HOTSEAT- Sparky's Anderson: Flaw frontman poised for big time
To hear him talk about himself, Will Anderson hardly sounds ready to be a rock star.
"On Friday and Saturday nights, I don't smoke; I don't drink; I don't come out," he says.
All the better for fans of homegrown pop music, because when Anderson sits at home, it's usually on a piano bench trying to write new songs for his band, Sparky's Flaw.
"When my roommates are out, I'll stay up all night writing songs," says the UVA fourth-year. "Then at 4am, I'll bang on their doors, shouting, 'I have a hit!' And they'll be like, 'That's great, Will. We'll listen to it in the morning.'"
A sampling of the fruits of those late-night labors will be revealed on Friday, August 31 at the band's Friday's After 5 gig, where Anderson and company will release the Sparky's Flaw EP. While Anderson is proud of the new material, he says it's only a taste of things to come.
"We've got a big announcement we can't make just yet," he says. "Hopefully, this will tide people over."
Since forming in 2002, when all four members were students at Charlottesville High School, Sparky's Flaw has played as many shows as possible, built their presence on MySpace.com, and steadily built a fan base broad enough to get the attention of Red Light Management– the locally based company that manages the likes of Phish alum Trey Anastasio, classic rockers Cheap Trick, and, of course, Charlottesville's own Dave Matthews Band. Red Light signed the band this summer, and Anderson says it had been a long courtship.
"It was a struggle because neither of us wanted this to seem like a Charlottesville band getting a favor," he says. "So they're inclined to make us play the crappy bars so we can build a following."
But make no mistake, Anderson is unabashedly ambitious about Sparky's Flaw becoming the next big thing in popular music and has no problem saying the m-word.
"Mainstream has such a stigma," he says, "but we're swinging for the fences for radio play. We think we can make music that's respectable and has its own sound and can still appeal to a lot of people."
Should Sparky's Flaw make the big time, it's quite possible that Anderson's vocals, songwriting, and onstage charisma could force the group to go the way of Coldplay, Maroon 5, and Weezer– bands whose lead singers get all the fame. Anderson says he has an understanding with the rest of the band on this potentially sensitive issue.
"These guys are my three best friends," he says, "but you need a leader, and I don't think the other guys would want to be that guy. They wouldn't be caught dead singing lead."
Besides, Anderson says nobody is better at keeping his ego in check.
"The moment my head gets big, they pop the bubble," he says. "If I give an autograph after a show, I will hear about it the whole van ride home."
Why here? Moved here from California at the age of 12 when my dad got a job at UVA. And I liked it a lot, so I stayed for college.
What's worst about living here? The incredible ability of Charlottesville's population to be vocally angry and complain about something and then fail to do anything about it.
Favorite hangout? In our van.
Most overrated virtue? Cleanliness.
People would be surprised to know about you? I (in absentia ) bested the World Texting Championship's winning time by 10 seconds.
What would you change about yourself? I wish I were a morning person.
Proudest accomplishment? We cannot announce it yet. However, it has been my goal for a very long time.
People find most annoying about you: My selective hearing
Whom do you admire? Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and anyone who does what's right, regardless of the consequences
Favorite book? The Godfather
Subject that causes you to rant? People who love to talk about what happened the night before
Biggest 21st-century thrill? Smart-phones
Biggest 21st-century creep out? Peak oil and space tourism
What do you drive? A 1997 Toyota Landcruiser that never starts.
In your car CD player right now: A great Charlottesville-based singer songwriter, Alex Mejias, and the great band Army of Me from DC.
Next journey? Wherever we're going next weekend.
Most trouble you've ever gotten in? When my parents read this
Regret: Not being 6'6"
Favorite comfort food: Bean Burritos
Always in your refrigerator: Usually empty
Must-see TV: Heroes, Lost, 24, and Entourage
Describe a perfect day: I wake up early for once. Play some golf, go the pool and read, come home and finish a good song, eat some Mexican food, watch a movie and hang out with friends, and then stay up until 5am reading in bed.
Walter Mitty fantasy: I would be out playing pick-up basketball at the Dell, and Coach Leitao would see me playing. He would then ask me to put my music career on hold for a year to join the team; and I become a skinnier, shorter version of Todd Billet, saving the team multiple times with my three-point shot. Sean Singletary and I would take the team to the ACC title.
Who'd play you in the movie? Danny DeVito
Most embarrassing moment? Running into a dumpster while walking with my crush after class.
Best advice you ever got? Be patient. It (so far) has served me well.
Favorite bumper sticker? "I'm big on the pig." I don't know why, but it rules.
Sparky's Flaw plays Fridays after Five August 31 at the Charlottesville Pavilion at the east end of the Downtown Mall. Sometime after five.