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The Handsome Family [rank: 433]

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"The Handsome Family is an American alternative country duo, the couple Brett and Rennie Sparks. Currently they live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Their songs are written in a strict separation of roles: Brett Sparks, who previously played in several independent bands, writes the music while Rennie, who also is an author, writes the lyrics. Typical for the lyrics is a close connection to the literary genre American Gothic, and Gothic elements you can find in early country and folk songs. The often very odd and drastic lyrics are sung by Brett Sparks in his smooth, calm and warm baritone voice. The duo are known for their playful bickering and loose, disorganised feel that characterises their live shows. The 'Live at the Schuba's Tavern' release contains many short stage dialogues between the pair and the song 'Winnebago Skeletons' is performed in a chaotic and imprecise manner. However many fans feel this is part of the charm of their live performances."

[reproduced or excerpted from the Wikipedia article "The Handsome Family" and its use is thus licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License]


Bandega Interview with Brett and Rennie Sparks of The Handsome Family (July 2009)

Walk reluctantly through the streets of Paris with The Handsome Family.

Q: How have your shows changed over the years? Has your perspective on performing live changed?
A: Hopefully they've gotten better. We work really hard. We want each show to be special and for people to feel like they've gotten to know us after seeing us play. It shouldn't be the same as the CD. When we first started we just wanted to drink free beer and make noise.

Q: Describe the most memorable live show you've played.
A: We played at Kirby's beer store in Wichita, Kansas many years ago. There were only five or six people there and they passed a hat around. When we looked in the hat after the show we found that someone had put five hundred dollars in there and written us a long note about how they were battling cancer and we were the only thing that had made them smile in a good many months.

Q: What venue do you consider to be your "home", where you feel most comfortable, with the crowd and the place itself?
A: 100 Club in London. We always have a great show there that is sold out months in advance and so it's only full of our most loyal fans. It's also where the Sex Pistols played.

Q: Describe the most enjoyable show you've ever experienced as a fan.
A: Seeing Roy Orbison sing outside in a park in Michigan. His voice soared out over the pines.

Q: 20 years as man and wife and 16 years as a band. Which has been easier? Where do the lines blur between the two and where are they perfectly clear?
A: It's a lot easier to be married than to be in a band. Marriage is a pleasure. We feel very lucky to have each other. Being in a band is a very hard way to make a living. It's nice to be with someone you love when you are far away from home and feeling so homesick you don't even want to walk around the streets of Paris.

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