Houston Calling

Sleepercar open for Coldplay at Toyota Center; interview with Jim Ward

November 15th, 2008 · 2 Comments

El Paso band Sleepercar, a side project for Sparta frontman Jim Ward, released their debut–West Texas–earlier this year. It’s a great album, one of my favorites this year. I just found out that the band is opening for Coldplay on their current U.S. tour and play Houston’s Toyota Center this Tuesday (11.18.08).

Jim Ward recently answered some questions for Houston Calling.

Houston Calling: We spoke a bit when you last played Houston about the difference between playing smaller venues with Sleepercar as opposed to bigger venues like you have in the past. At the time, you said you liked that it gave you the opportunity to just sit and hang out more, talk with fans, etc. Are you excited to be on this tour, opening at large venues, with a different band?

Jim Ward: It is great to get to play for a lot people as well–I get a little bored backstage to be honest though, but it is pretty awesome.

HC: You’ve known the guys in Coldplay for a while, right? How did the opening slot come about?

JW: Pretty much because I know them and they listened to my record and they liked it. If they didn’t like my band I wouldn’t be here, that I know for sure.

HC: West Texas continues to be one of my favorites albums of 2008. Did you approach writing the lyrics differently for this album than you would for a Sparta record? Also, how is your music being received by Coldplay fans?

JW: I did not approach it differently–it just works that way sometimes with music for me. The Coldplay fans seem to be enjoying it.

HC: I read an interview where you stated that Sleepercar is something that you can consider completely yours (or something to that effect) and that you hope to always be able to make this type of music. Considering how well the year has gone for you with the new band, do you still feel this way?

JW: This year has been pretty far out. It is my band–I get up thinking about it and go to bed thinking about it. It’s nice to have these guys with me and I love them, but they always have the option of doing their own bands and coming and going as they please.

HC: What would you say to a fan of yours who isn’t a fan of Coldplay’s music? They seem to have their fair share of critics…

JW: Well, I am not in a Coldplay cover band, and every band has critics. When you are as big as they are there are more vocal critics, but I will tell you this: I watch them at these shows and they work their asses off. The show is insane and the songs are great. Sometimes people just need to shit on things because they want to shit on things.

HC: Obviously, there’s the Gram Parsons influence on Sleepercar, but I get hints of Tom Petty and a bit of classic rock at times as well. What do you consider to be your primary musical influences and how do you think they come through in Sleepercar’s songs? Being from Texas plays into it, I’m sure — but it’s so unlike your previous work. Are there any modern Texas “alt country” bands you enjoy?

JW: Yeah, I love Tom Petty, and I love rock from all the ages…I love the Old 97’s though, that’s for sure.

HC: What are some of the things you’re listening to these days (besides nightly doses of Coldplay)?

JW: I love this band from Columbus called Times New Viking–I love them!!!

HC: Will Sleepercar tour on its own in 2009? Any plans for another show at South By Southwest?

JW: I am not sure what I am doing yet–making a record early in the year.

Thanks to Jim Ward for taking the time out to answer these questions. Be sure to buy a copy of West Texas and get to the Toyota Center early on Tuesday to make sure you don’t miss Sleepercar’s set (which probably starts right at 7 or 7:30pm).

Tags: Interviews · Music · Show listings

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 bford // Nov 17, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Good interview. I’ll have to check out their cd.

    It is funny how much crap Coldplay gets. Their latest cd is really good and different. Wish I could afford tickets for the show at Toyota Center.

  • 2 SPACE CITY ROCK » New Coldplay Review & Show, Tonight // May 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    […] Sleepercar, who’re a Sparta side project, apparently (see a cool interview with Jim Ward here, courtesy of — yes, again — David). So read about ‘em, then go see if […]

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