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Sünger celebrates ’94 with its new collection

Sünger celebrates ’94 with its new collection

1994 was a big year: Nancy Kerrigan was attacked. Kurt Cobain was found dead. Steven Spielberg won his first two Oscars for “Schindler’s List.”

But for Detroit rock band Sponge, this marks the year that its debut album, “Rotting Pinata,” was released. This year, the band is celebrating the collection’s 30th anniversary with two special releases.

“I’ve never been a fan of doing covers, but Cleopatra, the record company in Los Angeles, asked us to do a covers album,” said singer Vin Dombroski. “We’re putting the finishing touches on it.”

The collection includes songs by Sonic Youth, Blur, Danzig, Mazzy Star and Morrissey. Dombroski said Sponge was considering adding Morrissey’s “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” or Blur’s “Girls & Boys” to the setlist for this tour.

“It sounds great,” he said of “Girls & Boys.” “To find the songs, we went through Billboard, Spin’s top 100 songs of 1994, and dug deep to see what was popular in 1994.”

Other tracks on the “’94” album include Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into Me”; Oasis’ “Supersonic”; “No Excuses” by Alice in Chains; Danzig’s “Can’t Speak”; Morrissey’s “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get”; It features Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song” and Urge Overkill’s take on the Neil Diamond classic “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.”

“I think the biggest stretch was the Mazzy Star song, but that one turned out really great,” he said. “I’m not just talking about my vocals, but the band is really audible on the album. (Guitarist) Kyle Neely plays slide. It’s a great rendition of the song.”

Sponge recently hit the road with Powerman 5000 and Tantric and will perform at the Machine Shop in Flint on Friday and Grewal Hall in Lansing on Sunday.

After the tour, the 30th anniversary celebrations of “Rotting Pinata” are in full swing. Dombroski expects the album to be released later this year. Sponge has turned to vintage for studio sessions.

“When you record on reel-to-reel tapes, if you want to digitize those tapes, you have to bake the tapes, literally put them in the oven,” he said. “We found a bunch of old tapes, digitized them, and found songs that had never been on a Sponge record or the alternate takes of the first record.

“We’ll put all of this together on one CD. We managed to record a few new songs. The first single will be released with Powerman 5000 just before the July dates.”

In other news about the album, Dombroski and Sponge have linked up with Jason Hartless (Ted Nugent’s drummer) and his record label, Sound City Music Group.

They released “Planet Girls” on Record Store Day on April 20. The album serves as Sponge’s long-lost version of 1999’s “New Pop Sunday” album. Following the success of consecutive gold albums “Rotting Piñata” and “Wax Ecstatic”, Sponge underwent a label change during the recording of his third album.

Loyal producer Kevin Shirley (known for his work with Journey, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes) was hired to produce a more pop-rock-oriented album, away from the harder sound of their first two albums, but the album was eventually shelved and never released.

“The collaboration between the two Detroit natives has resulted in a truly remarkable piece to add to Sponge’s musical history,” said Dombroski.

“We’re very excited about it. I hear stores are offering deals on all the records. Get it on vinyl wherever you can.”

Even after thirty years, Dombroski has the same passion for music. He will hear songs or bands that will bring a smile to his face.

“I got to see Fear,” he said. “I loved that band in the ’80s. They were very important to me. Everything that was there when I was young is still there. My passion has been rekindled. I heard about the Japanese punk rock band Guitar Wolf. I see that they’re still on the road, touring and promoting their songs. I might go to Chicago in May to hear them.

“I don’t know what it is, but music makes me smile and makes me want to make music. I don’t know what I’d do without those bands.”

Powerman 5000, Sponge, Tantric

Friday evening at 6pm

3539 S. Dort Hwy., Flint

Sunday evening 7

Grewal Hall, 224 S. Washington Square, Lansing

Tickets: $25 and up; themachineshop.info, etix.com, spongetheband.com