Sparks Propaganda story - First Us Tour

Sparks Propaganda British live tour unit
Trevor White, Dinky Diamond, Russell, Ian Hampton & Ron Mael
When Adrian Fisher was fired Sparks became a 5-piece group again.
Sparks' "Propaganda" tour began at York on the 8th of November 1974, followed by 25 other gigs in the UK. Sparks' live performances caused mass audience hysteria. Walt Disney tunes were played before each gig, firing up teen audiences.

The set-list included songs from "Kimono My House" & "Propaganda" LPs plus a rendition of "Girl From Germany" from Sparks' second album "A Woofer In Tweeters' Clothing" performed with a totally different intro.
During the UK tour Sparks was supported by the scottish band, Pilot. Live, Russell Mael used his microphone like a wand and as he pranced around the stage, his brother Ron sat stoic at his lone RMI electric piano in mock concentration.

One of the first concerts Sparks played outside the British Isles was in France. On the 30th of November 1974 the band played at the Olympia Theatre, Paris, then the Maels and the boys toured Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Germany. But shortly after the "Propaganda" tour guitarist Adrian Fisher was too prominent in his opinion and wanted to have a saying in the direction of music that Sparks should go into. Adrian Fisher was still fond of playing rock/blues style and didn't really fit in with the band anymore. So the Maels fired their skilled guitarist and Sparks became a five-piece group again.
Russell Mael : "Adrian Fisher was a great guitar talent and expert blues player. [We split up because] although his playing was perfect for our previous album (Propaganda), we wanted a different style for the following album, and needed someone who was prepared to move in the same direction with us. At the end of our first European tour the tension was growing between him and the rest of the band so when it turned into a real fight we decided to fire Adrian. With Trevor White as the only guitar player on stage things are working out perfectly well." (Rock & Folk magazine, October 1974, English translation by Steve Boyce)
Joseph Fleury, fan club secretary and later Sparks manager : "Things were getting really difficult with guitarist Adrian Fisher. He hated the band, he hated the music, he was simply in it for the money. So Ron Mael and Russell Mael were looking someone and it looked for a while as though Ian North from american band Milk n' Cookies might be suitable, but he proved otherwise." (from "Glam Rock" by Dave Thompson, 1996).

Sparks first American TV appearance
The Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert - 1975
Sparks caught the attention of many new fans...

Propaganda was released in America in January of 1975 and reached #63 in US charts. The single "Achoo" b/w "Something For The Girl With Everything”, was launched to conquer the North American market and the band soon appeared in a barrage of television appearances. Sparks did NBC’s "Midnight Special" and "ABC’s In Concert" where they were introduced by Who's drummer Keith Moon and Ringo Starr (formerly with the Rolling Stones) and the band caught the attention of many new fans.
Sparks charmed the American music press, especially Hit Parader and Detroit’s Creem magazine. TV personality, columnist and magazine writer Lance Loud also granted several interviews with Ron & Russell Mael in Circus magazine. On the syndicated "Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert" Sparks performed up to six songs... -
read more about the show...

At the beginning of 1975, American label Bearsville Records reissued Sparks' first self-tiled album and "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing". This double package was called "2 Originals Of Sparks" and was released in the United Kingdom for the European market only. This combination of the first two albums came with a revampted cover of the original design of the very first "Halfnelson" Lp. Included was a beautiful deluxe 16 pages large booklet printed on glossy paper. Here we could find the history of the band by ex-Sparks' manager Joseph Fleury, plenty of photos, lyric sheets and the Maels themselves commenting each song. This double package is a pretty scarce item nowadays. - read more about this record...

But the musical climate in the U.K was changing. Glam-Rock, with which Sparks had been jumbled in for lack of more accurate categorisation, was on its last gasp and besides. So in Spring 1975 Ron & Russell Mael commissioned renowned american producer Tony Visconti (Marc Bolan's T-Rex, David Bowie) to work on their next album. On the 17th of March recordings of "Indiscreet" Lp began at Good Earth Studio in Soho, London. "Indiscreet", Mael Brothers' third album for Island and their fifth album overall, will be a major departure from the Sparks sound typified by the previous 2 albums, "Kimono My House" and "Propaganda"...


Sparks became a British band
go back to the main page
SPARKS 1969-1973
the early years of the Maels

Most informations regarding Sparks Propaganda album
were obtained from Madeline Bocaro :

Additional infos from Leslie Hanagan, Christophe Horlin and Carl Van Breukelen

©2006 by XAVIER LORENTE-DARRACQ / GRAPHIK DESIGNS - FRANCE duplication strictly prohibited