Aug 30, 2012

An interview with Sponge!

By Bob Suehs

An interview with Vin from Sponge

Sponge will be in town on Friday, August 31, 2012 playing the Recher Theatre in Towson & I had a chance to chat with band leader/lead singer Vin as he was on route to the bands Boston show.

Rock N Roll Experience: What made you decide to play Rotting Pinata in it’s entirety on the current Sponge tour?

Vin: We get a ton of requests for songs from that record at shows. Over the years we’ve had tons of request but quite frankly we’ve had so many new records out we were just focusing on the new stuff and there’s obviously some of the bigger songs that we play but we get requests for songs that are more obscure like “Miles” or Nena Menasha” perhaps or “Candy Corn” and people wanna hear these tunes so we thought, what the heck, we’ll get out there & we’ll not only play those songs but we’ll play the whole record!

Rock N Roll Experience: Did you contemplate trying to get some of the original members back in the band to perform “Rotting Pinata” in it’s entirety?

Vin: *sigh* It didn’t even cross my mind (laughs) didn’t cross my mind at all

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you still keep in touch with the original members of Sponge?

Vin: Yes, as a matter of fact I do, but it’s not really like a nostalgia tour regarding like original members or anything like that, it’s just us tipping a hat to the old tunes, and this line up has been together longer than the original line up was and of course the band sounds better than ever so we certainly represent the tunes well and it’s sounding good.

Rock N Roll Experience: Was there ever a point where you considered dropping the name Sponge & just going solo?

Vin: No, I hadn’t thought about it, I guess I could do that (go solo) at any time, I’ve had a number of projects that I’ve done that have nothing to do with Sponge, I just like going out & doing band things, but Sponge isn’t like “The guys”, it’s not even me, it’s the music. I go, what’s the point in changing the name? Just because there’s some guys that...I mean Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley were like, just because Ace & Peter are not in the band we are going to call it something else, Slash isn’t in Guns N Roses anymore so AXL’s gonna go, “Well, let’s change the name.”, I think there’s many, many bands that we could start naming off that, well, it’s the music more so than the people...myself included.

Rock N Roll Experience: After Sponge was dropped from their major label deal it seemed like the band went away...did Sponge go on hiatus?

Vin: No, I think we were gone maybe a year to record new music but after the major label came all the independent labels and what not that we’ve been on & there’s been all kinds of different situations that we’ve been in, the only difference is those labels at times don’t have the resources available to make people aware that we have new music available so people will say, well, you guys disappeared for a while, we’ve been around the whole time making records and they are not necessarily the easiest things to find at times unless you go through i-tunes, it’s not like you can walk into Best Buy & buy our records but we’re out there making records.

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you prefer an indie label or a major label?

Vin: I’m kinda liking being on no labels now

Rock N Roll Experience: why?

Vin: we own the masters 100% and quite frankly, any label that gets involved these days, probably most of the records did as well as they could & that can be collecting whatever revenue comes in from us paying for the record ourselves & it’s not like anybody's gonna step in and provide financing to make a record anymore, so I just go, what’s the point in having a label?

Rock N Roll Experience: How was it opening up for KISS?

Vin: Dynamite...that was I think one of the first dates from their one of their first farewell tours & it was dynamite.

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you have any good stories from that KISS show?

Vin: It was....looking at all these people in the front row in Gene Simmons make up & Paul Stanley make up and they were all singing “Plowed” which was weird and made us go, these are stone cold KISS fans but yet these kids are out there singing “Say A Prayer for Me” and that’s a pretty cool thing

Rock N Roll Experience: Did you hang out with Layne Staley at that show since Alice in Chains were on the same bill?

Vin: Yeah, we hung out with Layne & Jerry in their trailer for quite some time before the show & Layne looked good....that was probably one of the last shows that they did.

Rock N Roll Experience: Sponge plays here tomorrow night, can you tell the fans what to expect?

Vin: They’ll have a good time, we get a kick out of playing these songs & we have not played them in a long time and we’ll finish up Rotting Pinata and we will begin to take requests & play Wax Ecstatic, New Pop Sunday, we’ll just start playing other tunes & it will be a good time.

Rock N Roll Experience: Any cover songs in the set?

Vin: We’re known to do some covers....”Sedated”, some AC/DC, sure...

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