An interview with Clutch
On 14/4/16 we had the pleasure to talk with the Clutch! Our radio producer Platon Sakellariou had an interesting conversation with Neil Fallon! They discussed about the latest Clutch album, the band’s news ,tv shows, comics etc. Enjoy!
I would like to begin by asking you how is the band progressing right now?
We take a bit of time off. We’ve got a tour with Lamb of God in about three weeks. We got back from Australia, few weeks ago, so we enjoy some time at home right now and we are going start hitting the road for the rest of the summer.
It’s been six months since you released your latest album ‘’Psychic Warfare’’. Since it is a quite long time and you have play many live shows, can you name a song that became already a Clutch classic?
I guess everybody has their own opinion but it seems universally, ‘’A quick death in Texas’’ seems to be a crowd favorite, no matter where we play.
I love ‘’Son of Virginia’’, so I I’ve been dying to ask, is there any backstory of this song to share with us?
Yes and no. Υears ago we had a song called ‘’Abraham Lincoln’’, was in ‘’Strange cousins from the West’’. And then we did an acoustic version of it, it was very different. And it was so different that we said maybe we could just write some new words to it, make it a new song. So before I wrote words to it we had to come up with a new title other than ‘’Abraham Lincoln’’. So Jean-Paull suggested ‘’George Washington’’, and then I started thinking when it came time to write the lyrics ‘’what the hell am I going to write lyrics about now!’’. George Washington is sometimes commonly referred as ”Son of Virginia” and that was where I got the beginning of the lyrics of that song and the rest was short of a description of a nightmare I had one night, about walking through a graveyard, and a dog that it was walking came up to me and started talking to me. I woke up and I thought it was very nightmarish but also very cool and that’s kind of where I took it from that point forward.
Once again the artwork is amazing. A few words about the artwork and how much were you involved in this?
The artwork was done by Dan Winters, and he did the artwork for the selftitle transnational. We actually this time are very hands off. We let him kind take the helm and just follow his vision. He show us early versions of it, but I think one of the things that is striking about it is black and white is not something we’ve done very much in the past and it’s also kind of god like a soviet propaganda posters I guess vibe to it. That was very different for Clutch. I think that it is important that album art is striking and sometimes being is own work of art.
I’ve noticed that you have a stable line up through the years. How important is for a band to work with the same musicians for a long time?
Well, if you can manage it I think that’s the best formula. Especially live because once you know each other so well you can kind of anticipate the little queues and details that you wouldn’t with someone you don’t know very well. My favorite bands are always bands that the sum is greater than the parts. There are very few examples where a band changed members and is just as good or better, usually it’s the opposite. Clutch is like a recipe and you can’t change the ingredients without changing the outcome.
I completely agree with you. In 25 years you have recorded 11 studio albums. Album by album your sound is evolving without changing Clutch’s character. What inspired you to achieve this?
I don’t think we ever kind of envision that at the beginning. I think because it’s the same four guys it’ll always sound like Clutch. At the same time I think we’re always trying to learn. I know Jean-Paul takes drum lessons, I take guitar lessons, and we’re always trying to become better musicians. I think anything in life is about learning and hopefully you get to apply that in what you do and I hope in 25 years we become better songwriters.
Do you listen to your old stuff or in general your own music? Do you listen to Clutch?
Only when I’m really drunk! I don’t usually listen to it because I get too critical about it. Sometimes for me it’s like a diary entry, when I read it I say ‘’I should have done this or I should have done that’’ because an album is forever but then again I know I know I have to let it go and just let it be. I find listening to our own music sometimes challenging because it’s hard to listen to it with fresh ears.
What kind of music do you listen beyond rock n’ roll?
I’m a big fan of the two albums John Carpenter is put out the ‘’Lost Themes’’, instrumental music which is very electronic which is very different from what Clutch does. I’m a big fan of acoustic blues, Leonard Cohen and old country music. I think sometimes listening to stuff that’s very different than rock n’ roll is important because you need to be able to reference where we are because we go on tour and it’s all rock n roll and after a while it can start sound the same.
Have you ever thought of writing the soundtrack of a movie? What genre do you think would match to Clutch’s tone?
I like to think that we can do any genre and sure that will be a lot of fun, also very challenging. When I hear a Psychic Warfare song like ‘’Our Lady of Electric Light’’ or ‘’Son of Virginia’’ I think it could be in a David Lynch movie but Song like ‘’X-Ray Visions’’ I can see it in a Quentin Tarantino movie. I think our music is pretty rapid, it probably have to be an action movie. But not in Fast and Furious 9!
I totally agree with you, I’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino and I think your music matches to this kind of movies! Could you tell me how much the American media promote Clutch and bands like you, compared to the non-rock artists? Do the Americans listen to rock anymore?
There’s only a few radio stations in United States that play Clutch. I think most radio stations and TV are going to play the safest kind of music with the exceptional late night shows, which we’ve never done, I don’t know why. I think we’ve been around so long and maybe a perception of we are not fresh act, fresh for some of these people, but there are a lot of bands like us, for example Slayer. They never got to play on the radio buy they’re huge, they’re different kind of band. We build our fan base by playing live shows for years and years and know because of social media and the internet. The media, at least in the United States, has lost a lot of its muscle. We don’t really have to look to them for support as much we did in the 90’s
One of your all time classic song, ‘’The Regulator’’, has special lyrics. What’s the meaning of the lyrics? Is the rumor that you are talking about Odyssey true?
I’m glad you asked that question because it has some of a Greek answer. Are you familiar with the movie ‘’O brother, where art though?’’ by the Cohen brothers? It’s a very funny movie which is basically a retelling of the Odyssey and that’s a book I’ve read a number of times. The song is more or less about when Odysseus is coming home and finds his house full of suitors and how angry he becomes thinking that perhaps his wife is not being true to him. And the song is more or less about a guy hiding in the bushes, seeing the other men or his wife kind of moving on, thinking that he was dead. He is coming back from a war. I don’t really see it as ancient history as it is perhaps coming back during the American civil war. At least that’s the movie that plays in my head, a short of a civil war version of the Odyssey by Homer.
Are you interested in any other story of Greek mythology that you would like to write about?
Well, I think mythology is great to use in lyrics, because when you drop a name or a place, suddenly there’s a whole backstory that instantly gets infused into the song. The opening of ‘’Blast Tyrant’’ is about Daedalus and Icarus and that’s it something that I’ve been always interested in, maybe it’s because I’m lazy and does the half work for me.
As I know you are a big fan of comic books. Marvel or DC?
To be honest my fanned of comic books kind of ended in the early 90’s, cause I just stopped doing it. I’ve recently gone into comic books shops with my son, cause he’s get into that age where he’s into it, and I have no idea what is going on. I don’t recognize anything! All the spin offs and the universes and the crossovers, it’s very overwhelming. As far as dc or marvel, I don’t think one has to choose. That’s like choosing two versions of the same thing. I think they’re both cool.
Last year Mastodon showed up in a Game of Thrones episode. In which movie or TV series would you like you to show up?
I was always a big fan of the first season of True Detective on HBO, not so much of the second one. Breaking bad would be good but that’s not here anymore. If we could play some extras in Walking Dead, I wouldn’t say no to that.
If you like Breaking Bad you should check Better Call Saul. I’m a big fan of this TV series!
That’s a great show, I forgot about that! I’ve only watch the first season. I haven’t watch the second season, I’ll probably start doing it this weekend. He is such a fantastic actor.(Bob Odenkirk)
In your previous European tour you had a Greek band opening for you, Planet of Zeus. What do you have to say about them?
They are one of the best live bands I’ve seen. Honestly! Their songs are incredibly catchy and also they are great people. Which is sometimes a rare combination. I know they are going out with their friends Lionize. I think Lionize is doing a bunch of Greek dates with them. I think it is a matter of weeks. I don’t know when or where they are playing, but they are fantastic band.
Is there any band that you haven’t share the stage all these years, and you would like to play together one day?
Most of these bands, don’t exist anymore, and I probably wouldn’t open up for them because I would be too nervous. We are doing a festival this summer with ZZ Top, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been trying to see ZZ Top since about 1994, and for whatever reason I can’t get to their shows. So, now finally I am able to check them out.
You have visited Greece several times. Did you have time to explore? What did you like most about our country and you didn’t like?
We went to Athens and we were walking around the Acropolis. I know the people they live there they see it every day and maybe don’t see it for what it is. But for me it made me realize how new the United States is. 250years old as a country, compared to what is going on there is almost trivia. I enjoyed the food! You know, the American version of Greek food is pretty terrible. So for many years though I didn’t like Greek food, and then I went to Greece and got to try the real thing and I became a big fan.
Do you remember exactly what food you ate?
Everything I can get my hand on! There was some I wish I could remember the name of it. There was some dish from Cyprus. It was a Cypriot restaurant that they were brought almost a cake, but It was with tomatoes and breadcrumbs and also some good stuff in it. It was probably my favorite. I was a pig and I ate it all, and didn’t let anyone else to chance. I think one thing that shocked me is how loud Greeks can be, and they are not necessarily being angry.
At the live shows?
Yeah at the live shows. It was kind of very overwhelming, the passion is something that I haven’t see it anywhere else. It was unbelievable!
I noticed that you really enjoyed it when I saw you live!
Yeah! You know, if you go in Scandinavia everyone is very, you know they have a db limit, the pa is quiet, they don’t have ear plugs in, its very safe.
That’s it Neil. I don’t have any other question to make. Would you like to add something else?
I certainly hope to go back in Greece to get screamed out by the crowd!
- Πληροφοριακά Στοιχεία
- Δημοσιεύθηκε : 05 Δεκεμβρίου 2016