Verve Pipe frontman to take the stage

Published 9:15 am Thursday, March 13, 2014

Brian Vander Ark will be playing at The Livery on March 21. (Submitted photo)

Brian Vander Ark will be playing at The Livery on March 21. (Submitted photo)

BENTON HARBOR — Fans of 1990s alternative rock will remember the angst-filled anthem of that era, “The Freshmen,” released by The Verve Pipe as a single in 1997. Having sold more than 3 million copies, the song still receives a lot of airplay today, even if D.J.s sometime confuse The Verve Pipe with The Verve.

“It happens almost every day. It’s ridiculous,” said Brian Vander Ark, lead singer of The Verve Pipe. “I do like that band, though. I listen to their music.”

Vander Ark will be offering fans the opportunity to hear “The Freshmen” and several of The Verve Pipe’s other hit songs live at The Livery on March 21. He will take the stage after opening act Channing & Quinn.

Since the band hit multi-platinum status with “The Freshmen,” Vander Ark’s solo career has taken many twists and turns, and it seems safe to say that audience members will get a taste of the various types of music Vander Ark has been writing over the last two decades.

“Recently, I’ve been playing more with The Verve Pipe,” Vander Ark said. “I will play some Verve Pipe songs at the show.”

In the interim since The Verve Pipe’s biggest success, Vander Ark has spent his time delving into a wide variety of artistic projects, including acting, writing music for films, writing and co-producing ballets, and recording music for children. In fact, Vander Ark keeps so busy that he has little time for much else.

“It may sound pretentious, but I don’t listen to much music at all anymore,” Vander Ark said. “I’m always in the studio, working on my own stuff.”

All of those writing projects hint at what might have been for Vander Ark, had he not found his calling in music.

“If I hadn’t become a musician, I would have been some sort of writer—I would have maybe written books,” Vander Ark said. “I still write short stories and screenplays.”

Vander Ark’s life experiences have played into his creative choices.

“I’ve been doing a lot more ‘kid stuff’ instead of writing on the darker themes,” Vander Ark said, crediting his own role as a parent for his inspiration. “I thought I’d write about the kid stuff that I did when I was younger.”

A native of Michigan, Vander Ark now lives in the Grand Rapids area with his wife, who is also a performer. Because of his close proximity to Benton Harbor, he has been a guest at The Livery in the past.

“I’ve played The Livery a couple of times,” Vander Ark said. “I love The Livery. It’s great people there. I get to bring my friends in, and I’m excited about it.”

Some of those friends include the “quirky” duo, Channing & Quinn, who will open the show for Vander Ark.

“I’ll be bringing a great duo that I’ve been playing with, Channing & Quinn. They bring a lot of different instrumentation to the songs—ukulele, accordion, a kick drum,” Vander Ark said. “She sings and plays the glockenspiel. You don’t hear that very often!”

Tickets for the show at The Livery, located at 190 Fifth St., are $15 each, and more information is available at