All You Ever Think About Is Sparks

All You Ever Think About Is Sparks

Home of the unofficial podcast devoted to the music of Ron and Russell Mael


January 3, 2024 83 mins

Thom Chiki is SO DEVO. SO DEVO, that without Thom there would be no DEVOtional convention in Columbus, Ohio. Also a big Sparks fan, personal friend of DEVO and Sparks drummer David Kendrick, and an all-around awesome person. Check out Thom's videos here: Thom CD-ROM - YouTube

You can write to me (as always) at


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Wrapping up 2023 (belatedly) with two great interviews from Sparks fans. This one is from Timothy Hall in Cardiff, Wales. He runs Daytrip Records in the UK! Go check it out!

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At long last! Monte and Christian wrap up their inexhaustible discussion about Sparks' 1982 landmark LP. Plus, a doff of the cap to Los Angeles' KROQ, the radio station that helped introduce a whole new generation of punk and new wave fans to Ron and Russell's 80s incarnation.

I've been cleaning house, in terms of shoring up unused material for this podcast so that it might see the light of day. That means I have a couple of episod...

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More from Monte and Christian about Spark's 1982 party-starter Angst In My Pants! Plus, a short history lesson on the man behind Ron's original "Ronald" synth.

Monte Mallin has a brand-spankin' new YouTube series about Sparks! Check it out! Link below.

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Links:Ikutaro Kakehashi |

Sparks - Entertainment and Art! Episode One - YouTube

MetaSparks - YouTube


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Monte Mallin and I continue our dive into the effervescent waters of Angst In My Pants and the E.T.-induced wonder of 1982. Here, we wrap up side one!

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...and remember to check out Monte's podcast So Important, as well as his Sparks blog at: So Important: The Interview Podcast! | a podcast by Monte Mallin (

AND: Monte's One Stop Blog!: Revisiting Kimono My House! (Spoile...

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Angst in my Pants is one of the greatest albums ever made!

Now that that's out of the way, on this, our 35th episode, Christian spends a conspicuous amount of time comparing classic TV comedy Taxi to Sparks and vice versa, by way of Danny DeVito (briefly) sharing a stage with the Mael Bros. and company on a 1982 episode of Saturday Night Live.

After that, Christian and Monte Mallin can barely contain their own angst over Sparks' 19...

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FOUR - count 'em - FOUR Sparks fans join me for a track-by-track look under the hood of Sparks' latest album The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte.

Monte Mallin returns, along with Paul Barrett, Penny Brown, and Jo Sieger! That's a lot of Sparks galaxy brain for a single sitting. So much, in fact, that we did what we often do: chop it in half and save the rest for later. And later is now!

You won't hear the songs in thei...

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FOUR - count 'em - FOUR Sparks fans join me for a track-by-track look under the hood of Sparks' latest album The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte.

Monte Mallin returns, along with Paul Barrett, Penny Brown, and Jo Sieger! That's a lot of Sparks galaxy brain for a single sitting. So much, in fact, that we did what we often do: chop it in half and save the rest for later.

You won't hear the songs in their entireties here, so if you really...

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Monte and Christian sit for a lengthy (and stimulating!) chat with Sparks superfan and author of the insightful blog One For the Ages (  Paul Barrett.

We discuss some of his fascinating meta-analyses of Sparks' lyrics, as well as geek out as all proud Sparks fans do, and (checks watch) *just in time* for the release of new LP The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte. Can't wait to have you back, Paul!

Don't forg...

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Christian and Monte wax philosophical about talking hippos, gastric distress and getting kicked in the bonbons. Plus! What is this salt discharge in my latte?

We wrap up Whomp That Sucker, the first of the twin quasars of Reinhold Mack-produced Sparks rock albums, recorded yet again at Giorgio's Musicland Studios in Munich.

Check us out on Larry Graves' YouTube channel discussing (gasp) Sparks!

Don't forget Monte's podcast So Impor...

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He started out a middle class kid from Oregon who grumbled about taking his piano lessons. But by the time he was thirty, Jim Goodwin had worked with the likes of Sparks, John Cale, Simple Minds, Bono, Peter Gabriel and other luminaries.

Jim was exceedingly generous with his time when chatting with myself and Monte Mallin. He's had a hell of a career, and I, for one, enjoyed geeking out with him over vintage synths.

One-time keyboa...

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Ron and Russ were dying for some decent espresso and pastries. Voila, they found their newest muses at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles.

The Maels teamed up with a talented band by the name (at that time) of The Bates Motel, and with the assistance of uber-producer Reinhold Mack, they found a new lease on life. Here's the first half of Whomp That Sucker, as discussed by myself and Monte Mallin.

Stay tuned! We have a wonde...

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October 22, 2022 110 mins

Terminal Jive had the misfortune of following up No. 1 in Heaven, which enjoys legendary status today. It also had the misfortune of Ron and Russ's original slate of songs being defenestrated outright by Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermeyer.

What we have instead is seven-and-a-half songs (you'll figure out what I mean) written by committee - the lead single being a crucial exception.

Terminal Jive was written and recorded in a hu...

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Hey, Sparkskateers. This episode is entirely about the Mael-produced album by Noel: Is There More to Life Than Dancing. I'm chatting with Monte Mallin on this one, and then another conversation with Jim Wellen.

This is an interesting, and fun(!) Sparks-adjacent album (Jim asserts it's a true Sparks album)!

Stick around for next time, when we get into Terminal Jive, from 1980!

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I wrap up discussion of side 2 of Number One in Heaven, with the help of my friend Monte Mallin in this ep. We also discussed the Sparks side project for Noël, but I'm saving that for the next episode. To paraphrase DJ Steve Dahl, this one's gonna blow up reeeeeal good.


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It's been a while. What can I say? This is maybe *the best* if not just one of the best of the Mael brothers' albums.

I had a great conversation with Monte Mallin on the second half, and you'll be hearing more of Monte in the near future.

Giorgio Moroder helped Ron and Russ completely rethink their musical approach, and it shows here, in spades.

I do spend a good chunk of time near the beginning analyzing how modular synthesis work...

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He brought that crashy, nearly out of control funhouse sound to early 80s albums Whomp that Sucker and Angst in my Pants. Later he worked with two different sets of brothers when he joined DEVO as their first corporeal drummer in years. His own band, The Gleaming Spires is getting a long-deserved second look with brand new remasters out.

Of course, I'm talking about legendary drummer David Kendrick. He's one of the reasons I love n...

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In which I wrap up a discussion of Sparks' until-recently maligned 1977 album. Ron and Russell shared a studio with a revolving door of play-for-pay studio cats, and the end result was a record that sounded good, but didn't sell.

Oh, BTW, yes I know Ron Popeil was famous for saying "but wait, there's more," not "but that's not all."

You can write me at or visit the pod's page on Facebook at

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July 19, 2021 81 mins

I'm so lucky to have gotten to speak with both halves of Big Beat's rhythm section! As you'll hear from the interview, Sal's been everywhere, man. Sal's been everywhere. Another Sparks player who favors a Rick as his weapon of choice (see: Gordon, Martin), he and Hilly Michaels locked down that bone-crushing groove heard all throughout that aforementioned album.

He toured with Roxy Music, Cracker, played on at least one Runaways LP...

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Ron and Russell ditch the whole notion of having a standing army - er, band, and rely on studio cats hired by the hour on Columbia Records' dime.

Introducing was out of print for over 30 years, until it finally got a new lease on life on CD format in 2009. A badly underexplored chapter in Sparks' history, find out more about that mysterious album that came and went in a flash in 1977.

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