I first discovered Gavin Clark’s music way back in 1996 after I had heard one of his songs in a Shane Meadows film.
I went out and bought the single straight away for which I still own, I don’t think time has aged this track or indeed any of his other music for that matter. Titled ‘Monkey Dead’ this track was taken from Clark’s first and only album to be released with his first band, Sunhouse. Lasting for just over a year and based in Nottingham, the 4-piece were disbanded by the time their debut album “Crazy On the Weekend” was released.
I’d be lying if I said that I loved album from the start, the tracks were heavy in places and didn’t reflect the driving pace of ‘Monkey Dead’ but there was something magic about this album, something so real and comforting that it grew on me. I still can’t put my finger on the moment of transition, the moment when this album became so much more than just a couple of songs I’d skim through before moving onto something else, but it did…and it will always be.
The connection between Shane Meadows and Gavin Clark went far beyond the realms of music, they were also long-term friends who originally met when they were both working at Alton Towers. A few years after their initial meeting Meadows contacted Clark to ask if he would provide songs for the soundtrack to his low budget film, “Small Time” and from that moment on the pair continued to work together.
Clark went on to form a new band called ‘Clayhill’ in 2004 and also continued to compose music for a number of Shane Meadows films, including The Smiths ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ for the closing of This Is England. The pair also went on to make the 2009 film, The Living Room, which documented their friendship.
Gavin Clark had the kind of voice that was effortless and beautiful, with a distinctive tone that was to be his trademark, unmistakable and bold in it’s brilliance.
On the 16th February this year Gavin Clark died at the age of only 46. This was only a recent discovery for me but I now join all those who are touched by the untimely passing of this wonderful and talented artist
There is no doubt in my mind that Gavin Clark was a hidden gem, one that I was lucky enough to stumble upon all those years ago…there are plenty who will remember him for his haunting, haunted vocals and precious songwriting.
..as said by Shane Meadows on Clarks facebook page,
“His music elevated my early work from student tat (in the early 90’s) into something resembling art, he’s penned at least one unforgettable song for pretty much everything I’ve ever made and his latest, as yet unreleased songs, are his greatest and have once again become the emotional heartbeat of my latest project.
..Anyone who knows his work, knows his pain, anyone who met him, will never forget him and for those that saw him play live, his voice remains tattoo’d in their heart. No PA system could contain him, no recording could capture him and I know I will never meet anyone like him again. Gavin I love you so much brother and I miss you like frikk already.”