Music » Band of the Week

Band of the Week: The Clarks

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MEET THE BAND: Scott Blasey (vocals, guitars), Robert James (guitars, vocals), Greg Joseph (bass, vocals), Dave Minarik (drums, vocals)

A STEEL CITY SENSATION: The band formed in Pittsburgh in 1986 and quickly worked the region, often playing Cleveland at the now-defunct Peabody's. "Cleveland became like a second home to us," says Blasey, who still comes to town with the band on a regular basis. He says the Pittsburgh scene had a heyday in the '90s when bands such as Rusted Root and Brownie Mary emerged and became national acts.

AN OLD-FASHIONED APPROACH: The band's bio simply states, "the Clarks play good, old-fashioned American rock 'n' roll." "We all grew up with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and we loved the Beatles and the Stones," says Blasey. "When the band started, we covered stuff by the Replacements and the Rave-Ups and bands that played really great guitar rock. We liked the Hoodoo Gurus from Australia. That's where we cut our musical teeth."

ROAD TESTED: The band started writing songs for its new album, Madly in Love at the End of the World, last year. When it had "a dozen or so" songs ready, it worked them into the live sets. "One of the things we wanted to do was play the songs live," says Blasey. "We wanted them to be well rehearsed. All this material was well rehearsed and played live in front of audiences to see what works." The recordings took place at the end of last year and earlier this year.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Madly in Love at the End of the World starts with the twangy "She's on Fire" and then proceeds to show off the band's musical range. "Over the past few years, we have skewed toward Americana," says Blasey. "This album in particular features great songs and the tracks on Side 1 have a country flavor with the relationship themes. They have a common thread to them." One of many standout tunes on the album, the somber title track that closes the album features husky vocals, acoustic guitars and cello. "I went into the studio and played it for [bassist] Greg [Joseph]and our producer," says Blasey. "When they heard it, they concluded it wasn't the song you could put all that rock instrumentation on. They thought it would sound great with cello. We called up our friend Simon Cummings from the local group Cello Fury, and he plays on the song. I really like the way it turned out."

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: clarksonline.com.

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Clarks perform with Paul Luc at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, at Musica in Akron.

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