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Spunge (often typeset as [spunge] - lead singer Alex Copeland has joked that the brackets are in the name so that the letters don't fall out.) are a ska punk band from Tewkesburymarker, Englandmarker. Through many years of constant touring, Spunge have toured or played alongside with a huge number of moderately successful UKmarker bands and several more famous Americanmarker bands like Green Day and being supported on a UK tour by Bowling for Soup; the latter of whom contributed backing vocals to the song "Centerfold" on the That Should Cover It! album.

Spunge are the only band who has ever officially been given permission by the Marley family to change the lyrics of a Bob Marley song, on their cover of "No Woman, No Cry" (this can be found on their second album, Room For Abuse). The permission came from Ziggy Marley, who liked the new version so much when they played it to him live.

Pedigree Chump and Room For Abuse

Conceived 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 in 1998. Having sold 5000 copies at pub gigs the band decided that there was enough potential to leave their 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 début album Pedigree Chump on MoonSka Europe and thus set about introducing the band to a wider audience. Unfortunately Martin got sick of being on the road, so good friend Jarvis (Chris Murphy) from local pop-punks B-Movie Heroes joined to play bass.

Their second album Room For Abuse was recorded at DEP International Studios (owned by UB40) 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 Marley 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 Story So Far

The New Record Deal lead to Spunge's third studio album, The Story So Far. 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 (number 39) 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 60 (number 52 in the end) again with zero radio play showing that their army of fans were as loyal as ever. However, communication between the band and the label B-unique/Warners was not good. Both releases had been delayed after the band had arranged sold out tours and promotional appearances, meaning that things did not coincide as they should have done.

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. 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. 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 took place due to Spunge feeling that the label had let them down - frustrated that there had been 5 different production managers in 6 months (including 3 in seven days) and that the press representative had not even contacted the larger music publications for press coverage. The label agreed that this was the case. 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 appoint another manager, they would manage themselves from now on.

The Tewkesbury quintet, known for their touring ethic, are strong believers in touring to building a following. After being represented, but ultimately dissatisfied, with labels including Sucka-Punch Records, Moon Ska Europe and B-Unique Records), the band created their own label, Dent'All Records, in 2004. All recordings, including That Should Cover It!, have been released on this label. Spunge recently signed new band Cousin Joey; though the band have since disbanded. [68403]

That Should Cover It

On 23 February 2004 the label released its first CD called That Should Cover It a collection of covers, previously unavailable live demos and two brand new songs. 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. The album was well received with some people stating that they preferred the cover versions to the originals.


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 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. A video was commissioned through Goblin Pictures for the song "One More Go" and was sent out to several television stations in the hope of it getting played on air. While all this was going on they also decided to put on an all-day gig at Cheltenhammarker 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, with disappointing results. They booked up the UKKO Tour and went out and played it live instead.

The band decided that if the TV stations and labels didn't want "One More Go" then they would release it themselves with a full length DVD (The High Life) with the video on as well. The single and DVD were to be released on the same day, 21 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 a notable success despite there being little backing from radio or TV.

Album Re-release and Self-Titled Album

Rhythm guitarist Wol (Paul Gurney) left the band in January 2006, due to personal reasons. Spunge have since decided to carry on as a four piece to record the first part of their fourth album as well as some select live shows.


On 19 July, Alex Copeland posted this on the band's official website regarding the long awaited fourth studio album:

We have also just come out of the studio where we have been recording (deep breath) our 4th album! Yep that's right, we have actually got in there and got on with it! We're bound to say this but we really do think this record is sounding like our best yet, we are going in the studio to finish off some vocals and various parts in September time but most of it is now down and finished.. and we're well happy with it! Due for a release early next year we think you're gonna agree it's been worth the wait....


On the 6 November 2006 Spunge released a re-recorded version of their second album called Room For Abuse 2006 that also included a DVD, which was also a re-release of their first video Skankin 'N' Skulkin.

On 20 August 2007 the band announced on its Website and Myspace page that it had finished the final touches to their fourth studio album and would be releasing it on 12 November 2007. The album was announced as self-titled.

On 8 October 2007, as part of the promotion for their new album the "self titled recording sessions", Spunge released, as a free download on their website and myspace site, their b-side "Happy Ending". Following the release of their long awaited self-titled album, the band went on a tour to support the release. This was followed up by another tour starting in May 2008 due to the success of the album release tour.

When interviewed by BBC Gloucestershire on 27th April 2009, the band mentioned that they had started writing new material, and are looking into the possibility of doing a European tour in the near future.

The band currently has a couple of gigs booked in August, September and November 2009, followed by Extraction Festival 5 on Saturday 5th December 2009.

Band members



Ex-members

Discography

EPs



Singles



Albums



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References

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