CLEAN AND MEAN

Meet Philly's most hated band.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Aug. 8, 2007

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In the article and video Sharkey espouses the following: Man Man, PW's 2006 band of the year, "suck horse dick"; Dr. Dog are "fine if you're a parent and want to bring your infant to the show with you"; Philly music is "mediocre and privileged," "humorless" and "full of thin-skinned crybabies."

He'd said these same things many times to those who knew him, and sometimes he even said them from the stage. But this was different. Those who knew him in passing as an ornery guy with a penchant for juvenile humor were upset that he'd say such things about their music community publicly.

In the comments to the online version of the article (which also rehashes the Bad Wizard pee-pee lore--title: "A Full Pouch of the Night's Urine"), the reviews of Sharkey's barbs go from threats of physical violence to questions about his sexuality to assertions that he has AIDS. "These guys suck almost as much as Philadelphia does," says "dee."

Still, there are supporters. "It's okay to hate your scene, especially if you're good. These guys are," writes "Hater of German Language."

"[Sharkey] is always right. He is amazing," testifies "thatgirl."

But one who didn't think Sharkey was right is publicist Derek Meier of Solid PR. Shortly after the Vice article ran, he dropped Clockcleaner. (Solid also reps Man Man.)

Sharkey has a hard time understanding why people take these matters so personally.

"Dude, most of my friends don't like my band. Won't listen to us. That's fine. We're not everyone's thing, and I get that. Dr. Dog isn't mine. So what? To each his own."

Fair point--one most rational people might agree with. Sharkey knows this too, which is why he adds, "Seriously though. My dad would think Dr. Dog is pussy shit, and he listens to Dan Fogelberg."


Clockcleaner's John Sharkey
There are other people in Clockcleaner. Two, in fact, and though harder to get a quote out of, they both talk. One is even more responsible for the verbal carnage, spent bladders and club banishings than Sharkey is. His name is Richie Charles, and he started the band and came up with the name too.

When he and Sharkey started Clockcleaner, he had no way of knowing he'd end up being part of a vilified group. Still, he's fine with it. But one thing he's tired of is being asked about new indie up-and-comers by reporters hoping he'll bag on them. "It forces me to consider bands I don't care about," he says.

His point--no one asks the Teeth if they like Clockcleaner, so why should he be asked if he likes the Teeth? The music they make is worlds apart. Why would he like the Teeth's Beach Boys ethereal pop if he plays in a band that worships the punk rock hysterics of the Dicks?

Some four years ago Charles ran into Sharkey on the street. Sharkey, an old-time pal back from a two-year stint living in Cleveland, began flirting with the notion of starting a band. When the two began seeing one another out on the town, the talk would inevitably turn to music.

Charles bought a drum set. The two toyed around, discovered a sound and recorded The Hassler, an EP that in hindsight makes Sharkey taste a bit of his own medicine.

"It's awful. We had a couple songs and were dumb enough to let someone record them," he says before realizing he may sound like the thin-skinned local musicians he despises. "Whatever--it was a learning experience. No biggie."

The guys lost a bassist, gained a new one, and wrote more songs. Songs they actually liked this time. The new bassist quit just before they recorded their new album, so Sharkey assumed the role himself.

The result was Nevermind--and yes, it's named after Nirvana's 1991 genre-creating holy grail of alternative rock. "That album was such a sacred cow, we thought it would be funny to fuck with it," Sharkey smirks.

Reptilian, a Baltimore label, put out Nevermind, and label boss Chris X, a "satanist who drives a hearse," soon found himself on Clockcleaner's mock enemies list they often joke about but don't really keep.

"He's just the worst businessman I've ever met in my life," groans Sharkey. "You can't find that record in stores."

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