The man is a living legend and virtuoso bass player Stanley Clarke sat down with New Europe in Enghien-les-Bains, a small city near Paris, during Stanley’s 2019 European tour to discuss his career, the promotion of young talented artists, and his 40-years membership in the Church of Scientology
Clarke’s fame stretches back to the 1970s when he co-founded with Chick Corea the first-ever jazz fusion band Return to Forever. He and Corea met in his native city of Philadelphia, and since then, Stanley has had an incredible career as a solo artist and when playing with several icons in the jazz world – Jeff Beck, Stan Getz, Gil Evans, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Bireli Lagrene, and Michel Petrucciani. Clarke has also been known to collaborate with non-jazz artists such as The Police, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Wonder, while also composing music for more than 75 films.
New Europe (NE): Why do you think Scientology helped you with your career?
Stanley Clarke (SC): I’m a big believer that a musician who is in a higher condition physically, spiritually, mentally will always play better. His communication will be better. His affinity and overall understanding will be better. I always knew that. I tell you, music is probably the highest form of communication because out of all the things that you send to another person – all the particles that go from one being to another – music is way up there because it is not necessarily attached to languages. This music, you know, is on a wavelength created so some guy in China would like it. It’s a powerful thing. So my communication lines and channels have opened up with Scientology and my willingness to communicate with anybody about anything grew. My understanding really expanded, so people just got what I was doing much more than before.
Every Scientology course ever I ever did, it’s not mystical, but it’s like magic. It just happens to help you with whatever you do. Not only for musicians, I think it’s for anyone. But for musicians… my aptitudes tripled since I’m in Scientology, maybe even more than that. I got to a point where I do two or three films a year, television shows, scoring, travelling, touring, I even have an instrument company. I design basses, take care of family, raise kids. I don’t know… when I was 19 if you would have asked me “do you think you could do this, this and this”? I would have said “no way!”, but now it’s like it’s nothing and I still want more.
NE: Do you see a sacred mission in what you are doing with music?
SC: Music is one of those things that with the art world, in general, is so important. Art, whether it’s music, literature or painting, reminds a person who they really are. When I see audiences, sometimes I go “Ok there’s probably an accountant there. There’s probably a judge. Probably a drug dealer. There’s probably that kind or this kind of guy”. All of those different beings are out there, and I know that sometimes when the music is really at a high level there is a certain moment when I can tell that the audience gets freer as far as their spirituality is concerned. It may be temporary, it can last for a day or 2, I don’t know, but it’s a wonderful feeling. I think it clips the lid on top of this planet, so it does not blow up. All the art, the beautiful things, the music, or the uplifting of the physical universe itself, you look at it and get away from the spiritual aberrations. That is the thing I really like about art. It really handles something that’s badly needed on this planet. If it was not there, it would be a mess.
My motivation is the desire to get it out to people and make people feel better. Feel better once they leave the show, better than how they felt coming in. Most people when they are coming to a show, they are coming with the residue of the day, whatever happened, whoever said this or that, or whatever they did. When they leave, freer and happier to some degree, it really makes me feel happy. I know my job is done. And that’s what I do when I’m on stage, that’s all I do. That’s it. There is nothing else that I do. I was not sure when I was younger, but what Scientology did for me was clarify that purpose. Now it’s very simple, I go up there, and I do that, whatever it takes.