Episode 8 SPARKS
It’s April 1974 and American brothers, Ron and Russel Mael, better known as Sparks are on tenterhooks over whether their first single, ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both of Us’ would make the all-important British charts. Their record label decided that one final push was necessary and I was asked to interview them. I did, and when they had their chart entry BBC Radio 1 was desperate for an interview with them. It turned out that my recording was the only one in the UK and it was aired on their show, ‘Rockspeak’ on the first Friday in May.
They explain the lyrics are about singer Russel is fed up with the tedium of where he is living and magnifying it into a movie situation… or is it?
We compare the old American Sparks with the new line-up in Britain and why the split occurred. I challenge them that they may have moved to this country because it would be easier to get noticed. They parry this with how important our cold climate is to productivity. In Los Angeles you would be foolish to be inside making music when the sun is shining outside. Ron shows me his hands and the chilblains that have resulted from living here.
I ask about his Charlie Chaplain moustache. ‘Charlie who?’ In the end they admit that Ron has been approached for a new Chaplain film.
They were in film fashion shoots and advertising hamburgers.
We discuss their US producer the legendary Todd Rundgren and why they split from him and are now with new producer, Muff Winwood.