July 8, 2004

Sparta Nixes Lollapalooza, Jumps Onto Incubus Ship, Releases ‘Porcelain’

By Randy J. Klodz

Things are going good for the El Paso, Texas rockers Sparta. With a new album hitting stores July 13, the band dropped off a failing tour before it hit rock bottom and instead ran into a favorable tour in support of Incubus that hits Allstate Arena on July 14.

Sparta--which includes Jim Ward (vocals, guitar, keys), Paul Hinojos (guitar), Matt Miller (bass) and Tony Hajjar (drums)--was scheduled to be part of this year’s installment of the Lollapalooza tour, but the band decided against participating within the festival--which was to take place in the Chicago area at Tinley Park’s Tweeter center on July 29 and July 30--well before the tour’s sudden and recent cancellation.

“It just didn’t feel right for us,” Sparta bassist Matt Miller said. “I think the whole Lollapalooza stuff back in the early 90s it was a good thing, but nowadays it’s a different atmosphere and a lot of people don’t want to spend all day, or two days, at one of those arena sheds. When we first decided to do that, I was the only one in opposition, I mean it’s kind of weird two days, a jam day and a rock day. And as we thought about it more and more we’re just like, ‘Yeah, this isn’t going to be very cool; this isn’t going to be very fun.’ We bailed out of it before the actual ship sank."

Jumping ship before the tour bombed, proved to work out in Sparta’s favor, as Australian rock band the Vines pulled out of a favorable arena tour with popular rock act Incubus, and shortly before that tour was to start, Sparta’s phone rang.

“I think twelve or thirteen days before the tour actually started we got offered [the supporting slot],” Miller said. “And we’re like ‘Eh, sounds pretty cool.’ We were actually planning our own headlining tour and [Incubus] gave us a call to see if we wanted to open up for them since the Vines had dropped out. We thought it would be kind of cool to do this kind of tour with the album coming out, kind of reaching a bunch of new people and then in the fall sometime come out with our own headlining tour and go from there.”

And “Porcelain,” the follow-up to 2002’s “Wiretap Scars,” is sure to create a buzz among fans of the band’s previous work, with new fans sure to follow, as along with this tour with Incubus, Sparta has made sure it tours within diverse tour line-ups. The band has also toured with rock icons Pearl Jam and dork-rockers Weezer to name a few. Fans of Sparta’s hit single “Cut Your Ribbon” are sure to take to the rocking of “Guns of Memorial Park” and “Travel By Bloodline.”

Allstate Arena is at 6920 N. Mannheim Rd. in suburban Rosemont. Tickets for this all-ages show are listed for $32.50 each with a show starting time slated for 7:30 p.m. For more information on Sparta log on to www.spartamusic.com.
Sparta Photo: c/o Nasty Little Man