Political Sparks

Sparky’s Nightmare recently thrilled a crowd of 1,000-plus at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg. Hand picked as the opening act for Cyndi Lauper, the band rose to the occasion with their melodic brand of rock and the impassioned singing of lead vocalist Natty Moss Bond. Since that galvanizing performance, Sparky’s Nightmare has returned to what they’ve been doing for nearly the last four years: taking whatever job they can find around the Tampa Bay area and making the most of it, whether it’s playing a private party or a rowdy roadhouse.

The members of Sparky’s Nightmare are all veteran bay-area musicians, several of whom perform double duties to stay busy. Lead vocalist Moss Bond, who also moonlights with Ronny Elliott and The Nationals, is formerly of Multicolor House, as is guitarist/vocalist Sam Bond (Moss Bond’s ex-husband). Moss Bond’s current beau is bassist/vocalist Martin Rice, who also performs with Misfortune 500, as does lead guitarist/vocalist John McNicholas. Moss Bond said that there is no animosity between her past and present love interests, and that she gets along with both. All the band members contribute to the songwriting process except for their female lead singer.

“I love words in every form. I love poetry, and I love books, and I love songs especially,” Moss Bond said. “I love what people have to say. As long as there are really cool words in a song, I’ll sing it. I’ve been really blessed with great songwriters standing around me. I couldn’t write a song if you paid me a million dollars.”

“Yeah, you could,” interjects Williams with a smile.

Moss Bond and Williams are between bites of pizza and salad, the interview taking place at the swank Bella’s, located on Howard Avenue.

“Maybe I’m terrified of revealing my soul,” Moss Bond said. “It’s not hard for me to show you Hugh’s soul, though. I can do that.”

Moss Bond explained that to sing the work of others effectively, one must get into character, the same way an actor prepares for a role.

“Natty (Moss Bond) is a method singer,” Williams joked.Sparky’s Nightmare’s music covers a broad range of styles representative of the wide range of influences each member brings to the band.

“(Our music) is different than what any of us would do on our own,” Williams said.

Moss Bond said that whether music works on a gut level is what is most important.

“The thing I like most about music is songs, and what they have to say,” Moss Bond said.

“Not a certain style. If it touches me, it doesn’t matter what kind of song it is: a jazz ballad by Billie Holiday or some rap song, it doesn’t matter. If I feel what (the artist) feels, I like it.”

In addition to their usual barroom and club shows, Sparky’s Nightmare has recently been courted by political institutions to play. The Amnesty International concert, which featured controversial USF professor Sami Al-Arian, was their first such performance.

“That was one of those things that was weird because (Al-Arian) was just bitchin’,” Moss Bond said.

The singer said she did not agree with the message the man who once said, “Death to Israel,” was espousing.

“I didn’t know he was going to be there,” Moss Bond said. “I probably would have (played) anyway, but … There is too much negativity in the world. We just need to spread a little love.”Moss Bond added, “I feel bad when someone has to get that angry that they have to hate that much.”

On Saturday, Sparky’s Nightmare will perform at the Democracy Rising Super Rally. The rally will feature, along with other musical guests such as Patti Smith, 2000 presidential Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

“I was the only one in the band that voted for Ralph Nader,” Moss Bond said. “I think he’s one of the smartest men in the country.”

Williams, who did not claim to be very political, said he liked “anything to shake (the system) up.”

Both Williams and Moss Bond said that they were curious to see Nader speak and hear fresh ideas be voiced.

“There’s so much wrong with this country,” Moss Bond said. “But, there is so much more that is right with this country, too. Primarily because we have the freedoms we do, (such as) the freedom of speech.”

Sparky’s Nightmare will perform Saturdat at 5 p.m. at the USF Sun Dome as part of the Democracy Rising Super Rally. Other performers and speakers include: Ralph Nader, Michael Moore, Patti Smith and her band, Iris Dement, Jello Biafra, Buffalo Strange and Mezcal. For more info call 232-5300.

Contact Wade Tatangelo at oracleofflimits@yahoo.com.