Victoria Canfield


Farewell Yellow Brick Road

Elton John completed his farewell tour at the United Center in Chicago in February 2022. As of now it seems like this will be his last concert tour, but maybe, just maybe he’ll be back!

Who Is Elton John?

Elton Hercules John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on the 25th of March, 1947. He is an English songwriter, singer, composer, and pianist. He is the eldest child of Stanley Dwight and is Middlesex.

Early life and childhood of Elton John

John’s maternal grandparents raised him in a council house of Pinner. He pursued his schooling and education in Pinner County Grammar School, Reddiford School, Pinner Wood Junior School until he crossed 17. Later, he left his A-level examinations to pursue his career in music.

Elton John

The career of Elton John

Elton is known for his 300 million records sold for more than 30 albums when he collaborated with Bernie Taupin, a lyricist, since 1967. This record made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. With more than fifty US Billboard Hoot 100 and top 40 hits in the UK singles chart, nine number ones in the US and seven in the UK, and seven successive number-one albums in the US, he became famous for his work.

The famous tribute single from Elton John

Elton John’s tribute single was rewritten in dedication to Princess of Wales Diana. It was named “Candle in the Wind 1997,” which sold nearly 33 million copies globally and is the best-selling chart single of all time. In 2019, according to Billboard, in the US chart history, John is the top solo artist and third in the world; also popularly known as the top Adult Contemporary artist of all time.

John’s meet with Taupin and his first debut

Elton was raised in Greater London of the pinner area, where he learned to play the piano early. He had formed Bluesology by 1962; Bluesology was an R&B band, and John played with them until 1967. John met Taupin, his musical partner, after 1967. They started to write songs together while Elton worked as a session musician for artists such as the Scaffold and the Hollies. John released his debut album, “Empty Sky” in 1969.

The period of 1970-1976 in John’s career

After the first debut of Elton John in 1969, he released his first hit single, “Your Song,” which became his first top ten tracks in the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of his other contributions to the rock music world are Honky Chateau in 1972, Don’t shoot me I’m only the Piano player in 1973, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in 1973, along with his first compilation of Greatest Hits, which eventually became the official best-selling albums globally.

John AIDS Foundation

John had involved himself in the fight against AIDS from the late 1980s. With regard to this, he established a foundation. He became the founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, where he also began to host the annual Academy Awards Party, which is also the biggest high-profile Oscar party!

Introduction to Fleetwood Mac

In 1967, Fleetwood Mac, a British-American rock band, was formed in London. The band was founded by Mick Fleetwood, the drummer, Peter Green, the guitarist, and John McVie, before bassist, who joined together for their self-titled debut. In 1968, as a third guitarist, Danny Kirwan entered the band. On the other hand, Christine Perfect, a keyboardist, joined the band in 1970, where she got married to McVie.

American rock band

Formation of the band

The band was formed when Peter Green came out from the British blues band John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Later, Green suggested to Fleetwood of forming a band of their own. The dual wanted McVie in their band for bass and guitar and named the band“Fleetwood Mac” so that he might get enticed towards it. Meanwhile, Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green had included Bob Brunning as the bassist and Jeremy Spencer as the slide guitarist.

Top hits of the band including “Oh well,” “Man of the world,” and “Albatross.”

The band was an original British Blues band that scored a UK number one with their track named “Albatross” and are known for their famous hits, such as “Man of the world” and “Oh Well.” The three guitarists left the band one after the other in the early 1970s and were replaced by the vocalist Dave Walker, guitarists’ Bob Weston and Bob Welch. Before 1974, Walker, Weston, and Welch had been dismissed or departed by leaving the rock band without a male lead guitarist or vocalist. Later, in 1974, Fleetwood approached Lindsey Buckingham to join their band, to which Lindsey agreed upon a condition to include Stevie Nicko.

Man of the world

The fame of “rumours” in the United States

Right after Buckingham and Nicks joined the band, the band had more pop-rock music, and the self-titled album reached the first and became No. 1 in the United States. Rumours was the second album produced by Fleetwood Mac in 1977 that had for U.S. Top 10 single and remained number one for thirty-one weeks on the American albums chart. The band reached the world in such a way that in 1984, it won Grammy Awards for Album of the year. The album “Rumours” had sold nearly 40 million copies globally, making it to the board of one of the best-selling albums in history.

Buckingham and Nicks

The disintegration of the group and reunion after six years

The personnel of the band remained stable throughout the three popular albums ever. However, in the late 1980s, the band began to disintegrate. This resulted in Buckingham and Nicks leaving the band. Other guitarists and vocalists replaced them. In a one-off performance of the first inauguration of Bill Clinton in 1993, Fleetwood, John McVie, Nicks, Christine McVie, and Buckingham came back together and performed on the same stage for the first time after six years.

Who are ‘Queen’?

Queen, a British rock band, was formed in 1970 in London by the lead vocals Freddie Mercury, guitar vocals, Brian May, drums vocals, Roger Taylor, and bass, Roger Taylor. The initial works from the rock band were mainly influenced by hard rock, metal rock, and progressive rock. Later, the band gradually stepped into more radio-friendly and conventional works by executing different styles, such as pop-rock and arena rock.

pop-rock and arena rock

The style and influence of music on the band

Queen was highly focused and influenced the British rock acts of the early 1960s and 1970s, like the Kinks, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, David Bowie, Yes, Cream Led Zeppelin, the Who, Slade, and Genesis. They were inspired and have constantly admired singers who come from rock and roll, such as Elvis Presley and Little Richard. Along with these rock and roll singers, the band is inspired by the gospel singer, namely, Aretha Franklin too!

May and Taylor before the formation of Queen

May and Taylor had performed together in the band “Smile” before forming “Queen.” Freddie was a fan of Smile and encouraged a lot to experiment with things and techniques in music while performing. He was the one who suggested the name “Queen” to the band and joined in 1970.

Queen band’s 1977 album News of the world

Queen band’s 1977 album News of the world featured two popular releases, “We are the champions” and “We will rock you”, that have turned into official anthems at sporting events. The band was popularly known as one of the biggest stadium rock bands worldwide. Also, their compilation album in 1981 of the greatest hits became the best-selling album in the United Kingdom. It was certified as ‘nine times platinum’ in the United States.

Mercury’s last performance with “Queen.”

Mercury gave his last performance with Queen in 1986 August at England’s Knebworth. He took his last breath in 1991 due to bronchopneumonia, related to AIDS and its complications in 1997. After this incident, Taylor and May toured under the band “Queen+” in 2004. Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert were the vocalists who accompanied them.

Rock and Roll Hall

Awards and ‘Fame’

The popular band “Queen” received an award for their extraordinary contribution to British Music, namely, the “Brit Awards.” In 2001, they were also added to the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” As each of the members composed a hit song, individually, in 2003, their names made it to the “Songwriters Hall of Fame.” The band was awarded the Ivor Novello Award for their outstanding and superb song collection from the British Academy of composers, songwriters, and authors in 2005. Last but not least, and most importantly, the band received the Grammy lifetime achievement award!

A coincidental singing in the shower can be a way to stardom for a boy from South Carolina from a background of a typical southern African-American upbringing to being the voice of his band, swooning music listeners with his baritone. It’s none other than Darius Carles Rucker or Hootie!

Here is some biography to look at and his Top songs to listen

Darius Rucker

About Darius Rucker:

The American rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, whose members have been members since Darius Rucker formed the band in 1989, is the band’s leading singer, and guitarist Darius Rucker was

born on May 13, 1966, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Along with Mark Bryan, Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, and Dean Felber of South Carolina University. The group produced five studio albums and recorded six of Billboard Hot 100’s top 40 hits.

Rucker also recorded a studio album on Hidden Beach Recordings in 2002 and his work at Hootie & the Blowfish.

The popularity of his band and his being the front man made way for many opportunities that were little steps to Rucker’s fame in the Music world. He was requested to sing at the World Series in October 1995, the national anthem. At his 80th birthday party, he was invited to sing by Frank Sinatra; he was singing “The Lady Is a Tramp.” In a sitcom Friends episode, he made a cameo voice that very week.

The advent of his Country Music career started when in 2008, he joined Capitol Nashville and ended up composing the first solo single of his first country album, “Learn to Live,” “Don’t Think I Do Not Think About It.” Even after Darius’s stepping into country music was met with some speculations about his image of a rock musician with African American identity.

On November 11, 2009, Rucker won the Country Music Association New Artist of the Year award (formerly known as the Horizon Award), making him the first African American since the award got introduced in 1981.

The song made him number 1 in the hot country songs, receiving the First Black Artist title since 1983. RIAA certified gold Learn to Live on February 6, 2009. The second solo from this album, “It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” was on the top of the country chart for three weeks in the middle of 2009. His succession, ‘Alright,’ became Rucker’s third hit number one straight, making him the first singer to reach number one since Wynonna in 1992 with his first three country singles.

Top Songs

Darius Rucker’s Top Songs:

Wagon Wheel, a catchy country song filled with his voice and melodies.

Come to Back Song, a melodic chorus with groovy vibes and acoustic guitar.

Alright, a classic country song with touching lyrics capable of flying one away to the countryside.

Don’t Think I Don’t Think About, a song whose success made him cry, a song with 4 is lo-fi vibes. The listener can put on loop.

Rock and Roll is one of the greatest genres in music. With its roots in blues music, its presence grew in the 70s and 80s. Many people fondly remember them as the glorious rock and roll era. Rock and Roll has stood the test of time. Many young people are now drawn to its originality, creativity and expression.

The influence of rock and roll on the music scene has been monumental. It has given birth to many incredible sub-genres and deserves our full respect. In this article, we go back into the past and bring to you a list of the best rock and roll songs.

What do musical giants like Daniel Lanois, Henry Rollins, Tony Visconti, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Emmylou Harris, Sparks, Anthrax, Wayne Kramer, Lemmy, George Clinton, Iggy Pop, Queens of the Stone Age and others have in common?

They have all worked with Mother Superior, a Los Angeles based trio made up of guitarist/vocalist Jim Wilson, bassist Marcus Blake and drummer Matt Tecu. In a world where musical acts are hopelessly hyped and just as quickly disposed of, Mother Superior has survived on a reputation as first-class musicians, solid songwriters and they are also in high demand for session work. Many top acts have recorded their songs or used the group itself as a backing band.

They have toured and recorded with Grammy award winning producer/performer DANIEL LANOIS and are currently recording songs with him at his home studio for upcoming projects. Mother Superior have also traveled the world with punk rock icon HENRY ROLLINS (the band performs an average of 150 live shows per year) and they have released CDs as the second incarnation of Rollins Band.

On their own, Mother Superior continuously attracts a strong and devoted following by touring the world. They have built a reputation playing packed clubs and rock festivals and have received rave reviews for their energetic performances. They have achieved notoriety and international acclaim as a solid rock ‘n roll force that Rolling Stone has described like “Led Zeppelin with a full erection, Decca-period Rolling Stones, and early ZZ Top with the fury of the Stooges.”

Their latest CD, “Moanin’” features 11 new songs and features a mix of Kinks and Rolling Stones-style classic rockers like “Get That Girl,” “Little Motor Sister” and “Meltdown.” The CD also features more of what the New York Post called “an enormous musical vocabulary” with the heavy soul sounds of “This Song Reminds Me Of You” and the ambitious and hypnotic “Devil Wind.”

Rock ‘n roll fans are well aware of the music of Mother Superior, but they are still one of music’s best kept secrets.


“Right In A Row”
CD001 1993

Shake This Fever
Goin’ Up In Smoke
Body & Mind
Stop Puttin’ Me Down
No Doubt (In My Mind)
PW Blues
Strange Combinaton

“The Heavy Soul Experience Of Mother Superior”
Top Beat Records MS007 1996

Can You Hear Me?
Way Tin Onya
Guess I’m a Fool Again
Valentine’s Day
The Wiggle
Right On Time
Part Time Loser
You Don’t Miss Your Water
Fool’s Prayer

“Mother Superior’s Kaleidoscope”
Top Beat Records MS010 1997

Got To Move
Got a Thing About You
Where Are All the Rock n’ Roll People?
When I’m Alone I Feel Like Cryin’
I Want You (For Real)
Count Me Out
3 Tails
Tomorrow’s Forever
Must Be a Curse
Girl On My Mind
Last One to Know
Place In My Mind
You Think It’s a Challenge

Top Beat Records MS015 1998
What I Heard Today
Crawling Back
Crazy Love
I Saw the Sun
One Direction

Crown MECI-25111 1999 (Japanese)

What I Heard Today
Crawling Back
Crazy Love
I Saw the Sun
One Direction
Goodbye Eddie

note – Japanese version with bonus track “Goodbye Eddie”.

“Mother Superior”
Triple X Records 51284-2 2001

Zero’s Back In Town
Radio Sucks
Follow Me Home
Such a Worthless Thing
Pretty Girls
Cool Cool Breeze
Fell For You Like a Child
Sorrow Song

Muscle Tone Records MTRO3 2002
Fargo Records FA20325 2003

Strange Change
Talk To the Future
Pretty In the Morning
Jaded Little Princess
Rolling Boy Blues
Ain’t Afraid of Dying
Fool Around
Downtown Tom’s Medicine #2
Fade Out, Wounded Animal

“13 Violets”
Top Beat Records TB 3986-2 2004

Head Hanging Low
13 Violets
Queen of the Dead
Four Walls
Fuel the Fire
Did You See It?
Everybody Wants
I Desire You
Everything Is Alright
Kicked Around

Fargo Records FA20415 2004 (Europe)

Head Hanging Low
Fuel the Fire
Four Walls
13 Violets
What If
Queen of the Dead
Did You See It?
Everything Is Alright
Kicked Around
Jaded Little Princess (video)

note – Euro version which differs by 2 tracks and has a different running order, plus the “Jaded Little Princess” video

Bad Reputation 070268325-2 2005

This Song Reminds Me of You
Get That Girl
Not For Me to Say
So Over You
Devil Wind
A Hole
Little Motor Sister
Erase Her
Jack the Ripper

“Three Headed Dog”
Rosa Records RRB 0713 2007

(I’m) Obsessed
Panic Attack
Today Is That Day
Let It Go
Wake Up Call
Beg Borrow Steal
Great Til ’78
Stealing My Shadow
Shady Lady
How Did You Know
German Creepshow
Left For Dead
False Alarm
Violence Going Down
First Impression
Gorilla Monsoon
Standing Still


“Fly On Bombay Fly On” cassette
Top Beat Records MS002

Use Me
Part Time Loser
You Made Me Cry

note – all tracks also appear on “End of the World… the Early 7″s” CD-R.

“Wicked Woman / I Tried” 7″
Top Beat Records MS003 1995

Wicked Woman
I Tried

note – both tracks also appear on “End of the World… the Early 7″s” CD-R.

“End of the World” 7″
Top Beat Records MS004 1995

End of the World
End of the World (version)

note – both tracks also appear on “End of the World… the Early 7″s” CD-R.

Noel Rivers and the Fountains “A Song About You” 7″
Top Beat Records MS011 1997

A Song About You
Heavy Winds

note – both tracks also appear on “End of the World… the Early 7″s” CD-R.

“The Wiggle”
Top Beat Records MS009 1997

The Wiggle
The Wiggle
(live @ The Whisky A Go-Go Los Angeles 10/15/96)
Fool’s Prayer
(live @ The Troubadour Los Angeles 12/13/96)
Valentine’s Day
(recorded live in-store @ Aron’s Records Hollywood 9/8/96)
Tahiti Radio Spots

“Valentine’s Day”
Top Beat Records MS014 1998

Girl On My Mind
Valentine’s Day
St. Valentine’s Day (4 track demo)

Head Hanging Low
Queen of The Dead

note – both tracks from “13 Violets”.


“Around the World Vol. 1 USA 2001”
Top Boot Records 2001

Backstage Intro
Let It Rock
(soundcheck recorded live in Chuck Berry’s home St. Louis, MO 9/10/01)
Cool Cool Breeze
(Live St. Petersburg, FL 8/17/01)
(Live Columbus, OH 9/21/01)
Zero’s Back In Town
(Live Portland, ME 8/10/01)
(Live New Orleans, LA 8/19/01)
Radio Sucks
(Live Tempe, AZ 8/28/01)
(Live Minneapolis, MN 9/14/01)
Black Silk
(Live Detroit, MI 9/18/01)
Such a Worthless Thing
(Live St. Louis, MO 9/10/01)
Such a Worthless Dub
(Soul Junkie dub version)
Moving to Toronto
The Wiggle
(Live Washington, DC 9/27/01)
O, Baby
(Live ‘Direct to Disc’ from the Mothership 11/6/01)

“Rockin’ the Fillmore – San Francisco, CA Friday August 31, 2001”

Zero’s Back In Town
Radio Sucks
Black Silk
Such a Worthless Thing
The Wiggle

“Live From New York – Irving Plaza September 24, 2001”
Top Boot Records 2001

Cool Cool Breeze
Zero’s Back In Town
Radio Sucks
Black Silk
Such a Worthless Thing
The Wiggle
End of the World (bonus jam)

note – “bonus 10 minute jam with S. Tunca – percussion; San Jose, CA 4/8/01”.

“Around the World Volume 2”
Top Beat Records 2002

Disc 1

The Forum, London (10/16/01)
Zero’s Back In Town
Radio Sucks
Follow Me Home
Cool Cool Breeze
Such a Worthless Thing
The Wiggle
The Pageant, St. Louis (9/10/01)
You Don’t Miss Your Water
Let It Rock
Zero’s Back In Town
Radio Sucks
Black Silk
Such a Worthless Thing
The Wiggle

Disc 2

Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg (10/22/01)
Zero’s Back In Town
Radio Sucks
Black Silk
One After 909
Such a Worthless Thing
The Wiggle
XTRA Limmathaus, Zurich (10/25/01)
Zero’s Back In Town
Radio Sucks
Black Silk
Such a Worthless Thing
Let It Rock
The Wiggle

“Shades of Blue”
Top Beat Special Products TBSP 006

New Orleans Blues & Greens
Blues #1
Shades of Blue
Pistol Packin’ Blues
When I’m Alone I Feel Like Cryin’
Blues #2
The Way I’m Supposed To Do
Shades of Grass
What Can I Say?

“End of the World … The Early 7″s”
Top Beat MS-666

Use Me
Part Time Loser
You Made Me Cry
Wicked Woman
I Tried
End of the World
End of the World (version)
A Song About You
Heavy Winds

“Ad Libidub”
Top Beat Records 2004

La Pedrera
Mortar & Pistol
Charlie Came Back
In Stitches
Clenching Monstrosities

note -instrumental jams with new drummer Matt Tecu.


“A Gift From Mother Superior 2000”

note- 35 untitled tracks with 5 songs (including “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, a mostly acoustic “Follow Me Home”, an “End of the World” dub and a song by MS side project Noel Rivers & The Fountains) intermingled within short radio segments and various oddities.

“Mother Superior Christmas 2002”

The Dick Wise Show #1
A Typical Night at Raji’s
The Dick Wise Show #2
The Dick Wise Show #3
Kaleidoscope Rumors “Out On Sunset”
Kiss. Sell
The Dick Wise Show #4
I’d Rather Be With You (Collins, Clinton, Cooper)
The Translucent Trio
Million Miles (Dylan)
Dear Landlord (Dylan)
Kids Say the Damndest Things
End of the World Annual Dub ’02

note – 5 songs (Fabienne, I’d Rather Be With You, Million Miles, Dear Landlord, End of the World Annual Dub ’02) intermingled within various skits


“Down On The Street”
Triple X Records promo 2001

“Respect The Rock Vol. 1”
Redline Records 75007 2001

Supersuckers – The Evil Powers Of Rock & Roll
The Hellacopters – You Are Nothin’
Backyard Babies – Made Me Madman
Stargunn – Katwalk (Morello mix)
Black Halos – Shooting Stars
The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs – No More
Fu Manchu – Hell On Wheels
Queens Of The Stone Age – Regular John
Mother Superior – Black Silk
Gluecifer – I Got a War
The Yo Yo’s – 1,000 Miles From Home
Mad For The Racket – Blame It
The Go – Meet Me At The Movies
The Makers – A Better Way Down
Nashville Pussy – Wrong Side Of A Gun

“Wayne Kramer Presents Beyond Cyberpunk”
Valley Entertainment 15169 2001
Chatterbox CB019 2001

Mudhoney – Inside Job
Dee Dee Ramone – Bad Little Go Go Girl
Chris Spedding – Love On Death Row
Mother Superior – Black Silk
Stan Ridgway -Beloved Movie Star
Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Oh
Lesbianmaker – Take Me In Your Arms (Like Heroin)
David Was – Chow Main Street
Ron Asheton – Dead End Street
Strung Out – Betrayal
Downset – Cold Blue Coma
Cooter – Passtime
Pere Ubu – Wasteland
Wayne Kramer – Crawling Outta The Jungle

Fargo Sampler #1
Fargo Records 2003

Chris Whitley “To Joy”
Kevin Salem “The Medicine Down”
Oh Susanna “Sleepy Little Sailor”
Ryan Adams “Come Pick Me Up”
Neal Casal “Eddy & Diamonds”
Paula Frazer “That You Know”
Woven Hand “The Good Hand”
John Trudell “A Face On God”
Stateside featuring Ryan Adams “Little Black Dress”
Mother Superior “Jaded Little Princess”
Jesse Malin “Wendy”
Richard Buckner “Put On What You Want To”
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter “Don’t Let Me Go”
Hederos & Hellberg “No Fun”


“Get Some Go Again” single
DreamWorks 450 967-2 2000

Get Some Go Again
Don’t Let This Be

“Illumination” promo single
DreamWorks DRM5P-5264 2000

Illuminator (remix edit)
Illuminator (remix)
Illumination (LP version)

“Get Some Go Again”
DreamWorks Records 450 971-2 1999

Get Some Go Again
Love’s So Heavy
Thinking Cap
Change It Up
I Go Day Glo
Are You Ready?
On The Day
You Let Yourself Down
Brother Interior
Hotter and Hotter
L.A. Money Train

Disc 2 (Euro limited edition)

Side By Side
100 Miles
Fuck Yo Mama
What Have I Got (live)
Action (live)
Get Some Go Again (video)
EPK (video)

note – the UK version is minus “Change It Up” and plus “Action”. The limited edition Euro 2xCD’s first disc is the same as the U.S. version (see above), plus “Illuminator” (same as the Australian / Canadian versions). The Japanes version also has “Change It Up” in place of “Action” plus “Action” (live) and “Don’t Let This Be”.

“A Clockwork Orange Stage”
2.13.61 Records 21361CD013 2000

You Let Yourself Down
What Have I Got
Hotter and Hotter
Thinking Cap
Love Is So Heavy
Summer Nights
Frozen Man
Get Some Go Again
Are You Ready
Bad Reputation
Change It Up
Your Number Is One
Do It

note – live at the Roskilde Festival, Copenhagen Denmark, July 1, 2000.

“Yellow Blues”
2.13.61 Records 21361CD18 2001

Illumination (Ben Grosse remix)
Side By Side
Frozen Man
100 Miles
Summer Nights
Yellow Blues
Don’t Let This Be
Hold On
Hell’s Lounge Band Unwinds
Fuck Yo Mama

note – outtakes from the “Get Some Go Again” sessions. “Action” is different from GSGA disc 2 version and “Hell’s Lounge Band Unwinds” was formerly known as “Trouble”.

“Your Number Is One” promo single
Sanctuary Records SANDJ-85516-2 2001

Your Number Is One (Single Edit)
Your Number Is One (Instrumental)

Rollins Band “Nice”
Sanctuary Records 84512 2001

One Shot
Up For It
Gone Inside The Zero
What’s The Matter Man
Your Number Is One
Stop Look And Listen
I Want So Much More
Hangin’ Around
Going Out Strange
We Walk Alone
Let That Devil Out

note – the Australian/Japanese/German versions have 2 bonus tracks: “Nowhere To Go But Inside” and “Too Much Rock & Roll”. The Australian/Japanese versions also have “Marcus Has The Evil In Him” and “Soul Implant”. The 2xLP contains 4 bonus tracks: “Nowhere To Go But Inside”, “Soul Implant”, “Marcus Has The Evil In Him” and “Too Much Rock & Roll”.

“A Nicer Shade of Red”
2.13.61 Records 21361CD21 2001

Too Much Rock & Roll
Marcus Has the Evil In Him
Nowhere to Go But Inside
Always the Same
Soul Implant
Ain’t It Fun
You Lost Me
Stone Washed Clean
A Life Denied
Your Number is One (extended version)
Such a Drag

note – outtakes from the “Nice” sessions.

“The Only Way To Know For Sure”
Sanctuary Records 06076-84551-2 2002

Disc 1

On The Day
Up For It
What’s The Matter
Hotter and Hotter
Stop Look & Listen
Ten Times
All I Want
One Shot
Going Out Strange
Thinking Cap
Get Some Go Again
Your Number is One

Disc 2

Gone Inside The Zero
Nowhere To Go But Inside
Are You Ready?
Do It
You Didn’t Need
I Want So Much More
Low SO
Always The Same
We Walk Alone
Marcus Has The Evil In Him

note – recorded live at The Metro in Chicago on March 1 & 2, 2002. Disc two also contains the “Get Some Go Again”, “Illumination” and “Your Number Is One” videos and a photo gallery.

“Henry Rollins Presents… Rise Above – 5 track promo/interview disc”
Sanctuary Records 06076 84584-2 2002

Henry gives an overview of the “wm3” case
Henry on the making of the album
Henry introduced Rise Above
Rise Above (Chuck D & Henry Rollins)
Henry introduces Nervous Breakdown
Nervous Breakdown (Keith Morris)
Henry introduces Six Pack
Six Pack (Mike Patton)
Henry introduces TV Party
TV Party (Henry Rollins)
Henry introduces Thirsty & Miserable
Thirsty & Miserable (Lemmy)

note – promotional disc in slipcase.

“Rise Above – 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit The West Memphis Three”
Sanctuary Records 06076-84573-2 2002

Rise Above (Chuck D, Henry Rollins)
Nervous Breakdown (Keith Morris)
Fix Me (Iggy Pop)
American Waste (Neil Fallon of Clutch)
I’ve Had It (Cedric Bixler Zavala of The Mars Volta)
I’ve Heard It Before (Jeff Moreira of Poison the Well)
Room 13 (Corey Taylor of Slipknot)
Wasted (Exene Cervenka of X)
Jealous Again (Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age)
TV Party (Henry Rollins)
No Values (Hank III)
Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (Dean Ween of Ween)
Depression (Casey Chaos of Amen)
Six Pack (Mike Patton)
Police Story (Ice T)
Revenge (Tom Araya of Slayer)
Thirsty & Miserable (Lemmy of Motorhead)
What I See (Chuck Dukowski)
No More (Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid)
Black Coffee (Henry Rollins)
Slip It In (Henry Rollins, Inger Lorre)
Annihilate This Week (Henry Rollins, Kira Roessler)
My War (Henry Rollins)
Nervous Breakdown (Ryan Adams live)

note – Jim Wilson, Marcus Blake and Jason Mackenroth are the band for all tracks except Ryan Adam’s.


Alice Cooper “Dragontown – Special Edition”
Spitfire Records 15089 / JVC Victor 2002

Disc 1

Sex Death & Money
Fantasy Man
Somewhere In The Jungle
Sister Sara
Every Woman Has A Name
I Just Wanna Be God
It’s Much Too Late
The Sentinel

Disc 2

Clowns Will Eat Me (Japanese version)
Go To Hell (live)
Ballad Of Dwight Fry (live)
Brutal Planet (remix)
Gimme (video)
It’s the Little Things (video)

note – Jim Wilson and Marcus Blake co-wrote “Clowns Will Eat Me”. It’s also available on the Japanese version of “Dragontown”.

Robert Bradley and Blackwater Surprise “Still Lovin’ You”
Vanguard Records 79733-2 2003

All I Wanna Do
I Thank You
Still Lovin’ You
When You Love Something
Don’t Take The Love Away
Work It Out

note – Mother Superior appear on 5 tracks.

“Tribute – A Rockumentary” movie soundtrack

Title theme
Super Fan’s theme
Andy’s theme
Sheer Heart Attack’s theme
Link’s theme
Bloodstone’s theme

note – “Tribute” the movie is a “rockumentary” featuring original soundtrack by Brian Kehew and Mother Superior.

Mother Pearl “Broken Thorny Crown” 2004

Not Right Now
Worth Defending
My Heart Isn’t In It
Make Up Your Mind
Love Pyre
You Believe In Me
How Many Times
Killing Trend (Broken Thorny Crown)

note – Mother Superior appear on 8 tracks.

We are currently in and out of the recording studio finishing up our next CD which is coming very SOON. 22 songs have been recorded and are currently being mixed, remixed and shuffled around for an all-killer, no-filler disc tentatively titled “Three Headed Dog”. A six-week European tour starts at the end of May (dates announced soon).

New “LET IT GO” video with Daniel Lanois

“Let It Go” is the first track to be released from our upcoming CD that is produced by Daniel (who also plays pedal steel guitar and sings with us on this one). The performance is totally LIVE! The video was directed by Anthony Scarpa and is also available on the MySpace page and (soon) YouTube.

Two L.A. shows with PEARL featuring Mother Superior and Scott Ian

In March we are recording a bunch of great tracks that we wrote with our friend Pearl for her new CD. She has an awesome voice and the band is totally rockin’ (we are fortunate to have Scott Ian playing guitar with us too!). We’re playing at the House Of Blues Foundation Room on Sunset Blvd. on Thursday, February 22nd and it’s FREE to get in. Please come out and see us. Details below.


Pearl’s back at the foundation room after months on hiatus, only this time she’s fully electric!! Come on out and catch pearl rocking at the house of blues with the members of mother superior, and scott ian of anthrax! A non stop set of slammin’ rock ‘n’ roll!! There’s still no cover, still no minimum, and once again no excuse! Just pull up to the podium in the back and say you’re there to see pearl. Come catch pearl warm up the foundation room, and then catch her when she sets the key club on fire on the 26th!!! Don’t miss it! See you there!! 8430 sunset blvd. West hollywood, ca 90069 (the foundation room at the house of blues)

SPARKS were literally my favorite band when I was growing up in a small state on the east coast of America called Delaware. I was first introduced to their music in 1982, after hearing their single “I Predict” from the “Angst In My Pants” album. Their sound was unique and unlike anything I’d ever heard before. While my friends at school were marveling at Judas Priest’s heavy metal image and my guitar playing buddies were struggling with licks from Scorpions, I started collecting Sparks vinyl and was busy being consistently intrigued by Ron and Russell Mael’s catchy songwriting and incredible lyrics. Soon after, I remember finding a second hand vinyl copy of their 1974 masterpiece “Kimono My House” and being floored by the weird sounds. My first listen was so intense and personal, I had to put on a pair of headphones so that I could crank the volume and keep my family’s discerning ears away from my “discovery.” Sparks was my kind of band and I practiced my guitar along with the album in my room wondering what it would be like to play in a band like this. It was hard to believe they were American, the same country that Steely Dan and Toto were from. It’s also safe to say that the Mael brothers being from Los Angeles influenced my decision to move there myself after finishing school to pursue my own musical career.

I first met Ron and Russell via producer Tony Visconti who worked with my band Mother Superior on our latest “13 Violets” CD. Tony had a birthday dinner in L.A. and invited us and upon arrival I was definitely unprepared to sit next to my heroes who were also asked to come and celebrate. Tony had produced their all-time classic “Indiscreet” album in 1975 and that night, I got to tell the brothers how great I thought their music was and how much it meant to me through the years. At the end of the night we took photographs together and I was happy to learn they were nice guys who appreciated fans like me. We kept in touch by email and last year I invited them to a show Mother Superior were doing with Daniel Lanois at the Roxy Theatre here in Los Angeles. I was delighted when Russell showed up with Sparks drummer Tammy Glover and the next day they told us that they really enjoyed the show. We met for coffee soon afterwards and talked for hours about music. We were like old friends with similar musical tastes and interests.

A few months ago, I went a Sparks show that they performed in support of their latest great album, “Lil’ Beethoven” here in Hollywood. Afterwards, I emailed Russell to congratulate him on an awesome performance and he soon replied and informed me of Sparks next plan. They were going to perform at Morrissey’s Meltdown Festival in London and play both their “Kimono My House” album and “Lil’ Beethoven” in their entirety back to back. They were going to embellish the band with a bassist and an additional guitarist for the “Kimono” set (no computers were to be used and as pioneers of electronic music, that was rare for Sparks). Imagine my surprise when he asked if, by any chance, do I know the guitar parts on the album. DO I?!?

After intense preparation and rehearsals, the concert was flawlessly and almost effortlessly performed on June 12 to a very excited and enthused audience of Sparks fanatics who had waited many years to see and hear the band return to the classic era of their music. The six piece band consisted of Ron, Russell, Tammy, guitarist Dean Menta (formerly of Faith No More), Redd Kross bassist Steve McDonald and myself doing the wailing bluesy guitar solos. The hit singles “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us” (#2 on the UK charts in 1974), “Amateur Hour” and “Talent Is An Asset” were played note perfect and many of the other songs from the album had never been performed live before. Several surprises and highlights included Russell adding the castanets to “Hasta Manana Monsieur,” Tammy banging a gong at the conclusion of “Thank God It’s Not Christmas” and the audience rising to their feet in astonishment as we concluded the set with the two b-sides from the “Kimono”-era, “Barbecutie” and “Lost And Found.” It was a total success and we pulled it off with smiles on our faces.

Working with the Maels has been a chance of a lifetime for me. I will always be grateful to have been able to share their pleasure of doing this special show. Hanging out with them, I learned a lot about the brothers history. For instance, who knew that Ron writes a lot of their songs on guitar as well as his more well known keyboard? We also talked a lot about the brothers growing up in the Los Angeles music scene and how they were privileged to see so many great concerts: The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, a triple bill of the Rolling Stones, Byrds and Paul Revere and the Raiders in Long Beach, T. Rex at the Whisky, Led Zeppelin’s first tour, The Move, Humble Pie, Free, Jeff Beck Group, the legendary TAMI show and many others. During rehearsals in Putney (just outside of London), I had the chance to sit down and ask them all of the questions I’ve always wanted to know about them and their long and always progressing career.

JIM: Let’s start by talking about the Pheasantry Club, which we walked by yesterday (it is now a pizza restaurant) and you guys told me that it was your first gig in London in 1973. What was the vibe like with the original band and the early shows?

RUSSELL: Our record company at the time (Bearsville) sent us to London because nothing was happening in the States with those first two albums, the Todd Rundgren produced Halfnelson (Sparks original band name) stuff. This is the original band, the two Mankey brothers (Earle and Jim), Harley Feinstein and us. The record label thought we had more of a British sensibility and maybe something could be generated with the band in the UK. So they sent us here for a month and we had a residency at the Marquee club for four straight weeks, playing there once a week. They also got us on this TV show called “The Old Grey Whistle Test” and there was a real reaction. All these people started coming to see us play. And at the same time we were playing the Pheasantry as well.

JIM: Were both of the Bearsville albums out by then?

RUSSELL: Yes, the “Woofer” album (“A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing,” 1973) and the “Sparks” album (1972) which was the same as the original “Halfnelson” album, were both out. And at one of the Marquee gigs, Queen supported us and we can remember them pulling up in their van in blue jeans and lugging their gear in and then putting on their white angel Queen outfits! So as a result of that TV show, people came to see us play and that was the one little thing that kicked off the whole thing. Then after that four week period that we stayed in London, we had the offer for the two of us to come back to England by Island Records. They liked the songwriting and the singing and the general image. But they weren’t sure if they wanted to undertake bringing an American band over here to reside permanently. They decided to just bring over the nucleus of the songwriting and singing and they told us if we were willing to relocate and get a band together over here, they would sign us.

JIM: Did the other members originally want to come along?

RUSSELL: Unfortunately, yes.

RON: It was the closest time to Sparks being a real democracy and we were really close friends, too. We had gone to school together in university. So aside from just the whole musical decision, it was a tough personal decision because we were kind of having to screw three of our friends by doing this. But it was a once in a lifetime situation for us to be able to kind of be a British band which is what we always pretended that we were anyway. So we just decided to do it and picked up and went.

JIM: Well, it turned out to be a good decision because from that point on you could just do whatever you two wanted to do…

RON: Well, yeah but we were lucky because the first thing that got released in Britain after that was “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us” (1974) and sometimes you think, “What if that first thing hadn’t happened?” You don’t even want to consider the other side of what could’ve happened.

JIM: Not to talk too much about that time and the early days too much but there was a pre-Bearsville demo LP (1968/1969 privately pressed album that was given to record labels and eventually Todd Rundgren, who got them signed to Bearsville) and I was wondering what kind of tape machine those songs were recorded on?

RUSSELL: It was a reel-to-reel tape recorder that Earle Mankey had. He was actually really good at home recording. Originally, we were just a trio, Earle and the two of us. We just recorded in his apartment. He had one of those old Magnavox tape recorders, or something like that. He was just really into fooling around with recording. He was into playing the tape backwards and doing things that were, at that time, bold. He would speed up his guitar solos or have the tape run at half speed then play it back fast. We were just experimenting with sounds.

JIM: Did you guys always know that music was what you wanted to do as your career?

RUSSELL: Well, the thing is it wasn’t even thought out that much. And like Ron said earlier, what if it hadn’t worked when we came to England? We would’ve had to start thinking what else we would want to do. But we just got lucky that “This Town” was this really massive hit and that afforded us the luxury to stay here and do three albums and tour a lot. At first with Earle, we were all students and just doing music because it was fun but you never think of things as careers. It just kind of worked out and now here we are in Putney!

JIM: Well, obviously you guys are huge music fans, what with all of the shows that you’ve told me about that you got to see when you were teenagers.

RON: Yeah, we always bought tons of singles, especially, and that was our biggest musical education. We just loved pop music. There was never really an original plan for either of us to go into music careers, it was just that we were interested in it and we just gradually gravitated towards it. At first it was just something to do while we were in college. Then one thing led to another and we were making tapes with Earle and Todd Rundgren was the first one that became interested in what we were doing. We thought that if somebody wants to sign us then maybe it’s something more than a hobby.

JIM: Russell, you just recently worked with Earle again on Kristian Hoffman’s last album.

RUSSELL: Yeah, that was the first time I’d seen Earle in a while. Kristian asked if I’d sing on a song called “Devil May Care” and Earle has a studio somewhere around Thousand Oaks, California and we recorded it there. I hadn’t seen him for a long time and it was weird but very nice to see him again and to get to work with him.

JIM: What’s the story behind the obscure Sparks b-side “The Wedding Of Jacqueline Kennedy To Russell Mael” (from 1975 and not yet available on CD)?

RUSSELL: One thing about that one is that is has Mary Hopkin’s voice on it. She had the hit “Those Were The Days” (on the Beatles’ Apple label, produced by Paul McCartney) and she was married at the time to our producer Tony Visconti. The art of the b-side doesn’t exist anymore, unfortunately, but at that time we wanted to do songs as b-sides that could just be one-offs and not worry about the implications of it being right for an album or not. Just kind of have fun and experiment.

JIM: Oh, so that’s her saying “I do” and taking wedding vowels with you?

RUSSELL: Yeah, Ron came up with the idea of me getting married to Jacqueline Kennedy and we enlisted Tony’s wife Mary to do the voice. We recorded that at Tony’s house in the Shepherd’s Bush area. He was another American working in England like us. He had been here a lot longer than we had obviously.

JIM: Oh yeah, I really didn’t think about that. When you guys recorded “Indiscreet” (1975) with him, you were still living in England.

RUSSELL: Yeah and he was too so there was a bond and we could kind of tell American ex-patriot stories.

RON: He had actually been here a lot longer than us. I think it was like twelve years or something.

JIM: Tony has a funny accent. Kind of Brooklyn and kind of English too.


JIM: I’ve heard rumors about some demos you guys did in 1976 with Mick Ronson. Do they really exist?

RON: Yeah. We went to New York and we had all the songs for the “Big Beat” album (1976) and we went into a rehearsal hall and did them with Mick Ronson. They actually sound better than what the final album sounded like. There was a possibility of him actually joining the band and touring with us but it didn’t work out for whatever reason. But the demos sounded amazing. Rupert Holmes produced that album and it was such a funny thing because he’s 180 degrees away from the sort of producer that should be producing that kind of sound. It was just a screwy situation.

JIM: Was Rupert around for the demo sessions?

RON: I think he might have been, I’m trying to remember. We still have the cassettes of the really rough demos of Mick Ronson playing a lot of the songs and they sound really great because he plays with a lot of abandon.

JIM: Rare!

RUSSELL: Somehow we’ll dig you out a cassette. There’s one lying around somewhere.

JIM: I’d love to hear that! Well, since this is an interview for France, I thought maybe you could tell me about the production work the two of you did for Bijou and other artists from France that you’ve produced in the past.

RUSSELL: We were spending a lot of time in France at that time (1979) and we were really good friends with a journalist named John William Thoury. He was also Bijou’s manager and he was a big Sparks fan. He asked if we would like to produce Bijou. The band came to L.A. and there were three French guys sitting at Larrabee Studios in West Hollywood and we did that album with them (“Pas Dormir,” 1979). They worked a lot with Serge Gainsbourg as well because he was a fan of theirs. He actually came on stage with them at some of their concerts in France. There has always been our attachment with France. We worked with another artist and she’s actually Belgian but she was a huge singer in France named Lio. We did English language adaptations of her French hits. We worked with the guys in Telex who were her producers, Marc Moulin and Dan Lacksman. We worked with Lio in Brussels and Ron wrote the English lyrics for her. They wanted to try to launch her music in the States and in the English speaking part of Canada. She was already successful in Montreal and places like that. So we worked with her on her pronunciation of the English lyrics for the album that was already big in France at Telex’s studio in Brussels (“Suite Sixtine,” 1982). We also worked with Les Rita Mitsouko on two songs that Ron wrote, “Singing In The Shower” and “Live In Las Vegas” from their album “Marc & Robert” (1988). And I sang in French on a song called…”

RON: Hip Kit?

RUSSELL: Yeah, “Hip Kit.” We maintained a relationship with them and they’re really cool friends of ours.

JIM: What is Les Rita Mitsouko doing now?

RUSSELL: They’re still doing music. I heard that they have a brand new album that’s supposedly recorded with an orchestra.

RON: Oh, really?

RUSSELL: Yeah, somebody wrote that on our website. I think they’re one of those bands that will always be an institution in France because they’re really well known and people respect them as personalities because they’re real characters. The song “Singing In The Shower” was a big hit and we did a video with them.

RON: They were amazing characters. We actually met them in Los Angeles because they did a show there and in the review of the show in the L.A. Times it mentioned that they were Sparks fans and we hardly ever go to shows but…

RUSSELL: Yeah, that is how we first met them.

RON: We decided to go to their show in Los Angeles and we met them backstage.

RUSSELL: They actually mentioned that the reason they were called Rita Mitsouko is because they liked our album title “Kimono My House,” which is sort of fake Japanese imagery and Rita Mitsouko is another fake Japanese hybrid name.

JIM: Does it ever freak you guys out that people get so into Sparks? When anyone discovers Sparks music it’s hard to not let it totally affect you. Everybody seems to get a lot out of your music.

RUSSELL: It’s interesting, especially who those people are. There’s Rita Mitsouko who are inspired to name their band after a Sparks album and there’s someone like Bjork saying that “Kimono” was the first album that she ever listened to. She said her father had that album and really liked it. It’s kind of neat, the diversity of the people who pick up on it. It’s all over the map. People like Orbital, we just did a track with them, who are from the electronic world and then there’s bands like Faith No More who are from a whole other world. Now there’s Franz Ferdinand. There are lots of different types of bands responding to different periods of our music. It’s inspiring.

JIM: Who was Adrian Munsey?

RUSSELL: He was a real eccentric character who was on Virgin Records and I don’t know what he had done prior to when we worked with him (Sparks produced one single by this artist in 1979). I think he may have been a school teacher or something but I don’t really remember the history of that guy. He was not a musician. He was more like an English gentleman with a suit and tie. I don’t know why Virgin had signed the guy. Maybe he did sort of offbeat poetry or something. At the time we had the “No. 1 In Heaven” album with Virgin and they thought that maybe we could produce him and have Adrian doing some conceptual thing underneath our music track and it would be kind of interesting. He had the concept, I think he wanted to have sheep bleeding on his record, so he went out in a field and recorded sheep sounds and we took them and we added music to it but I can’t even remember the piece of music because it’s been such a long time since I’ve heard it.

JIM: It’s an instrumental.

RON: It’s called “C’est Sheep.”

JIM: That’s the best part, the title!

RON: (Laughs) Yeah!

JIM: That’s an obscure track and I’ve never read anything about it.

RON: We also produced a girl at the time for Virgin, Noel, and I think that’s how the whole Adrian Munsey thing came about.

JIM: Was producing something you were really pursuing at the time?

RUSSELL: I think that it was just that we had a really good relationship with Virgin and they were a really good company. They liked our “No. 1 In Heaven” album and really good things were happening. Noel was actually an L.A. singer that we found and we brought her to Virgin and they gave here a deal via us to produce her. It was a label that was just into projects. It wasn’t that we were into producing as a career move, it was just being active and having fun things to do.

RON: The whole producing thing was hard. At least from my perspective, it’s hard dealing with the personalities and a lot of times the whole psychological aspect of it is kind of difficult. I’m kind of ambivalent about producing people. The whole thing with Bijou and Noel was hard. Even the collaboration with Rita Mitsouko started as “let’s sit down and come up with a track together” and I’ve never really been good at sitting down and co-writing with somebody. In the end, we sent them a couple of songs and they liked them and that turned out to be the writing collaboration and it worked out okay that way. Obviously we went into the studio together and had Russell sing with them and me playing keyboards, but the actual writing and producing collaborations are a little more difficult. There’s a certain temperament that you have to have and it’s difficult to have sometimes.

JIM: I guess it’s hard especially when you are an artist yourself and you’re trying to do your own thing and also trying to help somebody else do their thing.

RON: Yeah. Sometimes you hate to impose your own sensibility on other people. We you’re working with somebody and they have their own musical vision, you have to respect that because that’s what they want to do as a musician. And if your musical area is somewhere different from that, it makes you wonder sometimes what you can even add to that or what you can bring out of that person. That’s why somebody like Tony Visconti is so amazing because he can work with so many different kinds of people and is able to add to what they do in so many different ways. It’s a real talent to do that kind of thing.

(At this point, Russell gets a cell phone call and leaves the room)

JIM: Ron, did you ever meet Paul McCartney before or after he imitated you in his “Coming Up” video (1980) and was seeing that completely surreal for you?

RON: No, I’ve never met him but that was really strange for me. The oddest thing was going into a dry cleaners the day after they showed the “Coming Up” video on “Saturday Night Live” and the guy who was working there said, “hey, I saw you on television last night” and I was like, “oh, yeah”. It was really flattering because it was McCartney and also because of the other people who he had chosen to pay homage to in the video. It was pretty amazing.

JIM: I bet! Over the years, have you met any of the other Beatles? I know Ringo introduced you on a TV show in the 70s with Keith Moon too.

RON: Yeah, I think that was the only Beatle that we ever really met. We never met McCartney or John Lennon. Ringo and Keith Moon, that was unbelievable. It doesn’t get much more dangerous than that!

JIM: OK, while Russell isn’t here, I’ll ask you this and then I’ll ask him when he comes back. What is your favorite Sparks album, your least favorite Sparks album and what do you think is the most underrated or overlooked Sparks album?

RON: Well, my least favorite one is “Terminal Jive” (1980). It came after the “No. 1 In Heaven” album and I really liked that one because it was the first time we worked in a pure electronic way and it was produced by Giorgio Moroder. It was our first time working without a band and neither Giorgio, Russell or myself knew what the final outcome was going to be like. It was one of those albums where the result was a surprise to everybody and it was really inspiring. But for the follow up, which was “Terminal Jive”, Giorgio farmed it out to another producer to do a lot of the work and a lot of the songs and playing were generic and less stylized and it seemed like it didn’t have any real personality to it. That’s definitely my least favorite album of all our albums.

JIM: Great album cover though!

RON: I’ll take the cover! It’s so hard to choose my favorite one. I mean, everybody always says the latest one is their favorite, but “Lil’ Beethoven” is really something special for us. For our nineteenth album, we did something musically special after having done so many other things. It was very important for us.

JIM: To me, “Lil’ Beethoven” is reminiscent of “No. 1 In Heaven” because it’s something completely different again.

RON: Yeah, you can’t really plan that too much. It holds together like one whole album and not separate pieces put together. I think I’m proudest of that album just because we were able to do something challenging after having done so many other albums. To me, that’s some kind of achievement. And the “Indiscreet” album isn’t really overlooked or underrated, but of the three Island ones, some people said it was self-indulgent. We were just trying to expand on what we could do with the band and elaborate. So I think that album gets overlooked amongst “Kimono My House” and “Propaganda.” It’s not really obscure for people that know about Sparks, but I think it should get more credit.

(Russell returns and is asked the same question)

RUSSELL: My favorite, and Ron probably said the same thing, would have to be “Lil’ Beethoven” because I’m just proud of it and actually for a bunch of other reasons. Maybe because it’s come at this point in our career where there hasn’t been a recent hit single and we haven’t been that visible. In 1994 and 1995 when “Gratuitous Sax And Senseless Violins” was out and “When Do I Get To Sing My Way” was a really big hit in Germany, we were well known in Europe and there was a lot of activity. But since that point, a lot of people don’t know what we’ve been doing. To come back with an album like “Lil’ Beethoven,” which is kind of unexpected in its whole approach and having it be so critically well received, you have to be proud of it because you took a real gamble. Sometimes you think maybe you’re just going off the deep end and creating something that no one’s going to get into or it’s just the wrong move. But in the end it turned into something that you’re really proud of for taking a chance. The unfortunate thing was that it didn’t have a hit single and we made the same amount of effort. Maybe that answers the other question that I think it’s also the most overlooked album because despite its critical success, the masses aren’t aware of the album. And my least favorite is, and probably Ron said the same one again, “Terminal Jive.” Sorry it’s the same answer but “No. 1 In Heaven” with Giorgio was so focused and it turned out so special. To his credit we continued our relationship for six albums with his production company and that’s probably a longer relationship with any single entity that we ever worked with. But for the “Terminal Jive” album, he had one of his producer buddies, Harold Faltermeyer, get involved. I think Harold’s sensibility was not as eccentric and didn’t bring out the quirky elements that we have. Even if we are trying to do songs that are more accessible to people, I think they can be done in a way that the recordings are more unusual or special. Harold has a more commercial streak but the sound was not very cool. The irony of it is, that album has “When I’m With You” on it which was probably our biggest selling hit single of all-time so there was something to his quest of trying to find our most commercial thing. So we don’t really know if Ron just came up with a really good song and it would’ve worked with whoever produced it, or if Harold actually added something to it or which was the result of which. But whatever it was it was a really big hit single in certain parts of the world and especially in France. So even though that album I’m not too fond of, it had a song that became a household item in France for a long time. And that video too was very well known in France and we spent about a year in Paris and little old housewives were coming up to us and going, “ooh, it’s the puppet man!”

JIM: I think the “When Do I Get To Sing My Way” video is my favorite.

RUSSELL: I think that’s our favorite video too. We really like the director, Sophie Muller, she’s great. She did a great job of recreating that style of old movie trailers.

JIM: There’s a new live DVD coming out later this year (recorded and filmed live in Sweden) and I know there’s also a “Live In London” DVD available, but have you ever thought of doing a live album at any point?

RUSSELL: Well there was talk of releasing the “Live In London” concert from the “Balls” tour (2000) as a CD too but we thought if people already had the DVD it was kind of a cheat. But no, we’ve never actually recorded a live album. There’s nothing in the can.

JIM: Are you guys ready for ‘Sparks 20,’ the next album?

RON: (sighs)

RUSSELL: We’re working on it. It’s coming along. After doing an album like “Lil’ Beethoven” that’s so eccentric and unique, we feel we have to keep upping the ante and have it be as striking as that was without repeating ourselves. We’re trying to find a balance and continue exploring that direction but also trying to find some new angles.

JIM: Since you now have your own studio, does it help you to be able to write and record and then just throw out what you don’t like? Do you throw out a lot of songs?

RUSSELL: In the past, Ron would mostly write stuff at his place and not even be around the studio and then bring it in and we’d start working it up. But since “Lil’ Beethoven” we’ve been trying to work more in a way of just going to our studio and Ron starts winging it and I sit at the console waiting for something to happen and then we start piecing stuff together. So working in that way, there’s a lot of stuff that gets scrapped along the way. Or songs that start off in one direction and end up in another direction. So there may be a version of the genesis of one song but it doesn’t even exist anymore like the way it originally sounded.

The next group played at the Azkena stage, smaller than the San Miguel one, which was opposite it, separated by 200 metres more or less. The big band in question was Mother Superior, a power trio that crushed the crowd. Their Hard Rock, almost Stoner for moments, got to wise the audience up quickly, this is a band to very bear in mind, such great songs and high quality. In spite of the technical problems that they suffered during the show, people liked them and were convinced, don’t miss the chance to see them, amazing.”

from: Space Rock Heaters

“All the bad thoughts I had disappeared just when Mother Superior took the stage, one of the bands which swept to victory with their very, very high live performance. I’ve never seen Rollins Band live, unfortunately, but now I know Henry is never wrong when he chooses his musicians. After releasing some independent albums “The Heavy Soul Experience of Mother Superior” and “Deep” they recorded “Get Some Go Again” with the Rollins Band. In 2002 their masterpieces start with “Sin”, an album which has absolutely part of everything and with an originality not very often seen in a power trio. This jewel is followed by another, “13 Violets” which is plenty of compositions that should reach the highest positions of any playlist of the world. They played a big amount of songs from “13 Violets”, the same as from “Sin”. “Jaded Little Princess”, “Fuel The Fire” and “Five Stars” sounded especially powerful, the audience got crazy with these songs like a pack of buffalos. Their live attitude consists of not stopping shooting hit song after hit song to the listeners and with such a repertoire they have is difficult that the show got miscarried to Marcus Blake and his boys. “Head Hanging Low” and “Queen of The Dead” will be kept in my memory until the happy day of my death.”

from Rock Angels

“And finally one of the bands which were really expected in the festival, Mother Superior, the old Henry Rollins’s band. Here is where the festival really began and it began really powerfully. The Californian trio show us a succulent setlist where shone songs from their last two records. A band which moves happily from Hard Rock to the more aggressive Blues, with some albums which are pure dynamite. Highlighted songs were “13 Violets”, “Pretty In The Morning” and “Fuel the Fire” where the crowd forgot completely that it was siesta-time and woke up the animal they had inside as if it was a discharge of adrenaline, and they were dragged by the frenetic and overwhelming rhythm of this band. The only trouble were the technical problems which happened at the beginning, that soon got solved meanwhile the crowd was getting impatient and waited anxious for the show to begin and meanwhile Jim Wilson was cheering the crowd up. Amazing staging and total devotion on the part of the three musicians that made of their show one of the most excellent ones of the festival. Yes, a great show, but I can’t understand why someone placed their show at this early hour.”

from Tot Rock

“The fact that people like The Last Vegas, The Mooney Suzuki, Velvet Revolver, 16 Horsepower or even Chris Robinson stood up the promoters of ARF 2004 made a lot of people think something was not working well. Automatically the sight of those who expected to receive some good sonic discharge that weekend were focused, in my humble opinion, on two bands: Mother Superior and on the re-born The Wildhearts. The first ones, playing in some conditions which could have been better, in broad daylight , they offered a show that we could define as standard. A set that made us looking forward to listening to the songs of their last record, “13 Violets” in a smaller space and in better conditions.”


In their edition of 2004, the Azkena Rock Festival has came up with surprises so touching and expected by many of us like the return of The New York Dolls, MC5, The Screaming Cheetah Wheelies and Urge Overkill, the first show in our lands of such a fantastic and dear band like Mother Superior, the visit of artists very recommended like Radio Birdman, Mark Lanegan, Turbonegro, The Silos, the eternally cool Fun Lovin’ Criminals and a very special final party dedicated to the memory of the immortal Johnny Cash. A real celebration of Rock in an event which every year has more power and that predicts once again- a very promising future.

The most solid power trio from Los Angeles

Almost without time for us to reach the stage, the power trio from Los Angeles attacked us with the song which gives name to the record of the year, “13 Violets”. Huge charisma, impeccable musicians and with an excellent ability to cope with a show. They didn’t need so much to get the audience eating out of their hands. If we bear in mind that they were looking forward to playing in our country, you could imagine what happened on stage. Apart from some new songs (which sounded wonderfully), they based their performance on the songs from the mentioned album and also from the explosive “Sin”. This is the big thing about of this band; like Drive-By-Truckers, they do not take 4 years to record a masterly album. Mother Superior is a band with an enormous talent, that knows how to absorb their influences and catalyse them giving them own identity. This is what someone can appreciate in their studio recordings, and that it can be noticed live listening to “Jaded Little Princess”, “Pretty In The Morning” or “Fuel The Fire”. Songs which expand their greatness live with the furious solos from a plethoric Jim Wilson, meanwhile Marcus and Matt cover his back without any trouble. Taking into account that this was their only date in this country, it was obligatory to come here to contemplate a classic of our time. Because that is what Mother Superior is. Maybe they will never get to sell millions of records, but this band is very, very big and time will end up placing them at the level of Mountain, Grand Funk Railroad and Humble Pie. We hope that they make a tour soon in our country.


After the unknown Bide Ertzean and having to make the shows last longer because of the cancellation of The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, MOTHER SUPERIOR took the stage, the big surprise of the festival so far: energetic Blues Rock, almost Heavy, with a powerful and raw staging. In spite of the intense heat and having as a handicap the sun of the dusk just in front of them, the Americans could bear the situation: the poor guys turned as red as a beet but this didn’t take away any bit of colour (and sorry for the easy joke) to the show.


Mother Superior made their debut in our stages sounding heavier than some of us expected. Their show was a big one, plenty of attitude and convincing Rock and Roll.

from ALTA FIDELIDAD.ORG (w/ 2 pictures!)

“The guitar player Jim Wilson is awesome on stage thanks to those wicked movements with his Fender Strato, faded by the passing of time and the countless gigs, in a complete relationship of love and power. Mother Superior is something more than a Rock band: their 70’s debts to Zeppelin or The Who have not been forgotten. Marcus Blake in bass and Jason Mackenroth in drums formed the rest of the trio. They came to Azkena to present their last album “13 Violets”, but what they did was basically a run-through of their discography. They gave us huge songs like “Pretty In The Morning” from the magnificent and almost unsurpassable “Sin” (edited in 2002), with extra poses of Wilson playing with his guitar. Good sensations after having seen these phenomenon musicians above the highest.”


“The band of the “Get Some Go Again” tour of Henry Rollins proved too well that they do not need his mentor to transmit power. They are very good, practicing Blues Hard Rock, with fast and convincing metallic tones. Taking into account the hour they played at, they were very good, people appreciated it. This acceleration was useful to preheat the atmosphere because of the non-presence of Soundtrack Of Our Lives that disappeared without giving many reasons.”


“(…) After that, Mother Superior, from Hollywood, Henry Rollins’ accompaniment trio, unloaded a “maximum rhythm and blues” influenced by The Who and with winks to Hendrix and to Soul Music”


“In the first day we already started checking out the power of the L.A trio Mother Superior. They, who were part of the Rollins Band, radiated power (yes, they are very heavy) and enthusiasm despite the early hour.”


“After the acoustic show of Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart we went to see Mother Superior. Some of the best of the festival. 70’s style Rocking trio with a touch of Soul and quite virtuoso. It was such a pleasure to see them. Devotion and conviction although they played at an hour which was more suitable for tea-time”


“(…) Some minutes later, Mother Superior set very high standards with a Decalogue of Seventies Rock at subhuman volume. This dangerous trio from L.A. put into practice just what it says in page number one of the big shows’ handbook: playing with enthusiasm, having a great time and enjoying their own music. If someone had any doubt about them, you had them at your service taking a walk during the rest of the festival, something which is always nice”


“Just after that, “13 Violets”, the song which gives name to the last Mother Superior’s album, opened fire in the show of the guys from Hollywood, undoubtedly, one of the best of the festival. Working as a Soul power trio, they proved that they were playing at the wrong hour (if they had played at night the party could have been even bigger) and that without a doubt, it is one of those bands to pay attention to from the nowadays Hard Rock scene; it’s a pity they suffered sound difficulties, as did some other bands of that day. La madre superiora works like the big trios from the Seventies, with no fear of gigantism, with a certain space for instrumental developments, giving rise to a steamroller of Classic Rock that reaches its crucial point live; later they would show their affability walking among the crowd during the festival (who didn’t meet them any time?) The ones who have heard the recordings of their new album assure that it is the best one they have ever done: hooray for them.”

from Calzada News

“I do not know, for my was the second of the festival, after the presentation with New York Dolls. There were changes with respect to the anticipated thing, because The Soundtrack of our lives fell finally of the poster. To the first band which I saw went to Superior Mother, that was not of my affability, became too heavy and reason why it asks that way, it seemed to delight to the youngest public of the festival.”