I’ve been a fan of Sparks since I was a preteen, so you would think it would be relatively easy for me to spit out a quick few paragraphs to enlighten you to the who, what, and why of Sparks. If you’re familiar with the magic of Sparks though, you know that’s easier said than done. But if you’re not familiar with this brotherly dynamic duo, I’ll try my best to clue you in on the biggest band in the world that you have never heard of.
It has been almost 50 years since the brothers Mael became the hilarious oddball pop legends known as Sparks, and they are in the ascendant once again. Not that they were ever truly gone: Sparks’ relentlessly cutting-edge, genre-transcending musical stylings have not only cemented their place as one of the most influential bands of their generation, but also for generation after generation after generation.
“My name is Mickey Mouse, to the right is Minnie Mouse, and we own a little place in Disneyland, California“
Sparks Russell Doll Photo Provided by Elsklinger Stoffpuppen
The impact of Sparks is seismic. With multiple reinventions, 25 albums, close to 500 songs, collaborations with icons like Todd Rundgren, Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s, Erasure, Jimmy Somerville of Bronski Beat, Faith No More, and a whole album with Franz Ferdinand (under the supergroup and clever acronym FFS), Sparks are astoundingly prolific and eclectic.
Their influence on groups such as Queen, New Order, Beck, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Human League, Pet Shop Boys, and countless others is undeniable. They are responsible for nearly single-handedly inventing the whole electronic pop scene of the 1980s.
Ron and Russell Mael, born in Los Angeles (not England, contrary to popular belief), have just embarked on a US and European tour. They come armed with a new album, “A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip,” a new documentary produced and directed by renowned filmmaker Edgar Wright of “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Baby Driver,” and now “The Sparks Brothers” movie (available on Netflix).
They’ve even branched out to movie making themselves: they wrote and scored the musical film “Annette.” Directed by the acclaimed Leos Carax and starring Adam Driver, “Annette” opened at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews (available on Amazon Prime).
New York, New York
March 28th & 29th, 2022
It seems the stars have aligned and 2022 is the year Sparks can finally enjoy the success and kudos they deserve. Not to suggest that Sparks has been overlooked by the entire world, I mean, Ron has been impersonated by a Beatle and Russell was called a cutie pie by a Sex Pistol. They really could have sang “My Way” and called it quits long ago, but I don’t think they have any intention of stopping anytime soon, and for that, I am grateful.
I hope my ramblings about Sparks have enticed you enough to watch the documentary or perhaps even buy yourself a concert ticket. Several of us Sparks fanatics will be making our prospective treks from Orange County, Baltimore, the UK, and France to the historic Town Hall Theater in Midtown Manhattan on March 28th.