Rock band from Reed City makes American music for everyone

Frontman Ernie Clark: "We’ve been very fortunate, very lucky.”

REED CITY — Reed City residents may not know a touring rock band formed right in their backyard.

Ernie Clark and the Magnificent Bastards formed in 2017, and since then, the band has played shows all across Michigan, in Chicago, and even down in Clark's hometown, London, Kentucky.

The band was formed by frontman Ernie Clark, who has lived in Reed City for the last 15 years.

It started with an ad on Craigslist.

"Put together a band with guys I didn’t know, been doing it ever since," Clark said.

The Magnificent Bastards play Americana, rock music that derives from country, punk, gospel, surf rock, etc,. but it is all rooted in alt-country or original American rock.

"We’re just a bunch of guys who like to go out on the weekend and make music. We have a pretty damn good time," Clark said.

Clark plays rhythm guitar and sings, and was responsible for the bones of most of their original songs. He would come up with lyrics, a melody, and a basic chord structure, and bring it to the band and they would riff on it to create their songs.

Recently, the band underwent some personnel changes, with the drummer stepping down to focus on health and the lead guitarist moving to a farm to live a more simple life.

"So, my bass player and I sat down and put our heads together, and we said, ‘We’re not done,’" Clark said.

The band now has Jason Jankowski on guitar, who is a Reed City High School graduate, and brother of the lead singer for The One Divided, another local band.

"Jason has stepped in and done, no pun intended a magnificent job with it. We were already all friends, he was familiar with the material, he knew the songs, and it was a really easy transition. His style is different from our former guitar player," Clark said.

Tour life is a dream come true for Clark and the rest of the Magnificent Bastards.

"We had an absolute blast, we enjoyed making music together, but we enjoyed hanging out. We’re all buddies, we’re friends," Clark said.

The Magnificent Bastards make music for the everyman.

"We like to say we make music for poor bastards who work in a factory, we make music for those bada-- women who are out driving trucks over the road, gone from their homes, families, all week long, just to bring you the goods you need. We make music for the guy who busts his a-- all week," Clark said.

The point of the Magnificent Bastards is for everyone who comes out to the shows to enjoy themselves and have as much fun as the band members themselves, even if it's the audience laughing at Clark making a fool of himself on stage.

"Whether you’re a punk rocker, biker, hippie, it doesn’t matter to us. Everybody is safe with the Magnificent Bastards, and we want you to have a good time," Clark said.

Looking forward, the band is going to be playing at Reed City Brewing Company's Oktobeerfest. The band also will be playing at the Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids on Sept. 30.

The band is getting back into the groove of writing originals with the new lineup and is working on an album for 2023, which is looking to be a very busy year for the band.

"We’re very excited," Clark said.

The band's music is available wherever music can be streamed, and they have a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ernieclarkdos. They also recently released a music video for their song, The Other Way, which was shot at Travelers in LeRoy and River Junction by students from Ferris’ Media Communication Association.