Raised in Philadelphia, Clay moved to Newnan at 14 and 18 to Atlanta. There he took a job at Franco’s pizza at Brookwood Station and thus the idea of Fellini’s was born. Fellini’s Pizza opened in 1982 and is still a popular place for musicians and artists to meet, eat and work.
In the 80s he formed The Coolies and was signed to DB Records, owned by Danny Beard, also the owner of one of Atlanta’s favorite vinyl shop, Wax N Facts. DB’s roster included the The B-52's, Pylon, The Method Actors, The Swimming Pool Q’s, Guadalcanal Diary and more. The Coolies released two albums and then disbanded in1989. Two albums by The Ottoman Empire followed. Then East of Easter, a collaboration with Wreckless Eric. He collaborated with the Atlanta West Indian Musical community on Antoine Electra, Gotta Get High, and Island Gruve Supper Club, Mighty Fine Everlasting Music. His brother Mark Harper and he co-authored the children’s book/cd “Not Dogs…Too Simple” with a cast that included Mo Tucker, Ian Dury, the Reverend Horton Heat and Cindy Wilson. That was followed p with “The Slippery Ballerina” also featuring Ian Dury and Mo Tucker with Bobby Byrd, Wreckless Eric, Colonel Bruce Hampton and Susan Cowsill. In 2013, he released Old Airport Road (Terminus Records) with Kevin Dunn, Glenn Phillips, blueswoman Sandra Hall, and the late Colonel Bruce Hampton. That album found its way to legendary music critic Robert Christgau, who gave it an A- by stating Harper delivers “beautiful songs with a despairing look at the world.”
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