This Canadian band evolved from a Winnipeg bar band called Bad Brad Roberts and the St. James Rhythm Pigs.
Possessed of a highly-distinctive bass-baritone voice, vocalist/guitarist Brad Roberts was joined by Ellen Reid on co-vocals and keyboards, George West on bass, Ben Darvell on harmonica and mandolin and Curtis Riddell on drums.
West quit and was replaced by Brad’s brother, Dan. Riddell was replaced by Vince Lambert, who was then fired and replaced by Mitch Dorge in 1991 (just before the release of their debut studio album, The Ghosts That Haunt Me).
That album achieved considerable commercial success in Canada largely due to the popularity of the hit single Superman’s Song, which earned the band the 1991 Juno Award for Group of the Year.
The band did not receive much international recognition until the 1993 release of their second album, God Shuffled His Feet.
The first single from that album, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, peaked at #4 in the US Hot 100 and did even better in the United Kingdom, where it was a #2 hit and Australia where it reached #1.
Afternoons & Coffeespoons was also a top 40 hit in Australia and the UK and hit the lower portion of the US Hot 100.
In January 1995, the band released The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead (a cover of XTC‘s 1992 track) as a single and on the soundtrack of the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels comedy Dumb and Dumber. The single charted at #30 in the UK singles chart and was a #4 hit in Canada.
Subsequent albums, A Worm’s Life (1996) and Give Yourself A Hand (1999) did not perform as well and the band parted ways with their label, BMG, and Brad Roberts formed his own independent label Cha-Ching Records (later renamed to Deep Fried Records).
After suffering a near-fatal car accident in 2000, Brad found himself recuperating in the town of Argyle, Nova Scotia, where he met some locals who happened to be quite musically inclined – Kent Greene, Dave Morton, and Danny MacKenzie. Together, they recorded the bulk of I Don’t Care That You Don’t Mind, which was to have been Brad’s first solo album.
Later, Ellen Reid was brought in to record backing vocals for a few tunes, and Dan agreed to tour with Brad. When Ellen and Mitch agreed to tour as well, the Crash Test Dummies name was put on the record.
The band members then concentrated on a number of solo releases and after a few more CTD albums, Roberts took a break in New York between 2006 and 2010, where he became a songwriting teacher and indulged in yoga, chanting and meditation.
The band reconvened temporarily in 2010 and 2011 to tour their new album, Oooh La La.
In the summer of 2017, the full band, except Benjamin Darvill, reunited for a show in Winnipeg and Brad Roberts went on a tour of South Africa in early 2018. A reunited photo of Brad Roberts, Ellen Reid, Dan Roberts, and Mitch Dorge was later posted on the official CTD Facebook page, along with the announcement of Canadian tour dates.
Vocals, keyboards, accordion
Harmonica, mandolin, guitar