‘Toll’ returns to delight…

The Morning Sun, Mt. Peasant MI

September 22. 1988

‘Toll’ returns to delight Foolery audiences

By Tony Bittick


It’s a pinnacle to which people often are willing to climb, crawl, beg, borrow or steal, wheel and deal, scrape and scramble, to attain.

When life lies within the realm of the music industry, it isn’t even that easy.

And when you’re a member of The Toll, as Ohio-based rock group whose music feeds on the band’s desire for the pointed truth, it becomes a mind-shattering task.

For Brad Circone, Rick Silk, Greg Howard, and Brett Mayo it is a task faced everyday, to assault the pinnacle of success wielding only their music as a sword, and their integrity as a shield.

A mainstay of the Mt. Pleasant music scene, the band has rapidly increased its sphere of influence in recent months.

A hard-driving sound produced by guitarist Silk, drummer Mayo, and bassist Howard, accented by the realistic lyrics of Circone provides the reason.

The Toll will bring their music to Tom’s Foolery, 112 W. Michigan Friday. The show is expected to start at 10 p.m.

Having attained the admiration of fans throughout the Midwest, The Toll has recently expanded their tours to encompass cities on both east and west coasts.

And with the support of Geffen Records, a recording company which signed The Toll to a multi-album contract earlier this year, band members say things are on an upswing.

Still, playing the game on the way to fame can take its toll on band members.

“Some of it has been really sad,” Circone said. “You see what a joke it can all really be and it makes me wonder what I’m doing.”

Circone said seeing other bands, who have been where The Toll appears to be headed, has shed insight.

“A lot of these people have bought into the illusion and have forgotten why they got into the business in the first place,” Circone said. “I never want to be trapped in a thing that was supposed to be my freedom, I want to be able to stay as honest as we always have been.”

Circone said he was not so much criticizing others in the industry as he was making note of future possibility for the Toll.

“Being with these other bands evoked empathy, sympathy,” Circone said. “You see these artists and their music…clearly they used to love to write good music…and now some of these guys don’t even understand the words to their own songs. Somewhere along the line they just bought into the illusion.”

The illusion is something Circone said the band strongly hopes to avoid.

“Things are different than they once were,” Circone admitted. “We don’t have to cram into the back of one van anymore, or sleep on the floor of somebody’s house. The elements around us have changed, but those are only the elements, the band is still the same.”

While the band has enjoyed much of its new success, Circone said the anticipation has been nerve-wracking.

“It’s a tormenting time for us,” Circone said. “We have a need to be in total control and that hasn’t been the case recently. And that’s the paradox, it’s like the band is being pushed to a high point to where finally we just won’t take it anymore.”

And in Circone’s words are the guidelines for the band’s beginning and end.

“When it’s all done and over, no matter what, we want to have been the most honest band ever, a band that never force-fed its audience b.s.”