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"We basically had all these songs. We thought we should do something, and that's when Adam talked to Martin Atkins," Coonfield says. Atkins is an English drummer well known for his work with Public Image Ltd, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and a slew of others.
"I had worked on a book that he did, and part of the payment was that he would play for Tone Rodent. I called him and said, 'We got these tunes. We'll record our bits, you record your bit.' And he said, 'No problem,'" Watkins says, explaining the band's connection to the legendary session musician.
The members of the group recorded their individual parts sans drums and sent the material to Atkins to complete percussion. Tone Rodent used those same sessions for a collaboration with Rosco (Sterling Roswell), who is known for his stint in the English alt-rock band Spacemen 3. The resulting two releases shared pieces: "We had this batch of the same tunes where Martin did more traditional drumming and then Rosco did more experimental mixing and sounds," Watkins says. In 2011, Tone Rodent released two EPs, one titled Tone Rodent Featuring Martin Atkins, the other, Tone Rodent Featuring Sterling Roswell. The group quickly followed with its first cassette tape: a split with compatriots Bug Chaser. Drum auditions finally came to a close with Adam Dick, of the Dock Ellis Band, heeding the call.
With its first solid lineup in years, Tone Rodent blazed through 2012 with a cut on the Tower Groove Records double LP compilation. The group capped the year with a split EP featuring Rosco, produced by Problem Solved Industries. Now Tone Rodent looks toward April, when its four-song CD A Bit Disconnected drops in Brazil. May will bring a new record as well; a split with local psych-rockers Kisser is set for release through Tower Groove Records as part of the 2013 Singles Club series. With the lineup problems in the past and tangible, recorded success now a strong part of the band's existence, Watkins and Coonfield still muse on a new full-length.
"We don't care if we have to release this ourselves," Coonfield snarkily remarks. "We're ready for a second full-length. It's going to happen."
Listen: Hear all of Tone Rodent's songs