Aug 29, 2021

Episode 24: Interview with David Kendrick

He brought that crashy, nearly out of control funhouse sound to early 80s albums Whomp that Sucker and Angst in my Pants. Later he worked with two different sets of brothers when he joined DEVO as their first corporeal drummer in years. His own band, The Gleaming Spires is getting a long-deserved second look with brand new remasters out.

Of course, I'm talking about legendary drummer David Kendrick. He's one of the reasons I love new wave, and he's a great guy to boot.

David was super generous with his time, and I plan to have him back on again to talk Spires.

Drop me a line anytime at podcastsparks@gmail.com or check out the FB page.

--Christian

Aug 23, 2021

Episode 23: Introducing Sparks part 2 (1977-1978)

In which I wrap up a discussion of Sparks' until-recently maligned 1977 album. Ron and Russell shared a studio with a revolving door of play-for-pay studio cats, and the end result was a record that sounded good, but didn't sell.

Oh, BTW, yes I know Ron Popeil was famous for saying "but wait, there's more," not "but that's not all."

You can write me at podcastsparks@gmail.com or visit the pod's page on Facebook at facebook.com/podcastsparks

--Christian

Jul 19, 2021

Episode 22: Interview with Sal Maida

I'm so lucky to have gotten to speak with both halves of Big Beat's rhythm section! As you'll hear from the interview, Sal's been everywhere, man. Sal's been everywhere. Another Sparks player who favors a Rick as his weapon of choice (see: Gordon, Martin), he and Hilly Michaels locked down that bone-crushing groove heard all throughout that aforementioned album.

He toured with Roxy Music, Cracker, played on at least one Runaways LP, and don't get me started on all of the 1960s-70s legends he rubbed elbows with (no spoilers).

Check out his 2017 autobiography/massive review compendium of classic 45s: Four Strings, Fake Proof, and 300 45s. And he's got a new book in the works.

He's the real deal, and I thank him for his time. Here's my time with Sal Maida.

You can contact me (Christian) via sparkspodcast@gmail.com or find this podcast's FB page. Next up it's Introducing Sparks, part 2.

Jul 11, 2021

Episode 21: Introducing Sparks part one (1977)

Ron and Russell ditch the whole notion of having a standing army - er, band, and rely on studio cats hired by the hour on Columbia Records' dime.

Introducing was out of print for over 30 years, until it finally got a new lease on life on CD format in 2009. A badly underexplored chapter in Sparks' history, find out more about that mysterious album that came and went in a flash in 1977.

Jun 20, 2021

Episode 20: Martin Gordon returns!

While my first episode on Introducing keeps cookin', I've had a couple of great opportunities to interview former Sparks players, including a chap who's been on the show before, and I'm thankful to have him back on again.

If you're not yet privy, Martin was the bassist on Kimono My House, and was part of that seminal, yet short-lived lineup (in more ways than one, sad to say). He has a new album out, the politically pointed song suite Another Words. He also had some thoughts about the new Edgar Wright documentary The Sparks Brothers, and the level of his involvement with the project.

Martin is always a pleasure to talk to, and I hope to do it again. Check out his website at Homepage (martingordon.de). You can find his music on Spotify as well as on CD. It's great stuff.

You can write me at: podcastsparks@gmail.com or follow All You Ever Think About Is Sparks on Facebook.

Jun 14, 2021

Interview with Peter Gordon (NOT SPARKS-RELATED)

No, it isn't Sparks-related, but I'm not a rich enough man for TWO podcast feeds!

Instead this is my side project "What We Do Is What We Do," where I basically publish stuff I've recorded that I felt was interesting enough to share with other humans.

This ep is my interview with playwright Peter Gordon from June 2020. He wrote (among other things) "Murdered by Death," a genuinely funny farce posing as an Agatha Christie murder mystery.

For me, it's the show that never was, because of some dumb ol' pandemic. I played a two-bit British thief playing a French art dealer, but I made him look a bit like Ron Mael.

Welp, enjoy!

--Christian

podcastsparks@gmail.com

christianchuey@gmail.com

Jun 4, 2021

Episode 19: Interview with Hilly Michaels

Here's Hilly! From starstruck Sparks fan, to fully-fledged member, Hilly was responsible for the Big Beat in Big Beat. He's had a hell of a career post-Sparks, and enjoyed an early MTV smash with Calling All Girls.

This interview is stupid long, but I ain't apologizing. Listen to it on a transatlantic flight or something. Have as many cuba libres as I probably did during the proceedings.

Next up is Introducing Sparks, part 1! I've already recorded some of it!

OH! Thanks to Tom Ferranti for arranging the interview and to Mark Gilbert for the new (personalized) theme song!

Email me at podcastparks@gmail.com or visit our FB page.

--Christian

Mar 18, 2021

Episode 18: Big Beat (1976) part two

Back from extended hiatus. Finally, I take to the waters of Lake Sparks once more. I finish off the story of Big Beat and delve into the last several songs on side 2, as well as the bonus tracks. Next episode should be my long-anticipated interview with Big Beat drummer Hilly Michaels. It's so easy tearing the place apart, eh?

You can email the pod here, or check us out on our Facebook page of the same name.

Thanks! - Christian

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 podcastsparks@gmail.com.

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 podcastsparks@gmail.com 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

CAVEAT DOWNLOAD-OR: NOT SPARKS-RELATED!

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!

christianchuey@gmail.com is my email, https://twitter.com/ChristianHuey 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 podcastsparks@gmail.com if you're lonely and want to say hi. I like friends.

--Christian

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 www.martingordon.de 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 podcastsparks@gmail.com 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: https://andystreasuretrove.com/podcast/19-sparks-an-homage-to-ron-russell-mael/

Also, drummer Stevie Nistor's Gofundme to help him with chronic Lyme disease treatments: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-stevie-nistor-beat-chronic-lyme-disease

As always, feel free to drop me a line at podcastsparks@gmail.com 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 podcastsparks@gmail.com.

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!

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