'I wander into CBGBs where I find Russell Mael, and I blush my way through a request for a photograph., and there I stand 17, clumsy and shy, with Russell beneath the CBGBs canopy. The first five Sparks albums had been constant companions. I had first heard This Town Ain't Big Enough for the both of us as Radio One's Record of the Week, which they played daily at about 5:15. I had no idea who Sparks were but I thought the singer - whoever she was - had the most arresting voice I'd ever heard. In time of course, Sparks exploded, the color of madness. Ron Mael sat at the keyboard like an abandoned ventriloquist's doll and brother Russell sang in French italics with the mad urgency of someone tied to a tree. It was magnificent and the ferocious body of sound was a speedboat in overdrive. The life and death question was; what is it? As children the Mael brothers probably slept in bunk-coffins in an unusual wing, playing with surgical instruments whilst other kids of Los Angeles addressed the surf. The straightjacket sound of Sparks could never be fully explained, and even now their historic place is confusing since they belong apart. Lyrically Ron Mael is as close to Chaucer as the pop world will ever get - elevated and poetic, nine parts demon, and I am very thankful.'