Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 22, 2002

Bankruptcy won't stop Clark family's music

By Ryan Gueningsman

The Clark Family Experience may be close to $800,000 in debt due to 'bad financial decisions,' but that is not stopping them from doing what they love ­ making music and delivering it to their fans.

The group is composed of six brothers, originally from the mountains of Virginia, whose father is a traveling minister.

"Growing up was interesting. We traveled on the road a lot," lead singer Alan Clark said. "Our dad, being a minister and all, took us to churches. Actually, he was responsible for teaching us to play instruments and music.

"If you want to blame anyone, blame him," Clark said, laughing.

The family grew, becoming nine boys and two girls ­ all the names starting with "A."

"Music has always been in our family," Clark said. "After forming the band, we played fairs and bluegrass festivals.

"We've been fortunate to work with some really great people, and have been having a blast."

Throughout the last six years, the band has been on Curb Records, and has released many singles ­ "Standing Still," "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch," "To Quote Shakespeare," and most recently "Going Away."

With the success of the singles, it has always been a great question as to when an album of Clark Family music would be out.

Curb kept putting it off and eventually the brothers filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy the week before Winstock.

"Finally, it was like, we can't do this anymore," Clark said. "Our finances were hurting, so we filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and now all heck is breaking loose.

"It's been a lot of drama. But, you know, what isn't drama in life? It's cool."

Winstock was the family's first performance with 'no money.'

"Hopefully we get paid for this," Clark said laughing before their Winstock performance.

For some people, this might seem like the end of a career, or a chance to explore something new. Not to the Clark family. They are going out there, meeting the challenges life has handed them head on.

"We make humor of it," he said. "Everyone is like 'Are you bummed? Are you discouraged?' and actually we feel liberated by it, we feel really good and positive right now."

As of Winstock, Clark was not sure if they still had a record deal with Curb Records or not.

"I don't know if we are going to be on or off (of the Curb Record label) at this point. At this moment, we just have to see what time tells," he said.

They plan to continue doing their live shows over the summer, and since filing for bankruptcy, they have had several offers from other major record labels in Nashville.

"We really got so much press out of the whole thing, the Associated Press ran with it, it was on CNN Headline News, and we were like "What did we do," he said laughing. "It was like, why didn't we do this years ago?"

"The irony of it all is that it has actually helped us. We have a real good fan base, our web site is going through the roof, and we keep it all positive, and whatever happens and becomes of it ­ it will definitely be for the best."

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