Hi there – welcome to A-Sides, a series I’ve run for over eight years on numerous platforms. Now this fine site. For more, visit thisisasides.com.
Nowadays, it’s a big deal if a rock act breaks through to the mainstream. The Raconteurs and Tool respectively landing at the top spot of the record charts earlier this year is a big deal. Ditto for Billie Eilish and Shaed making their way on terrestrial radio. Why? Because it’s a pop world we’re living in and the notion that “rock is dead” has been beaten to death more than The Walking Dead franchise. Back in the mid-1990s, however, rock -specifically alt-rock and grunge – was what pop was now. It was very common for you to hear Bon Jovi’s “Always” and Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” followed by Green Day’s “Basket Case” and Pearl Jam’s “Yellow Ledbetter.” It was just how it was. One act who emerged on this golden alternative age were Motor City’s Sponge. The band were huge, receiving major airplay with “Plowed” and “Molly,” and their album Rotting Piñata went platinum. Their follow-up Wax Ecstatic led to more top ten hits including the title track and “Have You Seen Mary?” But let’s jump to the opening lines about the band.
It’s been 25 years since Rotting Piñata came out and Sponge have been touring in support of it for the past few months. This summer, they played an A-Sides show at Garcia’s in Port Chester, NY in support of their monumental album (they played “Plowed” twice – once organically and the second time frontman Vinnie Dombrowski asked to channel 1994 – a time before phones where you could literally live in the moment.) Moments before they took the stage, the band performed a track and sat down for a chat. This is A-Sides.