In 1998, Toxic Audio launched its quirky show in an abandoned storefront at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. To their amazement, people began cramming into that storefront to see them. The show caught the attention of Disney executives who hired them as featured performers at the Disney/MGM Studios. Soon after, the group was crowned champion at the National Harmony Sweepstakes in California.
Members: Rene Ruiz, Jeremy James, Shalisa Sloan, Michelle Mailhot, Paul Sperrazza
Toxic Audio: Captive Audience
This phenomenally talented mixed quintet just "captured" the 2000 Harmony Sweepstakes, and the fourteen songs on this CD show exactly how they did it. Recorded in front of a live audience, this Florida based group, who earns their bread and butter at Disney World, absolutely tear up the floorboards. With material that is mostly popular - "Lean On Me," "Turn The Beat Around" and "Come Together" - their style is emphatically jazz-inflected, as are many of their arrangements, most of which are their own (though they include two by Yumiko Matsuoka-Young, Vox One's alto and one of the finest arrangers in a cappella). However, it's as performers that Toxic Audio dominate. Their professionalism and confidence are apparent, and they get inside each song and exploit every nuance. They have the experience to go for it, and the savvy to back it up. Co-produced by Jeff Thacher of Rockapella.
Toxic Audio: Chemistry
2000 Harmony Sweeps Champions, (and hilarious hosts of the 2001 Finals), the third CD of the 3 men and 2 women who are Toxic Audio has been much anticipated here, and we are happy to report that "Chemistry" is a smash! The CD begins with a wonderfully wacky "She Blinded Me With Science," the Doobie Bros' hit "Listen to the Music," "Hush" with a really cool vocal "bass" solo, "Words," with a very cool "rap" sequence, a sneakily funny parody, "God Must Have Spent A Little Less Time On You," with the line, "you're so ugly, when you were born, instead of slapping you, they slapped your mom," "Paperback Writer," Throat Culture's "I want a head like the heads you see on Easter Island, I want to stare at the seaside and do nothing." Next is "Stand By Me," a jazzy "Autumn Leaves," first in French and then upbeat in English, an ultra funky "Why Don't We Do It in the Road," a Michael Jackson song, and the disco hit, "Turn the Beat Around, which vocally segues into the drum solo from the surfer hit, "Wipeout." "Chemistry" is a winner and highly recommended!
Toxic Audio: Toxic Audio
The release of this CD has been eagerly awaited - fans of the group's live performances have been clamoring for it! This mixed quintet, based in Florida, has all kinds of chops, as singers as well as entertainers. They have a contemporary sound, including vocal percussion, but a jazzy influence can be detected, such as on the track "Loving You," (no surprise, as the song was arranged by Yumiko Matsuoka). Indeed, it is this facility that fleshes out the arrangements and gives the finished product substance. "Hooked On A Feeling" chugs along with its "ooga chaka" pulse - an example where humor also works musically. "My Cherie Amour" shows once again the tightness of the "rhythm section," "Big Yellow Taxi," arranged by the group, proves their facility in this area. Several original songs show another facet of the group's talent.
Toxic Audio: Word Of Mouth
First launching its quirky show at the 1998 Orlando International Fringe Festival, where they caught the attention of Disney executives who hired them as featured performers at Disney/MGM Studios, Toxic Audio began making major waves in the a cappella world in 2000 with a stunning win at the Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael, CA. Their CD "Chemistry" was named 2003 CASA' Album of the Year. After national TV appearances with Ed McMahon and Wayne Brady, the group won the 2004 Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience for their Off-Broadway Show in New York's John Houseman Theatre. "Word of Mouth" is essentially a "Best of Toxic Audio 1998-2004" CD, which features tracks from their previous releases in addition to "Chemistry," "Captive Audience," and "Toxic Audio," as well as 6 new tracks recorded exclusively for "Word." 13 songs, and a list of favorites would have to include a pair of amazing originals written by group members Jeremy and Shalisa, "Caffeine" and "Putting Words in My Mouth," who also sing lead on them; a funky, salsa-flavored "(Put the Lime in the) Coconut;" an ethereal, soaring arrangement of "Stand By Me," a pair of Lennon/McCartney winners, "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" and "All I've Got to Do," one of the best live covers of "Route 66" we've ever heard, the group's live concert favorite "Turn the Beat Around," a bluesy-jazzy "If I Only Had A Brain" with a sweet, meandering lead by Paul; and a boogying "You Can't Stop The Beat" from the Broadway musical "Hairspray." One of the most dynamic live shows we've seen, at the Sweeps and at the A Cappella Summit, Toxic Audio makes equally wonderful CDs, and this is their best yet, "Word!"