The following has been contributed by Tyler Green, Lynn Schwarz, Greg Tietz, Cassidy Garcia, and Gabriel Armstrong in memory of Barrett Clark, a victim of the recent Oakland fire. He quickly became the cornerstone of our live event sound staff and a friend to all who knew him here at The Bay Bridged.
What I'm about to tell you is top secret.
A conspiracy bigger than all of us.
A secret, you were never supposed to know about.
I'm talking about a secret that is a man, a man no one knows about. The ultimate insider.
If you could see him it meant you made it.
You may have never gotten access but he was there for you, when you had that moment that changed your life, that you couldn't quite describe. For him it was just another moment of spacetime, thinking about ten moves from now. That guy? He is invisible, made transcendence for a living and made fun of your idols in places you don't have access to, while you slept.
I speak of an unflappable heavy-metal chili cookoff master, a psychedelic warrior, a head banger, proof the singularity is coming, mad capped, zombie panda with a Phd in bass, "this goes to 11, lemme show you," night owl, futuristic, passionate, trickster, and most definitely a marvel of our time.
His name was Barrett Clark, and you were never supposed to know about him. He was our secret and a secret ingredient. He was our reward for leveling up, for being that underground for that long. I will miss him dearly.
After having the good fortune to get to know Barrett over 17 years, I can't t say that I'm the best person to write about him. Barrett has friends who have known him longer, this should give anyone reading this an idea of the kind of person he was. Barrett and I met at High School, later we worked together at Asphodel Records becoming neighbors as well. During this time, Barrett became the go to sound engineer for my band, which considered him a member if only unofficially. Touring took us both (and a tight knit crew friends) to at least a dozen different countries and twice as many states. He was as tireless as he was generous and hardworking, with easily the best attitude in the strangest situations. You really get to know someone in those situations and he always shined through, just being around Barrett taught me volumes about life and how to truly live. He was fearless, with an infinite sense of adventure and it showed in his musical tastes as well as the music he made. He did all this without the slightest hint of ego while championing those creating around him. It’s going to be hard going forward without him but I’m glad he laid out the blueprints for ruling at life.
REST IN POWER
Yeah yeah yeah. Barrett. The guy you only showed your most precious and weirdest new musical finds, hoping against hope he hadn’t heard it yet. The guy you would ask to mix or record your band because he would do it right, and he would be fun to work with. The guy who could not be classified, nor shocked. Who was friends with freaks, weirdos, eco-terrorists, nature lovers, Satanists, likely Satan himself, Wiccans, young and old. Sharp as a tack, and mischievous, but kind. He was like a snake charmer of mean tour managers. Destroyer of the status quo. Hater of normality.
Barrett would want us to say something about chaos right now. But that’s his specialty. So I’ll just say that Barrett was one-of-a-kind, the most fun person at the party, and a life raft when you felt awkward and uncool at that party. The guy who brought everything — provided the music, cooked amazing food for huge groups, and did it all while having more fun than anyone. Yeah yeah yeah.
Barrett, who will be the one still stoking the fire now when the sun comes up, and talking about esoteric things with a huge smile?
Like most people, I was drawn to Barrett by his warmth. He had a quick wit, but I think positive vibrations are the first thing that bring friends together. We got to know each other while working together at Bottom of the Hill. I worked behind the bar, he at the sound board.
At the end of the night, after the club had cleared out, was the time when bar staff (which has always been a strong family) had the chance to unwind and have a drink together. Probably the first topic I covered with Barrett was music. It's not every day you can have a great conversation with someone about Coil, Nurse with Wound, Sun City Girls.
I always looked forward to conversations with Barrett. Recipes for Chiang Mai noodles led to stories of the Chiang Mai province, tour stories, and often circled back to music.
At some point, I learned that he created music. I asked him what kind of music he made. He basically dismissed the notion that he was a musician and told me just played around with machines and made noise. I had no idea he was creating sonic soundscapes for Katabatik, bringing so much to that community.
One story that stands out to me seemed so insignificant at the time. I was at a Bottom of the Hill mid-summer Christmas party campout and had forgotten my lantern. My first instinct was to call Barrett, who was always prepared. Yes, he had an extra lantern I could use.
I met him when he arrived and it was apparent that he'd brought extra supplies for everyone that may have a need. This, to me, is the very essence of Barrett.
Barrett was a giving person on every level. He wanted to provide for everyone around him, whether it be base-level needs like food or a kind word when you needed one. His kindest form of sharing were the good vibrations you felt, transmitted on an astral plane.
Until next time, my friend.
I remember the first time I had met Barrett Clark I could tell the moment we shook hands and did the one arm hug that we would be the best of friends. Barrett taught me so much about becoming a sound engineer. Every time we would work together and he would be at the desk I would be breather down his neck looking over his shoulder to learn every trick he had up his sleeve and he was never hesitant to teach you more.
I can still hear him: "Dude, yeah, yeah, like totally, yeah dude."
Barrett you were one of the kindest smartest funniest souls I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the engineer I am today and thank you for being my friend. I love and miss you bud! You will live on in everyone that you touched, in one way or the other.
“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
—Hunter S. ThompsonTags: Barrett Clark, Ghost Ship