By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
“She was my barometer for everything,” says Clark, tears building in his eyes. “I thought she was the coolest girl I ever met.”
West’s death not only spurred Clark to get sober but brought him together with Friends of Dean Martinez lead guitarist Mike Semple, who had also had a similar relationship with West. In the wake of her death, the two men helped each other stay sober, and Semple ended up joining the Campfire Girls, adding a level of musicianship previously missing.
If West was something of a guardian angel for the Campfire Girls, their savior came in the unlikely personage of Scott Weiland. The Stone Temple Pilot had long been a fan, going so far as to mention the band in one of his songs. When he heard that Clark and Stone were sober, he tracked Stone down at the West Hollywood coffee shop where he worked.
Weiland convinced Clark and Stone to come down to his studio for some sessions. Soon, Pikus joined in. One day, during rehearsal, Semple did too; it sounded great and seemed like fate to everyone involved. Weiland started producing some demos and wanted to sign them to a label deal he had in the works. The band called old friend Mark Williams, by now at Interscope, who had wanted to sign them back in ’94 when he was at Virgin. They asked Williams if he could help them get out of their old deal. Williams ended up re-signing them instead.
“They are a great band with great songs,” explains a hopeful Williams. “That’s all that really matters.”
For the band, their recent record deal is nothing short of a miracle, and they are not taking it for granted. Released last fall, Tell Them Hi is a combination of reworked material from the doomed DeLongpre sessions and new material. (The DeLongpre album, which was completed in ’95 but shelved by the label, was quietly released to critical acclaim last year.) Tell Them Hiis dedicated to D’arcy West, and the inside artwork is a childlike letter she wrote Semple back in 1993 entitled “How I Spent My Summer.”
The band spent last summer on Lollapalooza and just finished up two tours, one with Epic’s Chevelle and another with RCA’s Eve6. A video is in the works. For the first time in many years, the Campfire Girls’ future looks bright.
“I feel incredibly lucky and blessed,” explains Clark, who is still young enough for MTV. “When I think of everything we’ve gone through, no matter what happens from here on out, it feels right. I feel like I have the best friends in the world. Things happened the way they happened. I love Christian. I will always love Christian. He’s like my brother. We have come full circle.”