Darcy Clay is just your average Grey Lynn resident. He likes to fool around with a four-track in his house, an old villa on Williamson Ave. Now everyone wants a piece of Darcy......
Interest is hot following the "official" release of 'Jesus I Was Evil', his seminal piece of evil with five extra tracks. This release, after being the most popular file in (Xtra's)Demolounge, makes it a genuine bonafide EP ala the glory days of the Flying Nun EP of the 80s.
The comparisons between Darcy and the original Nunners like The Clean are inevitable. Both eschewed conventional wisdom - The Clean took punk and blended it with psychedelia; Darcy takes country and metal and truns it into punk in a cool Bob Dylan kind of way.
Darcy was born Daniel Bolton, and lived in Birkenhead through his youth but also spent nine months as a 14-year-old in Atlanta, Georgia and later 18 months with the rest of the Boltons in Australia.
Whilst on these teenage escapades Darcy was able to connect with his sentimental boyhood musical favourites Motley Crue, who he saw in concert. Nothing for Darcy could touch Motley Crue's Shout At The Devil, the first album he ever bought. He was "Obsessed with metal", going to Metallica and Poison concerts and to this day still thinks "Metal's the best sort of party music" and that "AC/DC are a great party band".
The music thing all started happening for him when he inherited a "small sum" of money.
"I bought a Telecaster, an effect pedal and a four-track. Any good sounds I got were from learning how to use it."
Of course a guy that can cover Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' has to have a country bent. Darcy calls country "the white man's blues". In between the obsession with metal and the hard-luck stories of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Ray Stevens, there is the nub of the Darcy sound - - Let it rip vocals, the heartache lyrics and the straight-ahead rawness that is so captivating after glossed-over 24-track soul pop. And he likes a laugh.
This quality was not lost on Trevor Reekie of Pagan Records who picked up on Darcy and signed him to his off-shoot label Antenna.
"Darcy makes me laugh", says Trevor over the phone, a man who has committed Darcy to delivering two more singles and an album.
Darcy is fairly nonchalant about the commitment, saying "I'll just go from there" --whatever THAT means.
Not bad for a guy who's only done three gigs ever - a Summer Series in Auckland early 97; a Massey Orientation gig, and a night at @Luna, the Symonds Street performance venue (Auckland). Playing with him have been the capable backing band of Shirley, Bob and Aaron, a bunch of folks assembled from Festival Records and bFM, who excel at everything from Thin Lizzy covers to a smattering of originals.
"Playing in the studio is easy", says Darcy. "I'm pretty confident about playing in front of people but I wouldn't be any good talking about the dangers of nuclear war to an audience.".
Darcy reckons that when it's time to play gigs again, he'll probably try and get together with the same band again in between doing those musician things like watching daytime soaps, where the Darcy name is "incredibly popular"(!).
"Even Jean-Claude Van Damme's wife is named Darcy!" says Darcy.
Darcy Clay sounds better than Daniel Bolton and besides, he didn't want any confusion with other music persona.
"Michael Bolton's taken care of that. We're not related. Just good mates."
OK, we can wear that.
DJ Shadow --Endtroducing
(Demonstrates his impeccable good taste)
Daft Punk --Homework
("I'm only mentioning the fashionable stuff, but that's because it's good. It wouldn't be fashionable otherwise.")
Steven Jesse Bernstein
(An LA poet -- fairly dark side stuff apparently)
(A Beck and Darcy double bill wouldn't go amiss now, would it?)
Darcy Clay took his own life in March of 1998, at his girlfriend's house..... I will always wonder if Darcy's music would've made it in the States - I can't help but truly believe it would've, if only for it's uniqueness. In any case, the New Zealand music world is a little less imaginative without Darcy Clay.
"We can expect a new release from Darcy Clay very soon. It'll be called "Songs for Beethoven" and it'll be six songs recorded live when he played at the Blur gig, earlier this year."
(courtesy of Un-chart-ed News, 9.23.98)
Jesus I Was Evil
All I Gotta Do
What About It?