The Toll

on Aug 11

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A mid-80’s central-Ohio based alternative rock quartet with a strong, loyal, Midwest following, wasn’t reaching the decision makers in the entertainment industry. Though the band had successfully captured some development deals and been produced by members of the Psychedelic Furs, they simply could not get the attention they felt they deserved within the industry. After all, some would say “Ohio is just a fly over state…there’s talent there?”


  1. Make the record executives come to them and actually land in “the fly over state.” Research every current “signed” artist and place them in a categorical niche.
  2. Avoid those particular “filled” musical fiefdoms and fill the gap with provocative differentiation that positively exploits The Toll’s unique interests, creative innovations and functional skill sets.
  3. Specifically, create a hybrid category of rock-n-roll called narrative rock, which fuses improvisational live poetry regarding relevant social themes with anthemic songs and winding jams. In other words, create a band with no set lyrics, just free-form poetry set to music.
  4. Next, study the signing tendencies of every Artists and Repertoire (A&R) executive to predict their “feeding patterns.” Lastly, bundle up this unique live music proposition as a brand and invite them into your world; live music in Columbus, Ohio.


  1. 2 album, multi-million dollar recording contract as artist (singer/songwriter) of the original narrative rock group, The Toll, Geffen Records.
  2. Released 2 albums, The Price of Progression (1988) and Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones (1991).
  3. Currently included in the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, “Nationally Signed Ohio Artists” Collection.
  4. Signed and represented by DeMann Entertainment Management, roster includes: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Billy Idol, Lionel Richie.
  5. First U.S. single, “Jonathon Toledo,” achieved breakout rotation on nearly 100 P!-level radio stations.
  6. Released 2nd longest video in MTV history (showcased on 120 Minutes), which quickly climbed into MTV’s breakout rotation and eventually held a record as the 2nd longest video ever played on MTV, behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller.



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