GUITARIST AND COMPOSER Neil Clark was born in Hamilton, Scotland. He holds dual British and Canadian nationality. In Glasgow in the early 1980’s, inspired by the sounds of Talking Heads, XTC and Television he formed the new wave group Newspeak with Alan McGee and Andrew Innes, playing the music venues of Central Scotland before meeting Lloyd Cole through a mutual friend. Then, over a period of a few months, the group that was to become Lloyd Cole and the Commotions was formed.
The Commotions enjoyed considerable success, touring extensively and releasing three studio albums – Rattlesnakes, Easy Pieces and Mainstream. The band split in 1990, but reunited in 2004 for a number of sold out concerts in the U.K. and Ireland marking the twentieth anniversary of the release of Rattlesnakes. Interest in the group remains strong and Universal Music released a 5 CD box set of their complete recordings in June 2015.
Neil returned to work with Lloyd Cole as a side musician in support of the singer’s second solo studio album in 1991. Recording and touring on additional projects subsequently followed – playing guitar on the albums Bad Vibes, Love Story, Etc, The Negatives, Music In A Foreign Language and 2006’s Antidepressant. Additionally during this time period he worked with a number of different artists as a side musician and co-writer on numerous projects in the U.K., Canada, France and the U.S. – notably, The Bathers, Mae Moore, Axelle Renoir and The Negatives.
As a composer for film and television Clark has enjoyed a productive relationship in Canada with filmmaker and director Terrance Odette, working on two of Odette’s films, Heater and Sleeping Dogs, and scoring the documentary TV series, Photograph.
In 2008 Neil released an album of largely solo guitar recordings Sundogs, of which long-time collaborator Lloyd Cole had this to say. “Guitar is a tough instrument as the lead (for a whole tune) but he’s got the balance just right on this collection…..there’s just the right amount of harmony and counter rhythm. He’s also become a great engineer – these pieces are beautifully recorded. Needless to say, the paying is deft, soulful and everything else you’d hope it would be. He’s channeling Frissell one minute and Keith the next, but he’s so much his own man that he doesn’t sound even slightly derivative..“.
In June 2016 he released, I Only Just Got Here a collection of jazz standards with originals. Neil also plays guitar in the jazz power-trio Sleepers, with Alisdair Jones and Ambrose Pottie. Sleepers have released one e.p. and one full length album. Under the name Clark | Jones | Pottie they have also released an e.p. of Bill Frisell tunes.
In 2014/15 he studied improvisation and harmony with renowned vibraphonist and educator Gary Burton.
Current recording projects include a collection of songs with his partner, singer and writer Theresa McKay, with completion expected in the fall of 2018, and production and playing on Toronto singer/songwriter, John Paul Kleiner’s album Inter City with completion also expected early fall of 2018.
Over the years Neil has worked with a diverse collection of musicians, producers and artists including: Amanda Kramer, Anthony Moore, Alisdair Jones, Ambrose Pottie, Blair Cowan, Bill Grove, Chris Hughes, Chris Thomas, David Wall, Dave Derby, Gavin McKillop, Gail Ann Dorsey, Iain Stanley, Julian Mendelson, Jerry Marotta, Jill Sobule, Lloyd Cole, Langer and Winstanley, Lawrence Donegan, Mark Bedford, Mae Moore, Mick Glossop, Paul Hardiman, Stephen Street, Stewart Copeland, Sid Straw, Sara Lee and Stephen Irvine.