Ron Mael

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Ron Mael
FFS (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks) @ Albert Hall, Manchester 25-8-2015 (20285490753).jpg
Ron Mael on stage with FFS in August 2015
Background information
Birth name Ronald David Mael[1]
Born (1945-08-12) August 12, 1945 (age 71)
Culver City, California, U.S.
Genres Rock, pop
Occupation(s) Songwriter, musician, producer, director
Instruments Keyboards
Years active 1963-present
Labels Bearsville, Warner Bros., Island, Atlantic, Curb, Virgin, CBS, Elektra, RCA, Roadrunner, Lil' Beethoven Records
Associated acts Halfnelson, Sparks, FFS, Franz Ferdinand
Notable instruments
RMI Electra Piano
Farfisa organ
"Ronald" Stage Piano

Ronald David Mael (born August 12, 1945, in Culver City, California[2][3]) is an American musician, keyboard player and songwriter.[4] He and his younger brother Russell make up the pop duo Sparks.


Early life[edit]

The Mael brothers grew up in Pacific Palisades – a relatively affluent suburb of Los Angeles – with their father, Meyer Mael (of Russian and Austrian Jewish descent),[5][6] who was a graphic designer and caricaturist for the Hollywood Citizen-News,[7][8] and their mother, Miriam (née Moskowitz), a librarian.[9] After being educated at Palisades High School, both brothers enrolled at the UCLA;[10] Ron began a course in Cinema and Graphic Arts in 1963 while Russell studied Theater Arts and Filmmaking between 1966–1968.[11]


Main article: Sparks (band)

Ron Mael plays keyboard and writes most of the songs for Sparks. When the band hit the peak of its popularity in the 1970s, he was well known for his strange appearance, often remaining motionless over his keyboard which was a sharp contrast between Russell's animated and hyperactive frontman antics. Ron's conservative clothes and unfashionable, Chaplin-like toothbrush moustache attracted much attention, as does his current pencil moustache. On stage, Ron alternates between playing the keyboard and engaging in comic mime routines, often in connection with projections on backdrop.

The pair appear as themselves in the 1977 disaster film Rollercoaster, performing live. They also appeared in episode twenty-two of season six of the Gilmore Girls.

In 2015, Sparks collaborated with the Scottish group Franz Ferdinand under the identity FFS. One of their first tracks was entitled "Collaborations Don't Work". The supergroup was interviewed on BBC Radio 6 on April 27, 2015 and announced they would be appearing on "Live with Jools Holland" on April 30th 2015 and were to appear at Glastonbury Festival that summer.


  1. ^ California Birth Index, 1905 – 1995, [1] (Birth Date: December 8, 1945, County of Birth: Los Angeles, Mother's Maiden Name: Moskowski)
  2. ^ Family Tree Legends
  3. ^ Ron Mael at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (November 1, 2002). The Great Rock Discography. The National Academies. pp. 214–?. ISBN 9781841953120. Retrieved June 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ "1940 United States Federal Census". Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ Axelrod, Merry Anne. "Re: (It's A Samuel) Mael World". Retrieved November 8, 2012.  [The author is a cousin of Russell and Ron; her father, Alvin, is listed as being Meyer's brother on the 1940 census]
  7. ^ "Myer Mael: "Roy Rogers" Object Record". Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Harrietta Hughes on the cover of Republic Insider Magazine 1947". Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ Lorente-Darracq, Xavier. "Ron Mael and Russell Mael – Biography". Graphik Designs. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ Welch, Chris. "Bright Sparks". Melody Maker. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  11. ^ Lorente-Darracq, Xavier. "op. cit.". Graphik Designs. 

External links[edit]