August 5-11, 2004
When guitarist-singer Rob James found out his band, The Clarks, had landed a spot on Late Show With David Letterman for later his month, he did what any self-respecting, so-long-at-it-he-can't-even-count-anymore musician would do: "I almost wept."
After nearly 20 years with the same four guys gleaning critical kudos but cruising just below the radar of national attention landing the Letterman gig was "the kind of goal that seemed unattainable" for the Pittsburgh-based pop-rockers, James said.
While hugely popular in their home base they routinely sell out arena-sized venues in the Iron City The Clarks remain surprisingly unknown in other markets, despite the kind of hook-laden pop-rock that makes their latest CD, Fast Moving Cars (Razor and Tie), the perfect roll-your-windows-down-and-crank-it-up summer record.
James agrees that, for whatever reason, this CD might actually kick their career into high gear. ("Fortunately, we don't have to live up to a lot of hype; it's more a word-of-mouth thing.") Typically eclectic, the record features tracks written by all four members that cover an array of styles, ranging from alt-country ("Train"), to psychedelic pop ("She Says Don't Miss Me") to muscle-car rock 'n' roll ("Hell on Wheels"). Influenced by everyone from the Beatles to Led Zep, The Clarks have made it a goal, James said, to create music that's "approachable, even in its hardest-rocking moments."
Thu., Aug. 5, 9 p.m., $12-$14, with Fastball, The TLA, 334 South St., 215-922-1011.