A different album every night
December 7, 2007 5:08 AM   Subscribe

The brothers Ron and Russ Mael a.k.a. Sparks intend to play their entire back catalogue of albums over 21 nights in May 2008 in London. The 'hugely talented Los Angeles wideacres' have crossed many genres in their career, combining a fine ear and eye for pop culture with fantastic lyrics. They have influenced Morrissey and Franz Ferdinand among many others. A youtube playlist pulled together for anyone who wants to see some great videos, tunes and some bizarre footage.

Youtube stuff not a self-link, it just makes it easier for viewing as a playlist hopefully.
posted by ClanvidHorse (20 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
yay i'm gonna try and go to Kimono My House night. when are tix on sale?
posted by rollerball at 5:20 AM on December 7, 2007

posted by grubi at 5:43 AM on December 7, 2007

But I though all they did now was dick around?

The 'Plagiarism' night could be interesting if they get all the album's guest stars together.
posted by tapeguy at 5:46 AM on December 7, 2007

Aw man. My Dad's a Sparks fan and he's visiting in May.

Looks like we'll be heading to London then...
posted by Katemonkey at 6:29 AM on December 7, 2007

I LOVE SPARKS! Thanks for this.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:36 AM on December 7, 2007

I've never been more pissed that I don't live in London.
posted by SPUTNIK at 6:43 AM on December 7, 2007

yay i bought my night! might get another too...

posted by rollerball at 6:51 AM on December 7, 2007

I love Sparks! Thanks for the video links; first time I'd ever seen the vido for "I Predict." I recall that MTV banned it when it first came out because of Ron's striptease. Wish I could be in London for "Indiscreet" night.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:29 AM on December 7, 2007

I'm tempted to get a ticket for Number 1 in Heaven, since it has Number One Song In Heaven and Beat The Clock on it.

About 18 months ago I interviewed Sparks when they were playing a small music festival on the Isle of Skye (third on the main stage bill to, um, KT Tunstall and Fun Lovin' Criminals); the weather was fucking abysmal, it had been raining for 36 hours straight and the entire site was a disaster: an armada of psychotically drunk and freezing-cold lunatics just about keeping afloat on a sea of squelching mud, which was dotted with discarded lager cans and Buckfast bottles.

Anyway, Ron and Russell were sat in a small portakabin, rain battering the plastic windows, about an hour before their set, and I wanted to get a few quotes for a news pages puff-piece ("Skye Music Festival succeeds despite horrendous weather; Pope appalled, etc."), so I was ushered into the dressing room. Russell was picking at a bowl of fruit, and Ron was sitting reading – a copy of the Daily Record, the tabloid of choice for Weegie builders; quite what he made of it I can't imagine. Considering they were sat in a chilly, empty plastic box on a hellish festival site in the middle of nowhere on an island of the north west of Scotland, they were remarkably chipper: friendly, relaxed, talkative (I wasn't about to ask the three necessary questions and then bugger off – this was a chance to speak to Sparks, for God's sake). What really weirded me out, though, was that they, like, spoke like complete, y'know, uh, like, California surfer dudes. Man. It was such a jarring disconnect; I remember seeing them on telly as a kid and automatically assumed they were mittel-European degenerates who existed on a diet of Weimar whores' blood and obscure prescription pharmaceuticals. Obviously, later, I found out they were American, but I wasn't quite ready for them to sound like Lebowski.

Oh, and Ron Mael has, hands down, the weirdest face I've ever encountered: behind those glasses, his eyes bulge; he has a big, unforgiving ridge across his big, unforgiving forehead, and skin that looks not so much greasy as it does made from actual lard, or maybe melted candlewax.

Later, running about trying to get quotes from someone else – probably some bunch of indie upstarts – I saw them head from their dressing room over to the back of the stage to start their set. Some festival lackey was protecting them from the elements with a big fuck-off umbrella; Russell Mael, meanwhile, was attempting to navigate 50-odd feet of mud with the consistency of quicksand, while wearing a pair of gleaming white tapered-toe loafers. God knows how, but he made it to the stage without getting a speck of grit on them.
posted by Len at 10:39 AM on December 7, 2007 [7 favorites]

If you've only ever heard their classic work, the two latest albums (Hello Young Lovers and Little Beethoven) are really quite bizarre and excellent. I was very pleasantly surprised that they were making such innovative music this far into their careers.

This goes back to be used as evidence in my thesis that a small measure of success early in one's career followed by continued limited success will generally lead to a longer, more creative career than enormous immediate success.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:50 AM on December 7, 2007

I think about those guys every single time I buy a pineapple. Glad to hear they're still around.
posted by tangerine at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2007

Music that you can dance to: That, and that alone, is enough for me.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:09 PM on December 7, 2007

Oh well.....just spunked eighty quid on a Kimono/Propaganda double header. Roll on May.
posted by Dr.Pill at 3:13 PM on December 7, 2007

Ahhhh, the lucky people that can afford a golden ticket plus travel expenses to London (or, better yet, live in England)! This is a million times more devastating than missing Morrissey four times now!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:00 PM on December 7, 2007

I love Sparks purely for the outrage that resulted from my Dad seeing them perform "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us" on Top of the Pops when I was about 14. He took great exception to Ron Mael, I recall.
posted by essexjan at 3:29 AM on December 8, 2007

Ah yes, Young Hitler. Scarier than any Dalek.
posted by gdav at 7:46 AM on December 8, 2007

Since reading the initial report, my desire to go to London this spring has been multiplied by twenty-one.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 8:16 AM on December 8, 2007

You know you're a cultural icon when a Beatle impersonates you.
posted by Devils Slide at 10:21 AM on December 8, 2007

What's funny is I first saw/heard Sparks when our local Canadian TV affiliate (we lived near Detroit) used to broadcast episodes of Top of the Pops and Supersonic. I was a Sweet fan and used to watch those shows in hopes of spotting them, or maybe even Marc Bolan. So two weeks in a row there was this weird but amazing band on called Sparks. My dad was sort of watching from his chair while reading the newspaper. He commented more than once that the guy on keyboards looked like a living corpse. Since that time, I grew into a major Sparks fan and bought all their albums, watched for their videos on TV, etc. My dad overheard enough of their music to recognize their sound, so when he was walking through the room while I was listening to one of their albums he'd comment, "That's that dead guy from Canada, isn't it?"
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:31 AM on December 8, 2007

Great comment, Len.
posted by Lezzles at 1:46 PM on December 9, 2007

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