Sep 25, 2020

Episode 17: Big Beat (1976) part one

It's been a minute since I rapped at ya, Sparks fans. Hope all is well. At long last, here's the next chapter in the Sparks saga: the story of Big Beat. Recorded in NYC with an all-new, all-American band, and with Rupert Holmes at the helm (yes, THAT Rupert Holmes), Big Beat was released by Columbia Records in October 1976. Inspired in part by the emerging punk/new wave scene of the moment, Big Beat eschews the baroque pop stylings of the Island records, and opts for a bare bones rock and roll attack. This episode covers the making of the album and the first half of the songs found on modern CD rereleases of Big Beat.

You can always reach Christian (me) here, or via our Facebook page here.

UPDATE: Incredibly, I've already gotten word that my Mr. Bill song at the end suffered volume issues. No doubt that was thanks to Levelator. You can hear a better version here.

Jun 29, 2020

Episode 16: Indiscreet part 2 (1975-1976)

We're back! Finally I get down to the nitty gritty of Indiscreet side 2, plus a bevy of bonus tracks. That wraps it up for Sparks in England! Next we head to NYC for Big Beat.

Check us out on Facebook or drop me a line at

May 17, 2020

Episode 15: Interview with Dave Thompson

Christian interviews preeminent (he probably hates that term) rock journalist Dave Thompson in this free-wheeling interview that occasionally even has us discussing Sparks! Dave is the author of the 2009 biography about Sparks, No. 1 Songs in Heaven, a tome that practically stands as this podcast's bible in terms of getting the story of Sparks right.

You can check out his author homepage here, just in case you want to feel hopelessly underproductive and undistinguished.

Write me if you like at or check out our page on Facebook. Next episode (I promise) is Indiscreet, Part 2. It's gonna be a doozy.

One more thing: not that I have to tell you this, but Sparks' new album A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip is out! You can purchase a digital copy from Amazon, or other, less-evil online outlets. And yes, it's on Spotify, too. Enjoy! It's incredible.

May 17, 2020

SPECIAL EPISODE: What We Do Is What We Do, Episode 01: Dario Western and naturism


Doing some logrolling today. After months of idle threats, I have finally assembled the first episode of my new podcast What We Do Is What We Do. No, it's not about the DEVO song. It's about hobbies, pastimes, and passion projects! Starring maybe you one day! The new show will have its own feed, but it's going to play nice here with the Sparks feed for now.

Mr. Dario Western (an avid Sparks fan himself, natch) joins me on my maiden voyage, giving me the naked truth on naturism and how he's merged it with his music career. Check out the music of Dario's band Laissez-Fayre here.

What's YOUR passion project? What makes YOU tick? What kind of thing do you make time in your life to pursue even though it doesn't pay the bills? Let me know, and I'll interview you too! is my email, is my Twitter, and you can reach me on Facebook as well (I'm Christian Exquisitely Huey).

Apr 29, 2020

Episode 14: Indiscreet (1975) part one

Sparks' final album as a British band finds them at a whole new level of ambition. Hoping to make their own Sgt Pepper's, Ron and Russell find their personal George Martin in Tony Visconti, who helped Sparks arrange songs for swing bands, marching bands, string quartets, etc. I also tell the sad story of the Jacques Tati film that never was.

Check us out on FB here, or email Christian here.

Next episode will be an in-depth one-on-one with rock journalist Dave Thompson!

Apr 12, 2020

Episode 13: Pini Schatz interview

I'm joined by Pini Schatz, director of the documentary about Sparks fandom Never Turn Your Back on Sparks. Listen to Pini's wild ride through the world of Sparks fans across continents, cultures, and income levels. As well as revealing how he nabbed some of those interviews with famous music icons, we get to find out who flaked out on him (hint: Lighten Up)!

See the trailer for yourself here and check out the film's Facebook page here.

Stay well, Sparks fans.

Love, Christian

Apr 3, 2020

Episode 12: Propaganda (1974) part 2

I delve into side two of Propaganda in this one, including B-side Alabamy Right. Propaganda was a deliberate step forward from Kimono My House, in terms of musical ambition. The second and final album produced by Muff Winwood, Ron employs his "Jam-proof your composition" manifesto here to ensure no one does the same thing twice, and to ensure that Adrian Fisher never gets to play a single blues lick. How was Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth misunderstood by Ray Davies? Exactly WHAT the hell is Russell singing on Something for the Girl with Everything? I break it all down here.

Check us out on Facebook, and drop me a line at if you're lonely and want to say hi. I like friends.


Mar 25, 2020

Episode 11: Interview with Martin Gordon

(I updated a new version of the file March 25, with the final versions of Martin's songs "Will of the People" and "Idiots.")

What excuse did I have for waiting longer than this for uploading and sharing? None, that's what! While I'm more or less quarantined in my house here in SXSW-less Austin, TX, I've got time on my hands. Thank goodness cabin fever is the only fever in my household at the moment!

Here's that interview with Martin Gordon I promised! He couldn't have been more generous with his time. I've included clips of songs from Martin's long and varied career. Those include: Will of the People, Idiots, Cover Girl, Nervous Wreck, No Russians in Russia, Good Personality, and Modern Major General. Please check out Martin's own website at and buy his music!

Stay well and wash everything constantly always! I'll be back soon for part 2 of my exploration of 1974's Propaganda.

Cheers, Christian

Mar 19, 2020

Episode 10: Propaganda (1974) part 1

Sheltered-in-place so long you've got serious cabin fever? Perfect time to listen to Sparks' second hit LP for Island, Propaganda. Propaganda was recorded in just a few weeks, in the wake of the seismic smash of its predecessor. In this episode, I dig deep into the making of the record and explore side one.

As always, drop me a note at or check us out on Facebook. Stay safe, my friends! Wash your hands and eyeballs after reading this!

Much love, Christian 

Feb 23, 2020

Episode 9: Kimono My House (1974) part 2

(NOTE: I uploaded a new version of this episode with different sound levels 2/26)

I explore side 2 of Kimono My House in episode 9, and throw in random tidbits about OPEC-induced vinyl shortages and Japanese musical theatre troupes. Did Doris Day know she had a doppleganger? Is there a gorilla out there doing his best impression of Ron Mael? Do YOU know how to tie a kimono? I expect the answers on my desk by the end of the day.

As promised in my intro, here's the link to Andy Moore's podcast and the episode about Sparks:

Also, drummer Stevie Nistor's Gofundme to help him with chronic Lyme disease treatments:

As always, feel free to drop me a line at or at my FB page.

Hasta Mañana, Monsieur! - Sincerely, Christian Huey

Feb 2, 2020

Episode 8: Kimono My House (1974) part 1 + Monte Mallin

We're back! Happy 2020, Sparks fans. In episode 8, I take an obsessive gander at side one of Sparks' most famous album Kimono My House. Learn how Sparks catapulted from esoteric Los Angeles weirdos to British superstars in 1974 with the monumental "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us," and its stellar parent album.
After the history lesson, I bend the ear of Monte Mallin again, this time asking him about what made the late Dinky Diamond the highest-regarded of all of Sparks' many drummers over the years.

Check out Monte's frequently-astounding podcast So Important as well his Spotify playlist celebrating Sparks drumming. You can find info about THIS podcast here and here, and you can email me (Christian) at

Dec 19, 2019

Episode 4 redux: Halfnelson/Sparks listening party + other stuff

(Amended re-release) Richard Martinez rejoins Christian for a Sparks listening party, as we examine the first Halfnelson/Sparks album on Bearsville Records. Christian reads Joseph Fleury's liner notes from a 1975 repackaging of the first two albums, and a rare interview (from another source) with Earle Mankey rounds out the episode. Email me here, and check us out on FB here!

Dec 18, 2019

Episode 7: Putting together the UK band (1973) + Interview with James Lowe

Ron and Russell recruit a new band in England, and sharpen their sound with new songs. Hear how Martin Gordon, Dinky Diamond and Adrian Fisher were discovered, and how Island Records had set Sparks up to be 1974's Next Big Thing. Stick around for an interview with James Lowe, producer of Sparks' previous album A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing, and founding member of the Electric Prunes. Thanks for your support in 2019, dear listeners! Happy Holidays/Christmas/Hannukah/whatever and I'll see you in 2020!

Check us out on FB, send me an email, and join the Indiscreet fan page on FB!

Dec 1, 2019

Episode 6: First European tour (1972-73) + Harley Feinstein interview

In this episode, Sparks jet off to the UK for a three-month mini-tour of England and mainland Europe. Find out how Ron, Russ and company take advantage of the 1972 exchange rate of 10,000 US dollars = infinity pounds sterling. Witness the bittersweet end of Sparks Mark I that following spring, and (briefly) hear what became of Sparks' original players. After that, stick around for a fantastic interview with drummer Harley Feinstein! I can't thank him enough for his generosity. Email us here and visit us on the web here.

Nov 14, 2019

Episode 5: A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing (1972)

Christian delves into the making of, the glory of, and the frustration with, Sparks' second album for Bearsville: "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing." It should have been a hit... But what a ride it was, and what would come next was legendary.

Oct 30, 2019

Episode 4: Halfnelson/Sparks (1971) track by track


Richard Martinez joins Christian again for a Sparks listening party! We're listening to the first Sparks (aka Halfnelson) album and navigating that glorious highway from Insightfultown to Pithyville. Stick around for a special aural treat at the very end: a rare artifact from Ron and Russell's earliest days. Visit on FB here, or email us here!

Oct 27, 2019

Episode 3 redux: Halfnelson/Sparks + New and Improved Monte Mallin Interview

The original interview with Monte Mallin was a victim of the interviewer being unfamiliar with his recording tech. So, Monte was nice enough to come back for a do-over, where we ended up covering more ground than before. (And eventually Christian will learn to get up closer on that mic himself.) Because so much of the interview rendered the original superfluous, welcome to the new official episode 3! Check out Monte's podcast So Important and his blog here. Email our show here!

Oct 16, 2019

Episode 3: The Halfnelson/Sparks album + Monte Mallin interview

Ron and Russell get their first shot at the big time courtesy a "Runt" named Todd. Sparks crack the Deep South, and Russell cracks his head open. Big thanks to Monte Mallin and his podcast So Important, as well as his blog, which can be found here. Email us here!

Oct 4, 2019

Episode 2: The Ruud Swart interview

Mr. Ruud Swart, friend of the podcast and Sparksologist-cum-Fan-Club-President-Emeritus waxes nostalgic about his near lifelong quest to uncover the one-time holy grail of Sparks, the unreleased Halfnelson demo album. And that's just the very tip of the Sparksberg. Enjoy! Email us here.

Sep 27, 2019

Episode one is here!

Hear Christian regale you about the band's early days and then join him as he takes the plunge, alongside Richard Martinez, into Sparks' unofficial first album. 'Halfnelson '69' is a wild, wooly record that points the way forward for Ron and Russell's skewed pop smarts. Email the show here.


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