46 minutes ago
Ron and Russell Mael grew up in Pacific Palisades and went to UCLA. Ron studied cinema and graphic art, Russell studied theatre arts and filmmaking. They formed Half Nelson in 1968, along with the Mankey Brothers. Todd Rundgren produced their first record. They changed their name to Sparks, and moved to England. They became popular there, and when they returned to LA, everybody thought they were a British band.
In 1977, they teamed up with Giorgio Moroder for the album No. 1 In Heaven, an electronic masterpiece and departure from their glam sound. They had a hit single in 1983, Cool Places, with Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go's, who used to run a Sparks fan club.
In the late 80s, they attempted to make a musical adaptation of the manga Mai, the Psychic Girl, with Tim Burton. They recorded the soundtrack for the 1998 Jean Claude Van Damme film, Knock Off. The Mael brothers appeared in the season six finale of the Gilmore Girls.
Morrissey is a huge Sparks fan. They wrote a song about him, called Lighten Up, Morrissey. Kurt Cobain said that he lifted the guitar part in Love Buzz from Kimono My House. Paul McCartney dressed up as Ron in his 1980 video for Coming Up. Edgar Wright is working on a documentary of the band.
Sparks are one of my favorite bands in the world, and if you're not familiar with them, you should really dive in.
I'm illustrating a musician every day all year. The original works are on sale for only $100 to the first person to DM me. They are illustrated with archival ink on 11" x 14" 96 lb bristol. Buying one gets you a thank you in the book.
365 Musicians Day 132
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