Sparks Kimono Rehearsals

The Maels, Adrian Fisher, Norman "Dinky" Diamond & Martin Gordon
The music got rockier as the musicians became more familiar with each other, musically speaking. Adrian Fisher wanted to "butch things up a bit" and long endings with guitar solos became the norm, for a while. Adrian Fisher usually got to do guitar solos as outros but they were quickly faded during ecordings.

The arranging was fairly democratic and Martin Gordon worked on arrangements with enthusiasm. Martin Gordon confess one of the reasons why he took such pleasure in the thing was that he recognised the Ron Mael's stuff being fabulous pop writing. Nevertheless he provoked a complaint at one point that one of his outros was overshadowing the rest of one particular song. The Maels were becoming nervous about his input.

Also irritating the Maels was Adrian Fisher's habit of sticking a cigarette onto the bit of guitar string that sticks out at the top of the neck. They felt it was a cliché. Adrian Fisher justified it by saying "Eric Clapton do it, and that's good enough for me." As the songs emerged, some took the form of perfect mini-operettas. "Thank God It's Not Christmas" and "Hasta Manana" were great fun to play. Others, notably "Lost and Found" and "Equator", were a bit of a drudge to play. "Here In Heaven" had even a real guitar solo, which gives the backing group a chance to pretend they were in a rock band and in November 1973 producer Muff Winwood took the boys to Ramport Studios in Battersea. - read more about studio sessions...

After the recording of "Kimono My House" album, live rehearsals for the coming tour took place in a large gloomy cinema in Fulham. This decaying edifice was known as Manticore and was owned by supergroup Emerson Lake and Palmer. It was dark depressing place, and the seats have been removed but not replaced making the place more ballroom-like. During the recording of "Kimono My House" additional tracks were used, mostly for different keyboards and Sparks needed an additional keyboardist to be able to reproduce things from the record live. So on the 16th of February 1974 there was an audition for the extra musician.
At his audition, Peter Oxendale presented his card replete with his academic qualifications (LRCAM, RAM, POTN), and Adrian Fisher remarked "Are you a Sir or something, all these bleeding initials ?" So Peter Oxendale became, to all intents and purposes, a Sir. When he joined Sparks, Peter Oxendale invited his girlfriend along. Peter's Hammond organ was placed at the side of the stage, effectively obscuring him from view. Because is girlfriend could't seen him, the keyboardist began to trot out from the wings between each song under the pretext of asking Russell Mael what the next tune was. Of course, the musicians all had bits of paper with the titles written out in order.

During these live rehearsals it seems that the Maels were only looking for a suitable excuse to get rid of Martin Gordon. Another discussion ensued over bass issues. They seized upon the old Rickenbacker/Precision dispute and they wanted Martin Gordon to use a Fender Precision bass for live appearances of the band. The bass player was very fond of his Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar and has got a distinctive sound with it. He was upset and he refused. Still it was a battle which Martin Gordon could never hope to win and he will be sacked just few weeks later. On March, ”This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us” was first aired on Capital Radio and a video of "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us” had been released... - read more...

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SPARKS 1969-1973
the early years of the Maels

Most of informations regarding Ron Mael & Russell Mael on this webpage were obtained from Martin Gordon's Official website : Some additional infos from Carl Van Breukelen and Petteri Aro. Many thanks to Christophe "Outer Space" Horlin. Visit his website at

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