Crash Test Dummies — from left, Ellen Reid, Brad Roberts, Dan Roberts and Mitch Dorge — are on a reunion tour. (Courtesy photo)

Yoga enlightens, heals Crash Test Dummies’ Brad Roberts

Frontman records album of ‘scary’ mantras

Time has been kind to Crash Test Dummies frontman Brad Roberts. His signature baritone — as heard on the smash 1993 hit “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” and recently used in the movies “Tag” and “The Spy Who Dumped Me” — sounds as rich and sonorous as ever. The band is on a reunion tour, celebrating the 25th anniversary of its landmark sophomore effort “God Shuffled His Feet.” The tour came about after Canadian and U.S. promoters got wind of a one-off outdoor concert original members played in their native Winnipeg in 2016. Roberts says, “They just started booking tours, and now here we are — back with bells on.”

When you first went on hiatus, you were looking for voiceover work. Did you find any?

As a matter of fact, no. I never got one callback. And I just couldn’t continue on with it, because it got to the point where I couldn’t have a life, since I had to be ready at any second to go uptown or downtown to do these things. It was like putting my life on hold. In one case, a potential employer said they loved my voice, but they detected a certain Canadian accent. “But with some training, we can help you get rid of that,” they told me. So instead I started working at the School of Rock in Manhattan, teaching guitar.

But you quit not long after. What then?

You know, I had a condition called restless leg syndrome, which is quite a wimpy-sounding term for something as devastating as it was. I just could not sleep, month after month after month. And it got to the point where the spasms in my legs were so ridIculous, I would be kneeing myself in the face every night while sleeping. So I had to figure out something to do, so I thought maybe doing yoga would help. And I really dove into it deep — I got a private teacher, so I wasn’t just mucking around, and I worked on that really hard for seven years, until I ended up getting a (yoga) teaching certificate, which was icing on the cake for me. So I taught for a while, until we decided to back on the road and I had to stop.

But you actually recorded an entire album of mantras? That must sound pretty ominous.

That’s right — I did. That came out of the yoga experiences. During teaching, I met this professor of comparative religions, and he taught Sanskrit and mantras, as well. He was really enlightening, and from his classes, I decided to set some mantras to music. And most mantras that get set to music over here are super mellow and super soothing, and a little on the hippie side. And you guessed right — mine are much more scary. And therefore that much more interesting.


Crash Test Dummies

Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27

Tickets: $42 to $44

Contact: (415) 551-5157,

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