Martin Sprouse/November 16, 2013
Joseph A. Gervasi interviews Martin Sprouse. Martin Sprouse grew up in Southern California and has been active in the San Francisco Bay Area punk scene since the late 1980s. It is crucial to note that Martin has been in no way a contributor to the Philly punk scene. While it may appear that his impressive efforts fall out of the parameters of this project, his inclusion is very much by design. The books Martin published under his Pressure Drop Press publishing company, which included John Yates’ unique A No Record Deal and the Sprouse-edited Sabotage In the American Workplace and, most especially for me (Joseph), Threat By Example, were a significant influence on my young life and this project. I’ve cited the influence of the collection of compelling and inspirational voices that is Threat By Example on several occasions and most recently in regard to L!F!P! Given the opportunity to speak at length with Martin while in the SF Bay Area to present L!F!P! in mid-November, 2013, I achieved what I feel is one of the finest interviews of this series. Along with his now-defunct publishing company, Martin also edited the punk ‘zine The Leading Edge in the mid-1980s, he moved to the Bay Area to work on MaximumRockNRoll (MRR) with the now-defunct Tim Yohannan, and he was a key player in the the creation of Berkeley’s internationally-known DIY venue the Gilman Street Project (or just Gilman Street). Reading MRR from the late ’80s on and seeing some early Gilman Street shows starting in 1989 were also tremendous (and cited) influences on not only this project, but also the Cabbage Collective. Martin recounts his years with a biting wit and sharp intellect. Within his Oakland warehouse apartment of almost Zen-like appearance (Martin appears to own almost nothing and lives a life sans clutter but with the ebullient hunting dog Grady), Martin currently works to design furniture. Among his many achievements, Martin is a “chick magnet,” which we discuss in the latter part of the interview.
Photos By Karen Kirchhoff