Toad (band)

Last updated
Also known asVic Vea Band
Origin Basel, Switzerland
Genres Hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal, acid rock, psychedelic rock, funk rock
Years active19701995
LabelsHallelujah, RCA, Polydor, Frog
Associated acts Brainticket, Hawkwind
Past membersVittorio Vergeat
Werner Fröhlich
Cosimo Lampis
André Buser
Benjamin Jäger
Caesar Perrig
Claudio Salsi
Kelvin Bullen

Toad was a Swiss hard rock band, formed by ex-Brainticket members in Basel, Switzerland during 1970. Their best known songs were covers of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There", along with originals "Usin' My Life" and "Stay!". Their first two albums were engineered by Martin Birch.

Switzerland federal republic in Western Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Musical ensemble group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name

A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Some music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.


Though the band was not commercially successful outside of their own country, they were a popular live act because of their ferocity, musicianship and stage antics. Most notably when lead guitarist Vic Vergeat played the guitar with his teeth. Their concerts were often compared to those of Jimi Hendrix.

The band went through lineup changes during its history, but the longest lasting and most consistent lineup was Vic Vergeat: lead guitar and vocals, Werner Fröhlich: bass and vocals and Cosimo Lampis: drums. [1]


In 1970, European psychedelic rock band Brainticket was about to release their first album, featuring Werner Fröhlich on bass and Cosimo Lampis on drums. They departed the group and formed Toad with Vittorio 'Vic' Vergeat, who was briefly in the British space rock group Hawkwind [2] , on guitar. They began writing and recording material for their first album in late 1970, and in 1971, Toad released their self-titled album and the single "Stay!," which did fairly well and made a great deal of headway in the Swiss charts: a feat that no other hard rock band had ever accomplished in that country. [3] The album was mixed by the legendary British producer Martin Birch (who also produced for Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath). The album also features Benjamin "Beni" Jaeger on vocals, who would leave once the album was finished. [4] [1]

Psychedelic rock style of rock music

Psychedelic rock is a diverse style of rock music inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, which is centred around perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, and the label is often applied spuriously.

Brainticket is an experimental European krautrock band most active in the early 1970s, and known for its use of exotic instruments and jazz-inspired compositions. The only constant member has been Belgian musician Joel Vandroogenbroeck. The band continues to perform concerts and release albums in the 2000s.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

As their first album was being released in 1971, Toad performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival that was recorded live by the Swiss Television, but the footage was lost and to date there seems to be no further copy. [5]

In 1972, the band released Tomorrow Blue, which was in a more blues direction and without a lead vocalist (with Vergeat and Fröhlich taking over vocal duties). Like their first album, it was engineered by the British record producer Martin Birch. The album also included Helmut Lipsky on violin, who played prominently on the tracks "Blind Chapman's Tales", "Change In Time" and the single "Green Ham." [6] Later the same year, the band recorded the album Open Fire: Live in Basel 1972 which included covers of Hendrix's "Red House" and the Band of Gypsys "Who Knows."

Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, spirituals, and the folk music of white Americans of European heritage. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds or fifths flattened in pitch, are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Violin bowed string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths

The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.

"Red House" is a song written by Jimi Hendrix and one of the first songs recorded in 1966 by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It has the musical form of a conventional twelve-bar blues and features Hendrix's guitar playing. He developed the song prior to forming the Experience and was inspired by earlier blues songs.

They waited until 1974 to release their third album, Dreams, which featured the popular single 'Purple Haze'. After that, their history remains largely undocumented except for a live album recorded in Geneva during 1978 and a studio album released in the early 1990s with different versions of the band. The rest of the 1970s and 1980s were spent appearing on a few compilations, releasing live albums and performing while slowly fading into relative obscurity.

Somewhere between 1979 and 1988, original bassist Werner Fröhlich left the group and was replaced by Kelvin Bullen, and after he too departed from the group in the early 1990s was replaced by André Buser who would remain with the band until its demise.

In 1986, Toad made an appearance at the "St. Gallen Open Air Festival" in St. Gallen, Switzerland. [7] [5]

St. Gallen Place in Switzerland

St. Gallen or traditionally St Gall, in German sometimes Sankt Gallen is a Swiss town and the capital of the canton of St. Gallen. It evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, founded in the 7th century. Today, it is a large urban agglomeration and represents the center of eastern Switzerland. Its economy consists mainly of the service sector. Internationally, the town is known as the home of the University of St. Gallen.

During 1993, Toad released the studio album, "Stop This Crime". Following its release, original drummer Cosimo Lampis departed from the group and was replaced by Claudio Salsi who would remain until Toad broke up. After Lampis departed from the band, he would go on to create a school in Sardinia.

In 1994, Toad played a concert in Brienz, Switzerland which provided the material for the popular live album, "The Real Thing." [8]

In about 1995, Toad broke up and have to date, not reformed.

Following Toad's demise, the album "Hate To Hate" was released, it contained the same tracks as "Stop This Crime" but with a different cover and title.

After Toad, Vegeat went on a solo career, releasing many albums over the years. He then formed and toured with his very own band, "The Vic Vergeat Band", he still records and plays live to this day (mostly in Europe). The other former members went on to other groups or retired from the music business altogether.

The band never achieved great success outside of their own country, but were very influential on the Swiss heavy metal movement during the 1980s, influencing such notable bands as Krokus [9] and Celtic Frost. They have seen renewed interest in the early 2000s among the European hard rock scene. Their albums have been re-released and remastered for new generation of listeners and a CD boxed set, packaged to look like miniature vinyl records was released.


Studio albums

Live albums

Compilation albums



Band members

Original members

Later members

See also

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