After forming the band in 1994, Spunge are finally getting the recognition they deserve. "Jump On Demand" and "Roots" have become classics in the alternative ska scene and the band are winning over new fans by the day through their festival and support appearances. Growing up listening to the Clash and The Specials via traditional punk and dance culture they take in everything, put it into one big melting pot and spew it out Spunge style. We caught up with frontman Alex as they take the underground, over ground.
Q: You've been going for years and then you release
"Jump On Demand" and now "Roots" to universal acclaim. Did you ever imagine
it would happen?
A: I think any band who stay's together for that long has to have something like - Yeah, were good we are - or otherwise they'd just give it up. So I suppose there's an underlining confidence, we knew we had something, but it was a case of right time and right place. Maybe were being a bit cynical, but we never thought that would happen, the right place right time, because of all the manufactured crap that takes over everything.
But yeah, were a proper top 40 band now and it's going
really well. As you say we've been going now for about nine and a half
years and we've got so used to just doing it the way we do it it's kind
of like a bonus in a way. The thing is though if all this hadn't happened
we wouldn't really care, we'd still be doing exactly what were doing now.
Q: Over the years you've worked it the rock & roll
way of gigging relentlessly. In the early days didn't you have a rule where
you didn't do support slots?
A: We like to do our own headline shows in the UK, but we did Green Days shows recently. Were good for anything as long as it's live shows. What were about is the live stuff, so if it means we can go out and do anything live were there.
It would be easier to head over to the states and do it
there because of your accent and stuff. But were doing all right now. Our
philosophy was you go round the circuit enough times and somebody's going
to notice you - I'm not talking about record companies and stuff here -
it's all about the crowds.
Q: What was it like seeing Bowling for Soup, who supported
you in May and are now a top 10 band?
A: It's mad isn't. There really good mates so I'm not going to feel bad for it. But it is strange cos like they came over and supported us because they didn't have the fanbase in the UK and two months after the tour they're a top 10 band. It's like our latest single, it got some playlists but not majorly. And there everywhere. It's like what's going on here - is it just because were English!!!
Q: Ska punk is still probably one of the most underground
scene's around in England isn't it?
A: Totally, but because of that it's got such a good following. If people get into it they stay into it pretty much. We get a load of skaters. If we had to choose the typical sort of person who came to our shows it would be skaters and that. And they tend to get into a band and follow them for good. They're not into fads or the flavour of the month, so it means you've got a good solid fanbase no matter what happens.
We used to listen to the obvious stuff like the Specials,
Bad Manners and the Clash. But we've got such a wide mix of music, I think
that's why we don't get bored - cos we try different things all the time.
It's like we've got a mate who does DJing and decks and we'll mess around
with him. Wol's more into his metal stuff so you've got him with all these
old punks. We just bounce of each other's taste's.
Q: On the gigging side of things, you have a rule where
you only play venues where they will allow all ages in?
A: Sometimes they won't budge and you've got to pick between the venue that most people can get in...cos you've got this venue that's got 300 capacity venue and it's all ages, but you know damn well it's going to sell out in a day so you'll have 400 kids who can't see you...so you've got to weigh it up.
We always go for the lowest age possible and I don't understand why more people don't do it. If you're in a band you want all your fans to be able to see you, so by going to an over 18's deliberately doesn't make sense. Were not music that people are punching each other in the pit anyway, so maybe that's why some bands don't cos it's a bit more aggressive.
We actually did one gig in Scarborough where they were kicking out the kids because they weren't drinking. It was a 16+ show and there were bunch of kids who were just about 16 and they weren't trying to buy beer. Obviously the beer staff were getting pissed off because they weren't making any money over the bar so they kicked them. So we packed up all our gear up and went to a tiny pub down the road and crammed everyone from the gig in there, gave them their money back and a free CD.
"Roots" is out now via B-Unique
The album "The Story So Far" follows on August 26th
For more info
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