Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits
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Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits

San Marcos, TX | Established. Jan 01, 2016

San Marcos, TX
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Folk Alternative




"Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits Give Folk A Gritty Edge"

A folk-rock trio from San Marcos who are a self-described as a 'new breed of classic American musician', Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits have had success constructing roots-styled storytelling with a gritty rock patina. The band released their debut self-titled EP in March and have ridden those five songs through a Southern state tour to reach the choir most receptive to their gospel. While their songs typically begin with an ambling, folksy vibe - the rowdiness creeps up through the chorus and ultimately transforms into a good ol' fashioned 'rock out'. While folk and rock music have tried to coexist, ever since Bob Dylan went electric, it has been a tenuous relationship where purists hold their ground by passing judgement. Many musicians have since made their bones trying to bridge the two styles and exploring the grey area between the two, but its the journey to and from the two genres that we get to see the brilliance of Christian Sparks songwriting. While the band is in its nascent stages, and is yet to release a full album, there are harbingers of future success that avail themselves through strong songwriting and a good performance work ethic. - The Deli Magazine

"Diamonds in the Rough"

Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits (Austin, TX):

After Alex and the Space Cadets finished their set, Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits took the stage. The band consists of Christian Sparks - Lead Vocals/Guitar, Hunter Lenington - Drums/Percussion, Sam Lathrop - Lead Guitar, and Will Clegg - Bass Guitar. When we listened to their EP (in preparation for interviewing them for our Artist Spotlight piece), we had difficulty coming up with a comp for their music for listeners, it was obvious that it was folk, but we were grasping at straws. After having watched them perform live, the comp was obvious, Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits reminded us of Shakey Graves (it didn't even take until they played a Shakey cover for us to figure this out).
Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits have an EP that came out in March of 2018, which features 5 tracks. So when they played live they did play the entirety of this, as well as a couple of covers, including the aforementioned Shakey Graves (they played "Dearly Departed"), the Lumineers, Houndmouth (“Sedona”), and a Neil Young ("Heart of Gold") cover. By the end of the set, they had the entire crowd in the palm of their hand. We have to say that we were blown away at their performance and that there have been national acts that we have seen in the past year (we won't name any names) that do not put on the show that Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits do. We're gonna need you to go to Spotify immediately and give them a listen, you can thank us later.

Rating 5/5 - Michael La Torre

"Local Band Beatnik Bandits Steals the Show"

A local folk band has busked its way around San Marcos and plans on getting boots stomping and hands clapping outside of Texas.

Christian Sparks, lead vocalist, has been playing music since he was 13 years old. It was a family tradition to sit around the campfire enjoying his father play songs on the guitar. Once his father got arthritis in his hands, Sparks took initiative in upholding the family tradition by learning how to play guitar himself.

Sparks and Hunter Lenington, drummer, went to the same high school and would occasionally get together to play music. They lost touch after high school, but when Sparks moved to Austin and found that Lenington was in San Marcos, they joined forces once again. This time in a serious attempt to make music under the name Christian Sparks and The Beatnik Bandits.

Both had backgrounds in folk music and settled into the sound with ease. They began playing at local songwriters’ nights in Austin and San Marcos.

Sparks has been writing music for about five years and draws inspiration from his emotions and imagination. He considers himself a writer first and would continue to do so in other mediums if music wasn’t an option.

“When you are able to put down exactly what you’re feeling and have other people relate to that’s the best feeling ever,” Sparks said.

After a year of performing, the band was approached by Maxwell Yi, a music producer. Within days, Yi had Sparks and Lenington recording their music at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos. There, the band found a key player to complete their sound: guitarist Sam Lathrop, a recent recording technologies graduate.

“I heard one really good song and I thought they had just gotten lucky,” Lathrop said. “But a few months later we recorded a few more songs and I was just blown away.”

Sparks’ voice echoes with experience far beyond his years. Partnered with raw acoustic guitar and masterful drums, the band’s music is reminiscent of the folk genre and contends with artists like Bob Dylan and The Lumineers.

While recording music, the band continued to perform and busk locally. They would walk to campus playing music and perform outside Alkek.

Sparks said he enjoys entertaining more than anything else and his bandmates agree.

“I heard someone say whenever you’re playing on stage, it’s the only moment in life where everything else just fades away and it’s complete satisfaction,” Lathrop said. “You don’t think about phone calls or due dates. (You are) just living right there in the moment.”

Thomas Moriarty, digital media innovation senior, became a fan after attending a band performance of theirs. He said he found himself immediately engrossed by their sound and charisma.

“Their music was just right up my alley,” Moriarty said. “I just had a bunch of ideas as soon as I met them. Creatively, we’re just kind of in the same headspace I think.”

Moriarty said the band took note of his enthusiasm after they performed at The Spot. Sparks approached him with the idea of joining their team as a promoter and creative assistant.

“I’m kind of here for whatever they need,” Moriarty said. “We jokingly call my position ‘the facilitator.’”

Moriarty said he mainly helps promote their music and maintain their online platforms.

Christian Sparks and The Beatnik Bandits can be found performing locally at Tantra Coffeehouse and The Spot. However, on the heels of their self-titled debut album, the band is gearing up for a summer tour in late June. They will be touring around Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and other parts of Texas.

Lanthrop said he feels it is time for the band to branch out and start performing to a different audience after playing in San Marcos for so long.

“We don’t want to bore anyone so we’re trying to move out as fast as we can,” Lanthrop said. “It’s been such a natural progression and we’re excited to see where the tour takes us.”

Christian Sparks and The Beatnik Bandits’ album is available on Amazon, Spotify and iTunes. Follow their journey on Instagram @beatnikbandits and on Facebook. - University Star


Still working on that hot first release.



Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits are a new breed of classic American musician. Armed with a rock and roll attitude and one hell of a story to tell, this three-piece band from Austin Texas is out to prove that Folk music isn’t dead.

The Beatnik Bandits are quickly solidifying their place in the world of storytellers.

There’s a charm in the simplicity of the group’s music, but a distinct power in the lyricism that resonates long after the music stops.

Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits are a Folk/Americana/Rock band from San Marcos, Tx. The band has surpassed 115,000 total Spotify streams on their debut EP which they released March 2018. The Bandits won Deli Magazine's Austin artist of the month for December 2018, hold a finalist position in the (national) John Lennon Songwriting contest for the Folk category, and have been touring around Texas and surrounding states. They have opened for Bob Schneider at Gruene Hall, Jack Ingram at Brewster Street, and Coast Modern in College Station. 

Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits certainly are the black sheep of their genre. 

Band Members