Cameron Edney - http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com
I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview this week with
Dokken bass player, Barry Sparks. Barry has been in the business for
quite a few years now, recording and touring around the world with
some of the greatest hard rock acts to ever grace a stage such as
Yngwie Malmsteen, UFO, M.S.G, Ted Nugent and Dokken. This was my first
interview with Barry and I hope that it isn’t my last. We spoke
briefly about the European tour that Dokken has just wrapped up, the
VH1 Metal mania petition which Barry has signed along with many other
artists, the latest Dokken album “Hell to Pay”, Barry’s
influences etc. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed conducting
Metal Fanatix: Hi Barry thanks so much for taking
the time out to answer this series of questions for all our readers.
I would like to start by talking about your influences. In the early
days you were influenced by the likes of Ace Frehley, Michael Schenker,
Pete Way etc. Who would you say was the biggest influence on you growing
up & why?
Barry Sparks: Hi there, well lets see here, Geddy
Lee of Rush is one of my biggest heroes, he is such a good bassist
and I also love his singing, of course I guess without Kiss, I might
have got a real job! Led Zeppelin is another big influence, why? Well,
that's easy. I just think they are one the greatest Rock bands ever
with so many great songs.
Metal Fanatix: Do you feel you have played a large role in
influencing many of today’s hard rock acts?
Barry Sparks: Me personally, no. But the bands I
have worked with, definitely yes, I am proud to be apart of it now
Metal Fanatix: Now you have just come off of the European
tour, how was it?
Barry Sparks: The best of times, and the worst of
times! We had a lot of great shows, but also a lot of crappy ones
too. Over all though, a great time was had by all.
Metal Fanatix: Any plans in the works for an Australian tour?
Barry Sparks: Unfortunately, no. I would love to
play there though. Can you move the continent a little closer?
Metal Fanatix: What was your first experience of playing
outside the USA like?
Barry Sparks: It was amazing! It was in Prague,
playing with a Czech rock band and a fellar named Guy Mann Dude!
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have worked with Yngwie
Malmsteen, M.S.G. and Dokken among others. From all the albums you
have appeared on what one would be your favourite to listen to &
Barry Sparks: That's a tough one! I guess I would
say I am very proud of "written in the sand" by the Michael
Metal Fanatix: What comes to mind when you look back on those
early experiences with Yngwie Malmsteen?
Barry Sparks: Pain and suffering! Hahahaha just
kidding, I loved those years, they might have been the most exciting
times on the road for me, I was young and it was all really new to
Metal Fanatix: You have shared the stage with many great
bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with the most & could you
share a funny road story with us from the tour?
Barry Sparks: I can’t pick a favourite, Dokken
has so many cool shows, and UFO was amazing as well. I do remember
a time on stage where Michael Schenker forgot how to play a part..........so
he just called out to me from his side of the stage, "Hey Barry,
how do you play this?, so I walked over and showed him in front of
a very quite and interested crowd. A very weird moment onstage!
Metal Fanatix: You’ve performed with many talented
artists over the years. Has these experiences helped to develop the
techniques that you are using today?
Barry Sparks: Of course, I think I am a much better
rock player from playing with Dokken and Ted Nugent, with Yngwie I
was more of a technique oriented player, which I still am, but I can
forget all of that and just play bare bones rock like I mean it! Like
the true caveman I am.
Metal Fanatix: I’d like to ask you about U.F.O. tour
that you were apart of last year. Having the opportunity to fill in
for one of your heroes must be an exciting experience? How did you
get the gig?
Barry Sparks: I have been friends with them for
a long time, I actually played guitar with them at Castle Donnington
in England a few years ago, so that might have helped. i had a blast,
besides Pete was such a big influence on me, I think I knew what the
band needed up there.
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have done quite a lot of
work with Dokken. What do you think of the latest album “Hell
Barry Sparks: To be honest I think we should have
made long way home and hell to pay as one album, take the best of
each and we would have had an awesome record. That being said, I am
pretty happy with "hell to pay" overall, but I would have
like to have added more harmonies to it. For some reason, it never
Metal Fanatix: Working with somebody like Don must be great?
Did you have a lot of input on how the album would sound etc?
Barry Sparks: Not really, I wrote "Don’t
bring me down" but I came into it at the end, because I was on
the road, so it is pretty much all Don and Jon.
Metal Fanatix: It has come to my attention that more than
1700 rock/metal fans worldwide have united and signed a petition.
Artists such as Judas priest, Don Dokken & yourself to name a
few are among those in favour of a Vh1 Metal Mania Channel with no
“nu-metal” to be played. Many fans & artists believe
that VH1 & MTV will never approve this, not because of ratings,
but because of the genre of music which would be featured. Can you
share your thoughts on the matter?
Barry Sparks: It would be nice if people weren’t
so close minded about music, a good song is a good song. They just
shove what they want down our throats and turn music into pre-packaged
crap. Art seems to be lost, hahaha I don’t mean to sound so
negative, maybe it’s always been this way and I just notice
it more? There are some really great bands around today, but as a
whole I think we are surrounded by bland faceless rock stars.
Metal Fanatix: In your honest opinion what do you think about
the direction that Hard Rock & Heavy Metal music has taken over
the last few years?
Barry Sparks: To be honest, I have kinda ran the
other way, I don’t like the cookie monster singing style and
I don’t really feel that angry so I don’t really relate
to a lot of it, but that doesn't mean its bad, maybe its not for me.
I grew up with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, so I just need to pay
attention more maybe.
Metal Fanatix: Are you listening to any of the newer hard
rock/metal bands if so who?
Barry Sparks: Not really, I do like Evanescence.
They are great, but once again, I haven’t heard a whole lot
of these new bands, but I am sure there are a lot I would love.
Metal Fanatix: What advice would you give to up and coming
Barry Sparks: Do what you like, and stop jumping
on the bandwagon, I wish more artists would take a chance and be them
selves instead of trying to sound like what is cool this week.
Metal Fanatix: Using only five words: How would you describe
your bass playing?
Barry Sparks: The groove is my master! .........and
I will obey it! Hahaha too many words sorry.
Metal Fanatix: There has been so many highlights in your
career, what would you say have been your greatest achievements to
Barry Sparks: Surviving the flights in Europe this
tour! They fly like maniacs and scare the hell out of me! seriously
though, my solo cd, "Can't look back" its my heart and soul
all condensed onto a round piece a plastic, without an ounce of "hey
what’s cool this week" thus making me of course so far
out of date and fashion, that its the coolest thing you ever heard!
Metal Fanatix: What do you think you would be doing if you
woke up tomorrow and decided that you didn’t want to perform
Barry Sparks: I think I would want to be a professional
bikini waxer or maybe a playboy photographer.
Metal Fanatix: If you could put a band together consisting
of musicians passed and/or present who would they be and what would
you call the band?
Barry Sparks: John Bonham-drums, Robert Plant-vocals,
Jimmy Page-guitar and Barry Sparks-bass. Hmmm, what would I call it?
How about the Barry Sparks project, hahaha fat chance!
Metal Fanatix: Barry thanks so much for your time. Do you
have any last words for the readers of Inside_out666?
Barry Sparks: Yes, inside666 sounds much more evil.
Thank you for reading my dribble and good luck to you all.
Check out the following sites for all the latest news:
- Official Barry Sparks website
- Official Dokken website
- Dedicated to 40 years of pure hard rock & metal music
- Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Artists and Fans unite to battle VH1/MTV Networks
for Metal Mania Channel
© Cameron Edney April 2005 Not to be re-printed in any form without