Spunge

Spunge (often typeset as [spunge] – lead singer Alex Copeland has joked that the brackets are in the name so that the letters do not fall out)[1] are a ska punk band from Tewkesbury, England. Through many years of touring, Spunge have toured with or played alongside a number of UK bands; and several American bands such as Green Day, Dropkick Murphys and Reel Big Fish; and been 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.

Ska punk band from Tewkesbury, England
For similar terms, see Sponge (disambiguation).

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Spunge
Origin Tewkesbury, England
Genres Ska punk
Years active 1997–present
Labels Sucka-Punch Records
Moon Ska Europe
B-Unique Records
Dent’All Records
Associated acts Whitmore, Capdown, Reel Big Fish, The Toasters, King Prawn
Members Alex Copeland
Damon “Des” Robins
Chris “Jarvis” Murphy
Jeremy “Jem” King
Past members Paul “Wol” Gurney
Simon Bayliss
Martin Holt

In 2019 the band toured the UK supporting Reel Big Fish,[2] playing the same set they recorded for the album Live in ‘nam… (Cheltenham)

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Conceived in July 1994, with almost the same line up as today (the only difference being that Copeland used to double up on bass), the band went through a lengthy gestation period (adding bassist Simon Bayliss in 1995, and replacing him with Martin Holt in 1997), before emerging with the Kicking Pigeons EP 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.

Cover to Kicking Pigeons.

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. Holt tired of touring, so good friend Chris Murphy joined to play bass.

Their second album Room for Abuse was recorded at DEP International Studios, 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 Copeland – 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 new recording contract led to Spunge’s third studio album, The Story So Far. It spent one week in the UK Albums Chart at No. 48.[3] The first single to be taken from it was “Jump on Demand“. Produced by John Cornfield, “Jump on Demand” reached No. 39 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] It also topped the Kerrang! TV chart for two weeks. The follow-up “Roots“, peaked at No. 52 in the UK chart.[3] However, communication between the band and their record label was not good. Both releases had been delayed after the band had arranged sold-out tours and promotional appearances.

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 BBC Radio 1 stated he would ‘A list’. The label again asked for a tour to go with the release, and that was arranged for November and 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, the planned single was not released.

Following a meeting in December between label and the band’s management, Spunge and B-Unique parted company. Despite this the band went on to play the inaugural Download Festival at Castle Donington in July 2003, alongside Audioslave, NOFX and Metallica. They parted company with their manager, Dave Juste, around this time, and decided to manage themselves. They also created their own record label, Dent’All Records, in 2004. All subsequent recordings have been released on this label.

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