Spys4Darwin was an American supergroup established in 2001. The short-lived project featured members from Seattle-based groups Queensrÿche and Alice in Chains as well as the frontman of Michigan-based outfit, Sponge. Spys4Darwin began with guitarist Chris DeGarmo and drummer Sean Kinney, two friends who had both recently performed with Jerry Cantrell during his solo tour. They were soon joined by bassist Mike Inez and vocalist Vin Dombroski to fill out the band and began jamming in Binge Studios, an abandoned paint factory in Seattle. The project marked DeGarmo's first creative work since departing from his long-held position in Queensrÿche in 1998.

OriginSeattle, Washington, USA
GenresAlternative metal, hard rock
Years active2001–2002
LabelsPied Viper
Associated actsQueensrÿche, Alice in Chains, Sponge
Past membersChris DeGarmo
Sean Kinney
Mike Inez
Vin Dombroski

Name origin

DeGarmo claimed that the band's name came from a curious man named Darwin that stayed in a lean-to near their studio. He volunteered to act as security while they performed despite not being able to access the studio himself. One day, Darwin told DeGarmo and Kinney that he was to embark on a trip and asked that they look after his belongings. DeGarmo allegedly looked to Kinney and said "So I guess now we're spies for Darwin."


Spys4Darwin produced only a single album, a 6-track EP entitled microfish, which consisted of one week's worth of recorded jams.[1] While all band members contributed to the songs, much of the compositions were developed by DeGarmo and Kinney communicating back and forth while all lyrics were handled by Dombroski. In an interview, DeGarmo cited hopes to release a full-length album of about a dozen tracks in early 2002. The band was also reportedly working on the album as late as February 12 that year.[2] However, a second album would ultimately not come to fruition.

microfish consists of recordings from Binge Studios which were refined at Chris DeGarmo and Sean Kinney's houses before being mixed by Adam Kasper at Studio X. Spys4Darwin released the EP on their own record label, Pied Viper Records. Originally only available through the band's official website, microfish was promoted through the band itself and a modest grassroots approach. In January 2008, long after the Spys4Darwin had disbanded and their website expired, the EP was made available through CDBaby.com.[3] The group performed one gig at KNDD's Endfest 10 on August 4, 2001. Other bands in attendance included Nickelback, Ours, and The Crystal Method.[4]

According to DeGarmo, regarding the band's approach to microfish:

"It was really just us getting together, us recording, us taking it into mix with friends, and us releasing it directly to those people that are interested in it, with kind of very little fanfare... This was about us trying to make the recording as we could in our studio and make a nice package that was more about bein' proud of somethin' that we put out as opposed to whether or not it competes with Creed."


Critic Malcolm Dome of Classic Rock gave the album a positive review, calling it "pretty seamless and thoroughly entertaining":[5]

"Don't expect a sound that's a hybrid of their alma matas; Spys4Darwin have their own ideas. A familiar blend that encompasses contemporary American rock (think Matchbox Twenty, Train etc) that then takes a left-field twist to pick up traces of bands like Faith No More and Pearl Jam. Infused with sensible melodies and clear-cut arrangements, it's classic rock for a modern audience.
The best track of the six on this minialbum is undoubtedly 'Dashboard Jesus (Follow)', a masterpiece with dense atmospherics, a spiky attitude and a nice sense of the epic, although the rest of the material hardly slouches in comparison.
Which all goes to suggest that 'Spys4Darwin' isn't just a collection of stars idling away their time, but a bona fide band with a future."

Track listing

1."Submission in Love"3:38
2."Insomnia Station"3:57
3."Dashboard Jesus (Follow)"4:49
4."Chain Letter"4:17
5."Flood (Skill of the Kill)"3:42
6."Cold Dead Hands"4:23


In 2002, the members of Spys4Darwin had begun to move on to different projects. April 2002, saw the death of Layne Staley, a longtime bandmate to both Kinney and Inez. This put Alice in Chains into official hiatus with Inez rumored to replace Metallica's Jason Newsted later that year. DeGarmo contributed to the Jerry Cantrell single, "Anger Rising," before temporarily rejoining Queensrÿche to write material for their eighth album in 2003. Meanwhile, Vin Dombroski and Sponge bandmate Joey Mazzola recruited three new members to record their 2003 effort, For All the Drugs in the World.


  1. ^ Spys4Darwin - microfish Amazon.com. Retrieved on 12-28-08.
  2. ^ Raihala, Ross Alice in Chains' Cantrell on a long 'Degradation Trip' The Olympian (February 15, 2002). Retrieved on 12-29-08.
  3. ^ SPYS4DARWIN Featuring ALICE IN CHAINS, QUEENSRŸCHE Members: EP Once Again Available - Jan. 5, 2008 BlabberMouth.net (January 5, 2008). Retrieved on 12-28-08.
  4. ^ Titus, Christa Breaking the Silence: Chris DeGarmo Returns RequiredRock.com (December 2001). Retrieved on 12-28-08.
  5. ^ Dome, Malcolm (November 2001). "Spys4Darwin Review". Classic Rock.

External links

Adam Kasper

Adam Kasper is a Seattle area record producer and engineer,with platinum and gold awards, working with such bands as Aerosmith, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, R.E.M., The Tragically Hip, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. He went to Capital High School in Olympia, Washington.

He won a Grammy Award in 2001 for his work on the Foo Fighters' There Is Nothing Left to Lose (see Grammy Awards of 2001)., and again in 2004 for his work on the Foo Fighters' One by One.

Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, who later recruited bassist Mike Starr and lead vocalist Layne Staley. Starr was replaced by Mike Inez in 1993. William DuVall joined the band in 2006 as co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, replacing Staley, who died in 2002. The band took its name from Staley's previous group, the glam metal band Alice N' Chains.Although widely associated with grunge music, the band's sound incorporates heavy metal elements. Since its formation, Alice in Chains has released six studio albums, three EPs, three live albums, four compilations, two DVDs, 32 music videos and 31 singles. The band is known for its distinctive vocal style, which often included the harmonized vocals between Staley and Cantrell (and later Cantrell and William DuVall). Cantrell started to sing lead vocals on the 1992 acoustic EP Sap, and his role continued to grow in the following albums, making Alice in Chains a two-vocal band.Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s, along with other Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. The band was one of the most successful music acts of the 1990s, selling over 30 million records worldwide, and over 14 million records in the US alone, with two No. 1 albums and six Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart. The band has had 18 Top 10 songs on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, 5 No. 1 hits, and 11 Grammy Award nominations. Their debut album, Facelift, featuring the hit single "Man in the Box", was released in 1990 and has been certified double-platinum by the RIAA, selling over two million copies. In 1992, the band's second album, Dirt, was released to critical acclaim and was certified quadruple platinum. Their second acoustic EP, Jar of Flies, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1994, becoming the first ever EP and first Alice in Chains release to top the charts, and it has been certified triple platinum. The band's third album, Alice in Chains debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 1995 and is certified double platinum.Although never officially disbanding, Alice in Chains was plagued by extended inactivity from 1996 onwards due to Staley's substance abuse, which resulted in his death in 2002. The band reunited in 2005 for a live benefit show, performing with a number of guest vocalists. They toured in 2006, with William DuVall taking over as lead vocalist full-time. The new line-up released the band's fourth studio album, Black Gives Way to Blue, in 2009, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, received gold certification by the RIAA and two Grammy nominations. The lead single, "Check My Brain", became the first Alice in Chains song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 92. Their fifth studio album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, was released in 2013 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The band toured extensively and released several videos in support of these albums. Alice in Chains' sixth studio album, Rainier Fog, was released on August 24, 2018, debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album.

Alive in Detroit

Alive in Detroit (2007) is the first live album by Detroit-based Alternative Rock band Sponge.

Anger Rising

"Anger Rising" is a song by American hard rock musician Jerry Cantrell. It was the lead single from his 2002 solo album, Degradation Trip. Cantrell's fourth single overall, the track made its radio debut in early April 2002. The single spent 18 weeks on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and peaked at No. 10."Anger Rising" begins with a choir-like, non-lexical vocal harmony over acoustic guitar. This leads into heavy guitars with a steady beat and an aggressive, snarling chorus. Described by MTV's Joe D'Angelo as "a dysfunctional family portrait with a violent hue that revisits themes found in the Alice in Chains hit "Rooster," the song deals with domestic abuse and evokes imagery of life in a decrepit trailer park.Chris DeGarmo, formerly of Queensrÿche, makes a guest appearance playing slide guitar on "Anger Rising." DeGarmo had previously performed on tour with Cantrell in promotion of his 1998 album, Boggy Depot. He also recorded music with Mike Inez and Sean Kinney, bandmates of Cantrell, in Spys4Darwin.

Chris DeGarmo

Christopher Lee DeGarmo (born June 14, 1963) is an American heavy metal and hard rock guitarist and songwriter, best known for being a lead and rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and primary songwriter in the progressive metal band Queensrÿche from their formation in 1980 until 1998, and with whom he played during their most commercially successful period. He briefly returned for collaborations in 2003 and 2007. DeGarmo was a member of Jerry Cantrell's band during his 1998 solo tour, and also contributed to his 2002 album Degradation Trip. In 1999, he co-founded the short-lived supergroup Spys4Darwin with Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney. Since departing from Queensrÿche, DeGarmo has made his living as a professional private jet pilot. In recent years, he has been making music with his daughter Rylie DeGarmo under the name The Rue, and collaborated with Alice in Chains on their 2018 album Rainier Fog. DeGarmo was nominated for three Grammy Awards as a songwriter.

Destroy the Boy

Destroy the Boy is an EP by Sponge, released in 2010.

For All the Drugs in the World

For All the Drugs in the World is the fourth studio album by the band Sponge, their first release through Idol Records. The album marked a major change in the group lineup, with the only remaining original members being vocalist Vinnie Dombroski and guitarist Joey Mazzola.

Galore Galore

Galore Galore is the sixth studio album by alternative rock band Sponge.

Hard to Keep My Cool

Hard to Keep My Cool is an album by the band Sponge. This album is currently only sold at shows.

Mike Inez

Mike Inez (born May 14, 1966) is an American rock musician best known for his role as the bassist of Alice in Chains since 1993. He is also recognized for his work with Ozzy Osbourne from 1989-1993. Inez has also associated with Slash's Snakepit, Black Label Society, and Heart. He is of Filipino descent.

Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)

"Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)" is a song by American rock band Sponge, released in 1995 as the third single from their debut album Rotting Piñata. It also serves as the name of the band's greatest hits album, which was released in 2000. It was originally titled "Molly" on Rotting Piñata, but was elongated for its release as a single. It was ostensibly named after actress Molly Ringwald, who starred in Sixteen Candles. However, it was actually inspired by a story one of the band members heard about a girl who fell in love with one of her teachers shortly before her 16th birthday, who then attempted to commit suicide via an overdose of ecstasy after he rejected her, hence "16 candles down the drain." "Molly" is a more pure form of MDMA than street ecstasy.

To date, it is the band's only song to appear on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, having peaked at number 55 in August 1995. It is the band's highest-charting song on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, where it was a top three hit. The song also reached number 11 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The music video for the song was released in 1995 and was directed by Doug Aitken.

New Pop Sunday

New Pop Sunday is the third studio album by the band Sponge (their first on an independent label), released in 1999 on Beyond Records. The only single generated from this album was "Live Here Without You", which did not receive much airplay.

Plowed (song)

"Plowed" is a song by American alternative rock band Sponge. The song was released as the second single from the group's debut studio album Rotting Piñata. "Plowed" was also featured on the band's compilation albums Molly and Hits & B Sides Volume One.

Rotting Piñata

Rotting Piñata is the debut studio album by American rock band Sponge, released in 1994 on Work Records. Hit singles from this album, such as "Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)" and "Plowed," helped launch the band's career and pushed the album to Gold.

Sean Kinney

Sean Howard Kinney (born May 27, 1966) is an American musician, best known for being the drummer and co-founder of the rock band Alice in Chains. Kinney also founded the short-lived supergroup Spys4Darwin, and has collaborated with Johnny Cash, Metallica, and played drums for his Alice in Chains bandmate Jerry Cantrell's first solo album, Boggy Depot (1998).

Sponge (band)

Sponge is an American alternative rock band from Detroit, Michigan formed in 1991 by Vinnie Dombroski, Mike Cross, Tim Cross, Jimmy Paluzzi, and Joey Mazzola. Dombroski and the Cross brothers were founding members of the hard rock band Loudhouse, later joined by Mazzola at the end of the band's tenure. Sponge was signed to Sony Records in 1994 but has since switched to other labels.

The Man (Sponge album)

The Man is the fifth studio album by alternative rock band Sponge. Vocalist Vinnie Dombroski is the only original band member left on this recording. Former Sponge producer Tim Patalan's brother Andy assumed guitar duties for this album.

Vinnie Dombroski

Mark "Vinnie" Dombroski (born December 4, 1962) is an American musician best known as the lead vocalist and main songwriter for the alternative rock band Sponge. He has also fronted various Detroit-based bands throughout his career.

Dombroski was a special guest star to appear on the simultaneously aired show Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Wax Ecstatic (To Sell Angelina)

"Wax Ecstatic (To Sell Angelina)" is a song by alternative rock band Sponge, released in 1996 as the debut single from their second album Wax Ecstatic.

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