In the spotlight – SparraLIMB

In the spotlight – SparraLIMB

In the spotlight – Sparralimb is the rock / metal solo project of Rick Whitehead, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Sleaford, Lincolnshire (UK). He’s also one half of the duo Plains of Silence and plays guitars with five-piece pop punk / alt metal band Chafe.

Tell me a little bit about your background. Where did your interest in music come from? Was it something that you always knew you wanted to pursue?

“My interest in music came from listening to Queen’s greatest hits in my Dad’s car when I was a child. We had it on constantly and I used to air guitar and drum while we drove around but it was the sound of Brian May’s guitar that just hooked me and I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.”

When did you start playing guitar and bass? What other instruments do you play? Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?

“I had classical guitar lessons for about a month when I was a kid, my mum’s idea, but I hated it and I was awful and thought to myself that maybe it was something that was beyond me. A few years later in my early teens a few of my friends started playing electric guitar and they taught me (badly) how to play intros to ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. My mum bought me a cheap Encore Strat and a tiny amp for Christmas… I was still terrible! Then I heard ‘Under The Bridge’ by RHCP and fell in love with John Frusciante so I got mum to buy the guitar Tab for ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ for my birthday and I basically learned the guitar from that book. I also learned bass from it as it had the bass tabs too – most of the tabs were wrong btw.”

Do you have any hidden talents?

“I don’t think so. (laughs) I used to draw a fair bit and I make a mean pizza!”

If we were to look at the artists you are listening to, who would be on your playlist?

“I tend to listen to mainly independent music, so basically lots of my super talented friends such as Fedbysound, As Particles Collide, Portobello Express, SD Charlton, Anger Overdose, Death Pigeon, The Future Us, Mourning Scars, 12 Below, JC Miller…so many more and quite varied.”

How did you come up with your stage name?

“I am incredibly accident and injury prone and in my first band Tripswitch our singer jokingly said my arms were weak like a Sparrow’s legs (laughs) so a Sparrow’s limbs became Sparralimb.”

How would you describe your sound to somebody unfamiliar with it?

“That one is tough as it really does vary from song to song. It is definitely rhythm and groove based that’s for sure. Heartfelt lyrically and I do like a dynamic big sound. It generally is the grey area between rock and metal, but with other subgenres too.”

What inspires your songwriting?

“Pure, raw emotion to be honest with you, as with so many others I find music is the only way to vent. I need to feel it in my bones and hope that I can mould that into something so others will feel it too.”

Do you take inspiration from many other art mediums?

“I’m hugely inspired by movies and dialogue from them, graphic novels and even comedy. As long as it’s weird, emotional and creative it will inspire me.”

What does your music say about you?

“Everything really, it is basically me. My up and down personality as riffs, grooves, random ideas and heart on my sleeve lyrics.”

What can you tell us about your song ‘Shapes’?

“It was actually written for my recent band CHAFE!, but it didn’t quite fit the mould so I adapted and sang on it myself. ‘Shapes’ is about the need to please people all the time, to bend and contort yourself to try and fit into the spaces and holes that people want you in, no matter what the cost is to your own physical and mental wellbeing. It’s short powerful song and quite catchy with some decent riffs, I think.”

Tell us about your latest release ‘Disperse’.

“It is a song I wrote for my old band Saboteurs in 2018 and I recently decided to rework it as I liked a couple of the riffs. It’s about being trapped in a nightmare made up of all the mistakes you’ve made in your life and you are trying to escape and wake up but at the same time you want to stay and burn all these things you’ve done and destroy the fact they ever existed. It’s actually inspired by the video game Silent Hill.”

You’ve collaborated with several other musicians like Fedbysound, SD Charlton and Jamie Armstrong. Is there anyone you’d still like to work with?

“There’s loads and loads. I love doing these collaborations it really has been amazing and I’m so grateful. I would love to work with people like Kate Stanton, The Welcoming (James), Big Blind, Shannon Darcy, Death Pigeon, Anger Overdose, The Future Us. Honestly I could go on and on. I know there’s so many I just can’t think of. Also I’m not sure if they’d actually want to work with me. (laughs)”

You’re also involved in other music projects. How do you decide what material you use for SparraLIMB and what you save for the other projects you’re involved in?

“Well if I’m totally honest it all depends on the style and what the other people involved think to what I have created. A lot of my Sparralimb material is made up of the songs that wouldn’t fit in with the other bands and projects, basically all the left overs. Which is why I feel so thrilled when one of these songs ends up being adapted and reworked and becoming something else. Especially when I thought there was something in that song originally that was worth keeping. On the other hand the music for my Plains of Silence project with Geoff is written by both of us together – generally starting from Geoff – so that stays separate from the beginning.”

What does the rest of 2023 look like for you?

“I am thinking of releasing one more single before October and then in October hopefully a full album titled ‘From the Bones’. I’m hoping to have some familiar collaborations on there including one with an old friend. It will feature the singles I’ve already released so far in 2023 which are ‘Rendered Useless’, ‘Shapes’ and ‘Disperse’.

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“Chester Doom – ‘Not Far Behind’. Amazing vocals and guitar, a really great rock song. Hollie Rhiannon – ‘Everything is an Illusion’ is a stunning track also, very beautiful.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“I would love to add my friend As Particles Collide song ‘Radio Flyer’. I love this song and I got to play bass and guitar on two songs from the same album called ‘Fear of Flying’. He has been a huge supporter and friend to me.”

Follow Sparralimb on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Songwhip.


Leave a Reply