In early 1990 it was time to share this bold new musical vision with the rest of the world. But since the rest of the world was smart enough not to take their calls, Ed and Kevin settled for a slot in the University of Lowell's annual "Battle of the Bands." (Ed's pop band Wet Paint had already broken up by this point, not that anyone really noticed...) At this time they were using the name "The Wombats," in reference to their pitiful first song. At the Battle, watching the other bands play (the real bands, with guitars and drums and stuff) the Wombats wondered if the audience would understand them. Or at least not beat them up. At last it was time for the Wombats to take the stage. To demonstrate their comedic brilliance, Kevin and Ed wore silly hats (a safari-type hat and a sombrero, respectively). Kevin boldly announced to the crowd, "We've seen a lot of great bands here today, but that's about to change!" This turned out to be a huge understatement. In the Wombats' defense, the sound mix onstage was dreadful. However, even with better sound, things probably would not have gone much better...
After their set, as the Wombats packed up their gear (that is, the keyboard and the two hats), a young lady named Lisa approached Ed. Lisa was an aspiring singer and dancer, and was looking for someone to help her write and record songs for a demo tape. Ed agreed to work with Lisa, and a couple of years later, they did indeed release a cassette album of dance/pop songs. (A box of these tapes may or may not still exist. Let's start the bidding.)
The University of Lowell's student newspaper ran an article about the Battle of the Bands, and devoted a couple of semi-positive sentences to the Wombats. Here's a quote: "Although their voices were awful, the Wombats were delightful, as they made fun of the music industry and themselves." Um, thanks.
This first Wombats show also led directly to the second Wombats show. A band called J. T. and the Scream took third place in the Battle of the Bands. Their lead singer thought the Wombats were pretty funny, and invited them to open for his band at their next show. This was an outdoor concert, on the steps in front of the university's Fox Hall dormitory. Hardly anyone came to this show. Fortunately, there was a "mud volleyball" tournament happening nearby, so occasionally a mud-covered zombie-like student would stagger by and stay for a song or two. The Wombat's book of live tricks expanded for this show: Ed played a Sousaphone (borrowed from his old high school's music department) during "Grim Wombat Parade", and Kevin performed the Spam-juggling act that would one day fail to make him a big star on TV.
In the fall of 1990, the Wombats realized their name was not long and awkward enough. With another big live show on the horizon (a multi-act concert at U Lowell, for which t-shirts featuring the band names would be printed) Ed and Kevin had to settle on a new name. Ed recalled a name that Kevin had invented years earlier for no particular reason, and suggested it for the band. And that name was... "The Bangles".
Well, actually, it was "The Sponge Awareness Foundation".
Now things were falling into place. From that day forward, the name "Sponge Awareness Foundation" would be met with the same reaction throughout the world. That reaction, more or less, is "What?"Continue on to Origin of the Name