In 2003, Guided by Voices frontman Robert Pollard created new lyrics and melodies for Phantom Tollbooth's 1988 album Power Toy. The resulting work was released as Beard of Lightning. 1984-1988: Named after Norton Juster's psychedelic children's book, Phantom Tollbooth was a variation on the eclectic parallel-to-Hardcore of, among others, Mission of Burma and Saccharine Trust. Combining abrupt tempo and harmonic changes with dense sonic knots the very-powerful-trio created a classic punk/classic rock hybrid. Formed in 1984 by drummer Jon Coats, bassist Gerard Smith and guitarist Dave Rick, (the latter leaving his bass spot in the newborn Yo La Tengo to dedicate more time to the embryonic Tollbooth), they quickly joined the esteemed Homestead roster of superstars (Sonic Youth, Swans, Big Black, Dinosaur Jr, etc.). PT went on to record two full albums and two almost full EPs and like most good and neglected bands from Indie Rock's pre-historic age, they played as if on fire and flamed out. After the breakup, Jon and Gerard formed the short-lived Burn, which included Mac McCaughan (later of Superchunk) and vocalist Jon Easley (previously with Sorry).
Gerard was also the first of several bass players to pass through Helmet. Dave went on to stints with Bongwater and King Missile. 2002: ROBERT POLLARD of GUIDED BY VOICES laments to Off Records how he wished he had sang for Phantom Tollbooth, one of his favorite bands. He refers to the idea as "the band that would have ruled the world". Since the band had long broken up the idea was put forth to re-invent a new version of one of their earlier recordings.
The former members of P.T. must have agreed since once the bug was put in their ears they went back to their 1988 swan song album POWER TOY (4 ½ stars on AllMusicGuide), erased all the vocals and presented it to Mr. Pollard. So he added new vocal melody lines and lyrics onto one of his all time favorite albums and created a new Phantom Tollbooth album - Beard of Lightning.
May -2011- Phantom Tollbooth's albums - Power Toy, One Way Conversation and Phantom Tollbooth EP have just been rereleased in remastered form. Live video of the band playing in Enschede, NL is surfacing now. New band website: www.wkhorse.web.aplus.net/phantom_tollbooth_pt5speed Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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