The Colin Clary Interview: Funtime with The Clarys
Words by Jess Slayton. Photos by Kevin Bloom.
I sat down with the fabulously active and multitalented Colin Clary at Burlington’s Three Needs the other day to chat about his many projects, past and present. He may as well be considered a local celebrity in Burlington’s indie scene, due to his involvement in The Smittens, Let’s Whisper, and most recently Colin and the Clarys. After grabbing a glass of water and another of Maker’s Mark, Clary told me that he considered Colin and the Clarys to be a “musician’s band,” and that it’s a refreshing side project to have alongside his other two. Where The Smittens was a multipart band with each member having a say in the given direction, Colin and the Clarys belongs more to Clary himself. He and a few musician friends get together every Wednesday and just play—the idea is for the band to be ready to play a show after or during every practice. There is very little competition or pressure surrounding this band, which is revolutionary considering the amount of stress that comes from the music world today. He stated, “Practices are our own shows, and we’re never thinking about what people want to hear.” Colin and the Clarys is not about making it big—it’s about taking an evening every week and doing something you love with good friends.
One thing that Clary said that really stuck with me was, “What can allow you to do what you want to do? The thing you control is your output, and that’s all.” He has certainly been around the block—he has played shows all over the Northeast with multiple bands, created a following, maintained a day job at VNA, and written over a hundred songs. Yet, for all of this experience, the music itself remains the most important aspect to Clary himself. Playing music that he writes with fellow musicians allows him to be able to do what he wants to do. He controls the output and doesn’t rely on fame or fortune resulting from his music to justify it, instead relying solely on his own satisfaction and personal fulfillment. When I asked Clary to describe his own music, he laughed and told me that he would consider it “Uncle Colin’s Funtime,” which I in turn found hilarious, very telling of his personality, and later very accurate. Upon listening to the newest album, Twee Blues Vol. 1, the best word I could come up with to describe it is DELIGHTFUL. The album is grounded by exceptional musicianship and differentiated by creative, unique, and playful lyrics. Clary said that they try to be the type of band that someone would want to put on and lay down to at 10 in the morning. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Check out Colin and the Clarys at www.colinclary.com.