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Ten years a Toddie: Reflecting on a decade of music and mischief with The Hot Toddies

The Hot ToddiesPhotos by Pedro Paredes & courtesy of The Hot Toddies // Written by Molly Kish //

Celebrating their 10-year “bandiversary” last month as part of the first all-female bill at the historic Fillmore, Showbams caught up with the ladies of Oakland’s The Hot Toddies for a whimsical retrospective on their past decade as a band.

Seamlessly navigating the challenges presented with changes to the band’s lineup as well as a worldwide touring schedule and record label relocation (among other day-to-day difficulties, such as managing work schedules in and outside the studio), Erin, Heidi and Sylvia have always found ways to keep their attitudes positive, hustle strong and friendship at the forefront of everything they do. Their adventures as a trio of Toddies have directly influenced their style, songwriting and relationships with each other, their friends and their fans over the past decade.

We got to hear about some of their favorite memories as a band and get a glimpse into what they have in store for us in the near future.


The Hot Toddies


A flyer for the band’s Liverpool show in 2009.

Favorite Show: Picking a favorite show over 10 years is very hard. One of our absolute favorites, though, was a time we played a fabulous show/costume/birthday party in Liverpool. Everyone was dressed up like politicians and celebrating. We got to sing “Happy Birthday” and lead a giant singalong of “Please Please Me” by The Beatles, which felt like the coolest thing possible to do in Liverpool.

Most Debated Song/Lyric: “That Ain’t Right” was the most controversial for the band because of the lyrics. It was written by a male friend for the band so we kind of loved the idea of a man’s perspective on lady issues. We hoped it would be a lighthearted song with our usual humor without being insensitive to the subject of teenage pregnancy.

Strangest Venue Ever Played: Probably the most unique venue we’ve ever played at was Ashbury Lanes in Ashbury Park, N.J. It’s a bowling alley with a stage in the middle of the lanes and people crowd around to watch the bands while some people keep bowling! The night we played there was Erin’s birthday, and the booker brought balloons, cupcakes and princess hats. A close runner-up would be the awesome haunted Gallery 5 in Richmond, Va. — a firehouse and police station way back during the Civil War and that is now an art and performance space with a haunted back room where criminals were hanged.

The Hot Toddies


At the Tropicana in Las Vegas, circa 2006.

Funniest Fan Moment: On our first tour in 2006, we played two nights at Mr. T’s Bowl in LA. The second night we recognized a guy sitting at the bar — it was Sean Gunn (a.k.a. Kurt from “Gilmore Girls” and recently “Guardians of the Galaxy”). We hung out with him and his awesome lady friend Rachel, and several days later, they surprised us by flying out to Las Vegas to see us play again and took us to a super fancy dinner. We were totally blown away by their kindness. We shared a bottle of whiskey and played guitar while getting kicked out of several hot tubs at the Tropicana. We still stay in touch with both of them to this day, and they are awesome people.

Most Memorable Critique/Review: This doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes the critics just get it all wrong. This review in particular from exclaim.ca was so far off it was almost funny: “the four-part harmonies, as sweet as they sound, fail to catch up with the gritty attitude so clearly laid out for them by their lyrics … ‘Only With You’ claims it wants Jameson, but actually means Smirnoff Ice — two bottles, at most.” Gross. Barf. Smirnoff Ice! We wished we could spend an evening at a bar with the writer to correct her mistaken impressions of our drink preferences. After all, suggesting that we don’t really drink whiskey is a major insult for The Hot Toddies! And really, if writing a pretty song with harmonies means you can’t like whiskey then a lot of musicians would be in trouble.

The Hot Toddies


The band stayed at this castle in Exeter, England.

Best & Worst Roadtrip Memory: Our best road trip memory was staying overnight in a castle in Exeter, England. The bathrooms were literally the size of bedrooms, and it had it’s own chapel with a functional organ that we got to play and sing on. It was definitely the most surprising and amazing place to stay on the road.

Worst memory would probably be the time some bleach/mold remover leaked onto Erin’s water bottle on the van floor and she accidentally drank a little. Obviously she survived, but it made her super sick and it was really scary.

Biggest Consensual Influence: NoFX.

Favorite Tourmate/Band to Play With: Our favorite tour buddies are Oakland babes Bam!Bam! Since we can fit all five of us into a single van, it means shared gear, loading, gas and driving duties makes tour easy breezy. Plus, they are badass ladies who like to drink champagne while riding duck boats and stay up late hanging out after a show. Our favorite bands that we’ve ever shared a stage with would be a tie between the time we got to rock with Alkaline Trio at Bottom of the Hill or opening for Smoking Popes at Great American music hall. We have a thing for Chicago bands apparently.

Craziest Afterparty: One of the most fun things about being on the road is seeing old friends and making new ones, and sometimes you even cross paths with your friends’ bands in a new city. While playing in Phoenix, Ariz., we happened to be touring through town the same night as our friends in RXBandits and DESA, so we arranged to meetup at a fan’s house for an afterparty. There were swimming pool games and singalongs until the sun came up. We made a LOT of noise and had a blast. Anyway, the girl’s parents were home and not super pleased, and we were definitely not invited back over next time we were in Phoenix.

The Hot Toddies


The band during its Northwest tour in 2007.

Most Awkward Live Moment: One time we played a nice, laid-back basement show in Bremerton, Wash., and we made the mistake of smoking weed at the backyard BBQ before our set. Our songs were a complete disaster, but at least it all seemed pretty funny at the time.

Band’s Biggest Guilty Pleasures: Salty nuts, $5 foot longs, chocolate malt balls and the Oakland A’s.

Band’s Favorite Karaoke Songs: Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic”, Natalie Embruglia’s “Torn” and No Doubt’s “Spiderwebs”.

Member Most Likely to Perform Hungover: Honestly, all of us.

The Hot Toddies


Heidi

Member Most Likely to Attract the Strangest Groupie: Heidi is the most likely to talk to creeps for free drinks.

Member Most Likely to Find Their Way Into Legal Trouble: Sylvia is most likely to bring weed along on a trip, so depending on what state we’re in, we may have to bail her out of jail one day.

Member Most Likely to Make Someone Cry: Sylvia is most likely to make someone cry, but hopefully it’s because we’re laughing so hard that were crying.

Member Most Likely to Take the Longest Time Prepping for the Show: Heidi takes a daily shower while Erin and Sylvia are more likely to go onstage with fresh deodorant, dry shampoo and a change of undies, of course.

Member Most Likely to Surprise/Catch Others Off Guard: “Say Anything Skidmore”, Erin tends to make comments that surprise.

Member Most Likely to Get Lost/Saunter Off: For those who’ve been following us for a while, you might remember our keyboard player Jessica who was famous for wandering off after a show. She left in 2012 to go on a world adventure and still hasn’t made it back which is why we’ve been playing as a three-piece for the past few years.

The Hot Toddies


Team Toddies

Member Most Likely to Take Over the World: Team Toddies — we’re planning world domination together! Right now we’re working on writing our next album, and when that is released, we’re hoping to continue touring the world, starting with returning to Europe and visiting Japan.


Here is a love note from the band to all of its fans and supporters throughout the years:

Hey guys,

You are truly the best fans in the whole world. Thank you for buying our songs, letting us crash on your floors, dancing at shows and sharing your whiskey. In the immortal words of Bill and Ted: “Be excellent to each other. And … party on, dudes!”

Love,

Heidi, Erin & Sylvia

The Hot Toddies play Brick and Mortar Music Hall with GODS, Annie Bacon and Her Oshen on Thursday, March 5th. 18+. Doors: 8 p.m. Show: 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

The Hot Toddies

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