JEFF CLARK

 

Jeff Clark is a 4th generation Austinite from a family of musical talent.  His mother and grandmother taught piano, with Jeff beginning at age seven with his Grandma Anderson.  Jeff’s mother was a world-class organist and his father still sings today with the GBATTS (Getting Better All the Time Singers), headed by former LBJ press secretary, Liz Carpenter.

Jeff’s attraction for the guitar began when he was seven.  A cousin started taking guitar lessons and Jeff immediately was smitten by the instrument.  Consequently he began learning and in a short time was serenading girls over the telephone with guitar and voice.  His first television performance was at age 9 on KTBC (then Channel 7) where he performed on the Saturday morning kid’s show, “Uncle Jay.”  He played the acoustic guitar and sang The MTA by The Kingston Trio.   

He began playing in his first band in 7th grade, and continued playing professionally until 1988.  In high school he played with The Chandelles, then Shepherd’s Bush.  In the early ‘70s he joined Phoenix with Tom Holden, Rodney Garrison and Leonard Arnold.  From there he and Tom Holden evolved into Stump with David Frame on bass and Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar.  When Stevie Ray left, he was replaced by Brian Wooten and the foundation of pre-Too Smooth emerged. 

The band was discovered by a New York manager/producer who put them on salary to work on material, write, practice and polish, and he provided them a place to live as a group.  They then went to The Record Plant studio in Sausalito, California, to record a few songs as “The Boys.”  Shortly thereafter, David Frame decided to depart the music business and Brian Wooten introduced the band to Danny Swinney, bassist, who was the last member of the Too Smooth original lineup.

Too Smooth went through the rest of the ‘70s in five different renditions, with Jeff being the only original member throughout the entire duration.  

In 1981, 14K was formed, reuniting Jeff with Brian Wooten, drummer Chris Skiles of Too Smooth and bass player Bobby Clouse from Dallas to make up the foursome.  They played commercial hits, plus continued to play originals and open up shows for national touring acts.  Louie Kruse replaced Bobby, Danny Swinney joined a year so later, and then Mark Powers was added for vocal prowess and rhythm guitar.  This lineup recorded Jeff’s incredible arrangement of Ring Christmas Bells on The Austin Christmas Collection in about 1983.   A number of personnel changes over the last years included Scott Hoyt, Greg Stegall and Rusty Stone.  In 1985, 14K recorded a video of the previously audio-recorded Ring Christmas Bells that was shown on many television networks for years to come.  The group also played and competed on the television show Star Search, winning their first episode and losing (BCS) the second in a somewhat controversial fashion.  The tent was folded up on 14K in mid-1987.

Jeff retired from playing music professionally in 1987 and went into the insurance and financial services profession.  For a while during 1987 and early 1988, he and Danny played with XKE, a very popular weekend band.

Jeff currently is a life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table, an international organization of the top six percent of producers worldwide, and he continues his professional career in financial services. He married Teresa Burns of San Antonio in 1983.  Together they have a son, Kevin, born in February of 1986, and a daughter, Jamie, born April of 1989.  Both currently attend The University of Texas at Austin.   Jeff leads a Youth Band of high school and college-age youths and a few adults at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in northwest Austin.  Both of his children also sing and perform with the Youth Band.

“There probably always will be a Too Smooth.  We learned through these reunions that the friendship has always been there.  It was almost funny how quickly the music came back together – like maybe we weren’t supposed to forget it!  It’s been very gratifying that our friends and followers have stayed with us over all these years, too.  That makes it something bigger than just the four of us.  It’s a community united by music.  We may not get to do it as much as we’d like, but that’s okay, too.  We’ve reached the point where we realize that Too Smooth is an entity that always will be there for each of us.  This newest project will see to it!” -- Jeff

 

 

 

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