A look at the similarities of two geniuses of their very different professions.

By STEVE CLARK GUITAR

Sometime ago something dawned on me…. I’m going back a few years… about 8 or 9 maybe. But it struck me one day when thinking about my favourite football (soccer) player. Some of you may know of him but for the benefit of all, my favourite footballer of all time is Dennis Bergkamp – he’s Dutch and played his club football for Ajax (Amsterdam), Internationale (Milan) and Arsenal (London) and of course was a Holland International. He retired from the game as a player in 2006 and he’s had his Autobiography published 3 or 4 years ago.

It’s perhaps because of this book being released that brought to mind what I had thought about those years ago. The first thing you would notice about Dennis Bergkamp whether you are a man or a woman is his incredibly handsome good looks, blue eyes and blonde hair. But what struck me the most was that Dennis Bergkamp was to football what Steve Clark was to modern rock music. And when I got my hands on a copy of Bergkamp’s book (titled Stillness & Speed – My Story), some of the quotes from people who worked with him during his playing career said things about him; things which could be said exactly about Steve. If these were people in music talking about a guitar musician it could easily be Steve. And the more I thought about these statements and Bergkamp’s footballing skills, the more I could see how he was a bit like Steve in his profession as a musician:

  • Dennis Bergkamp was one of the greatest talents in the modern game and arguably one of the best and most influential players to play in England’s Premier League.
  • Steve Clark was one of the greatest talents in his genre and arguably one of the most influential players of the hard rock scene of the 80’s.
  • Bergkamp was the complete player… he had everything… he had pace, vision, intelligence, grace, technique, he could read the game and studied the “science” of football.
  • Clark was the complete player… he had everything… speed, vision, intelligence, feeling, technique, he could read music and knew and understood the “science” of music (theory/rules)
Bergkamp and Clark
  • Bergkamp had a footballing brain… he played the game with his brain as well as his feet.
  • Clark had a musical brain… he wrote music with his brain as well as his ear.
  • They were both stars in their profession and reached the top level in their careers.
  • Bergkamp was a quiet, well-mannered gentleman off the field. So was Clark off the stage.
  • The opening paragraphs on the inner sleeve of Bergkamp’s book describe him as “one of football’s most enigmatic stars…” and “central to everything the club (Arsenal) did, their creative genius…” You could be talking about Steve here. He was the same thing in music and to Def Leppard.
  • Former Arsenal teammate and France International player Patrick Vieira said about Dennis Bergkamp: “Dennis thought about things other players couldn’t even imagine.” Again you could be talking about Steve Clark here!

It hit me again when I read that quote from Vieira because it is so true about Steve also… he knew things that you could do with music that very few others in his genre would know or understand and I believe this is why we have the albums “Pyromania” and “Hysteria”.

To me, Steve Clark’s influence on modern rock music was like Dennis Bergkamp’s influence on the English Premier League.