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The Clarks are a rock band from Connellsville, PA, a town located about 60 miles from Pittsburgh. All of the original members- vocalist Scott Blasey, guitarist Robert James, bassist Greg Joseph, and drummer Dave Minarik- are still involved. A very traditional guitar driven rock band, with excellent beats and introspective lyrics, The Clarks have been a favorite in Pittsburgh for years, but have had trouble finding a market outside of the Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Buffalo area. The band was formed when members met at Indiana University of PA in 1986. The record their 1st album 'I'll Tell You What, Man' in 1988, which included 'Help Me Out,' a hit on Western PA college rock stations. The Clarks got their break after releasing thier eponymous 2nd album in 1991. 'Penny On The Floor' was picked up by WDVE, Pittsburgh's biggest rock station, and soon became a Western PA hit, setting the groundwork for the band's successful future. Album number 3, 'Love Gone Sour, Suspision, And Bad Debt,' following 1994. Pittsburgh classics 'Cigarette' and 'Treehouse' were included on the album. Following this albums regional success, The Clarks signed a national recording contract with MCA and appeared to be headed to the big time. When The Clarks released their 4th album, 'Someday Maybe,' in 1996, it appeared that national success was on the horizon. However, MCA was going through a financial crisis at the time and the album recieved little promotion. The Clarks, along with many bands, were cut from the label in 1997. However, they still had much local success in Pittsburgh with 'Mercury' and 'Stop' and 'Caroline.' After taking some time to regroup, The Clarks released what was prehaps their greatest work. Their 5th record, 2000's 'Let It Go' captivated audiences. 'Better Off Without You' and 'Born Too Late,' 2 songs that easily could have had national appeal, dominated Pittsburgh radio, while the title track 'Let It Go' and 'Chasin' Girls' also gained regional success. This album allowed The Clarks to spread the fan base. While the band could still only be heard in Pittsburgh for the most part, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Central PA rock stations began spinning songs from 'Let It Go.' Their 6th album, 'Another Happy Ending' from 2002, featured the powerfully emotional 'Hey You,' which actually gave the band some very, very minor national airplay, mostly on indie shows. But none the less, this single got the band's name out there, while it and the other popular tracks, 'On Saturday' and 'Boys Lie,' kept up interest at home. The band's most recent and 7th studio album, 'Fast Moving Cars' continued the string of local hits with 'Hell On Wheels,' 'Shimmy Low,' and the title track 'Fast Moving Cars.' In 2006, a greatest hits compilation was released, which included another single 'Bona Fide.' While national fame has always eluded them, the Clarks have been rocking Pittsburgh for 20 years. While they may not be one of the biggest rock bands in the world, the are deffinatly one of the most pure!
The Clarks are the type of band that are able to make a spectacular performance no matter what the venue. I saw them in front of a huge crowd at the Three Rivers Regatta in Pittsburgh and at the little State Theater in Uniontown PA, and the shows were equally good.
by Eye In The Sky September 11, 2006
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