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Allen Clapp

A cult hero of the pop underground, Allen Clapp has been a member of several bands that have won loyal followings among critics and the cognoscenti (most notably the Orange Peels), as well releasing a handful of celebrated solo efforts and producing other artists. Born in Foster City, California on the San Francisco Bay on August 5, 1967, Clapp learned to play piano from his mother, and also took violin lessons before he developed a taste for rock & roll. In high school Clapp and a friend, Larry Winther, formed a garage rock band that at different points in their history was known as the Morsels and the Batmen. In 1989, the band broke up, and Winther went on to form "budget rock" mavens the Mummies, while Clapp and bandmate Chris Boyke formed a folk-rock combo called the Goodfellows. The Goodfellows evolved into a group called Huck, who made their recording debut with a flexidisc on Winter's Mist Records. During his downtime from Huck, Clapp began experimenting with his primitive home recording setup, which consisted of a four-track cassette machine, an echo unit, and a tie-clip microphone. Despite his low-tech gear, Clapp began making striking recordings of his top-shelf pop tunes, and Maz Kattuah, who had been in the Morsels/Batmen, offered to release Clapp's song "Very Peculiar Feeling" on his Four Letter Words label. The song appeared on a 1990 split flexidisc, sharing space with the Japanese band Bridge, and Four Letter Words dropped a one-sided Allen Clapp single in 1991, "A Change in the Weather." As Clapp's work began making noise in the pop community, he was approached by the indie imprint the Bus Stop Label, which released the 1992 EP Mystery Lawn and the 1993 album One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain. The latter effort was credited to Allen Clapp & His Orchestra, a handle he would use for a number of future releases.

While Clapp continued to record as a solo act, in 1994 he and Larry Winther would form the first edition of a band that evolved into the Orange Peels, who released their first album, Square, in 1997. The Orange Peels dominated Clapp's creative efforts well into the 21st century, but he found time to release solo material as well, including 2002's Available Light, 2012's Mixed Greens, and 2016's Six Seasons. 2006's Something Strange Happens is a compilation that brought together a handful of out of print singles, demo recordings, and compilation tracks along with two new songs. Clapp has also served as a producer and sideman for several like-minded acts, including the Ocean Blue, the Corner Laughers, and the Paul & John. ~ Mark Deming
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