The Story So Far…
Concieved in July 1994 with almost the same line up as today (the only difference being that vocalist Alex used to double up on bass), the band went through a lengthy gestation period (adding bassist Simon Bayliss in 1995 and replacing him with local hardcore man Martin Holt in 1997) before emerging with the ‘Kicking Pigeons EP’ in 1998.
Having sold 5000 copies at pub gigs the [spunge] boys decided that there was enough potential to jack in the day jobs and make the band a full time concern.
Having soon gained a manager in Dave Juste of Birmingham’s Xposure Rock Cafe (a regular early haunt), [spunge] hit the road, and would eventually notch up well over three hundred gigs in just two years.
Less than a year later in 1999, [spunge] released their debut album Pedigree Chump on MoonSka Europe and thus set about introducing the band and their unique brand of ska, dub, punk and comedy to a wider audience.
Unfortunately Martin got sick of being on the road, so good friend Jarvis from local pop-punks B-Movie Heroes jumped in on bass despite being a guitarist and stayed there!
Their second album Room For Abuse was recorded at DEP International Studios (owned by UB40 strangely enough) and released on Sucka-Punch Records in 2000, featuring the single ‘Ego’ plus covers of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’ and Sublime’s ‘Santeria’
The album version of ‘No Woman No Cry’ - complete with new lyrics from Alex - was the first cover of a Bob song ever to receive permission to be altered by the Marley family as Ziggy liked it so much.
All this attention brought them to the eyes of B-Unique and a deal was signed in February 2002.
The first single to be taken from the new album ‘The Story So Far’ was ‘Jump On Demand’. Produced by John Cornfield (Muse, Oasis), ‘Jump On Demand’ hit the Top 40 despite being ignored by radio and mainstream media magazines and also topped the Kerrang! TV chart for two weeks.
Following up this success was going to be difficult with next single ‘Roots’, but the band still managed to chart in the top 50 again with zero radio play showing that their army of fans were as loyal as ever.
However, things between the band and the label B-unique|Warners weren’t rosy. Both releases had been delayed after the band had arranged sold out tours and promotional appearances meaning that things were not coinciding as they should.
The album, ‘The Story So Far’ was then scheduled for release at the end of August 2002. On the same day as the Reading and Leeds festivals which the band were playing. Great timing. No, the band didn’t think so either.
Most of their fans were at the festivals and wouldn’t have the money to buy festival stuff and the album at the same time.
The band then recorded a cover of ‘Oliver’s Army’ with Steve Harris, which Alex Donnelly at Radio 1 said he would A List, Alex having seen the band at a press show at London’s Camden Monarch in July and at Reading. For once the band would have radio support for a release, who knew what that could mean?! The label again asked for a tour to go with the release and a huge UK tour was arranged for November/December 2002:
The band were in full control of all the promotion for the tour and most shows were sold out with over 15,000 tickets sold to [spunge] fans, with no financial support from the label, and no press coverage at all.
The single wasn’t released.
Another meeting in December between label and band management had [spunge] pointing out that the label had let the band down again, that there had been 5 different production managers in 6 months (including 3 in seven days!), that the press representative had not even contacted the big four magazines to arrange press for the tour (a fact confirmed by the editors), and that overall the organisation was a sham. The label agreed. 48 hours later [spunge] and B-Unique parted company.
Despite this the band went on to play the very 1st Download Festival at Castle Donington in July 2003, alongside acts such as Audioslave, NOFX and Metallica as well as several other smaller festivals to great crowds.
This proved to the band that there was still a great audience out there for them and they decided it was time to make some big changes to the way things were being dealt with.
Firstly the band decided to part company with their manager Dave Juste mainly due to a difference of opinion in how the band should grow. After this split the band decided that, rather than get another manager, why not manage themselves? So that’s exactly what they did.
This proved to be a good move all round with the gigs and the songs coming on stronger than ever. The next move seemed pretty obvious to [spunge]. They didn’t have a label and they wanted to get more tunes out to the masses, so with this in mind they decided to start up their own label DENT’ALL RECORDS, for themselves and other bands that didn’t get the help they deserved.
On Feb 23rd 2004 the label released it’s first CD called ‘THAT SHOULD COVER IT’ a collection of covers [spunge] have done, some previously unavailable live demos and two BRAND NEW [spunge] songs to wet the appetite before the next full length album.
[spunge]’s first Dent’All Records release ‘That Should Cover It’ was a great success for the band with sales of the CD still going strong. Reception for the album was (and still is!) great with many people liking the covers better than the original versions by the Artists themselves!
This was a great boost to the band as it showed that they hadn’t made a mistake by doing their own thing.
During 2004 the band returned to the studio for a short while to record two more brand new tracks for the next album with the intention of producing a video for one of them to release to coincide with a major tour in Oct/Nov 2004.
The two tracks chosen to record were ‘Backstabber’ and ‘One More Go’, the second track being the most likely candidate for the video release. They follow on the tradition of catchy riffs and infectious chorus’ that has become the [spunge] trademark.
A video was comissioned through Goblin Pictures for the song ‘One More Go’ and was sent out to all the tv stations etc in the hope of it getting played on air.
While all this was going on they also decided to put on an all-dayer at Cheltenham Town Hall. Hosted by Dent’all Records and [spunge] this was to become EXTRACTION FEST 2004 - something that they hope to host annually if possible. The show was a great success and they waited to hear which stations would be playing the new video.
The video wasn’t added to ANY playlists, various excuses were made but the upshot was no-one was going to see this awesome video. They booked up the UKKO tour and went out and played it live to the masses instead. Another blow for [spunge] but it would take more than that to shake them.
The band decided that if the TV stations and labels didn’t want ‘One More Go’ then they would release it themselves and why not a full length DVD (‘The High Life’) with the video on as well while they were at it!
The single and DVD were to be released on the same day, 21st March 2005, and to coincide with that they booked another tour entitled the ONE MORE GO TOUR to help promote both releases. The tour was great and although there were a few hiccups with getting the single into the shops on time, the releases came about and both did great, again with no backing from radio or tv.
With more bands being added to the label and the continued success of ‘That Should Cover It’ and the DVD ‘The High Life’ things are going from strength to strength.
Next plans are to tour in Norway after a long time away and another major tour in Oct/Nov 2005 after which they will be going into the studio to record the next full album, yet to be titled. [spunge] have 17 new songs written (4 of which are already recorded) and are writing more all the time. They are hoping to release the next full length studio album in early/mid 2006.
In early 2006, Wol decided to part company with the band after over a decade due to a change in circumstances… [spunge] are still going strong as a 4 peice and will be recording the next full length album this year.
To Be Continued…
Edited by hollium on 15 Nov 2009, 21:48
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