Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sparks (and Halfnelson) Drummer Project (3): John Mendelssohn, 1969!

"I remember the Maels exchanging unhappy glances when I said I thought we should be violent and scary, a la my idols, The Who." - John Mendelssohn

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John Mendelssohn
This is the third of a series of discussions with the individuals that played drums for the band Sparks - or in this case, Halfnelson, the band that evolved into Sparks. The first two installments in this series are with David Kendrick and Harley Feinstein.  In this installment, I talk with John Mendelssohn, who played with Ron and Russell Mael, the leaders of Halfnelson/Sparks, from July through September, 1969. A short period, but a highly significant one, as it was during this time that the eponymous (and never released) Halfnelson record was made, with John playing drums.

John Mendelssohn is a multifaceted man who has distinguished himself as a journalist, an author, a graphic designer, and a performer and songwriter in his own right.  He is well known for his often acerbic, but also quite humorous, record reviews for Rolling Stone and Creem magazine, among others. However, like his time in Halfnelson, this is but a small part of his extensive career.  His Wikipedia page is worth reading for a good summary. I am grateful to John for his generosity of time and insight, and patience with my follow up questions.  He was candid with his views, and his sense of humor is intact. John's blog is compelling reading, and can be found here.