While growing up, Toronto-based music artist James Clark wanted to be both John Lennon and Ringo Starr. He managed to establish himself as both a sought after, solid rock and roll drummer and a respected, creative, melodic pop/rock singer and songwriter. Under the guise of ‘The James Clark Institute’, he takes the classic pop song style that he grew up with and gives it his own spin. The music of songwriters such as Elvis Costello, Ray Davies and Lennon and McCartney have all influenced James Clark’s musical style, and that style has, by some, been referred to as power-pop. “A wealth of songwriting talent” – renowned music writer/MuchMusic VJ Michael Williams in Cashbox Canada.
The James Clark Institute’s new full-length recording, ‘Yesterday’s Misadventures’ (official release date: October 24, 2016) was produced by iconic Canadian musician/producer Moe Berg (The Pursuit Of Happiness). “I’m really impressed by his songwriting. His lyrics are absolutely amazing”, says Berg. Many adventures and mis-adventures occurred along the way to making this record, with most of those occurrences making up the songs. Additional production contributions from respected Toronto musicians John Dinsmore (Kathleen Edwards; NQ Arbuckle) and Garry Flint (National Velvet), combine to make The JCI’s latest album a commanding, whimsical, aural excursion.
The James Clark Institute previously released one full-length album, two EPs as well as an advance 7” vinyl single (2013), which features two Moe Berg produced songs – “Company Hearse” / “I Don’t Leave The Radio On Anymore” – both included on the new ‘Yesterday’s Misadventures’ full-length album.
The debut JCI EP, ‘Home Is Where the Heart Attack Is’, was written and recorded during down time between drumming obligations for Clark in 2004. The record charted on Canadian campus radio and reached #3 on the pop album charts on mp3.com.au (based in Australia), upon its release. James followed it up with the full-length ‘Sideshow Unattraction’ in 2008. Charting on campus radio, ‘Sideshow Unattraction’ was distributed by the USA indie label Not Lame Recordings until their demise in 2011. That same year, James released ‘Son of a Sideshow’ EP. It featured tracks that were recorded during the ‘Sideshow Unattraction’ sessions, but were previously unreleased. Both albums are a theatrical, esoteric journey into a world of carnival illusion, heartbreak, melancholy, wit and bitter double entendre.
Clark’s many live dates include shows in Toronto legendary venues such as The Horseshoe Tavern, The Cameron House and Lee’s Palace, and jaunts to Chicago, New York City and Madison, Wisconsin. His songs resonate, whether it is a solo acoustic performance or the full onslaught of the electric JCI band. The current live The James Clark Institute line-up, all of whom help to deliver Clark’s original, high-calibre material, includes guitarist Chris Bennett (Bill Wood and the Woodies; George Westerholm and This!); bassist Jeff Dunk (Cadre; Maria Ryan); drummer/vocalist Claude Kent (Garage Baby; The Gravelberrys) and piano teacher to the stars, Greg Condie.
“We’ll put our thought bubbles together and leave no trace of yesterday’s misadventures”, sings Clark in the song “Charlie Schulz Was Always In Love” (track eight on the new album). While yesterday continues to be his songwriting muse, James perseveres and moves forward with half of the next JCI record already written. Stay tuned for more misadventures.