Guitarist and singer Adrian Clarke, a mainstay in Bellingham's music circles, moved from England in the mid-1990s and has played with a half-dozen bands in Whatcom County alone.
He's playing a solo gig at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at McKay's Taphouse, 1118 E. Maple St., and other gigs coming up with various bandmates.
Question: Where did you grow up?
Answer: I was born and raised in Kent, England. I am the youngest of three children. My Dad (English) met my Mum (Greek Cypriot) in Cyprus and married her and brought her back to England. Both my parents have passed away.
Q: What brought you to Bellingham?
A: I have played music with various bands in England, Spain and Italy. In my 20s I toured the American Army and Navy bases in Spain and Italy. I met my Bellingham wife at a friend's party while she was on holiday in England -we fell in love and married a year and a half later! I moved to Bellingham in September of 1995.
Q: When did you become interested in playing music?
A: I started playing guitar in 1975. I took lessons from my math teacher after school. I used to get into trouble during my math class for drawing guitars instead of paying attention - ironic, really.
I knew as soon as I started to play that I wanted to pursue it seriously. I didn't start singing while playing guitar until my mid-20s.
Q: What kind of music do you enjoy?
A: I have a very eclectic taste in music. I listen to lots of different stuff: blues, jazz, gypsy jazz, country/folk and, of course, rock! Some of my favorite players are Robben Ford, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, James Taylor, Ry Cooder, Biréli Lagrène, Brent Mason and Johnny A.
Q: What bands have you played with locally, and with whom do you play now?
A: In Bellingham I have played with The Atlantics, The A sharp Blues Band, 7am, Badd Dog Blues Society, Kurt Aemer and his Cat House Blues Band and the Marion Weston Band.
Currently I'm playing with The JB Quartet, the Adrian Clarke Band, Sabrina De Los Reyes Band, the Jasmine Green Band and my own acoustic solo gig.
Q: What are a few of your upcoming gigs?
A: The Adrian Clarke Band will be playing Aug. 29 at the Hotel Bellwether. I will be playing Aug. 30 with the JB Quartet at Poppes 360 Bistro.
Q: What's your personal story of cancer?
A: In 2011 I went for my colonoscopy at age 50 and found out that I had stage 3 colon cancer. After surgery and numerous complications and a tough go at chemo, I'm happy to say that I am cancer free!
I was very blessed by the outpouring of love from my family and friends. There were several benefits done in my name to help offset the many bills occurred during my illness. The Atlantics, The JB Quartet and the Marion Weston Band, along many other great musicians, all lent their talents for my benefit. Our local wine shop, Purple Smile Wines, also made a huge donation. I certainly feel loved!
Q: What brings you joy?
A: Playing music, writing music, hanging out with my wife - she's my best friend - we love being silly together. Snuggling with my cats and walking my beautiful collie dogs.
Q: What else do you enjoy?
A: I enjoy good beer and wine, gardening, reading, chilling with good friends and playing Xbox. I look forward to our annual holiday up to Vancouver Island, where I like to sit on the beach and truly relax.