Many bands claim to be unclassifiable, most are wrong. But Portland's Cark makes unpredictability a core value. "We get complacent when we know what to expect all the time. The whole point of keeping art vital is to try something new, to confuse people," said Josh Gross, who fronts the band and is also a PSU student. The name of Cark's latest album, SUPERHELLAMEGAEPIC, seems an apt description for a band that transitions seamlessly from speed metal to an only half ironic cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." If Cark's aim to keep their audience on their toes than they succeed in more ways than one; for a raucous two-piece that is firmly rooted in metal, Cark is undeniably catchy and most of all, fun. Audiences regularly oscillate between lighthearted moshing and '80s-style dancing. "Music doesn't have to be a joke to be funny," Gross said. "It can be rock music and still be fun." And indeed Cark are hilarious, but somehow they remain earnest and passionate about the onslaught of pop riffs and cowbells that erupts from stage during their live set. Even though Cark is a unique experience, they have retained the rock ethos. Gross said that he is sick of what he calls snoozecore. "When rock started it was about being loud and energetic. It scared people because it was so fun, it was this uncontrollable energy," he said. "We just love to play and we don't give a shit about what anyone thinks about it." Cark's live show is engaging and awe inspiring. On songs like "The Standing Drummer," they manage to simultaneously jab their tongues in their cheeks and kick f***ing ass. Drummer Dustin Wasserman, who is a Portland state grad, is one of the city's most energetic and inventive percussionists. And despite Cark's deliberate distance from Portland's thriving indie-pop scene, in many ways the standing drummer ranks among Talkdemonic's Kevin O'Connor and Menomena's Danny Seim as one of Stumptown's most fun drummers to see live. -Leathan Graves-Highsmith Portland Vangaurd, February 23, 2006 --------------- Cark v-(kark): 1. To vex, to confuse, to annoy. 2. To disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed. What is Cark? Well, Cark is not a fish. Nor are they broad-shouldered lasses from the south of France. They might be a ham-fisted, rock'n'roll juggernaut terrorizing the airwaves with their fresh new sound, but then again, they could just as easily be your parent's insurance agent. Are you confused yet? Good. That's what Cark is. United in the belief that the rock world can be a bit stuffy at times, Josh, 'Mad-Sombrero' Gross, and Dustin, 'Drummer of Death' Wasserman, like to keep the audience on their toes. A hyperactive songwriting process, that covers topics as diverse as picnics, and robotically enhanced hoboes taking over the planet, fuels performances that invite the audience out of their seats to join Cark in their merrymaking. No cow is too sacred for the seppuku two. A few chords and two lines later, we all remember that rock music can be fun, and still rock. Both Dustin and Josh were members of stalwart southern Oregon band, The Vam Commanders, but had gone their separate ways for several years before Cark's inception in Portland, in late 2004. Dustin went to study in Japan for two years, and kept busy with his many recording projects, documented on his personal label, Tingle Finger records, while Josh played clubs around Portland with new-wavers, The Sucker M.C. Jive Turkeys. Cark's first year on the town was mostly spent describing how a song should go to one another, and then playing it for the first time ever on stage, since they lacked a consistent practice space. Although this sounds dysfunctional to the max, audiences liked it, and a sound was born. Since Cark didn't own a car, gear was transported to said gigs either on the bus, or by walking, or in the case of a gig at Sabala's, by shopping cart-a technique which earned them the label of most hardcore band in Portland, from the owner of Suburbia practice studios, and a lot of confused looks from other bands who brought their gear in vans because it was 'raining.' Sound people were appreciative since even without a car, Cark always arrived on time, a rarity in the sordid world of rock'n'roll. 2006 brings Cark a cache of new songs, a freshly minted new album, Superhellamegaepic, and a renewed drive to show Portland how to have a good time, even without a bass player. In their own words: We're here to f***ing rock, we're here to f***ing roll, so make some f***ing noise, and get out of control. Fun facts derived from Cark lyrics: • Cark are in fact from another f***ing planet! • The members of Cark have never actually been on a picnic, although they have every intention of going! • Josh, a genuine member of Cark, actually fears that hoboes could be robotically enhanced sleeper agents, awaiting commands from orbiting UFOs to rise up and conquer the Earth! • Dustin, another genuine member of Cark, likes to stand up while he plays the drums in order to pay respect to all his dead drum homies! • Cark once played a show after seven months of not practicing. No one noticed a difference!
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