Jim Ward (musician)

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Jim Ward
Jim Ward 1.jpg
Jim Ward in 2006
Background information
Birth nameJames David Ward
Born (1976-09-19) September 19, 1976 (age 42)
OriginEl Paso, Texas, United States
GenresAlternative rock, indie rock, post-hardcore, art punk, alternative country, Americana
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active1993–present
Associated actsSparta, Sleepercar, At the Drive-In

James David Ward (born September 19, 1976) is an American musician. A self-taught guitarist and pianist, he is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the band Sparta; he is also a co-founder of the post-hardcore band At the Drive-In, which he formed in 1993 when he was 17 years old.

At the Drive-In[edit]

While in At the Drive-In, Ward played guitar and sang backup vocals, as well as playing piano and keyboards on select songs. He performed lead vocals on two tracks, entitled "Hourglass" and "Ursa Minor", as well as singing co-lead with lead vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala on a number of tracks. Using the money from his college savings, he created the label "Western Breed Records" specifically to release Hell Paso and Alfaro Vive, Carajo!, At the Drive-in's first two releases. After the demise of At the Drive-In, Ward has stated that he is happy with the break-up, that he started the band when he was 17, and felt like he was always 17 while in the band. On January 9, 2012, it was announced that At the Drive-In were reforming.[1]

On March 18, 2016, days before the 2016 reunion tour would start, ATDI announced that Ward would no longer be part of the group, simply stating on their Facebook page that "As our ship prepares for voyage, we announce that Jim Ward will not be joining us on future journeys. We wish him well and are excited to see you soon."[2]


Following the split of At the Drive-In, Ward joined with Tony Hajjar and Paul Hinojos as the lead vocalist and guitar player for a new musical project; Matt Miller was later recruited to play the bass guitar.[3] The band, Sparta, wrote nearly nine songs in their first week of rehearsal, with all members incorporating ideas and lyrics. Ward cites Radiohead and Billy Joel as influences for his song-writing during this period, which led to Ward incorporating more piano in Sparta (despite his informal knowledge of the instrument).[4]

Sparta eventually signed a record contract with Geffen and released its debut album, Wiretap Scars, in 2002.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Ward was born in El Paso, Texas. He is a 1994 graduate of El Paso High School. He is the cousin of musician Jeremy Michael Ward.


With At the Drive-In[edit]

With Sparta[edit]

With Bobby Byrd[edit]


- Contributed the song "These Years"
- Contributed a cover of the song "Lay Lady Lay"

With Sleepercar[edit]


With At the Drive-In[edit]

Whilst a member of At the Drive-In, Ward used different guitars and amps, as well as several keyboards. The following is a list of some of the equipment Ward performed with during this era:


  • Gibson Melody Maker
  • Epiphone SG Special 1961 50th Anniversary (used at the 2012 Coachella Festival with At the Drive-In)
  • Tokai SG-60
  • Gibson SG Jr
- Ward has used two of these guitars—a green SG with a white pearl pickguard and a sticker of the Texan flag,[5] and a white version with a tortoise pickguard and a sticker of the Welsh flag.[6] It is difficult to associate a production year with this pair of guitars; whilst both might have been produced before 1965, due to the smaller pick-guard, the guitars also consisted of customized pick-guards (all SG Jr's originally came with black pick-guards) and, therefore, it is possible that they are later models.
  • Fernandes Monterey X (custom)
- Ward owned two Monterey X model guitars, one of which had a sticker of the Welsh flag below the bridge.[7]


  • Marshall Cabinet and Head
  • Mesa Boogie Head

With Sparta[edit]

Ward uses several different guitars and amplifiers while performing with Sparta. Since the equipment Ward uses changes from tour to tour, the following is a list of some of the equipment he has been seen using.


  • Custom Fender Esquire
- Ward employs two of these, one yellow with a black pickguard, and one black with a white pickguard (50's Series Re-Issue with a Seymour Duncan Alnico 2 Pickup in the bridge)
  • Epiphone SG Special 1961 50th Anniversary
  • Ibanez Jetking[8]
  • Rickenbacker 330[9]
  • Gibson ES-335 (Ebony finish)[citation needed]
- Bridge pickup was later replaced for a Gibson P-94.[10] This guitar was recently stolen from the band's storage facility in Los Angeles.[citation needed]
  • '72 Fender Telecaster Deluxe
- Neck pickup, tone and control dials for neck pickup, and pickup selector removed. Ward employs two of these, one with a black pickguard,[citation needed] and one with a tortoise shell pickguard.[citation needed] However, Ward may have replaced the pickguard at some point, therefore only owning one rather than two.
  • Gibson SG
  • Gibson Melody Maker


  • Vox AC30
  • Marshall Cabinet and Head
  • Mesaboogie Head
  • Park Head


  • BOSS DM-3 Delay
  • BOSS TR-2 Tremolo
  • Line 6 DL-4
  • BOSS Chromatic Tuner
  • Guyatone MD-3
  • BOSS GE-7
  • Klon Centaur
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff (Sovtek)
  • BOSS DD-3
  • Ernie Ball Volume Pedals (2)

Side projects[edit]

He has an alternative country side project called Sleepercar, where he also plays guitar and sings lead vocals.


  1. ^ "BREAKING NEWS: At The Drive-In to reunite". Alternative Press. January 9, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  2. ^ https://www.facebook.com/ATDImusic/posts/854429451345859. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b honeycombroadmap (July 13, 2007). "Sparta – Hope, Politics and Freedom". thedwarf.com.au. thedwarf.com.au. Archived from the original on August 23, 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Martÿn ter Haar (November 23, 2002). "SPARTA: IT'S HARD AS SHIT TO SING IN KEY, MAN!". KindaMuzik (in Dutch and English). KindaMuzik. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Drien (2001–2002). "photos". at the drive-in – rolodex propaganda (in French and English). DR|eN. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  6. ^ Daniel Taylor (July 8, 2008). "Buy Jim Ward's at the Drive in Guitars on eBay". Synthesis. Synthesis.net. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ Drien (2001–2002). "photos". at the drive-in – rolodex propaganda (in French and English). DR|eN. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  8. ^ jacks1984 (September 29, 2006). "Jim Ward of Sparta" (Image file). Photobucket: Jim Ward Photos. Photobucket Corporation. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  9. ^ Lou (2008). "My Photos: Sparta at Pukkelpop Festival". Myspace. Myspace LLC. Archived from the original on September 11, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Sk8terboiy333 (December 17, 2006). "Sparta- Daivd Letterman" (Video upload). YouTube. Retrieved June 10, 2012.

External links[edit]