Changing labels

Louisiana roots rock troubadour and former Alligator Records recording artist Eric Lindell left that nest earlier this year to form his own New Orleans-based label called Sparco. 225 caught up with the emerging songwriter, producer and performer as he was readying a new slate of music with a little help from his friends.

You play in Baton Rouge at Chelsea’s Café a lot. What keeps you coming back?

I played the old Chelsea’s years ago with about 10 people there, but Dave (Remmetter) kept asking me to please come back. He always treats bands really well. Besides, my bass player and drummer are from Baton Rouge: Myles Weeks and Will McMains.

OK, I’ll take the bait. What’s a Sparco?

A long time ago I was at Goodwill in New Orleans, and I found this hat with a really cool patch that read “Sparco” on it. I always thought that was a cool name. [Editor’s note: Sparco Motor Sports makes racing equipment and sportswear.)

Thomas Johnson is on your new label. I went to high school with Thomas, though he’s younger than me. When I think of him, I think of the tennis team. What do you think of?

I’ve played with Thomas and known him for a while now. He’s a great songwriter and guitar player. Producing his record in California came together while mine was coming together on the fly, too. That project was really fun and a big reason why I wanted to start Sparco.

So why leave Alligator Records? Buddy Guy, Anders Osbourne, Corey Harris—whom you’ve played with—make for an amazing slate of artists. Do you feel different now not being in that club?

It does feel liberating, but I tell you it’s a lot more work. I miss having that team there. But certain things like timing releases or album artwork or putting music out on vinyl were not in my control as much over there. They wanted me to wait another year before releasing my latest record, Between Motion and Rest.

And you released it on your own on vinyl.

Yeah, 180-gram transparent orange vinyl! We silk-screened the covers ourselves and slipped a CD into each package.

Nice to be so hands-on. Is Sparco looking for new artists or working mostly with your friends?

As a producer I’m wide open to work with any band I see in a bar and think is really good. In terms of Sparco, that’s more of an umbrella for my own projects and a few others. We have a publicist, but I’m not an A&R guy. I’m not opposed to working with a larger label in the future, but right now I’m more interested in the creative side: producing, artwork, songwriting. I hope I’m following a true musical path. sparcorecords.com