Thank You For The Music: The Clarks
28 years. Most bands in the music industry, mainstream or indie, are lucky to release a few albums before their popularity runs out. To have 28 years under your belt in the music industry is a huge feat. To be able to quit the “day job” and focus on your music career is a success in itself.
Scott Blasey, Rob James, Greg Joseph, and Dave Minarik formed The Clarks back in 1986 at the University of Indiana Pennsylvania and they haven’t stopped making music to this day. I was introduced to The Clarks in high school by my family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (The Clarks’ stomping grounds). Mind you, this was a time when I was consumed by my boyband obsession of Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync (sorry, Boss man). Thanks to my cousins, my taste in music had an upgrade when I heard that first Clarks song. It was “Better Off Without You,” which was perfect since I was tragically mourning the breakup of a high school boyfriend. For the first time, I truly connected to a song on a deeper level. This song and The Clarks dried up my tears and I was ready for what else this American rock band had to offer.
In the summer of 2000, The Clarks were playing their annual “start of summer” show at the IC Light Amphitheater at Station Square in Pittsburgh, and it was my first time seeing my new favorite band live. I had been listening to all of their albums on constant repeat to learn all of the songs, and boy, am I glad because the show was one huge sing along with the thousands of diehard Clarks fans. That was the first time in my life that the music literally took me away from reality. I was hooked.
In the fall of 2002, The Clarks helped me cope with a deeper heartbreak with the death of my last grandparent, Nan. The Clarks released the album, Another Happy Ending, in June 2002, and when I lost my grandmother, the track from this album “Hey You” got me through this tough time. The song was written by Scott Blasey in the aftermath of 9/11, but the beauty of music is you can interpret the lyrics to fit your own personal situation. With simple lyrics like, “If you feel like giving up, Hey You, hang on,” made me feel as though Blasey was singing to me and holding my hand through these dark times. “The pain will go away, in another year or two, in a hundred years or two.” The Clarks were also realistic enough to say, Hey, this pain isn’t going to go away, but you will get past this.
In recent years, The Clarks have continued to hold my hand through tough times by allowing me to put on the headphones, and escape from reality. The Clarks put a smile on my face every time I play one of their songs. Not only have The Clarks helped me through tough times, they are also a reminder of happy times with my family when visiting Pittsburgh. Some the best times in my life have been driving around Pittsburgh with my cousin, windows down, The Clarks blasting through the stereo, and the two of us singing along so loudly the whole city could hear us.
That’s another beauty of music; we make connections through the music and it always seems to get us through the tough times and the good times. The Clarks say it best in “Save Me,” a track off their album, Strikes and Gutters 2: Doublewide, when Blasey sings, “After all is said and done, hearing time just tickin’ on, finding comfort in a song.” So, I have this to say to The Clarks, thank you for bringing a lifetime worth of comfort to my life. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you, but I can tell you this, “Thank you for the music.”
Artist Name: The Clarks
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Genre: Rock, Power-Pop
Band Members: Scott Blasey, Robert James, Greg Joseph, Dave Minarik