A spark of life
New band The Spark electrifies Reno with its unique sound
The inspiration to do something different can sometimes come from an act done many times over. For two of the members of The Spark, that inspiration came during an early May trip to San Francisco. Bassist Eric Foreman and guitarist Jen Scaffidi saw three or four of what they describe as “really great rock bands.”
“All the while, we just wanted to rock,” Foreman says.
Upon returning to Reno, the two recruited drummer Andy Dicus, who played with Foreman in the short-lived band Fairweather.
The three are certainly no strangers to the music scene. Along with Fairweather, Foreman has played in Three Foot Hand, Minus Device and Dross. Scaffidi was one of the original members of Crushstory, played in Twilight Project and has done solo work as well. Dicus, who was trained in the jazz style of drumming, was in Sophie and the Probiotics.
But despite not being strangers to music, the band has a hard time describing their sound.
“I don’t know what we play, but we have a jazz drummer,” Scaffidi says, laughing.
Foreman has a more traditional take on what the band’s sound is: “New wave pop gets the blues.”
“Indy pop rock jam band,” Dicus offers, half seriously.
“It’s definitely leaning to a blues edge,” says Scaffidi, who is co-lead singer, along with Foreman. “It’s not straight-up pop or straight-up rock. I think it might be a legacy of living in this town with all the space and dust. It fits itself in musically with that country-style desperation.
“At least, when I write these songs, that’s the feeling I put into it.”
The band hopes these songs take them out of Reno for some touring in the near future.
“I want to go on tour, make records,” Scaffidi says.
Dicus takes a much more philosophical, perhaps slightly sarcastic approach to the band’s future: “I just want to maintain an environment where I can be inspired.”
“I want to write radio jingles,” he says. “Actually, I just want to play as long as possible … until I’m 45, and then I’ll write jazz fusion songs.”
The constant joking around doesn’t stop throughout the interview, and from seeing two shows The Spark has played, the joking doesn’t stop when they are on stage, either. For only being together three months, the band members have a remarkable stage presence. Often, a new band will shun the audience and each other, just trying not to screw up. But The Spark seems to enjoy being on stage together, sometimes screwing around a little, sometimes screwing up a little.
This attitude allows them more musical freedom, as well. They aren’t limited to playing the songs how they were originally written, which works well with Dicus being a jazz drummer.
“When Andy plays, Eric and I are incidental,” Scaffidi says. “His soul is bubbling all over his drums.”
“It’s a little messy, but beautiful,” Foreman adds.
During a practice session, the band finishes a song in which Dicus has once again changed the ending of a particular song with his drumming.
“I never know how that song is going to end with Andy," Scaffidi says. "And I love that."