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scary red monster
Interview with Sparks The Rescue 05/17/09
scary red monster

In a year highlighted by signing with Fearless Records, releasing their debut LP, “Eyes to the Sun,” and embarking on the Shh. It Happens tour, what has been the most exciting thing that’s happened for Sparks the Rescue recently? “We got a new van!” drummer Nate Spencer crows.

Sparks the Rescue
Nate Spencer
Sparks the Rescue
Toby McAllister
During one leg of their recent tour, their old van died and the five members of the band found themselves huddled on the floor of a rented cargo van, headed home. The musicians weathered that crisis with ease. “We’re getting used to roughing it,” says rhythm guitarist Toby McAllister. Natives of the state of Maine, Spencer, McAllister, and their fellow bandmates, Alex Roy, Patrick O’Connell and Ben Briggs, have Down East Yankee hardiness in their genes.
At least one of the bandmembers has a softer side, revealed when he tells the story of how this pop-punk quintet got its name. “I love cheesy romantic novels,” admits McAllister, The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks being one of his favorites. The band agreed to call themselves The Rescue, but discovered that another band had beaten them to it. They added the name of the author, and Sparks the Rescue was born.

Sparks the Rescue came together four years ago when Spencer, McAllister and Briggs, who were playing in a blink-182 cover band joined forces with Roy, who played in a rival blink-182 cover band. O’Connell, the only Sparks the Rescue member not playing in a blink-182 cover band, had been honing his skills on classic rock, trying to follow in the footsteps of Jimmy Page.

Today, Sparks the Rescue play their own original compositions. “I usually write the skeleton of the song and bring it to the other guys and they all help finish it,” says Roy. Sometimes it can take weeks for the band to fine tune a song to the point where it’s ready to demo. Other songs seem to almost write themselves. “Nurse! Nurse! (I’m Losing My Patients),” a single from the band’s EP “came together in an hour,” reveals Spencer.

Sparks the Rescue
Alex Roy
Sparks the Rescue
Ben Briggs
Sparks the Rescue
Patrick O’Connell

Relative newcomers to a crowded pop-punk scene that already includes bands like All Time Low and The Maine, Sparks the Rescue plans to break out of the pack by making sure their live performances are simply unforgettable. Their unique and dynamic stage presence includes a tight rhythm section, (“They’ve been together since eighth grade.”), flawless vocal harmonies, and a lead singer who’s not afraid to literally reach out and touch his audience. When Roy says, “We bring it,” it’s not an idle boast.

This summer, Sparks the Rescue will play on the Shh. It Happens tour, headlined by Fearless labelmates Every Avenue. This guarantees that kids will pack in to venues across the country to see Sparks the Rescue “bring it.” Last summer told a different story for McAllister and his bandmates. They arrived at one venue only to be told that unless a requisite number of patrons attended their concert, the band themselves would have to pay the rental fee for the venue. McAllister’s response at the time was, “Dude, we can’t do that. We’ve got, like, five bucks.”

The shortage of funds at the time forced the band to load up the van and head straight for home. Despite setbacks like this, the bandmembers remained optimistic about their future. While some bands quit after one bad experience, Sparks the Rescue refused to give in. “We weren’t worried about if it would ever happen for us. It was just a matter of when,” says McAllister.

Signing with Fearless Records in March of 2009 has brought big improvements to the daily lives of these hard working musicians. They were able to hire a tour manager to handle everything from interfacing with venue management to what’s-for-dinner. In addition, instead of having to book their own shows, Fearless assumes that responsibility, along with all promotion of the band.

Despite growing success, one thing that hasn’t changed is the band’s genuine connection with the fans. They still write their own Myspace blogs (although now someone at the record label corrects their spelling), and they still make time for fans before and after shows. Spencer speaks for the band when he says, “We’re here because of you...If I could, I would take you all home with me and cook you dinner!”

Sparks The Rescue
Sparks The rescue
Sparks The rescue
Sparks The rescue
Sparks The rescue

Newsflash!

As this article went to press, Sparks the Rescue received the exciting news that they would be supporting the All American Rejects on a major European tour starting June 6. “We’re stunned!” exclaims McAllister.

In addition to the novelty of visiting foreign countries, McAllister says the band will be provided with a driver as well as roadies to set up and break down their equipment. “This’ll be the closest we’ve ever gotten to feeling like rock stars!” he says, excitedly.

You can view the entire Sparks The Rescue gallery here

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