Sally Tomato
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Sally Tomato

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Toy Room: Synopsis"

This avant garde stage show from the offbeat artist Sally Tomato presents a four-act, self-reflexive look at Tomato's colorful life, making fervent use of an ensemble of performers and various set pieces. The production begins in Tomato's childhood, where innocence and imagination eventually yield to the sad reality of a cruel and disappointing world; two friends, Destiny and Innocence, then turn up to guide Sally through the often baffling maze of life. Then Sally marries, but grows listless and bored with her Intolerable Husband, until she finds joy at the hands of two groups, The Hot-Rods and The Neons; meanwhile, her search for answers to life's most profound questions continues. Wesley J. Turner directs for the stage; the cast includes Tomato, Tricia Beck as Innocence, Cynthia Chimienti as Destiny, Drew Norman as Husband, and many others. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi - msn

"Best Bests"

Sally Tomato's "Toy Room": When performance artist, singer and Oregon native Sally Tomato collaborated with songwriter-guitarist Carlos Severe Marcelin to make an album about an imaginary world that was a respite from Sally's troubled childhood and adult life, the songs begged for a theatrical treatment. A multimedia presentation followed in 2008 and was well-received; now a rock-opera film of Sally Tomato's "Toy Room" has its world premiere in Portland. - OregonLive

"Toy Room Picks"

April 2008, Toy Room Premiere
"songs and vivid production numbers reminiscent of a female-centric version of Tommy." Portland Monthly

"a wake-up call all adults could use"

"Bjork-ish" Willamette Week

"An ambitious local rock band who decided to go big and make a rock opera, and then actually did it. Toy Room offers a tasteful use of props, multiple projection screens, and live camera work." Portland Mercury - Portland Publications

"Artist finds safety hidden in memories, by Eric Bartels"

Rocker and performance artist Sally Tomato is reluctant to reveal her real name, her age or too much about where she came from beyond admitting that she grew up in a small Oregon town.

But she dug deep for the raw material behind the multimedia rock opera that premieres this weekend.

“Toy Room,” named for the place where the young Tomato would find peace as the last of six children, also is the name of the CD recently released by her band, which also goes by Sally Tomato.

The music is the work of guitarist Carlos Severe Marcelin, but the stories are pure Tomato: her difficult childhood, an abusive husband, a period of dangerous debauchery.

“The hardest part was dragging the story out of Sally because a lot of this stuff was difficult to come to terms with,” Marcelin says. “It was a victory for her.”

Friends told the band the tale needed to be told in a theatrical way, and a rock opera was born.

“We talked about it as a band and said, ‘Yeah, that sounds great,’ ” Marcelin says.

In five performances, actors will portray Sally in various stages of her life while images are projected on video screens and the band calls on musical styles ranging from blues to punk to electronica.

Marcelin, 35, admits the narrative is conventional enough: lost innocence followed by poor choices and then a redemptive return to authenticity.

“It has a lot of classic symbolism,” he says. “The fact that it delivers a solution and a message at the end makes it worthy of being told.”

“There is a message,” Tomato says. “What we’re trying to tell people is when you’re in an unfamiliar place in your life that isn’t comfortable, go back in your imagination and remember who you are.

“I learned to make the best of any situation. I never feel like I had a bad life. Other people told me I did.”

While the band didn’t set out to make a rock opera, Marcelin is confident in the product. The Florida native studied classical composition and theory in college, but also has been in rock bands since he was 12.

“It’s a risky genre, but we’re doing it because we need to,” he says. “I’m amazed at how cohesive and powerful it is. It’s hard to be objective, but I cry when I listen to it.” - Portland Tribune

"Tinseltown Night"

TAMWORTH’S own budding film-makers will get a chance to touch the Hollywood stardust in a special screening night during Heart of England International Festival Week.

For the town’s celluloid wannabes will be brushing shoulders with a host of international writers and film-makers at the Tamworth Tinseltown Night in the Castle Hotel on Wednesday June 10 from 6pm.

More than a dozen films have already been submitted entries for two prestigious local awards.

And the up-and-coming Tammie film hopefuls – including established local star Mark Locke - will literally bump into the legendary creators of rock opera film Toy Room.

The cast and crew of the unique movie - Sally Tomato, Carlos Severe Marcelin, Eric Flint, Wesley J. Turner and Cynthia R. Chimienti - are booked for the festival.

“These young writers and producers are the future of our cinema – it’s great to see so many involved in the festival,” said film-writer and Amritsa director Binda Singh. - Heart of England Film Festival

"Live and Local"

To be honest, Sally Tomato is quite possibly off her rocker. With multi-instrumentalist Carlos Marcelin tossing off Mark Ribot like guitar flourishes, Sally appears to be half Kate Pierson, and half the character that Glenn Close played in Fatal Attraction. Their newest release "Concentration" is a kitsch filled romp with songs about dolls, aliens, and the Feline Research Institute. It's a group well worth seeing, but you might want to hide the rabbits.
- Pabst Blue Ribbon

"Music Fest Northwest Program"

Sally Tomato is more complex than introspective, acoustic folk-rock. This is a band capable of smart lyrical left turns and a full sound that swings from rock to folk to salsa barrages. (RS) [Alternative] Sally Tomato plays at Lolas at 10:00, Saturday Sept. 11
- Willammette Week


Sally Tomato is clear and present. More speak-sing ballads than music nuggets, it is their story-hour lyrics that are front and center. Oh sure, there are angry flamenco guitars and occasional wailing harmonicas, but their matter-of-fact voice creates a palatable yearning. - The Mercury

"Review of Soup"

Many people know of Carlos Marcelin’s brilliant work as guitarist for the band Silkenseed. His brilliance is no less effulgent here. However, let it be said right now that Carlos hit a grand slam home run the day he ran into Sally Tomato. Sally Tomato. Is she the product of Artificial Intelligence? Is she a figment of some deranged scientist’s libidinously twisted mentation? Is she the 21st century uberfrau? Is she all of the above? Indeed she is, and more. Sally Tomato is all of the above and more. Much, much more.

Sally Tomato was born a million years ago on the Jovian moon Io. Her mother was Dorothy Parker. Her father: Lenny Bruce. Her brother is Wild Man Fischer. Her sister is Maggie Roche. Her uncle is Pee Wee Herman. Her aunt is Laurie Anderson. She is the only child of an only child. She created herself in the breakroom of a Goodyear tire factory in Akron, Ohio. She cannot see the color orange. She picks up the signals of high-powered Mexican radio station in the fillings of her teeth. She once helped a chimpanzee to memorize the first three acts of Hamlet. Sally Tomato once ate a jar of Miracle Gro, and it was a miracle! She grew. She once ate dirt and shat a brick. Sally Tomato has three hearts. Sally Tomato once made an asshole disappear. It reappeared in Bogota, Columbia, working for a provisional military junta: which was overthrown the following year. Sally Tomato hears all your thoughts. She writes them down on small pieces of rice paper and sets them afloat upon the Willamette River. Sally Tomato sleeps with one eye open. Sally Tomato is the most original poet/singer/songwriter to hit town since Earl Benson retired. She is hip. She is raunchy. She is totally on the money. She wants to be your Nutty Buddy. That could be a problem. Sally Tomato has a way with words. She is one of a kind. They threw away the mold. Sally Tomato is a fine addition to soups and salads. Ask for Sally Tomato aspic.

Put Sally Tomato on your Christmas gift list. Ask Santa for Sally Tomato. She is not unbreakable. She is not returnable. There are no refunds or exchanges. Do not remove tag. Buy Sally Tomato. Be Sally Tomato. Sally Tomato. She is one of a kind.

And Carlos Marcelin is a truly brilliant guitarist. - Two Louies Publication


Very Interesting slurs of sonic texturing in the passages along with the acoustic rips and simple rap'n with the aliens lyrics and funny thoughts of strange ideas of the third kind...Cool stuff from a girl from portland...-Austn(seattle)

Kind of like folk synth or something. Really took me back to some 80s Glastonbury moments but with a synth!! Your vocalist is great, slightly edgy and sinister sounding and although the lyrics are as mad as a fish she kept the momentum building. This was quite quite different. look forward to hearing more...
- Mixposure

"The Fevered Brain of Radio Mike"

Sally Tomato is Strange Antifolk and Great Lyrics, Obsessively great lyrics. Listen to the Amazingly Clean and erotic Nosferatu. It will leave you Wondering where All of this came from. Here's a Musician that definitely needs to Play at the Sidewalk in NYC. And then It's the World.
- Radio Mike

"Review of Toy Room CD"

Arguably one of the most pleasing indie releases in recent years, Sally Tomato’s Toy Room is an ambitious and diverse experiment. A rock opera in four acts, it follows the life and development of Sally Tomato, drawing on familiar themes of childhood innocence, the difficult transition to adulthood, and the impact on imagination and personality that comes with it. The standout achievement of Toy Room is the manner in which it blends a rather conventional storyline with a rich and impressive mélange of songs, making for a unique listening experience.

From the opening track, one gets a sense of the band’s creative touch. The bright, crisp tone of guitarist Carlos Severe Marcelin’s introductory notes kicks off the involving “Overture,” a cosmic affair. Sally’s spoken-word narrative and gentle choruses of “In the dark there is only one light / No one can touch me here” draped in recurring vocal effects round out an opening number that instantly draws you in.

The album progresses such a manner that it is near-impossible to place the songs in a generalized category. “Beyond the Stares,” Sally’s account of her childhood sanctuary in the Toy Room, is a gentle, melodic piece, almost like a lullaby. “Bad Seed” kicks off with a wonderfully smooth guitar lick and quickly settles into a catchy groove, nicely carried by some solid drumming courtesy of Eric Flint. The production of this record is quite striking by this point; each instrument packs a great deal of punch, with everything from overdubs to background effects crystal clear in the mix. The last song covering Sally’s childhood years, “No Crying Here,” expands on the vibe of the previous track quite nicely, with the jazzy character of Marcelin’s guitar and Sally’s vocals making a great pairing.

Act 2 is a markedly different affair, musically and thematically, as Sally’a life hits a downward spiral after marrying a white trash husband and being relegated to a life of trailer park living. It’s all a bit deadpan as Sally details her “personal nightmare.” Though lacking the spaciness and variety of Act 1, tracks like “Broken Machine” and “Air” are quite nice. The contrast between Sally’s pouty lyrical reflections on her situation and the upbeat music is well done.

Our main protagonist’s escape from the situation in Act 3 makes for some of the most entertaining tracks on the CD. Things take a much more rockin’ style in “Saturday Night,” while “Night Scene” has the catchiness of Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra” with its oddly infectious digital loops and Sally’s galloping, quirky vocals. Act 4, meanwhile, is a dreamweaving collection of songs highlighted by the nine-minutes long “Crowded,” which effectively captures the sense of imagination and unreality associated with childhood.

Save for a spoken narrative that occasionally interrupts the flow of the songs, this is an exceptionally well-crafted album. With its rich array of sounds, sparkling production, and fresh take on old themes, Toy Room is an immensely satisfying work.

Rating: A- - The Daily Vault


Toy Room (2010, DVD), My Dirty Left Foot (2009, DVD), Toy Room (2008, CD), ExplOregon (2008, DVD), UFO Am I (2007, DVD), Rodeo Land (2007, CD Single), Concentration (2004, CD), Soup (2001,EP)



“Sally Tomato. Is she the product of Artificial Intelligence? Is she a figment of some deranged scientist’s libidinously twisted mentation? Is she the 21st century uberfrau? Is she all of the above? Indeed she is, and more. Much more.” SP Clarke

Sally Tomato is the lead singer of her eponymous band and best known as the star of “Toy Room,” the international and award winning rock opera film. A journey through Sally Tomato’s life, “Toy Room” is her biography. It takes us through her difficult childhood, a tumultuous early adulthood, an abusive marriage, and culminates in redemption through a tool we all share, the innocence of our inner child. If Fellini set Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” to music by Frank Zappa, the result would feel like “Toy Room.” Dramatic, haunting, ethereal, and playful, “Toy Room” shows us Sally Tomato and more. Much more.

The rock opera is just one in a library of unique and entertaining releases. Her documented history is scattered, and is mostly based on myth and rumor. From what we can tell, she learned to play piano by ear at age two. Doctors quickly advised her to stop playing piano with her ears and use her hands instead. Later, she learned to crawl onto the dining room table began singing to American Bandstand, working on her stage presence for a number of years before going to college on a vocal scholarship. Since then she has sung her way into the hearts of many.

The intimate “Soup” EP was recorded in 2001 and features Sally’s trademark approach on a handful of acoustic numbers. “Concentration” was the 2004 follow up which solidified her presence in the NW regional music scene and features the cult classic “The Original Barbie”.

The musical travel documentary series "Tomato Travels" includes 3 film shorts. The latest, "My Dirty Left Foot" (2009), follows Sally through the UK as they win awards for "Toy Room" at two film festivals. “UFO Am I” (2007) follows Sally as she ventures to Area 51 and beyond in search of The Truth. The first in the “explOregon” travel series was released in 2008 and takes a hard look at covered bridges, ghost towns and pixie sticks.

Sally Tomato occurs above an ever changing and rich musical backdrop created by backing instrumentalists Carlos Severe Marcelin on guitar and electronics and Eric Flint on drums. The band utilizes textured guitars, sequencing, loops, various electronic gadgets, and a huge drum kit to make it all happen, adding richness and depth to Sally's wild fluctuations between smoky chanteuse and childlike recitations. When she teams up with her volunteer run performance art group, the results are consistently and uniquely entertaining. Sally Tomato looks at the world with a fresh set of eyes.

“Even though we are born the same, over time we are not. We are cut and scarred and made into human art.” Sally Tomato