I love this piece because it’s just not a story about a band. It’s when I had the honor to meet that band.
I was in Phoenix, Arizona for a wedding back in the 90’s. I was married at the time and I remember my wife telling me I needed to leave wherever we were and head back to the hotel room to change into my suit for the wedding that evening.
I was happy to get out of there and have some alone time. I hopped in our rental and started driving. I noticed that Phoenix is like a giant strip mall in the desert, surrounded by all of these walled communities with cactus.
I’d kill myself if I had to live out there. I prefer Philly anytime.
Anyway, I’m listening to the local rock station and I hear them talking about how the band “Sponge” will be doing a little live performance at some music store in town.
Sponge is an American alternative rock band from Detroit, Michigan formed in 1991 by Vinnie Dombroski, Mike Cross, Tim Cross, and Joey Mazzola. All were formerly of the hard rock band Loudhouse. Sponge was signed to Sony Records in 1994 but have since switched to other labels.
The band recruited Jimmy Paluzzi on drums to round out the lineup. Their debut album, Rotting Piñata, released in 1994, was a major hit, received heavy play on radio and MTV, and was certified gold by the RIAA. The two biggest singles from that album were “Plowed” and “Molly” but by the end of 1994 Charlie Grover replaced drummer Paluzzi. Their follow-up album was called Wax Ecstatic; the track “Have You Seen Mary” was included in the Kevin Smith film Chasing Amy.
I hear where the music store is located opposed to where I’m driving, and I’m like; “That’s five blocks over from me!”
I bang a hard right and head for the shop. I can see the radio station has their van out in the parking lot. I supposed they’re going to cover it live.
When I get there three members of the band are there. Vinnie, Mike and Joey. There are some fans hanging out but it wasn’t the wild mess it could have been. I got to get up close and watch the guys jam out about three of their popular songs. I really liked Sponge back then and it was so great to see them jam in this intimate setting 2000 miles away from home.
After the songs I got to meet the guys. They were really cool and funny. They were making fun of the other two members of their band that weren’t there.
I left with this. It’s framed on my wall right now.
I told the guys I was from Philly, but was only out here in Phoenix for a wedding. So Joey writes “Thanks for seeing us on your Wedding Day!”
That’s how funny and sweet these guys are. It was the high point of my trip and I still enjoy their music to this day. I’ll leave you with this lovely song.
I great bunch of guys that make great music. I’m so happy to have met them.
And this rough house rocker.
And my favorite…
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