The Biltmore Cabaret and BeatRoute Presents
with Special Guests
In Medias Res
Sparta from El Paso, TX, formed in 2001. Founding members Jim Ward (vocalist/guitarist) and Tony Hajjar (drummer) are also members of post-hardcore group At the Drive-In. Keeley Davis (guitarist) is the former frontman of Engine Down.
After the demise of their previous band, At the Drive-In, drummer Tony Hajjar and bassist Paul Hinojos got together and talked about forming a new band. Hinojos contacted former At the Drive-In guitarist and back-up vocalist Jim Ward to take the role of lead vocalist. After a brief stint with Erick Sanger, the three recruited Matt Miller, a native to El Paso and then bassist of the band Belknap to permanently fill the position of bassist, with Hinojos switching to guitar. The band then scored a deal with Dreamworks in 2001. The band released their first EP entitled Austere in early 2002 under the name Sparta. The EP met with mixed reviews, with most believing that the group had talent and the ability, but had yet to find their voice.