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43 articles


Sparks: Angst in My Pants

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, July 1982

SPARKS' HIT STREAK in the mid-'70s produced America's best Anglophiliac rock ever – so good, in fact, that English teenyboppers made them tops of the ...


Sparks' Ron Mael (1990)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, July 1990

The more severe-looking of the duo runs down the band's history, song by song. Oh, and talks about being banned by French TV for looking like Hitler!

File format: mp3; file size: 58.9mb, interview length: 1h 04' 20" sound quality: ** (phoner)

Sparks' Russell Mael (1990)

Interview by Ira Robbins, Rock's Backpages Audio, July 1990

The pretty half of the eccentric duo looks back to their time as Halfnelson, on food stamps and playng American Bandstand; their Anglophilia; moving to England and signing to Island. Then he takes us through their extensive discography — the songs and associated stories.

File format: mp3; file size: 77.7mb, interview length: 1h 24' 50" sound quality: ** (phoner)


In New York City, Rock has Created Things that Reach from Obscenity to Musical Vomit

Report by Roy Hollingworth, Melody Maker, 21 October 1972

New York Report by Roy Hollingworth ...

Sparks: Food First, Music Second

Profile and Interview by Andrew Tyler, Disc, 25 November 1972

"Too many groups we know are into music." ...

Sparks: A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing (Bearsville)

Review by Nick Kent, New Musical Express, 23 June 1973

I ONCE found myself involved in a curious argument with one of Detroit's more-respected rock writers concerning his contention that Sparks were dangerous to the ...

Sparks: Bright Sparks

Interview by Chris Welch, Melody Maker, 13 April 1974

IT HAD TO BE said. The gentleman with the black, slicked-back hair, Charlie Chaplin moustache and thoroughly English cricket pullover, in no manner resembled a ...

Sparks: Kimono My House

Review by Ian MacDonald, New Musical Express, 18 May 1974

ONE WAY or another, 1974's turning out to be quite a year for rock 'n' roll. ...

Sparks: Kimono My House (Island)

Review by Chris Welch, Melody Maker, 18 May 1974

Flying Sparks ...

Sparks: Nouveau Riche Sweet Young Brats Strike Sparks

Interview by Nick Kent, New Musical Express, 25 May 1974

TALK ABOUT BEING short changed! The way I heard it, these Sparks whizz-kids take great pride in escorting the press cognoscenti to the finest hostelries ...

Come Into Marks and Sparks

Interview by Pete Makowski, Sounds, 1 June 1974

LOOK AT those two, aren't they cute? Who are they? Why they're the Mael Brothers. You know, Ronnie's the one who looks like a crossbreed ...

Sparks vs. Sweet: The Battle for Britain

Review by Ron Ross, Phonograph Record, August 1974

The Sweet: Sweet Fanny AdamsSparks: Kimono My House ...

Sparks: Russell — I Hate Kids And Animals!

Interview by uncredited writer, Melody Maker, 28 September 1974

"HI", SAID dapper Ron Mael, rummaging in his shoulder bag. "Here — a present we brought back from Hamburg. It's a marzipan ham." ...

Sparks: Propaganda

Review by Ian MacDonald, New Musical Express, 26 October 1974

PEOPLE WHOSE tastes are rooted in the Blues did not, apparently, find what Ron Mael was doing with rock on Kimono My House either interesting ...

Sparks: Hometown Heroes At Last

Interview by Harvey Kubernik, Melody Maker, 2 November 1974

IT WAS a typical day in Los Angeles, hot and smoggy. 18-year-old Jeff exclaimed with glee clutching his autographed Sparks album, "They went to my ...


Report and Interview by Max Bell, New Musical Express, 9 November 1974

THINGS COULDN'T really have got off to a worse start for Sparks. First their coach broke down in Barnsley – of all places – which ...

Sparks: Propaganda

Review by Alan Betrock, Phonograph Record, 1 December 1974

SPARKS IS ONE of those aggregations that people seem either to be attracted to or repulsed by. For the first few months of their 'comeback', ...


Report and Interview by Max Bell, New Musical Express, 21 December 1974

CONTRARY to popular belief, Santa Claus – alias Saint Nicholas – is alive and well and living in Amsterdam. ...

Island Records: Treasure Island

Profile by Lenny Kaye, Hit Parader, January 1975

GIVEN THE commercial restrictions of the business we call music, it is the rare record company that is willing to lay itself on the line ...

Sparks: Instant Darlings

Profile and Interview by Richard Cromelin, Rolling Stone, 30 January 1975

LOS ANGELES – It was several months ago in London that the disc jockey on Capitol Radio, BBC's commercial rival, was revealing the results of ...

Sparks: Propaganda

Review by Ken Barnes, Rolling Stone, 24 April 1975

ON THEIR NOW obscure Warner Bros.' albums Sparks's intriguing lyrics and immaculate conceptions were undermined by inadequate musical constructions. ...

Sparks: Indiscreet

Review by Chas de Whalley, New Musical Express, 11 October 1975

OKAY, SO YOU'VE heard it all before: ...

Sparks: Indiscreet

Review by Richard Cromelin, Phonograph Record, November 1975

INDISCREET, THANKS to a production approach which digs a wide gulf between it and previous Sparks albums, could well win over some new fans for ...

Sparks: Big Beat (Island);Sailor: The Third Step (Epic)

Review by Harry Doherty, Melody Maker, 30 October 1976

SPARKS: Big Beat (Island ILPS 9445). Russell Mael (vocals), Ron Mael (keyboards), Jeffrey Salen (guitar), Sal Maida (bass). Billy Boy Michaels (drums). Produced by Rupert ...

Sparks: No. 1 In Heaven (Virgin)

Review by Ian Penman, New Musical Express, 17 March 1979

COME OUT, come out wherever you are! It safe now! Those critics'll love yez all again! ...

Sparks: Too Much Too Soon Again

Interview by Harry Doherty, Melody Maker, 7 April 1979

Sparks discover disco – but did the critics discover it first? HARRY DOHERTY smooths the ruffled curls. ...

Sparks: A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing (Bearsville)

Review by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, January 1980

The all-time weird American art-rock LP, Spark’s second album was, at first encounter, impenetrably arcane and smug. After cranking up the volume, adjusting to the ...

Sparks: Terminal Jive (Virgin) **

Review by Betty Page, Sounds, 9 February 1980

D.I.S.C.O. HOW many of you recoil in horror at the word? Are you one of the legion of Sounds readers who would venomously denounce it ...


Interview by Jon Young, Trouser Press, October 1981

THAT OLD saw about prophets without honor in their own land has a ring of truth even today, as Ron and Russell Mael, known as ...


Interview by Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, November 1982

After 11 albums over a decade of stylistic evolution, Sparks — that is, Ron and Russell Mael with collaborators — have achieved legendary status despite ...


Interview by Mark Leviton, BAM, 8 April 1983

THE BEVERLY CENTER IN LOS ANGELES is a mod-a-go-go kind of shopping mall, acres of parking, chock full of stores devoted to video equipment, "intelligent ...

Sparks will fly, I predict

Interview by J. Kordosh, Creem, October 1983

YES, THEY still look strange. In 1977, Robert Hull said "Sparks is just plain weird," but I believe he was referring to their music as ...

Sparks: Plagiarism

Review by Chris Roberts, Uncut, December 1997

Dynamic duo revamp their quirky oevre with wit and irony ...

Sparks: Balls

Review by Chris Roberts, Uncut, October 2000

FIRST ALL-NEW flurry since 1994's Gratuitous Sax And Senseless Violins ...

Sparks: Lil' Beethoven

Review and Interview by Ian MacDonald, Uncut, November 2002

THIS IS SPARKS' 19th album, the follow-up proper to 1994's Gratuitous Sax..., and one might be forgiven for saying "So what?", since their work after ...

What A Difference The Days Made: Sparks Look Back

Interview by Daryl Easlea, Record Collector, Summer 2003

FOR OVER 30 YEARS, Sparks have always been a glorious musical anachronism. To think that their genesis is on the American West Coast at the ...


Interview by Rob Chapman, unpublished, June 2004

SPARKS ARE IN London to play the Meltdown Festival at Morrissey's request. Outside in the stifling heat the capitol is experiencing its own 90 degree ...

Sparks: Talkin' About My Generator

Interview by Bob Stanley, The Times, 11 June 2004

SPARKS PUT the fear of God into preteens with their debut Top of the Pops appearance. As pretty boy Russell Mael flashed his baby blues ...


Interview by Johnny Black, MOJO, September 2006

Ex-child models at war with pop convention, the siblings of Sparks are bloodied but unbowed. But what underpins their ever-baroque edifice? Brotherly love? "We don't ...

Sparks: Forum, London

Live Review by Tim Cooper, The Independent, 5 October 2006

MORE THAN three decades after their child-scaring Top of the Pops debut with 'This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us', Sparks remain one ...

Sparks: Sparks Will Fly

Interview by Nick Coleman, Intelligent Life, Spring 2008

Sparks are to begin performing their entire oeuvre next week in Islington. Singer Russel Mael tells Nick Coleman it's like buying pork futures... ...

Sparks Are Getting Their Revenge on North America

Profile and Interview by Steven R Rosen, Rock's Backpages, 6 November 2013

NOTE: A different version of this story appeared at ...

Ron Mael discusses new Sparks album A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip

Profile and Interview by Steven R Rosen, Rock's Backpages, 15 May 2020

… and reveals details of two upcoming movies involving the duo – an unusual musical and a long-awaited documentary. ...


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