Cassette Tuesday presents...
The Toll "The Price of Progression" 1988
The following copy came from my old .com site in 2009.
The Toll is from Columbus, Ohio made up of four members who are Brad Circone – vocalist, guitar, piano, Rick Silk - guitarist, Greg Bartram - bassist, and Brett Mayo – drummer.
They remind me a little of The Doors, U2 and The Who w/ influences of writer Joyce Carol Oates. As Oates, The Toll share the same thoughts on conflicts in families, religion and morals.
The Toll were known for having narratives in some of the songs. they could moving and thought provoking you can’t help but be drawn to them. From what I read they are a very powerful band live and believe in improvising from Circone’s narratives to his antics on stage. Which could be anything such as hanging upside down over the crowd or doing a balancing walk along a narrow balcony railing in which at one club the owner attempts to pull Circone safely onto the balcony. Circone smiles and says: "Come closer and I'll jump and all the guilt will be on your head."
One thing I can say is I am grateful I got a chance to experience The Toll. Their 2 albums that are still as powerful today as they were when first released.
Produced by Steven Thompson and Michael Barbiero, Geffen Label
“Price of Progression” holds nine tracks. Three of the tracks that are over ten minutes “Jonathan Toledo” , Anna-41-Box” and “Living In The Valley of Pain”. What I love about The Toll was that their lyrics are very intellectual and poetic. You can actually see these words turn to images in your head. One of the most moving tracks is “Jonathan Toledo” which talks about the Native Americans.
How far has the white man gone
to drive the stake into the ground?
Soldiers stoned in monuments
while chiefs of wood, hold cheap cigars…
As Circone leads into his narrative during the song you can actually see what is going on
...the elderly Indian women they all lined up against the wall
I’m sure their backs felt warm
I thought to myself as I approached them
Isn’t it funny how their faces shine differently in the sun
I bet the reason that they have their back up against the wall
is because they’re afraid we’re going to stick another knife in them
and then they’ll really have to fall…
I can pretty much say that The Toll is under the same category of iconoclastic, to criticized establishment institution.
Jonathan Toledo video
Jonathan Toledo video
As in “Living In The Valley of Pain” which is another remarkable number they take on religion. The character Jamison Rain a 4th grader who expresses his own creative thought…
…Jamison Rain was no longer drawing the turkey with his hand.
The nuns found him in the clothes rack.
Apparently he was drawing all kinds of animals,
and he was using much more than his hand to draw such
animals, and when they found him, they clutched his knuckles
on the end of the desk. and they said: Hold on tight Jamison,
you shall be punished for the freedom of creative thought.
What are you trying to be, an artist?'…
As well as his religious beliefs.
…Catholicism pushes guilt impresses guilt
and it leaves me with insanity and rage…
…Reverend Valley was clothed in black & white, he was a penguin…
…mother, you remember that manila paper I use to draw on in crayon?
You took it to the shrink and she said it was all phallic imagery
well you were wrong. I was trying to draw a penguin that might bring you
and father together so the church wouldn’t be embarrassed…
The shorter songs are just as good such as “Smoke Another Cigarette”
I have seen idols tumble and fall
In these times, paladins, are nothing but frauds
Who can hear one hand clapping in the murderous storm?
Sycophants beware of those you adore…
“Word of Honor”
I don’t want your handshake…I just want your word…of honor
The whole album is an amazing piece of work. Maybe it was too much for the public to comprehend.
When I first purchase this album it was on vinyl. Then I found the cassette and later the CD.
1988, The Toll
"The Price of Progression" cassette
Sticker on Cassette Cover
promoting the epic single “Jonathan Toledo”
continued cover unfolded
Inside cover unfolded
continued inside cover