SPARKS DOCUMENTARY NETFLIX

Ex-riverman

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Interesting. I remember reading a long time ago they tried to recruit Brian May. Maybe that is discussed in the documentary, I haven't seen it yet.
I don’t really recall if they cover it or not. I heard that they toured together and allegations came up after that. I’d say Killer Queen is exhibit A. Who knows?
 

Killing Floor

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Am I dreaming here?
I have never heard of this band.....
Steel dragon?
You’ve heard of them indirectly. Nearly any band you can name with moderate success in any pop/rock related genre plays something Sparks did first. It’s remarkable. I’m not sure I can name a band who doesn’t have some degree of influence from them. Anyone?
 

StrangerNY

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You’ve heard of them indirectly. Nearly any band you can name with moderate success in any pop/rock related genre plays something Sparks did first. It’s remarkable. I’m not sure I can name a band who doesn’t have some degree of influence from them. Anyone?

It's fascinating how many people you wouldn't expect show up in that doc saying they were influenced by Ron & Russell. Flea? Roddy Bottum? Thurston Moore? I was like 'What??'

I think it's pretty cool that for a band that's flown under the radar for practically their whole career, they get a lot of love from a lot of different corners in the film.

- D
 

lil scotty

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I had never even heard of them…but I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary and am filled with admiration for them. That being said, I will likely not give their music another listen: just not my bag.
EDIT: Those guys, particularly Ronald, are a laugh a minute. Ronald must be related to Robert Crumb in some way.
“Music that you can dance to
That and that alone is enough for me
Stark naked modern music
Hotter than your momma will ever be”
 
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Killing Floor

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It's fascinating how many people you wouldn't expect show up in that doc saying they were influenced by Ron & Russell. Flea? Roddy Bottum? Thurston Moore? I was like 'What??'

I think it's pretty cool that for a band that's flown under the radar for practically their whole career, they get a lot of love from a lot of different corners in the film.

- D
Even my wife, who prides herself on music and pop culture knowledge, knew nothing about them. I got her to watch it with me and every other minute “that was Sparks?”
 

fjblair

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I've also never heard of them despite being immersed in rock/pop music my entire life, so I'm definitely going to watch it.
 

vjf1968

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I watched that doc on a flight back in January, really enjoyed it.

I was surprised to learn that the bass player in the original lineup, Jim Mankey, later became the guitarist in Concrete Blonde.

- D
His brother Earle was the guitar player, Jim was the bass player.
 

vjf1968

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Here’s the funny thing - other than that one Heaven song that I had heard (but did not know was Sparks) prior to the documentary I had not heard a single note of their music.

Not one note.

But, turns out, it was exactly like I imagined it was !

And, I had probably flipped past every single one of their records multiple times in used record stores in search of something else.

Great doc BTW
Soo you never heard "I Predict" or "Cool Places" with Jane Wiedlen?
 

vjf1968

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I saw that. I was a huge fan of them till about the big beat album. I saw them in about 1970 one nite at the whiskey in hollywood purely on a fluke. A friend and i were down there and decided to go in not knowing who sparks was. That made me a fan and i bought the sparks album that was a compilation of the bands first releases including some that were from when they were called half nelson. I loved the rawness of that LP, but after that they became really polished and way ahead of their time. I think part of the reason they never got big was that a lot of people found them wierd. I have friends i tried to turn onto sparks and thats what put them off to sparks. But man, they were so ahead of their time and the songs were incredible on komono my house, indescreet and propoganda not to mention those for raw albums that are very different but great none the less. Amazing band. I guess they did well over all but certainly they never achieved th greatness of other 70s bands, mostly just a cult following. After big beat the changed radically and started doing some really strange disco'ish stuff and other things i have zero interest in listening to. I understand band's needing to move on and grow but they went from great to WTF is this ! Just my opinion. But those first maybe 5 LPs were phenomenal.
Weren't they calling themselves Halfnelson at that point?
 

StrangerNY

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Weren't they calling themselves Halfnelson at that point?

The first album was actually recorded in 1971 under the name Halfnelson. After it didn't really do anything, Bearsville Records (Albert Grossman's label) re-released it 8 months later under the name Sparks.

Todd Rundgren produced that record, and he's said he always thought Halfnelson was a better name than Sparks. I kinda like it better myself.

I used to have an 8-track of the Halfnelson album. Loved the cover shot.

Halfnelson-sparks-cover-lp.jpg


- D
 

fender4life

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Weren't they calling themselves Halfnelson at that point?
U mean when i saw them? No. I can't tell you the exact year it was so it could have been a year or 2 later. But googling it the first sparks LP appears to be '71. It was likely '72 thinking about it now. But i wasn't quoting the exact year anyways, after all thats 50 years ago ! My memory ain't THAT good !

EDIT: i see now strangerNY explains it above.
 

Dostradamas

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Watched this and was pretty interesting.

I noticed them first from the Kick Ass soundtrack.


If you like Sparks you should check out
The Residents
 

brenn

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I enjoyed The Sparks Brothers. I previously only remembered them from a couple of '80s songs. Very interesting people and music.
 

Lawdawg

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I love Sparks and thought the documentary was fantastic. I first heard of Sparks in the 80s but only because two artists I loved covered their songs -- "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us" by Siouxsie & the Banshees and "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" by Martin Gore.

I didn't really get into Sparks own discography until 10 years ago or so and was flabbergasted by the depth of their catalog and how ahead of their time they were. Somehow I always knew they were from L.A., but for a long time I thought they had a female singer! Russell Mael still sounds great.
 




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