The Pittsburgh-based and nationally known rock band The Clarks are set to perform at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona as part of the Alive@Five summer concert series at 8 p.m. July 31.
Pittsburgh artist Bill Deasy will open the show at 6 p.m. The concert marks the fourth consecutive year The Clarks have performed at the museum.
The members of The Clarks are (from left) Robert James, Scott Blasey, Dave Minarik and Greg Joseph.
"I think it's going to be one of the bigger shows this year," museum marketing director Sherry McCarthy said. "We've had people calling about the show since we announced that tickets were on sale on June 21. Tickets are selling well.
"In this area, there's a good following for The Clarks. People ask about them before we even announce they'll be here."
The four-member band has been grinding out their country-influenced garage rock since 1988, according to allmusic.com. Though guitarist-vocalist Scott Blasey, guitarist Robert James, bassist Greg Joseph and drummer Dave Minarik built their reputation on college campuses, their straight-ahead, guitar-driven rock seemed equally compatible with commercial radio and barrrooms across the northeastern United States, mid-Atlantic states and portions of the Midwest.
If you go
What: The Clarks with special guest Bill Deasy, presented by the Alive@Five summer concert series
When: 6 p.m. July 31; doors open
at 5 p.m.
Where: Railroaders Memorial Museum, 1300 Ninth Ave, Altoona
Admission: Tickets are $5 and can
be purchased from 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday at the museum store.
More information: Call the museum at 946-0834 or visit www.railroadcity.com
For more information on the band, visit www.clarksonline.com.
Their debut album, "I'll Tell You What Man," produced a regional hit, "Help Me Out," that gained unusually strong radio play for a self-produced album.
Five albums later, each of which doubled the sales of the previous album, the band developed from a Pittsburgh phenomenon into a band that had considerable regional appeal and a small national presence.
That was solidified by the band's movement to major label MCA with 1997's "Someday Maybe." Their back catalogue became nationally available.
Their latest release, "Restless Days" (2009), was described by critics as "Green Day playing songs written by Paul McCartney." The CD was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Penguins and used as part of their 2008-09 season marketing campaign.
To date, the group has recorded and released 14 albums and sold more than 300,000. They regularly sell out venues in the thousands, performed on "Late Night with David Letterman" in 2004, and have shared performances with John Mayer, Marc Broussard, OAR, Steely Dan, and co-headlined with Three Doors Down.
Bassist Greg Joseph described The Clarks as a band "that's always fashionably in style and fashionably out of style at the same time.
"It's just original rock music. We sort of have the feel of an artist like Tom Petty - rock and roll with a little bit of country," he said in a phone interview from his home in Pittsburgh. "I think we all want people to come and have a good time - dancing and watching the show. I get the biggest thrill watching people singing along to our music, and just having a good time."
Joseph said the entire band enjoys coming to Altoona.
"We always like coming to play there. We've been coming to Altoona for many years," he said. "Whether it was performing at Penn State Altoona or The (now defunct) Gingerbread Man, we always got a good crowd. We're looking forward to getting back there.
"The Railroaders Museum is a nice place to hang out and perform," he said. "We like walking around the grounds, and we get to hang out in the train car. ... Everyone over there takes real good care of us. It's just a nice vibe."
Jim Price, disc jockey for area music station Rocky 104.9 (FM) and longtime columnist for Pennsylvania Musician Magazine, said he admires The Clarks on several levels.
"First, they succeeded on their own terms," he said. "They've created and performed music that's true for them, and they've never buckled under to record company demands or pandering to what they thought people wanted. They stayed true to their own style and niche, and over the years have grown and expanded their fan basewith that style and sound.
"I also respect their longevity," he said. "This band has been doing their thing since the late '80s without a line-up change or any real gaps or breaks in their musical activity. And they're down-to-earth people off the stage who appreciate and have time for their fans - no rock star egos."
Price attributed the group's strong local following to an "accessible, easy-to-digest style of music ... with good song hooks and a friendly stage show.
"I think that people like that these guys are down-to-earth, real people - not rock stars trying to put on an image," he said. "What you see is what you get, and I think people gravitate toward that.
"And although Altoona radio doesn't play them all that much, anybody who listens to the Pittsburgh rock stations with any regularity is likely to hear The Clarks from time to time, which doesn't hurt their following, either."
Joseph said to prepare for a good time.
"Well there's probably not much else to do in Altoona," he said, laughing. "But seriously, it's a good time. You'd hate to miss out on something that everyone will be talking about the next day. It's always a good time."
Mirror Staff Writer Jimmy Mincin is at 946-7460.