Sponge Guitarist Mike Cross Has Died At 57
Mike Cross, founding guitarist of the Detroit alternative rock band Sponge, has died. In a Facebook post, Sponge confirmed Cross’ passing. Cross died on Sunday, and no cause of death was given. He was 57.
Mike Cross and his brother, bassist Tim, got their start in Loudhouse, a funky hard rock band that started in 1989. Loudhouse released one album, 1991’s For Crying Out Loud, on Virgin, and they covered Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” on the soundtrack of the 1991 film Point Break. The Loudhouse album didn’t sell, and the band broke up in 1992 after singer Kenny Mugwump left. The remaining members of the band went on to form Sponge, with former Loudhouse drummer Vinnie Dombroski switching to vocals.
Sponge’s sound was a surly, accessible kind of post-grunge hard rock, and it foreshadowed all the huge post-grunge bands that would take over alternative radio in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Sponge signed with Columbia during the post-Nirvana gold rush, and they released their debut album Rotting Piñata in 1994. The singles “Plowed” and “Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)” were all over alt-rock radio in the mid-’90s, and the album went gold. Their 1996 sophomore album Wax Ecstatic didn’t sell as well, but it produced another radio hit in “Wax Ecstatic (To Sell Angelina).”
The Cross brothers both left Sponge in 2000, after Columbia dropped the band and their 1999 album New Pop Sunday didn’t do well. Mike Cross was mostly absent from music since then, though he did start a new band called MC Roads, and they released an EP called No Nostalgia last year.
Below, check out some of Mike Ross’ work with Loudhouse and Sponge.