It’s 1:30 AM and by a warehouse along a deserted strip of road, I piled into a car with a bunch of strangers to go wherever they were going to take me… and I have the Clarks to thank for my situation. Okay, that might be overselling it a little bit, but that’s essentially what happened one summer night back in 1996 (or so).
Here’s the setup: I was at a one-day music festival at the I.C. Light Amphitheater near Pittsburgh’s Station Square. The show featured seven of Pittsburgh’s biggest local bands as well as one national act, Zakk Wylde. The local kids were all strong. Known quantities like Brownie Mary and the Ike McCoy Band were good, Seventh House did their thing and I discovered a great new band called the Vibro Kings. Zakk Wylde came out dropping f-bombs right and left and was generally awful and completely outclassed. People booed; it was deserved.
The headlining act was the Clarks, who had recently signed a national record deal with MCA (which would soon thereafter be dropped when the label was bought out). The Clarks put on a good set to close the show, and naturally, I stuck around for their encores, including their biggest single to date, “Cigarette.” As it turns out, the last train heading out of downtown Pittsburgh for the night left while the show was still going on, stranding a handful of concertgoers, including yours truly.
So there I am on the Station Square T platform with a few other people wondering how on Earth we’re going to get home. The details get a little fuzzy here, but someone knew someone who had a car and might be able to drive some people somewhere, if they’re going in the right direction and so forth. We found this guy by a warehouse along Carson Street and about eight of us piled into his car. He dropped us off at the South Hills Village Eat ‘N’ Park, from where I called mom (at 2 AM or so) and had her come pick me up. Mom wasn’t too pleased with this turn of events, but since she was up and out, we stuck around and had some dessert before going home. And it’s all thanks to the Clarks.
Cigarette – The Clarks