I’ll never have the right words to express just how pivotal Clunk Music Hall was to so many of us 20 years (!!!) ago, but here goes.
Oh look there I am with my old band!
That wasn’t it. I just got distracted.
Clunk. I can’t imagine WHAT I’d be tormenting my ears with today if it weren’t for Chris Selby and his life-altering idea to open up an all-ages venue in my hometown of Fayetteville, AR in 1998 for all us youngsters to see live indie bands play. But he did it. And it changed us forever.
In an unassuming cinder block building next to a strip club and behind an old Chinese restaurant, some of the to-be biggest bands in the world were dropping in to play to a warehouse full of crusty kids, night after night. AFTER NIGHT.
Seriously, I remember an era when we went to Clunk at least three times a week. And even then it wasn’t nearly enough.
Clunk (okay his name is Chris, but everyone called (calls) him Clunk. It is the way of my people.) booked everyone! It was there, in his warehouse of a hall that I discovered bands like Les Savy Fav (insanely incredible show), The Dismemberment Plan, Ted Leo, The Paper Chase, Sean Na Na, Modest Mouse, Superchunk, Built to Spill, Ida, The Spinanes, The Sea and Cake, Tortoise, Enon, Bright Eyes, Lucero, Cat Power and a hundred million more.
If we weren’t seeing the bands play at night, we were hanging out at the record store portion of the hall by day, obsessing over new 7 inches and full lengths of this band on Saddle Creek and that band on Merge. It consumed us. For five entire years, we ate, lived and breathed the Clunk Music Hall lifestyle.
And get this, the shows were cheap! You could drink a PBR before the show for a buck (not that we did or anything), pay five bucks to see an incredible indie rock show, and end the night with Taco Bell across the street for another two bucks (not that we did or anything).
Yep, that would be Modest Mouse playing at Clunk Music Hall in September of 2001. To an obscenely packed and hungry crowd. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And this was way before they got weird. The good stuff. Lonesome Crowded West era.
Try not be jealous but, we totally partied with the band after the show. I mean, I didn’t say a single word to Isaac because I was a complete star struck lunatic, but I did stand next to him and dribble cheap red wine down my blouse. You know, just keeping it classy.
This is the thing. Clunk EXCITED everyone. Not only was Chris single handedly shaping our musical tastes forever, there wasn’t a single person who wasn’t psychotically enthused about promoting, attending and/or obsessing over a show. This is Roger ^, a super cheerleader for Clunk back in the day, hanging flyers around campus. That’s what we did! We hung actual paper flyers on campus! Who would have thought we could live life without Instagram.
If you were under 21, you played house shows. But then Clunk came along and gave tons and tons of locals bands an actual place to play music. And eventually even be the opening band for some of your heroes. Everyone supported everyone. Bands like The Paper Hearts, Tyko, Kung Fu Grip, Fizzgig, Two Dean Crew, Hundred Years War, Gals Revenge, Bella Sera and countless others played constantly at Clunk, and became the main pulse of the Fayetteville music scene. Thanks for that, Chris! YOU MADE THAT HAPPEN.
Clunk Music Hall shut its doors in 2002, and while I totally want to say, “the magic will live on in our hearts forever” I won’t because I like having human friends. (but it does. it does live on.)
And guys, this is why I make you mixtapes. Back then, the way you shared music with your friends was to make mixtapes. (even way before the Clunk era!)
On this particular mixtape, every single band (minus Bright Eyes but I did see them in concert because of Clunk!) I saw at the music hall. Hence the onslaught of photos above. My shoegazer band Tyko even got to go on a mini tour with Dismemberment Plan and Ted Leo! HI, life highlight.
And now, I give you . . . the “Clunk Music Hall Changed My Life Forever and I’m Serious” mix.
TELL ME, were you at any of these shows? The world is so small, I wouldn’t even be surprised if you were.
Here’s an even better piece written on Clunk’s legacy if you’re interested!
Also, that’s me with Har Mar Superstar himself. Try not to be jealous of our raging duck faces.
This time last year.
Four! The very first mixtape! Holy cow.