All You Ever Think About Is Sparks

Home of the unofficial podcast devoted to the music of Ron and Russell Mael

Listen on:

  • Google Podcasts
  • Podbean App
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Music
  • iHeartRadio
  • PlayerFM
  • Samsung
  • BoomPlay

Episodes

Thursday Mar 02, 2023

He started out a middle class kid from Oregon who grumbled about taking his piano lessons. But by the time he was thirty, Jim Goodwin had worked with the likes of Sparks, John Cale, Simple Minds, Bono, Peter Gabriel and other luminaries.
Jim was exceedingly generous with his time when chatting with myself and Monte Mallin. He's had a hell of a career, and I, for one, enjoyed geeking out with him over vintage synths.
One-time keyboardist for Sparks, Gleaming Spires, The Call, and John Cale on tour, here's Jim Goodwin!
--Christian
sparkspodcast@podbean.com
 

Tuesday Jan 17, 2023

Ron and Russ were dying for some decent espresso and pastries. Voila, they found their newest muses at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles.
The Maels teamed up with a talented band by the name (at that time) of The Bates Motel, and with the assistance of uber-producer Reinhold Mack, they found a new lease on life. Here's the first half of Whomp That Sucker, as discussed by myself and Monte Mallin.
Stay tuned! We have a wonderful interview with keyboardist Jim Goodwin coming up!
podbean.com/sparkspodcast.com
podcastsparks@gmail.com

Saturday Oct 22, 2022

Terminal Jive had the misfortune of following up No. 1 in Heaven, which enjoys legendary status today. It also had the misfortune of Ron and Russ's original slate of songs being defenestrated outright by Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermeyer.
What we have instead is seven-and-a-half songs (you'll figure out what I mean) written by committee - the lead single being a crucial exception.
Terminal Jive was written and recorded in a hurry, but it doesn't mean there isn't a lot to enjoy here. Faltermeyer, along with W. Snuffy Walden and a coterie of studio cats, work to fashion a sound that was new and vibrant and fresh. You know the gated drum sounds of the 80s? It's here already. The synths are a generation newer than the Moog on N1iH, and Walden's guitar is pure new wave angular punchiness. Oh - and several songs on here are actually damn good.
I begin the episode eulogizing Marc Moulin of Telex, whom Ron called his "best friend since 1979." Then Monte and I begin our Jive to see if it truly is Terminal.
You can email me (Christian) at podcastsparks@gmail.com
important links: Marc Moulin - Official Website
FanMael https://www.sparks-onefortheages.com

Wednesday Sep 07, 2022

Hey, Sparkskateers. This episode is entirely about the Mael-produced album by Noel: Is There More to Life Than Dancing. I'm chatting with Monte Mallin on this one, and then another conversation with Jim Wellen.
This is an interesting, and fun(!) Sparks-adjacent album (Jim asserts it's a true Sparks album)!
Stick around for next time, when we get into Terminal Jive, from 1980!
https://postpunkmonk.com/2021/07/20/record-review-noel-dancing-is-dangerous-us-7/http://discodelivery.blogspot.com/2006/10/disco-delivery-27-noel-is-there-more.html
https://cherryaudio.com/news/the-syndrum-saga

Thursday Aug 18, 2022

I wrap up discussion of side 2 of Number One in Heaven, with the help of my friend Monte Mallin in this ep. We also discussed the Sparks side project for Noël, but I'm saving that for the next episode. To paraphrase DJ Steve Dahl, this one's gonna blow up reeeeeal good.
sources:
https://wgntv.com/news/wgn-news-now/disco-demolition-night-how-an-anti-disco-baseball-night-led-to-a-riot-in-comiskey-park/
https://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2019/07/12/disco-demolition-dahl-veeck-chicago-white-sox
https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=paul+barrett+one+for+the+ages
https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=7n515ucve20C&pg=GBS.PT214.w.2.0.0_205
https://www.amazon.com/No-1-Songs-Heaven-Sparks/dp/1901447464
https://www.fanmael.nl/
Also, check out Monte's podcast So Important!: https://soimportant.podbean.com/
 
 

Thursday Jul 21, 2022

It's been a while. What can I say? This is maybe *the best* if not just one of the best of the Mael brothers' albums.
I had a great conversation with Monte Mallin on the second half, and you'll be hearing more of Monte in the near future.
Giorgio Moroder helped Ron and Russ completely rethink their musical approach, and it shows here, in spades.
I do spend a good chunk of time near the beginning analyzing how modular synthesis works, so caveat auditor.
You can reach me (Christian) at podcastparks@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter (which I never use): @ChristianHuey
Monte Mallin's podcast is called "So Important!" Check it out!: https://soimportant.podbean.com/
Some sources for today's episode:
https://www.classicpopmag.com/2021/08/sparks-no-1-in-heaven/https://www.vice.com/en/article/rz77j6/how-we-made-giorgio-moroder-on-i-feel-love
https://madelinex.com/2018/03/23/sparks-this-aint-no-disco/
https://cherryaudio.com/news/the-syndrum-saga
http://www.planetoftunes.com/synthesis/subtractive-synthesis.php
https://www.synthmuseum.com/moog/moomod.html
https://www.sparks-onefortheages.com

Sunday Aug 29, 2021

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

Monday Aug 23, 2021

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

Monday Jul 19, 2021

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.

Sunday Jul 11, 2021

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.

Copyright 2020 . All rights reserved.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Version: 20230822