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Sponge celebrates ’94 with a new collection

By meerna Jul11,2024
Sponge celebrates ’94 with a new collection

1994 was a noteworthy year: Nancy Kerrigan was attacked. Kurt Cobain was found dead. Steven Spielberg won his first two Oscars for Schindler’s List.

But when it comes to Detroit rock band Sponge, it’s the year of the release of their debut album, “Rotting Pinata.” This year, the band celebrates the 30th anniversary of the collection with two special releases.

“I’ve never been a big fan of doing covers, but Cleopatra, a record label in Los Angeles, asked us to do a covers album,” said vocalist Vin Dombroski. “We’re working out the details.”

The collection includes songs by Sonic Youth, Blur, Danzig, Mazzy Star and Morrissey. Dombroski said Sponge is considering adding Morrissey’s “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” to the tour’s set list or Blur’s “Girls & Boys.”

“It sounds fantastic,” he said of “Girls & Boys.” “To come up with the songs, we went through Billboard, Spin’s 100 Best Songs of 1994, and really dug around to see what was popular in 1994.”

Other songs on “’94” include “Fade Into Me” by Mazzy Star; “Supersonic” by Oasis; “No Excuses” by Alice in Chains; “Can’t Speak” by Danzig; “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” by Morrissey; “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots and Urge Overkill’s version of the Neil Diamond classic “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”.

“I think the song Mazzy Star was the most far-fetched, but it came out really amazing,” he said. “I’m not just talking about my vocals, but the band sounds so great on this album. (Guitarist) Kyle Neely plays slide. It’s a great rendition of that song.”

Sponge recently hit the road with Powerman 5000 and Tantric. He’ll perform at the Machine Shop in Flint on Friday and at Grewal Hall in Lansing on Sunday.

After the tour, the 30th anniversary of “Rotting Pinata” is in full swing. Dombroski expects the album to be released this year. Sponge went for a vintage look during the studio sessions.

“When you record on reel-to-reel tape, if you want to digitize those tapes, you have to bake them, literally put them in the oven,” he said. “We found a ton of old tapes, digitized them, and found songs that never made it onto a Sponge record or alternate takes of the first record.

“We’ll put it all together on one CD. We’ve managed to record a few new songs. The first single should be out just before the Powerman 5000 concerts in July.”

In further news regarding the album’s release, Dombroski and Sponge have teamed up with Jason Hartless (Ted Nugent’s drummer) and his label Sound City Music Group.

They released Planet Girls on Record Store Day, April 20. The album is a long-lost version of Sponge’s 1999 release, New Pop Sunday. After the success of their gold albums, Rotting Piñata and Wax Ecstatic, Sponge changed labels during the recording of their third album.

Stalwart producer Kevin Shirley (known for his work with Journey, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes) was brought in to create a more pop-rock-oriented album, a departure from the more abrasive sound of their first two albums. However, the album was ultimately shelved and never released.

“The collaboration between two Detroit natives has produced a truly extraordinary work that will go down in Sponge musical history,” said Dombroski.

“We’re excited about this. I’m told all the records have been ordered by stores. Get them on vinyl where you can.”

Three decades later, Dombroski is just as passionate about music. He’ll hear a song or band that puts a smile on his face.

“I had the chance to see Fear,” he said. “I loved that band in the ’80s. They were so important to me. Whatever was there when I was young is still there. My passion is being rekindled. I heard Guitar Wolf, a Japanese punk rock band. I see they’re still on the road, playing shows and promoting songs. Maybe I’ll go to Chicago to see them perform in May.

“I have no idea what it is, but music makes me smile and want to make music. Without these bands, I don’t know what I would do.”

Powerman 5000, Sponge, Tantric

Friday, 6:00 p.m.

3539 S. Dort Hwy., Flint

7:00 PM on Sunday

Grewal Hall, 224 S. Washington Square, Lansing

Tickets: $25 and up;,,

By meerna

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