by Jeff Jolley
Earlier in the summer (northern hemisphere), this overly dark
band, "Clutch," took to the venues to support their latest
album, "Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and
Undeniable Truths." We I say dark, we're talking like Type O
Negative or some serious Misfits classics. Unlike the more
lathargic Type O Negative (and more like the Misfits), Clutchs
packs some serious energy into it. I wonder how little Neil
(the lead singer and chief songwriter) does it. But they
definatly rock quite well. Check out their latest East/West
Records release on CD and read about them here...
- How do you guys like being on Elektra or EastWest?
- Well, it's definitely a record company.
- Nice bus...
- ...yeah, the record company gave us a nice bus. Well
we got to pay it back. Everything's just a
whirl...we're making fun of ourselves.
- What label were you on before?
- The only label we were on before was this label called
Inner Journey. It was from kind of Maryland, kind of
from Delaware, and we put out a 7 inch. That was the
only other label we were on. We had a release on
Earache, but we were on EastWest at the time. I don't
know what it was, I don't know why we did it.
- Was it a 7 inch?
- Well, it was a 3 song cd, it was on a 12 inch too in
Europe. It was pretty nice.
- Have you guys been to Europe?
- One time with Biohazard two years ago. It was awesome.
- How much longer do you have on this tour? You've been
out a week now?
- I think our last show's about six weeks from now.
- Who else are you linking up with?
- I have no idea, hopefully someone like AC/DC or Ozzy.
- Are those some of your influences?
- Yeah! Definitely.
- I must say I really do like the album.
- The new one?
- Who was the genius behind the artwork on the whole
- Most of the artwork is...artwork as far as the album
goes and tshirts and things like that usually ends up
being a group effort but I think Neil's usually the
catalyst for most of the stuff. He's the one who came
up with the logo and pretty much for each album we
have. We try to go different directions - you know we
just sit around, talk a little, then we do it.
- What do you guys think of healthcare reform?
- (They both laugh.)
- What are your favorite canned foods? And this is a
- Favorite canned foods? Right now, I'm on a real
Campbells soup kick, anything.
- Canned tomatoes, no I mean canned carrots. Canned
- Cream of corn?
- Oh yeah, cream of corn.
- He eats it twice a day. By the end of the week, it's
a couple of gallons, it's pretty sick.
- How do you feel that creamed corn has affected his
- He can't sing as much. Well, he's focused all on cream
of corn. I don't know what he does, he just shows up
for recording. He pretty much writes all of his lyrics
right before he records them. It turns out pretty
cool. He doesn't think about them too much.
- Do you demo the tunes themselves and put the words to
it or does he come up with everything?
- We jam. We used to have a big practice space...
- Where at?
- In Maryland, five miles from our houses. Up till
recently we did it there. Now we just practice at John
Paul's house. But we usually just set up a couple of
mics into a stereo and record the music on the new
stuff. Just use that as a rough guide. We don't really
talk about lyrics.
OK. At this point in the interview, one of the guys in Tad comes
racing onto the bus. He says that Tad recently got a special
copy of this video that shows an "actual" encounter with a
U.F.O. So, instead of continuing the interview (or sound-
checking for that matter) Clutch and a few of us sit in front
of the bus' VCR and watch this tape. I should say that we watch
this piece of dog-turd on the screen. At first you don't what
to think about the film, except for the fact that the people in
it seem to be over-emphasizing everything and that it's strange
that they never turn the camera off no matter what happens. But
then you just realize...wait, the video's over...back to the
- Did all of you grow up together?
- We didn't necessarily grow up together. I was born in
DC. Neil was born in Virginia. We all kind of spent
the first half of our lives in other states and then
around 8th grade, everybody moved to pretty much the
same neighborhood. Neil and I live literally about 5
houses from each other. Tim just lives in the
community next to ours, and John Paul is not that far
away. We hung out together in high school.
- Were you in other bands before Clutch?
- Not really, we had like different inclinations like
punk, more metal stuff. By the time we started playing
shows, we pretty much started gelling together as a
- You rather tour or be in the studio.
- Either one's fine with me.
- Studio's cool. Then you get a tape to listen to.
Touring's great. It's being at home and doing nothing
that sucks. You can't get jobs. When we're not touring
or in the studio, then we don't have any kind of
income. We were off the road for six months until we
got this tour and we're really learning how to stretch
the dollar. Cuz when you blow your money on pot it
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