, to acceptance, to smiling, to huge grins, and finally move onto fist pumping cheering awesomeness! After gigs people would come up to us and say “Woah dude, that was amazing!” – being given the thumbs up by a cynical metalhead who had seen it all before was always a mind blower.
Playing in a band is so much about personal dynamics. I have been incredibly lucky that Mike is such a funny guy, as well as a deep thinker, and creative genius, AND a pleasure to work with. Being able to discuss things like relationships, family, music, philosophy or comedy is what makes life interesting for me, and nothing could make me happier than working out a harmonised guitar solo with Mike and then be talking about the Simpsons one minute later. I have learnt so much about music from Mike, but more importantly I’ve learnt how to be a better person.
Playing with Amy is the same. Her bass playing is killer and she always smashed it out of the park. Mike and I could prance about onstage playing a risky solo that could all go horribly wrong, but Amy would be the rock solid foundation that kept it all moving and grooving. Her love of music, her interest in everything, and her sense of humour was always a joy. She also wonderfully tolerated the dreaded “Jerklan” who would often make an appearance at about 3:00am.
I will never forget our first rehearsal with Ricky Evensand. We setup, he counted in Jesuitmont, and suddenly this onslaught of noise exploded from the corner of the room. Ricky nailed the parts so well and added his moments of magic that the music was elevated from mere awesomeness, to “what the hell is this???”. Mike’s vocals in the rehearsal studio utterly nailed the track so well that I genuinely couldn’t believe that anyone could sing that pitch perfect. It was such a powerhouse of rock that it was difficult to believe what we were capable of – fortunately Ricky turned out to be a humble and extremely funny guy that rehearsing and gigging with him was a delight.
The same goes with Mike Solo. The first time we played together was on stage. I couldn’t make it to the rehearsal, but Mike and Amy had run through the set with him, and Mike (Mills) told me that it would work out ok. He counted the first song in, nailed it, I gave him a thumbs up, and Toehider “mark II” was born.
There are so many classic moments with Toehider but a few stand out:
* Amy and I unplugging Mike’s lead from his amp (and guitar) just before his big solo
* The Devin Townsend gig in Sydney – incredible.
* The cursed Espy gigs in the Gershwin room
* Listening to every new Toehider album and thinking “THIS IS AWESOME…but oh man, I have to learn this!”
* Meeting all of the awesome, fabulous and lovely fans of the band. I’m one of you now!!
I have to finish my time in the band because of that old cliche, wanting to spend more time with my family. I never understood that concept until I had my own daughter, but now it finally makes sense!
It’s going to be really, really, really tough not playing guitar in Toehider in the future and I’ll miss all you guys horribly. But… I can’t wait to see what Mike will do next in Toehider Mark III !!”
Amy Campbell (bass):
“Oh my god, where do I even start?
I suppose first of all, I want to start by saying I’ve taken my bows, and my curtain calls. You brought me friendship, and family, and everything that goes with it. I thank you all!!
When I first joined Mike Mills’ then nameless project in 2008, I never in a million years anticipated how much of an impact this would have on who I am. Having the opportunity to be a part of the Toehider journey has been nothing short of an honour and one hell of an experience. The friends I have made along the way, the shows I have has the privilege of playing, the other bands and music I have been exposed to and every second of the Toehider journey I will hold dear in my memories for the rest of my life.
Words can’t really express how heartbreaking this is for me. This wasn’t an easy decision for me to make, however the opportunities on Mike’s horizon for Toehider are out of this world. Mike deserves so much more than I can give, and I want to do everything in my power to help enable him in his endeavours.
I want to thank everyone for their continued support, to everyone who has ever supported the band, to Lachlan, Ricky, Gareth, Thom and Geoff who I have has an absolute BLAST playing with, to Mike Solo who is one of the most AMAZING guys going around with a heart as big as the moon, and of course to Mike ‘Teen Wolf’ Mills, who without his trust, belief and creative genius, I would never have had the opportunity to be part of what has ultimately become one of the most influential parts of my life. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Mills and everything he has done for me.
The November shows will be bittersweet. I am SO excited to play one last time with these legends. I will miss you all, but this really is the beginning of something greater and better than I can even imagine.
Mike, I know you have what it takes to be the Champion, my friend. Please keep on fighting till the end.
Mike Solo (drums):
“Friends, these upcoming November shows with Toehider will be my last playing drums with the band for the foreseeable future. It’s been an absolute honour to play 20+ shows with Mike, Lachlan & Amy over the past 3 years. I couldn’t have asked for better people to perform and tour with, playing some of my favourite songs, by one of my favourite musicians ever.
When Mike asked me to fill in for Ricky Evensand back in 2013, I was both excited and intimidated – to fill Ricky’s shoes was a big ask, as well as the logistics of living in different cities – but the combination of his blessing and the opportunity to play these tunes with such legends was too good. I’m super proud of the fact that as a result, Toehider has been able to tour with The Protomen, Devin Townsend, The Beards, Voyager, Caligula’s Horse & Closure in Moscow, recorded a session for Guitar Gods and Masterpieces & even play on a boat (at this year’s ‘Hell on the Bay’). We found soul mates in our friends Troldhaugen and I’ve personally been able to tick things off my bucket list like playing to a sold out Metro Theatre and playing in Tasmania. Playing the songs ‘Toe Hider’, ‘The Most Popular Girl in School’ & ‘Ducksuite’ live have been some of my greatest ever musical experiences. Mike even wrote a song about me, at the behest of my friend Kid, which is pretty much the ultimate act of friendship (plus it’s awesome). But perhaps my favourite moment of them all, is playing ‘Whatever Makes You Feel Superior’ opening for Devin at the Metro Theatre in Sydney, getting to Mike’s vocal solo in the middle…and hearing a sold out audience go absolutely mental as his voice hit THAT NOTE. If you know the song, you know what I mean – I got chills. It was so awesome being able to experience that moment on stage with the band, plus the added kudos from Devin and his crew – I was so proud to see Mike finally getting the reaction I’d always imagined he would receive for his incredible talents, something I’ll never forget.
I’ve always tried to put the interests of the bands on the Bird’s Robe label and management before my own musical ambitions, so it’s with enthusiasm (and no regret) that I’m putting the sticks down for Toehider, in order for Mike to step up his work ethic with the band and be more active. Living in different cities has always made things tricky but we’ve made it work and I’m incredibly proud of that. However, it makes sense that as Mike moves into a busier phase of the group and Amy and Lachlan move on, I also move aside for someone more local to contribute their unique voice to Mike’s music. The great thing is that I now get to watch one of my favourite bands as a fan again – and we can all look forward to more Toehider in future. #moretoehider #onlytoehider #didIdothatright?
For those who don’t know – I was a fan of Toehider before anything else. Back in 2008 when Toehider started, as soon as I heard the first few seconds of the song ‘Toe Hider’ not only did I fall in love with his music, I knew that Mike and I were one day going to be friends. My favourite groups often create music where their character shines through in their performance – it’s a rare thing. Toehider has always been that for me. It’s the same with Salty’s incredible evocative art, which has always so perfectly captured what Toehider is about – and it’s because of him (and Brad Dixon) that I came to discover and eventually join the wonderful world they had created with the community at OzProg.com. After a long period of courtship, I finally got the band to play in Sydney in 2009 and not long after, welcomed Mike & Toehider to the Bird’s Robe roster in 2010. I’ve considered my stint drumming for Mike as an extension of my ‘label support’ over the past 3 years and I’ll be continuing to work as hard as ever behind the scenes to get Toehider to as many people around the world as I can.
I’d also like to shout out to Gareth, who shared the stage on keys with us for a few shows in 2013, as well as my Thom Mann and Geoff Irish who’ve also graced the drum stool for Toehider at times. Plus of course Ricky, who set the standard with the band (and who awesomely returned to the drum seat on Toehider’s first ever European tour last year, fulfilling a dream both Mike and I had shared for the band since day one). To be mentioned as a performer alongside these guys and to be considered capable to sharing the same drum seat as them is humbling and incredibly special for me, considering the admiration I have for each of them individually and with their own groups.
Mike, Amy, Lachlan & Salty will always be my friends & collaborators in more ways than one and I’m sure it won’t be long before you all get to hear new music and projects from them soon. In the meantime though, please join me in thanking Lachlan Barclay and Amy Campbell in particular for their amazing contribution to making the live experience in Toehider what it is – I’m sure Mike agrees, along with Ricky and Salty, that we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.
Finally – thank you to the incredible community of Toehider fans who’ve supported all this, especially those of you who have taken the time to say hi after a show and make us all feel so welcome, wherever we play. I hope to keep seeing you in the crowd at Toehider shows & reading your comments and emails online. It’s because of you that this all gets to happen, so thank you.
On that note – hope you see you in November folks, these shows will be cool as heck! #prettysureInailedthatone”
After a busy 2015 touring Europe for the first time (both as a headliner and support for fellow Aussies The Beards), Melbourne prog-rock act TOEHIDER also announced the release of a new EP – ‘Mainly Songs About Robots’. Featuring guest drums recorded by Dio/Black Sabbath legend Vinny Appice, the 4-track record displays all of singer/songwriter Mike Mills’ trademark bombast and melodicism, whilst lyricizing a story of man and machine.
In 2016, the group released a companion EP ‘Mainly Songs About Rowboats’ in celebration of their performance at the sold out metal cruise ‘Hell on the Bay’ in September.
These follow ups to 2014’s successful second album What Kind Of Creature Am I? also mark the remarkably prolific band’s sixteenth and seventeenth releases since 2008.
Led by singer-songwriter Mike Mills, the band will take their Queen-influenced, larger-than-life progressive rock on the road in November 2016, sporting a healthy dose of the quirkiness and tongue-in-cheek humour that makes them one of the most entertaining live bands in the country.
After releasing their debut EP back in 2008, Toehider caught the world’s attention by releasing an impressive 12 EPs in 12 months, covering everything from up-beat pop through to chilled out folk, each complete with unique artwork and a 2-page comic by Brisbane illustrator Andrew Saltmarsh. 2011 saw the band’s first full album To Hide Her and some of their catchiest material to date.
In recent times Mike Mills has featured alongside members of YES, DREAM THEATER and NIGHTWISH, on AYREON’s album “The Theory of Everything”, and gone viral with his cover of KATE BUSH’s Wuthering Heights passing 500,000 views. Following a busy 2013 spent touring alongside The Protomen (USA) and Devin Townsend (CAN), TOEHIDER toured extensively in Australia during 2014, headlining their own shows, supporting Voyager, The Beards and Closure in Moscow.
In 2015, Mike Mills also performed Devin Townsend’s role as ‘Rage’ in the stage adaptation of Ayreon’s rock opera ‘The Theatre Equation’ across five sold out nights in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The shows were preceded by Toehider’s first ever European tour with friends The Beards, playing sold out dates across Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The band wrapped up the year with their only Australian show for 2015 at the Bird’s Robe Records 5th birthday alongside sleepmakeswaves & Troldhaugen on Sat Dec 5 at Manning Bar in Sydney.
TOEHIDER 2016 shows:
Fri Nov 11 – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne VIC w/Meniscus & Oolluu www.oztix.com.au
Fri Nov 18 – Manning Bar, Sydney NSW w/Meniscus, Mish & Grun www.oztix.com.au
Tickets on sale from www.birdsrobe.com
Mainly Songs About Robots is out now through Bird’s Robe Records/MGM