Former child actor Kevin Clark of School of Rock fame has passed away. Best known for his role as a fifth grade drummer in the Jack Black comedy, Clark was still drumming in his 30s as a musician working in the Chicago area. Sadly, it's all come to a tragic end after the drummer was struck and killed early on Wednesday morning while riding his bike in the Avondale neighborhood. He was just 32 years old.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Kevin Clark was taking an early morning bike ride at around 1:20 a.m. when he was struck by a Hyundai Sonata. He was then found by paramedics at Logan Boulevard and transported to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, but despite the best efforts of the medical professionals, Clark was pronounced dead at 2:04 a.m. The driver of the Hyundai, a 20-year-old woman, was issued citations. It's unclear if she faces criminal charges.
Growing up in Highland Park in Illinois, Clark was already playing drums by the age of 3, starting his music career by "hitting pots and pans in the basement." Described by his mother, Allison Clark, as a "raw talent" with "a heart of gold," Clark was talented enough to secure a role as a child drummer in the Jack Black movie School of Rock. He played Freddy Jones, aka "Spazzy McGee," one of several elementary students who formed a rock band with a substitute teacher (Black).
"He just kind of shined," Allison said of her son, who had no acting experience. "He took it on right away, but he never really acted afterward."
School of Rock was written by Mike White and directed by Richard Linklater. It follows a struggling rock guitarist (Jack Black) who disguises himself as a substitute teacher as a way of making some quick cash. When he sees how talented the students are, he forms a band of fifth graders to perform alongside him at an upcoming Battle of the Bands to pay off his rent.
He's famous for playing a fictional drummer in a movie, but Clark ws very much the real deal. He played in several bands over the years, most recently performing with Jess Bess and the Intentions. Clark also played for the final time just days ago with the group, as they held their first live performance on Saturday.
"They were unbelievably fantastic and they would've gone somewhere," said Allison.
"He was motivated and loved to write songs," added Clark's roommate of five years and Robbie Gold bandmate. "He loved to take the guitar off the wall and make a funny song."
Clark's other music projects include Dreadwolf and Funk it Let's Jam. He also worked as a shift manager at Starbucks, though he also taught music at a School of Rock location in Libertyville, according to his mother. From the beginning to the very end, music was always in the musician's blood.
At this time, our deepest sympathies go out to Clark's mother, Allison, along with the rest of his family and friends. At just 32 years old, Clark was far too young to go. His memory will live on forever, but he will always be missed. Rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Chicago Sun Times.