Monday, 2 September 2013

Retrosonic Podcast: Sparks - Part 2 of The Halfnelson/Bearsville Years with Harley Feinstein

In Episode 2 of this special edition of Retrosonic Podcast we are very pleased to welcome back Harley Feinstein, the original drummer with Sparks. Harley appeared on the band's first two Bearsville Records albums "Halfnelson/Sparks" and "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing", and was in the line-up for their very first visit to the UK back in the early Seventies. In the previous episode,  Harley told us about how he first met Ron and Russell Mael and joined the band. Now in Part 2, Harley talks about the band's first experiences in a studio with Todd Rundgren and James Lowe of The Electric Prunes and how a notorious bunch of Groupies contributed to them getting signed to Bob Dylan's manager's record label, Bearsville. This introduces the band to the nefarious world of the music business with it's aggressive managers and pressure to "make it".

Harley on stage with Crash 74 - Photo by Paul Slattery
There's the enforced name change from Halfnelson to Sparks and we discover some of the hilarious, and slightly worrying, alternate names that the band might have been lumbered with. We follow the band to England and their first TV appearance on Old Grey Whistle Test and sold-out gig at the Marquee, their residency at The Pheasantry and the taste of what can be achieved on record company expenses. We then find out how an ill-fated trip to Zermatt in Switzerland became the final nail in the coffin for the band at that time. Harley speaks with candour about the Mael brothers, the Music business and his part in one of the greatest cult bands of all time. Soundtracked by lots of early Sparks songs, including material from their original demo album, this is a fascinating tale of Sparks' formative years.

Here is Episode 1 of Harley's story of Sparks, in which first of all, he starts off by talking about his current project Crash 74 and how this eclectic trans-Atlantic group - featuring members of his Californian based band, vocalist Michelle and bassist Paul Jensen, got together with ex-Revillos drummer and Roadholders front-man Nicky Forbes, trumpet player Dexy D'Angelo from The Stone Foundation, guitarist Stevie Savage from The Roadholders and Danielle Dax's band and saxophonist Lee Sullivan who also happens to be a Dr. Who comic book illustrator...For more information on Crash 74 and their fantastic summer gig at the 12 Bar Club in London, including exclusive Paul Slattery photographs, please check out the earlier Blog feature here

With many thanks to Harley for his cooperation - it's much appreciated.

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