Local rocker Clark Demeritt and his band Clarko exude proto-punk to the max. Songs like “Stifled” and “Alien Touch” sound like Devo if they’d made their first record in 2023—with a few more psychedelic effect pedals, and if they only sang with treble. His debut album, Welcome to Clarko, came out in late May, and the band is heading to the Holland Project at 8 p.m., Sunday, July 23, opening up for Color Green and Noah Linker. For more info on the show, visit hollandreno.org. For more on Clarko, visit instagram.com/clark_rules. Demeritt is the latest to take the Lucky 13; here are his answers.
What was the first concert you attended?
I went to see the Cure when I was 13 at Curiosa (festival). I didn’t really know who the Cure was before, but I’m definitely a lifelong fan after. The Cure’s audience is weird—tons of jerks. I saw them after My Bloody Valentine, and the Cure campers were flipping MBV off! Who does that?
What was the first album you owned?
The first album I ever bought was Britney Spears, … Baby One More Time, but it was for my brother. He was too embarrassed to buy it, because our masculinities were very fragile back then. The first I bought for myself was Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, an album I still love. My mom had to do some mental gymnastics to be OK with the title.
What bands are you listening to right now?
CLARKO! I just got into 100 gecs, so I can feel young. I feel so young now that I like 100 gecs, but that might not actually be young-people music. Maybe it’s old people’s idea of young people music to make themselves feel young?
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
Having to be really annoying about the Grateful Dead. This goes for people who don’t like them, as well as people who do. I get it! They were a band. I do like them, by the way.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
The Replacements in their prime, but two shows: One of the fantastic ones and one of the really bad ones.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
Standing outside when bands are playing, I like the fresh air a lot!
What’s your favorite music venue?
In town? It is, of course, the Holland Project. In the whole wide world? First Avenue in Minneapolis! There’s so much history there. I love the big room, but also the 7th St. Entry (a smaller attached venue). I got to sit on one of Prince’s motorcycles there, and they have my favorite socks ever.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
The ones I get wrong: “Spiral might of Jesus, spinal meningitis got me down,” Ween, “Spinal Meningitis.” Also Devo, “Uncontrollable Urge”: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
What band or artist changed your life? How?
Nobody will be surprised to hear Devo! Devo taught me to love the unexpected—that songs didn’t have to be serious, but that doesn’t mean they are a joke. A complete artistic vision! More importantly, all the local bands I saw when I was a teenager: Brainfoot, Short Hair, Over Vert, and many more!
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
Prince: Where’s the best food in Minneapolis?
What song would you like played at your funeral?
“I’m So Tired” by the Beatles. I want everyone to know how I was feeling when I died.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Q: Are We Not Men A: We Are Devo! It’s a timeless album that holds up to this very second, although I am under the belief that the first four Devo records are perfect. Honestly, I would say anything to get out of figuratively getting shot in the head.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
“Mary Susan” by Blood on the Wall. I love that song. I always come back to it. It’s perfectly triumphant and kind of emotional for reasons I do not fully understand.