At that Vertical Horizon show, Toth couldn't believe how the crowd was able to sing the lyrics to all of the songs. Plus he thought the music was fantastic. Ed then ran into a friend of his, Jason Sutter, who told him that the band was about to start auditioning for a new drummer. According to Ed, "I spent the next few weeks learning their album as if I'd written it."
A few weeks later, Toth auditioned for the group. It went pretty well, and the guys suggested that he join them on a couple of gigs before a final decision was made. Halfway into the first gig in Vermont, they invited Ed on their upcoming six-week tour. He took a leave of absence from the bookstore, but it soon became apparent that Toth couldn't juggle both. The day he was able to quit the bookstore to take a job playing music (which paid less) was the day he felt as though he had made it.
In September of 1996, Vertical Horizon performed two shows at Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the recording of which became the album Live Stages. But it was their major-label debut, Everything You Want, that solidified the group's success. The title track became the most played song on top-40 radio for the year 2000 and reached number-1 on Billboars Hot 100 chart. "Everything" remained at number-1 on Billboars adult top-40 chart for sixteen weeks, and the band won three Billboard music awards. Their other hit, "You're A God," won a Billboard award for Best New Artist Modern Rock Video, and was included in the Jim Carey film Bruce Almighty.
Like most dedicated musicians, Toth believes that drumming was a "universal calling," that it was meant to be and nothing else could have been possible for him. Es father was a musician, music was always in the house, and the youngster began on the Quaker Oats boxes with a wooden spoon. At six, Ed was in the car with his parents when they passed a garage sale. The young hopeful spied a set of drums for sale and insisted they stop the car. At age eight, Ed actually won a local talent contest, playing along to Peter Frampton's "Show Me The Way." He then had many lessons and joined the marching band in high school.
After high school, Toth took a couple of years off to gig around Connecticut with an instrumental unit called The Lawnboys. Eventually he enrolled at the University of Miami as a music education major. But Ed got the lesson of a lifetime when, at age twenty-one, he thought he'd ace the audition at Miami. "I was amazed at the seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds at the school," he says. "They blew me away. It was time to check the ego at the door and get to work."
Ed absorbed a lot in college, studying with Steve Bagby, who taught him how to swing, and Steve Rucker, who helped him with advanced independence. Toth learned a lot at Miami from watching other players and working in a variety of situations-marching band, symphonic ensemble, percussion ensemble, and a Steely Dan-cover band, all the while studying piano as well. Everything Toth studied helped make him the right drummer for Vertical Horizon.
The group's new album, Go, takes Everything You Want a step further. The band is more confident, relaxed, and seasoned. The radio-friendly songs are the perfect example of how a band grows together and the music evolves. And as for the drumming, Ed Toth has matured into one of the most impressive pop drummers on the scene.
A Message From Ed
As many of you know by now, I have accepted a gig with legendary rock band The Doobie Brothers. I was hoping to juggle both bands but unfortunately I won't be able to do this. The time has come for me to move on. Being in a band is like brotherhood and Sean, Matt and Keith were actually some of the first people to wish me luck on the audition. I would like to thank them publicly for the years of (continuing) friendship and all of the good times. It has been an honor to play music with them and perhaps down the road we can do it again.
I would also like to thank all of the amazing fans that allow us to do this for a living. Your support is and always has been unwavering, and it has been nice meeting many of you and saying "Hello" along the way. May that never change.
With my very best wishes,