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The Gods Of War With JIM WARD From SPARTA

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Rising from the ashes of the supposed next big thing, Sparta attacked the music industry as a whole with a point to prove.

And prove it they did, releasing their debut album Wiretap Scars in 2002 and almost single-handedly redefining the term experimentation in music as the world had previously known it.

“I don’t necessarily wanna make that record on stage every night.”

Jim Ward

When At The Drive-In split in 2001 the music world was left in shock. Coming seemingly from nowhere with an effervescent approach to music that combined genres unlike never before, At The Drive-In were quickly lauded with the title of the next big thing, and who was there to stop them?

It is highly even the band themselves knew exactly what they were doing or what direction they were headed.

The band was riding the crest of a wave that would sweep them however far they wished to go before the unthinkable happened and ATDI were no more.

Spurred on by this, former backup vocalist Jim Ward and two other ATDI members Tony Hajjar and Paul Hinojos quickly turned their creativity to Sparta, and before long the three musicians who had been reduced to supporting cast members previously were now in command of the ship.

Sparta has had a spluttering progression – due mainly to Ward operating by his own rules and shunning industry expectations – but they are still very much a band with a point to prove and an axe to grind.

That axe comes out of the shed next May when Sparta heads to Australia on the tail end of a massive tour that has seen them play and celebrate 20 years since the release of Wiretap Scars.

HEAVY sat down with Ward to run through memory lane, starting with how long it has been since Sparta last toured this country.

It will be about 12 years by the time I get there,” he almost apologised. “Too long, for sure.”

We ask him what has changed with the band in that time.

“Members,” he laughed. “We play as a three-piece now. It’s still Matt Miller on bass, but we have sort of a rotating cast of drummers depending on the tours. Really the only two band members are Matt and I, so we make the records, we sort of have other friends play drums on stuff, and then we tour with whoever. Other than that, we have just aged gracefully (smiles) and are better looking than ever.”

In the full interview, Jim talks about the other shows on this tour and how playing the album in full has been received, the difficulties in reproducing a whole album live, the time in which Sparta made the album and how their recent exit from ATDI influenced the finished product, making the transition from back up singer to lead vocalist, why he thinks Wiretap Scars has stood the test of time, what to expect from the shows and more.


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