They say you have your entire life to write your first record, and only months to complete your second. But for Spark Of Life, the malleable post-hardcore band that formed in the suburbs of Los Angeles almost 25 years ago, this life has been anything but predictable. The band returns today with “Song Of Hope,” a melodic punk track laced with a shimmering vintage guitar line and lyrics about facing a devastating loss. Centered around the songwriting nucleus of singer Steve Jennings and guitarist Nicholas Piscitello, the band recruited actor, comedian, and drummer Fred Armisen to play on the song. The video has an innate sense of nostalgia to it, yet the song would fall right in place alongside newer offerings from acts like The Menzingers and Samiam. “Song of Hope” is one of two tracks that will be on a split with fellow California melodic punk band Freewill due out this Spring on New Age Records.
Collaborating with Armisen came very naturally for the band after he and Jennings met in a classic way, bonding over music from complimenting each others’ t-shirts. On working together, Armisen comments:
“The band are friends of mine. They asked me to play drums on a song and that was an easy yes. What a great song. Recording and then doing the video was a lot of fun. Happy to be a fill-in drummer and full time friend!”
When Spark Of Life formed, the band honed in a sound that leaned more melodic than the hardcore set, and proved far weightier than what was happening in the world of pop-punk. By the early aughts, they had amassed a respectable following regionally, and had befriended Russ Rankin, an intensely thoughtful singer who came from another band that knew a thing or two about walking the margins between hardcore and punk, Good Riddance. Their friendship resulted in Spark Of Life’s restless 2003 debut Promises Made. Promises Kept., which was both produced by Rankin and released on his Fat Wreck Chords- backed subsidiary Lorelei Records. And then, as often the case with this band, life took a different turn.
Over the next two decades, Spark Of Life all but disappeared. There was no acrimonious break up and no public acknowledgment of their dissolution. They simply went on with their lives. Things changed in Fall 2018 when Jennings had convinced his friends Rise Against to play a secret show at the same skatepark he worked at in high school. The show was to double as his 40th birthday party and, for the occasion, he offered to reunite Spark of Life for one night to open up for Rise (it was quite a momentous event).The band’s brief reunion undoubtedly reignited the creative spirit between Jennings and Piscitello, who began writing off and on for the next few years. By early 2022, an idea was hatched to record a few of the songs that they had gotten to a point of near completion.
From these songs Jennings and Piscitello have begun laying a foundation for the future. They are already at work on their second full-length album, a record that, in some ways, has been 20 years in the making, and even planning some live performances. The first comes on February 11th in Fullerton, CA at Programme and you can find more details here.