In January 1962. The Moonrakers were asked to perform at a friend’s wedding
Local popular folk singer Ron Moore providing a few tips and words of encouragement to the young musician
Rod Clark, a mystery name within Moody Blues circles, unknown to many and to others,
the temporary fill-in on bass until John Lodge could take up residence after Clint’s
departure? A musician plucked from obscurity in the latter half of 1966, to return
thereafter within just
a few short months?
Many readers will therefore be surprised, even amazed at the breadth of his musical
heritage, the extent of his recorded catalogue and the number of top names that he
has played alongside with, artists such as Roy Orbison, George Hamilton IV, Jimmy
Page, Duane Eddy, Gene Vincent, Peter Frampton, Jimi Hendrix and Slim Whitman!
Rodney Clark was born in Surlingham, east of Norwich on 23rd November 1942 to parents
Roy (writer / broadcaster) and Margaret (ballet dancer), completing their family
alongside Rod’s older sister Linda.
At the age of 14, Rod acquired his first guitar, a six-string acoustic.
Attending Highfield College boarding school over 100 miles away in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
gave Rod plenty of time to practice, the guitar providing regular entertainment for
his school pals as this shot from 1957 demonstrates.
Being a huge Buddy Holly fan, it was with great excitement that the 15 year old Rod
managed to secure a ticket to a show on Buddy’s 1958 UK tour, just under a year before
that fateful plane crash, the day the music died.
Within weeks of Buddy’s tragic death, his songs were ringing again as Rod took centre
stage at the “Gentlemen’s Night” at Colville House Youth Club, providing a first taste
of fame as the event was reported in the Eastern Evening News.
By 1961, Rod was performing regularly in the Norfolk / Lowestoft region, proud owner
of his new Senator.
1961 also saw the formation of Rod’s first real band, The Moonrakers.....
Dennis Cushion (bass), Roger Spruce (drums), Rod Clark (rhythm) and Pearce Arnup (Gtr/vocals)
By 1963, Rod (now on bass) had moved to Maidstone, Kent where his new band, the Dee-Fenders
still found time between gigs to enjoy the fine weather, messing around on the beach,
before returning to their camp site.
A brief spell then followed, in the autumn of 1963, with another Maidstone band The
Knighthawks, swapping the traditional modes of transport for the more unconventional
ambulance! (A strange parallel with other Moodies bassist John Lodge’s early tenure
with the John Bull Breed)