After a local musician and actor was struck and killed while riding his bike in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood Wednesday morning, his friends are remembering his prodigious talents, and the legacy that the 32-year-old left behind.
At just 15 years old, Kevin Clark was introduced to the world as Freddy Jones in the hit 2003 comedy “School of Rock.” Starring Jack Black, the film showcased Clark’s musical and acting talents, but he stuck with music carving out a niche in Chicago as an up-and-coming musician.
“He wasn’t ‘Freddy Jones.’ He wasn’t that guy to any of us. He was just Kevin Clark, and that’s all we needed,” Tim Carmichael, a friend of Clark’s, said.
Carmichael was Clark’s friends, and a bandmate who collaborated with him on musical projects.
“Kevin was the most amazing, brilliant person you could ever meet,” he said. “He would always have positive energy. He was always there for you as a friend. He was just a great guy.”
Clark was struck by a car while riding his bike near Logan Boulevard and Western Avenue early Wednesday morning. The driver was cited in the crash, but Clark’s death has been ruled an accident by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The intersection where Clark was killed has been cited as an unsafe one by numerous activists and safety groups. The Active Transportation Alliance has tried to call attention to that stretch of Logan Boulevard, citing dozens of bike crashes and over 1,000 car crashes over a five-year period.
Now, Clark’s friends are left trying to focus on the good times that they had with him during a life that was tragically cut short.
“He was somebody that really lived life to the fullest,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael says it was Clark that organized Wednesday night jam sessions at Highwood’s, and one was held in his honor Wednesday evening.
“He was living his best life right now,” he said. “Everybody saw him right now as happy and smiling, just really thriving in life, and that’s really hard for us.”
Clark not only starred in the film “School of Rock,” but also taught at the Libertyville music school of the same name, and he is being remembered as a key figure in bringing the next wave of promising young musicians along.