Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sparks Drummer Project (4): Hilly Michaels, 1976

"It was heavenly being able to play with one of my most favorite bands in the world."

This is the fourth installment of my conversations with the individuals that have drummed with the band Sparks (as well as their predecessor band, Halfnelson). The first three are with David KendrickHarley Feinstein, and John Mendelssohn.  Recently, I spoke with Hilly Michaels, who drummed with Sparks on the 1976 Big Beat album, as well as the subsequent tour. Hilly has had a remarkable career working with Sparks, Mick Ronson, and other rock luminaries, and he remains active in music today, planning a summer release of newly recorded material. His official Facebook page  is essential to check out, as a good deal of his music can be referenced there. Also highly recommended is his Electronic Press Kit, which summarizes his career through 2013.

Hilly  was a fan of Sparks before he became a member - he had heard their early single "Wonder Girl" on the radio in 1972 and loved it, and after seeing them on television in 1975, knew that he hoped to play with them one day. He is a true gentleman appreciative of the opportunities he has had, and just as enthusiastic about the future too. He brings an intriguing combination of power and technical skill to Big Beat, and I am grateful to Hilly for sharing some time with me.

Two important notes: First, this link to Big Beat, as well as the one above, are to the 2006 remastered version. This is important; the production on the original album, as Hilly and I discuss, was subpar; on the 2006 version, one can truly appreciate the majesty of Hilly's drumming. And I do not use that word lightly. Second, I want to thank Thomas Ferranti for all his assistance is coordinating this interview.