Start with a dose of old-school, Marley-Toots-Tosh reggae and infuse it with everything from Sun Ra Arkestra freak jazz to Steve Vai guitar pyrotechnics. Inventive intersections like these define Spiritual Rez, the Boston-based septet performing at Stone Church in Newmarket on Thursday, Sept. 16.
“It’s a melting pot left and right, a swirling vortex of music that comes together,” says the band’s drummer, Ian Miller.
Over a career of 30-plus years, Lenny Clarke made movies, had a Boston variety show and starred in his own network sitcom. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he hosted the open-mike night at the Ding Ho in Cambridge, a weekly event that launched the careers of Steven Wright, Denis Leary and others — “It was Sodom and Gomorrah with a five-dollar cover,” Bob Goldthwaite, who also got his start there, is quoted as having said.
It was a time, Clarke said recently, when comics were “rock stars. It was unbelievable …the best tables, best champagne, women, drugs, you name it. It was the greatest years of my life. It will never be copied.”
But befitting Clarke’s hometown, referred to in the documentary When Standup Stood Out as “a full-fledged metropolis with a first-rate inferiority complex,” the 57-year-old comic never got comfortable with his success. “In my eyes — I’m a working-class background, poor family — I still haven’t made it,” he says. “I’ll be working ’til five minutes before I drop dead.”
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