The Best Rock You’ve Never Heard of #4: Sponge
The defining quote from the greatest cult film comes from a scene where Mark interupts a news broadcas following a shooting and goes a little something like this, “Well see there was this guy here and he kinda wigged out and everything but that’s besides the point because we’re having a get together here tonight. There’s going to be free admission, live music, pits, chicks. The full nine yards man. It’s going to be heavy shit. Here at midnight. Anybody can come! Here at midnight. Party on man! Damn the man! Save the empire!”
It’s then followed with this great scene of preparing for the ultimate 90s street party…accompanied by this song:
In 1992, The Bodyguard was released by Warner Brothers and while it scored over $400 million in box office revenue, the soundtrack album was even more successful selling over 45 million copies. In response to learning that a film could make money on two fronts, Warner Brothers went out to find a film with a focus on music and returned with the iconic Empire Records. The film has incredible trivia but we’re not here for that now. The soundtrack tender as it were, was won by A&M records primarily on the basis that they had the popular band, The Gin Blossoms.
Unfortunately, while songs from other labels crept into the film, they were excluded from the official soundtrack as they were not part of A&M. Fortunately we still heard them in the film and caught a glimpse of Sponge, the band that has lasted since 1991 through front-man Vinnie Dombroski.
In 1995, they also got a gig on the Mallrats OST but the gradient in their fame began to level out on the y-axis and after appearing on the Craft OST in 1996, we began hearing less and less of them.
If you went through the effort of hearing more of the band other than the couple of seconds you hear one song in a movie or two, you’d be amazed at how they never got as big as you’d expect. That being said they still seem to attract a crowd and play a couple of American fests:
And despite their heavily altered lineup since beginning 26 years ago, the music continued to develop and evolve with the times. In 1999, my favourite album of theirs, New Pop Sunday was released,
Alt-rock has always been exceptionally difficult to pin down. I think the trick is to explore within the parameters of the time and that’s something Sponge has done incredibly well. It’s not the music you can guarantee that you can play at a party that everybody will love. It’s the kinda music you could pump in your car and take the time to learn the words to sing along to on long roadtrips to make them even better.
Cheap wine is palatable but it doesn’t age well. If you open an expensive bottle of 3 year cab sav, it won’t be as amazing as what it might have been if you waited another decade before popping that cork.
I’ve placed Sponge in this series because while their music is great, discovering them now would be a treat to most rock fans. Their latest album, The Beer Sessions, has also begun to push itself into my favorites lists as I listen to it more and more. For a band that’s nowhere near as famous as the 1994 crowd, they’ve lasted incredible long on and rightly so.
Their music is great and they have capacity for an even greater fanbase. I base this on their latest album, worth the listen…totally!!! As is the rest of the music.