I first saw Clang play in Greensboro, outside the Hess building on Elm in the 90’s. His set up was two metal garden fiskar hand tools he used to bang on a metal street sign while wearing a Jason Vorhees style hockey mask with bells in the holes and shaking his head back and forth – fast
He added electronics to the set and new sections over many years. Still to tell the same story. Early on the electronics were going through just a practice amp, so the majority of the volume was still him striking plucking strumming things and it had a quiet when it should be loud, loud when it should be quiet dynamic. He eventually started using PAs for a more forceful sound reversing the dynamic but still a harsh contrast between the electric and acoustic.
Then there’s his very sweet friendship with and mentorship from Z’ev. There was an under-mentioned late career growth period directly based on knowledge spread first hand when he stayed at his place in Stokes County. He learned new pure noise percussion techniques that took him from noise + drums to drums as noise and really helped him elaborate sonically. I feel like this part of his career is worthy of scholarship.
That is the growth I personally witnessed as we fell out of touch in the middle 2000s.
Ron was obsessed with him from the moment he saw him in 2000 and released his first LP on the legendary RRR records. Saying “if noise is passion and obsession, Scotty’s got it in spades”. That record was basically the show without the visuals. From there I think people just said yeah i’ve seen it. A lot of amazing live bands with a performative aspect have that problem. You have your mind destroyed the first time then you’ve … just seen the show. Like a movie or a play. Add to that the fact that Clang Quartet show has never presented itself as anything but fully formed, at least from the perspective of an audience member, and its easy to see why people could think it was the same thing. IT WAS NOT. And it never has been.
When I heard Scotty had cancer my heart sank (note: don’t despair it is mild and as he said ‘more people die with than from this mild version’ he’s going to be fine) It prompted me to ask again for a master.
I would have released ANYTHING just to have put out a record by him and make sure he knew I appreciated him. I was shaken up by the news and it was before we found out he would be fine. I got the master and was blown away.
Career trajectory wise i wish this was the one on RRR back in the day. Its harsh, well recorded, short, tight and singular. In the present day its even more remarkable, because of the time passed, very rare a dude in his 50’s known for long form performance based pieces doing a short tight album with like… I don’t know man grind? elements periodically. Big smashing industrial sounds. Totally bleak confessional like whispered poetic vocals??!??!?! It’s just sick. Took me by surprise.
Going from banging a stop sign on Elm street to rocking w/ the Incaps in Japan. His career deserves a book. I ain’t gonna write it but Scotty Irving is a Carolina Classic, a national treasure and a first rate performer who can own any room. Give the man his flowers.