I got my taxes done by a pro this year. Not wholly out of financial responsibility, but because I've been ripped off and put in audit danger by a certain square, green, quick-serve chain. In planning my perfect revenge for 2007, I heard about a man who could lend me a little street cred when it comes to matters of the IRS.
(Photo by Kevin Scanlon)
Keith Clark started his career in finances as the original drummer of Megadeth, only to be recruited away in 1983 by another Keith (Morris) to tour and manage the Circle Jerks — for 15 years. How did this lead to his current status as the preeminent tax guy to the entertainment industry? He always had a thing for numbers, and back in the day, when punk rock was punk, it wasn’t such a lucrative prospect. In between tours, Clark had to pay the bills, and the tax-prep schedule was perfect — tax returns from February to April, then rock & roll the rest of the year.
He first set up shop in a space at the then–punk epicenter Crossroads of the World. Now he has a posh office in Toluca Lake filled with personal artwork, a vintage stapler collection, Ren & Stimpy memorabilia and clients. In his waiting room, you’re likely to meet any one of the 2,000 creative types from the film, music and, now, publishing industry seeking his sound tax advice. As busy as he is, family man Clark maintains an audit record of less than 1 percent and still makes music with his band, Ultra Sound Explosion.
As I made my way back to the car after our meeting on that bright January day — with my healthy refund numbers jotted down on a paper flower sculpture made from a Post-it note — I knew I had found my money manager. Regardless of the fact that I had my nose broken during a particularly rambunctious performance of “Wild in the Streets” in 1986, it was destiny. Even the name, HNR Clark, is a rebellious ode to my former tax-return franchise. Take that, green squares.