Introducing Toy Soldiers
Toy Soldiers has come a long way since The Temple News’ first Street Sounds article on the “soul n’ blues” band comprised of Temple alumni. The band was already booking big venues in Philadelphia, and had been picked up by Derek Dorsey, booking agent for the Fire in Northern Liberties. Today, the band has been through a difficult transformation of sorts, and now centers around lead singer Ron Gallo.
After falling in love with the big-band style they had achieved in the studio, the original duo invited 11 new members to accompany them on the road, not knowing that they would dissolve the group by the end of the tour.
“Everything crumbled and fell apart,” Gallo said. “It needed to happen, it was a natural crumbling.”
Gallo said the tour turned out to be a defining moment when he told himself, “Hey man, if you can get through this you can get somewhere.”
After the band broke up, Gallo decided to continue as the Toy Soldiers with a close friend. Soon, a group of three more Lancaster-based musicians had joined the group.
“Things were better than they ever were,” he said.
So much better, in fact, that Gallo began songwriting with his bandmates for the first time.
“I feel like we’re actually a band,” Gallo said. “It’s just high energy. It’s rootsy–we love soul music and old blues and all that stuff mixed with newer things. ”
The comfort between the five-some is obvious from the stage, and shows are characterized to have an energetic, party feel.
“We feed off the energy [and] most of the time we end up in the crowd. [We’re] blurring the lines between audience and band [and making it] one big collective experience,” Gallo said.
Fun is definitely important to the Toy Soldiers after all its front man has been through. His goal for his music is simply “to be comfortable and in a good place,” but he said that, “With the state of the music world you can’t really think ahead or plan anything.”
“The goal is to play every venue in Philadelphia,” Gallo added. “Philly isn’t really an industry landmark but there are a lot of friendships and collaborations. I like that everybody’s friends and there’s not really any level of competition.”
The love from Philadelphia music enthusiasts as well as musician friends was this summer when the band played the Second Street Festival where “a crazy crowd” with “a great response” marked the pinnacle of the Toy Soldiers’ rebirth.
“Where the band is now–as well as myself–we’ve grown so much. Two years later the growth is exponential,”Gallo said.
To see them live, check out their show at Oktoberfest on Oct. 15 on South Street between Broad and 17th streets.
Toy Soldiers also holds weekly live-video sessions produced by a Temple intern every Sunday at 3 p.m. on their website, ohnotoysoldiers.com.
Tori Marchiony can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.