FOTM – Scott Clark
Scott Clark [aka Dooglas] has been a good friend of mine since we met in the mid-80s. We attended the same High School, went to all the same shows, were in a rock band together and were roommates in college, too. The rock stardom ship has long since sailed and today Dooglas is doing time in Sacramento, CA, as Associate Director of Policy for the California Medical Association. In laymen’s terms, he works primarily on public health issues, including hot topics such as gun violence, immunizations and prescription drug abuse. But Scott has a fun side, too! He loves all things games, be it competitive sports, video games, puzzles or crosswords. In fact, he plays and designs creative street games and puzzles to play in public places. More information about that is available in Scott’s blog . He is a daily bicycle commuter and avid runner who enjoys spending down time with his wife, Jean, and their two dogs, Burt & Minerva. We haven’t talked in some time, so this was a great opportunity to catch up on life…and music. Here’s his story:
OLM: The desert island question: if you could take the collected works of five artists, who would the five be?
Scott Clark: Beastie Boys, Pink Floyd, Primus, The Cramps and The Pixies.
OLM: Let’s talk about The Cramps. Why do they make your desert island five?
SC: The Cramps make my list because I think fun music is essential for desert island survival. Most of the artists on my list are not necessarily the best bands by any means, but I think The Cramps in particular are nothing but fun. I love their campy psychobilly style and all the energy and overall bat-shit craziness that comes with it.
OLM: Do you remember when (and how) you were introduced to them?
SC: I was shopping for new music at a record store and browsing cassette tapes, judging bands I didn’t know by the cover. I came upon Bad Music for Bad People with that horrid yellow cover and zombie pencil art that looks like something you’d find on the inside cover of some high-school punk’s algebra textbook.
My initial reaction was repulsion. What is this crap and how did it make it into a record store? I didn’t buy it (went home with a Bad Brains cassette, I think), but the cover art was burned into my brain for some reason. When I later saw the cover for Stay Sick, with its slicker and suggestive design, I thought, ok, I have to scratch this itch. I bought it with no idea what kind of music it was.
OLM: Have you had the pleasure of witnessing The Cramps live? If so, did the live show live up to your expectations?
SC: This is honestly one of my life’s few regrets. I had a chance and I missed it. I was road-tripping through Albuquerque, NM, with a friend who wasn’t into music. I saw that The Cramps were playing a small venue downtown and I tried to convince him we should go, with no luck. My appreciation for the band hadn’t fully blossomed, or else I would have ditched him and gone by myself. And when I later saw footage of them in concert, I knew I had missed out on some magic.
OLM: Are there any Cramps songs and/or albums that stand out from others?
SC: First of all, there is a lot of crap in their catalog, and I want to acknowledge that. That said, my two favorite albums, by far, are Stay Sick and Songs the Lord Taught Us. On Songs, I can totally tell that they were influenced by watching bad, late night horror and sci-fi movies – the same kind I watched as a bored teen.
The grainy video of their 1978 live show at the Napa State Mental Hospital is required viewing, even if you don’t like the band. What a great concept and they were the perfect band to do it. It takes about 3 minutes to warm the patients up and by then most of the crowd is moving. There is so much interaction, with patients on stage singing, dancing and groping. It is hard to believe the hospital staff let so much go on, let alone allow such delicate minds hear songs about body parts and appliances.
OLM: So, how often do you dress up like The Cramps singer, Lux Interior?
SC: I don’t own any leather underwear and my wife’s high heels don’t fit my feet. However, I do find inspiration in how he wasn’t afraid to do anything on stage. I remember him saying something in an interview along the lines of “…the difference between “rock” and “rock ’n roll” is that “rock ’n roll” is all about having fun.” RIP Lux.
OLM: Good catching up with ya, Dooglas! I have one more (completely unrelated) question for you. In 2008, the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. Long story short, fans were (and still are) pissed off about it! Now, there’s been a lot of talk recently about your Sacramento Kings moving to Seattle. As a sports fan, I have mixed thoughts; on one hand, I’d love to see Seattle have an NBA team back. On the other hand, isn’t the Kings moving to Seattle the same as the Supersonics moving to Oklahoma City? What’s your $0.02?
SC: I have mixed emotions about this. I don’t get the chance to go to many games, but when I do go, I have fun. Although the NFL is more my thing, basketball is the best pro sport to see live. It is hard to enjoy a Kings game anymore because the issue has been so divisive in this community, and since it has been hanging over the team for a few years, it is like a dark cloud in Arco Arena. When it comes down to public funding for a new stadium, I’d much rather invest in other things that support the local youth, like keeping our swimming pools open and afterschool music programs going. I think Lux and Poison Ivy [also from the Sacramento area] would have agreed.