Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

If Life gives allows us enough time, there will interesting intersections. For Bruce “Bruno” Clarke, Columbia University, a doo wop band on a lark, a surprisingly well-received Woodstock performance, and cybernetics all intersected.

Tutti Frutti > Plastic Fantastic

In 1960, a cadet uncle attending West Point gave Clarke Little Richard’s “Here’s Little Richard.” He was 10 and fell in love with rock and roll.

He built a crystal radio and hung an antenna out his McLean, Virginia bedroom. Along came Beatlemania and an acoustic guitar. He replaced it with a Gibson Melody Maker, an amp, and some high school friends to become Fuzz, his first band.

He played rhythm guitar until the bassist’s parents removed the bassist from the band. Along comes bass player Bruce Clarke.

Fuzz morphed into Fantastic Plastic and great SAT scores helped get him into Columbia University.

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock


He wasn’t part of Columbia’s a Capella King’s Men, but when its members wanted to do a one-night doo wop show, Clarke became its bassist. The success of the show led to more than one night.

Late June, 1969, the newly minted Sha Na Na got a two-week late-night run at Steve Paul‘s Scene.   Who should stop by one night and happened to see this Sha Na Na? Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. A late invitation followed.

According to a video interview,

…I just had this insane crazy good fortune to stumble into a phenomenon which turned into the group Sha Na Na which then became a successful rock act and played at Woodstock when we were three months old. 

In a Wild River Review piece, Clarke relates his story leaving Friday morning for Bethel, finally getting to the site, and experiencing the whole scene.

When they left the stage on Monday morning, Jimi Hendrix “…shook hands all around and, shaking mine, uttered the personal compliment I’ve tried to live by ever since: “You got soul, man.”

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Jumps off

In that same video interview, Clarke says “...I did it for four years…I just happened to be there, caught the thing by the tail and took the ride.

I don’t really want to dedicate myself to more years on end, ready to go back, go to grad school, see what happens. So I did. I cut it loose.

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Texas Tech

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Bruce C Clarke currently teaches in the English department at Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX. According to the Department of English site at TT, “Bruce Clarke is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Literature and Science in the Department of English at Texas Tech University. His research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century literature and science, with special interests in systems theory, narrative theory, and ecology. In 2010-11 he was Senior Fellow at the International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy, Bauhaus-University Weimar, and in Summer 2015 he was Senior Fellow at the Center for Literature and the Natural Sciences, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. He edits the book series Meaning Systems, published by Fordham University Press.”

It appears that his most recent book was the 2014 Neocybernetics and Narrative. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. His credited list of Special Issues, Book Reviews, Invited Presentations and Book Chapters in Print, Articles, Article Reviews, and Introductions is a long one as well as the awards list for research.

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

4 thoughts on “Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock”

  1. Bruce, I’ve played bass since 1975. I remember buying a double live Sha Na Na akbum in 1973. What struck me first was the bass. I was always impressed by your bass work, up and down and all over that neck and well played lines. Hope you get to read this and thanks for the memories.

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