Opportunity knocks: Sparky's Flaw ready for its close-up
Unlike their fellow graduates, the guys of the pop-rock band Sparky's Flaw have found themselves back in their parents' basements. But for an up-and-coming band arked as the next big thing by Charlottesville music sages, the step into full-blown adulthood includes a full-time life as musicians. Now managed by Dave Matthews Band's own manager, Red Light Management, Sparky's Flaw has come into its own as a regional presence.
"Right now, we're back at home," laughs lead singer Will Anderson. "We're still playing basements."
As frequent players on the Charlottesville music scene, Sparky's Flaw knows the local crowd. A Charlottesville High School graduate alongside fellow band members Kit French, Alex Hargrave, and Johnny Stubblefield (lead guitarist Nate McFarland is of Northern Virginia origins), Anderson credits the transition to college life as the time when the band took the turn from basement jamming to deal-signing.
"We've gotten the deal we've been waiting for, but now it takes a lot of work, the stars have to align," Anderson says. "You can't sit and bask and say, 'We are the next big thing, we are...' You can't lose sight of the fact that there's a lot of work to be done."
Touring up and down the East Coast and finishing up a CD, the boys of Sparky's know the hectic life of musicians– something strangely similar to that of a student. At UVA, studying music, Anderson juggled weekend traveling and performing with the everyday hustle and bustle of classes. But living as much a normal student life as possible was a path Anderson was glad to have experienced.
"It was tough performing with school work, going to L.A. on the weekends, coming back late Sunday night for class Monday morning," Anderson says. "All my other friends didn't make it [the band] a big deal at all, so we tried to keep a level head about ourselves."
With the dispersal of the band members to various colleges, the past four years was the time for Sparky's Flaw to buckle down and focus. Four years of shuttling around Virginia for practice and performance paid off last summer when they struck a long-awaited deal with Mercury Records. Now, with the band in one place and an upcoming CD on the horizon, the time to be an up-and-coming band has never been more eventful– or challenging.
"We were in different places for college," Anderson says. "It was either naivete or immaturity, but we never thought about not playing together."
The pop-rockers take the stage for Fridays After Five, preceding an East Coast and Midwest tour at the end of September. Putting the final touches on their upcoming record, the band– which has often been described as a mix of U2, Maroon 5, and the Fray– plans on unleashing several new pieces for their favorite Charlottesville crowd. Despite the segue into a more rock-star lifestyle with their collective graduations, Sparky's Flaw is quick to acknowledge the opportunity the Charlottesville music scene has given them and the long road ahead.
"For us, the work is what we want to be doing," says Anderson. "The Charlottesville crowd gave us this opportunity to do what we love."
Sparky's Flaw performs at Fridays After Five on September 5 in the Charlottesville Pavilion. Six Chasing Seven opens.