Earle Mankey guitar player with Sparks and power-pop producer

Earle Mankey - Biography - Earl Mankey was Sparks' guitar player
Earle Mankey
played guitar on :
SPARKS/HALFNELSON Demos 1969 - Russell Mael and Ron Mael
Halfnelson self-titled Bearsville album Lp
Earl Mankey played guitar with Sparks
Earl Mankey played guitar on Sparks albums.
Earle Mankey producer with Sparks Island years
B-side producer
Earl Mankey first solo Lp - Sparks producer Beach Boys
first solo album

Earle Mankey (guitars and vocals). Earle Mankey is born March 8, 1947, Washington, USA. He grew up listening to his dad playing guitar and piano. Earle Mankey met the Maels presumably in 1967, after either of them responded to an ad. Earle Mankey had advertised for a recording studio and when Ron Mael and Russell Mael came over there he also convinced them to hire him as a guitar player at $2.50 an hour.
Apart from being a guitarist, Earle Mankey was a wizard of sound effects and had a degree in engineering from UCLA. When the Maels met Earle he got a rounded Gene Clark (the Byrds) hair cut and shades.

Ron Mael, Russell Mael and Earle Mankey were a perfect combination. Ron Mael, who was also quite active as a composer in these days supplied the perfect melodies and lyrics for Earle Mankey to put into weird arrangements and several over-dubs, speed-up guitars and more refreshing recording gimmicks. Earle Mankey had an old Magnavox tape recorder and was just really into fooling around with recording.  He was into playing the tape backwards and doing things that were, at that time, bold.  Earle Mankey would speed up his guitar solos or have the tape run at half speed then play it back fast. The band were just experimenting with sounds.

Together with the Maels, Earle Mankey have made dozens of home recordings during the late 60's. On the Halfnelson "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing" demo Earle Mankey sang on the track "Big Rock Candy Mountain". After the release of the demo Lp Earle Mankey stole his brother Jim Mankey from a Blue Cheer lookalike band (Three Days Blues), for use on second guitar and bass. Earle Mankey said to the Maels : " Jim is a better guitar player than I'd never hope to be but is playing bass because I'm bigger !".
Earle Mankey played on the Halfnelson "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing" demo and was the guitar player on the first two Sparks' Bearsville albums and he penned songs "Biologie 2" and "Underground". During live gigs Earle Mankey would wear glitter suits, and attempted to be everyone's favourite English poof guitar player. Funny thing was, Earle Mankey's suits were always a size too small. His blond hair would hang in an exaggerated Rod Stewart shag. Earle Mankey knew every move in the book : the Marc Bolan pout, the Pete Townshend leap, the calculated pretty swish, and the aggressive Jeff Beck posturing but with a Gibson SG standard instead of a Fender Stratocaster.

After the Maels went to England in 1973, Earle Mankey stayed in Los Angeles and became second engineer at the Beach Boys Studios and in 1976 Earle Mankey worked together with Ron & Russell Mael co-producing the song "England". This song appeared on the B-side of the scarce singles "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (a very tongue-in-cheek Beatles' cover) and "I Like Girls". Earle Mankey co-produced this song with the Maels. "England" is now available on Sparks' "Big Beat" Cd as a bonus-track.

Earle Mankey launched his solo career with a nifty 1978 single "Mau Mau" b/w "Crazy". This Sp was issued on short-lived "J-J" label owned by John Hewlett and Joseph Fleury (Sparks' managers in the 70's). The same year Earle Mankey produced the very first record of Kristian Hoffman's Mumps. In 1981 Earle Mankey performed, produced and engineered some of his own sneakily brilliant music on a six-songs self-titled mini-Lp then three years later he issued another six-song : "Real World". Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde designed the cover - the cover art is a primitive portrait of Earle Mankey by his son - and, along with brother Jim Mankey, "yells" on one track. These two vinyl Ep’s : "Earle Mankey" (1981) and "Real World" (1984), which have not been available in a very long time, were made available on CD in 2003 : With Earle Mankey’s expert assistance, Frigidisk Records has compiled the work on both Ep’s into one tidy digital package.

Nowadays Earle Mankey is best known for producing and/or engineering recordings for Beach Boys, The Quick (Sparks' clones with Danny Wilde later with The Rembrands), The Runaways, Concrete Blonde, The Long Ryders, The Elevators, The Three O'Clock (with Danny Benair from The Quick), The Weirdos, The Long Ryders, Helen Reddy, 20/20, The Heaters, Elevators, Adicts, The Pop, Magnus Uggla (swedish singer), Kristian Hoffman, and many many others...
Earle Mankey rans his own studio in Thousand Oaks, California. Earle Mankey is now a legendary producer who is called "the pop guru" by indy power-pop bands...

- Read more about Earle Mankey (in french)...

- more than 30 pages - in french -
- Halfnelson menu page -