Clutch Announce Holiday Tour; Will Spend New Year’s in Cleveland

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

clutch (photo by Dan Winters)

It just wouldn’t be the holidays without Clutch. Would you believe Book of Bad Decisions (review here) has been out for over a month and I still haven’t bought the CD? Isn’t that the saddest little story you ever heard? Money’s tight, but that’s like an existential crisis for me. A genuine moral quandary. Makes me feel like I’ve gone two days without showering.

Anyway, my only question as regards Clutch‘s holiday tour — New Year’s Eve in Cleveland this time; nifty — has to do with the poster below: What’s up with “featuring Small Upsetters?” I know “Small Upsetters” a Clutch song, and it’s a good one, but would they put that on the poster if it was going to be in the set? Could we be talking about a horn section to fill out “In Walks Barbarella” from the new album, maybe? Some keys? Some additional something or other? What’s that all about? Gonna have to dig into the social media thing and see if I can find an answer, but for now, mystery abounds.

Clutch are on tour now, of course, and that seems to be their last batch of shows until December. No doubt more to come next year.

Dig it:

clutch holiday tour

CLUTCH NEW DECEMBER “HOLIDAY” TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED

Clutch has announced their annual “Holiday” tour dates for December with The Messthetics, Lionize and Mike Dillon Band supporting the tour. Radio pre sale tickets go on sale this Thursday, October 11th at 10:00am and public on sale starts Friday October 12th at 10:00am. The “Holiday” tour starts December 27th and ends with their New Years Eve show in Cleveland on December 31st.

Jean-Paul Gaster on the package said “We are very excited to have our friends Lionize, The Mike Dillon Band and The Messthetics be a part of this year’s Clutch Holiday Run. Each band brings something special to the bill and with so many great players in one place there’s bound to be some surprises. Come out early and celebrate with us!”

All ticket links are available at the official Clutch Facebook facebook.com/clutchband and www.pro-rock.com.

Clutch Holiday Tour Dates:

Thu/Dec-27 Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live!
Fri/Dec-28 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Sat/Dec-29 Portland, ME @ Aura
Sun/Dec-30 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
Mon/Dec-31 Cleveland, OH @ Masonic Auditorium at Temple Live

CLUTCH is currently on tour until November 1st supporting “Book of Bad Decisions”.

Tickets available at www.pro-rock.com

Tue/Oct-09 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
Thu/Oct-11 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom
Fri/Oct-12 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theater SOLD OUT
Sat/Oct-13 San Bernardino, CA Glen Helen Amphitheater w/SOAD ***
Sun/Oct-14 San Diego, CA North Park/Observatory
Mon/Oct-15 Tempe, AZ The Marquee
Wed/Oct-17 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
Thu/Oct-18 Sauget, IL Pop’s Nightclub
Fri/Oct-19 Grand Rapids, MI 20 Monroe Live
Sat/Oct-20 Detroit, MI The Filmore Detroit
Sun/Oct-21 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Tue/Oct-23 Toronto, ON Rebel
Thu/Oct-25 Worcester, MA The Palladium
Fri/Oct-26 New York, NY Irving Plaza SOLD OUT
Sat/Oct-27 New York, NY Irving Plaza SOLD OUT
Sun/Oct-28 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
Tue/Oct-30 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
Wed/October-31 Norfolk, VA The NorVa*
Thu/Nov-1 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade *

* = no Sevendust/ TB&TSD main support
** = date w/ System of a Down/ no Sevendust/ no TB&TSD

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “In Walks Barbarella” official video

Tags: , , , ,

Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions: Right Turns, Right Time

Posted in Reviews on August 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

clutch book of bad decisions

Most of all, it’s a good time. With the flag of their home state of Maryland as their banner, Clutch are some 25 years removed from the release of their debut album, Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable Truths, and their latest work through their own Weathermaker Music imprint, Book of Bad Decisions, finds the self-sustaining, ever-touring groove lords in energetic form with a collection of marked character and 15 varied tracks just about all of which would function well in the live sphere as 56 minutes of a probably-longer headlining set. The permanent lineup of vocalist/sometimes-guitarist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster worked with producer Vance Powell (Jack White, Tinariwen, Buddy Guy, etc.) with the stated intent of capturing a more live-feeling sound, and tonally and in terms of their delivery, they meet that goal.

As in the past, the producer is an important consideration in Clutch‘s overall impression on a given record, and Powell makes a mark here in taking over for Machine, who helmed their last two outings, 2015’S Psychic Warfare (review here) and 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here), the earlier of which seemed very much to be the blueprint the latter followed in terms of structure, sound and component styles. Three years later, Book of Bad Decisions makes a well-timed departure, learning the lessons of its two predecessors but not being beholden all the way through to the patterns they established. Of course, Clutch‘s sound has its established tenets, trademark quirks, etc., and those remain intact. But there’s a shift in approach throughout even straightforward songs like “Vision Quest” and “H.B. is in Control,” and no doubt manifesting that was part of the reason the band traded out producers in the first place. Though Machine manned the board for 2004’s landmark Blast Tyrant (discussed here; reissue review here), after two outings back to back, it was time for a change.

Clutch issued four singles leading up to the release of Book of Bad Decisions, and each one introduces a different side of the album’s personality. They started with “Gimme the Keys,” which opens the album at a speedy clip in the spirit of “X-Ray Visions” and “Earth Rocker” as Fallon recounts a dangerous night on the road in the Midwest, touting a punk rocker’s guilt at the nostalgia all the while — a nostalgia that would seem to inform the subsequent “Spirit of ’76” and the later “Vision Quest” to some degree as well — before “How to Shake Hands” furthered the gonna-be-president theme of “One Eye Dollar” from 1999’s Jam Room and 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion (reissue review here) with a memorable hook about putting “Jimi Hendrix on the 20-dollar bill and Bill Hicks on a five note.”

With a mid-paced shuffle and active guitar flourish from Sult atop intricate snare work from Gaster, “How to Shake Hands” is a stage-ready track through and through, and as Maines locks down the groove in still-a-secret-after-all-these-years weapon fashion, Fallon, Fallon even seems to sing along with himself in layers for the chorus. The third advance cut, the slide-guitar-laden “Hot Bottom Feeder” (video posted here) brilliantly plays off the four-piece’s Maryland heritage in lyrics that offer a recipe for crab cakes and makes itself a late-album highlight surrounded by songs like “H.B. is in Control” — the initials standing for Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch — and the shoving “Paper and Strife,” both of which are solid back-end cuts leading to the longer closer of the second LP, “Lorelei,” a slower, bluesier answer to its LP1 counterpart, “Emily Dickinson,” which executes a similar feel and adds a shimmering psychedelic lead late from Sult that’s classic sounding and a departure for Clutch all the same, but among the most welcome advents on the album as a whole.

clutch (photo by Dan Winters)

The fourth single, and perhaps most interesting of all, is “In Walks Barbarella,” which might be the side B leadoff, but in any case resounds after the opening salvo of “Gimme the Keys,” “Spirit of ’76,” the title-track and “How to Shake Hands,” with horns included and lyrics that would seem likewise to be a nod to go-go D.C. funk acts like Parliament (the Mothership makes an appearance), Trouble Funk and Chuck Brown. Hardly Clutch‘s first engagement with funk as a style — it’s an essential component in Sult‘s riffing and Maines‘ classy-as-always basswork, but the level is upped and the genre is called out by name — again on the speedier “Ghoul Wrangler” as well, so if Book of Bad Decisions is marking the advent of ‘C-funk,’ so be it. “In Walks Barberella” is loaded with lyrical references to science fiction, Deep Purple, etc., and has the feeling of another live staple-to-be in kind with Earth Rocker‘s “D.C. Sound Attack,” but again, pushed further.

It’s somewhat telling that three out of the four singles appear within the first five tracks, in that Clutch definitely know how to introduce a release to their fanbase — pro-rock and all that — but songs like the ultra-catchy “Vision Quest,” the boogie-minded “A Good Fire” and the speedy “Weird Times” all offer hooks and signature elements of Clutch being Clutch, the latter dipping a bit into social commentary of the present moment’s confusion and barrage, though the basic image of “H.B. is in Control” is perhaps even more effective in that effort. Of particular note is the return of organ to the band’s arrangement repertoire, something they last included on From Beale Street to Oblivion over a decade ago, parting ways with Mick Schauer prior to the release of 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West (discussed here). It first appears on “Book of Bad Decisions” itself and is peppered throughout, adding bluesy feel to “Emily Dickinson,” “Sonic Counselor” and “Lorelei” in a seeming show that, after three records pointedly without, nothing is off-limits for Clutch at this point.

Such expansions of sound, along with the piano that would seem to be worked into “Vision Quest” and the breadth of moments like Sult‘s guitar at the end of “Emily Dickinson,” are emblematic of the right choices Clutch have suitably enough made on Book of Bad Decisions, and they add depth to the context of the down-to-basics material in “Paper and Strife,” “Weird Times” (though there’s some subtle and effective vocal layering in the verses there; a kind of melodic call and response) and “A Good Fire,” all of which remain excellently composed and rife with hooks and engaging rhythmic turns. Speaking as a Clutch fan, there’s little not to enjoy on Book of Bad Decisions, and though so much of the band’s focus for the last two decades — at least — has been on live performance, the album serves as a reminder of the force they can be in a studio setting as well.

One wonders if they’ll tour again with someone handling keys, but whether they do or don’t, those elements are put to excellent use in across the 2LP’s formidable span, and as much as FallonSultMaines and Gaster build momentum during their time to carry listeners from one end to the other — or at very least lead the celebratory parade — they also provide distinctive moments to stand their songs out from each other and from past offerings, even if it’s more a question of aspects recombined rather than revolutionized. Ultimately, Book of Bad Decisions is another righteous collection from an American rock institution, a national treasure of groove and one of the most distinguished acts on a forever-touring circuit. They are in it for the long haul, and these songs only further demonstrate how fortunate their audience is for that.

Clutch, “Gimme the Keys” lyric video

Clutch, “How to Shake Hands” official video

Clutch, “Hot Bottom Feeder” official video

Clutch, “In Walks Barbarella” official video

Clutch on Thee Facebooks

Clutch on Instagram

Clutch on Twitter

Clutch Website

Clutch on YouTube

Tags: , , , ,

Making Clutch’s “Hot Bottom Feeder” Crab Cakes

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

clutch hot bottom feeder recipe

I have to think there are a decent number of Clutch fans having crab cakes this week. Certainly ever since the Maryland lords of groove unveiled their new single last Friday I’ve had the notion in my head. If you haven’t seen it, the track in question, “Hot Bottom Feeder,” comes from the four-piece’s impending album, Book of Bad Decisions, which is out Sept. 7 on Weathermaker Music, and the lyrics, as shown in the video at the bottom of this post, are a recipe for crab cakes. In the clip, vocalist Neil Fallon takes the audience cooking-show-style through the process and after he serves the results to guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, the ending is actually a recipe card for what’s described in the verses. I decided to try it out.

Now, I’m an individual of particular taste when it comes to any number of things, food among them, but I’ve had a few Maryland crab cakes in my time. They’re a regional delicacy of the Chesapeake watershed and if I’m in the area and feeling flush with cash, I usually try to pick a few up frozen to bring home back north. Hasn’t happened in a while though. And a crab cake recipe from Clutch? It couldn’t be any more Maryland if it was a Baltimore Ravens bumper sticker. I hit the local fancy-ish grocer — not the super-fancy grocer, but the pretty fancy grocer — to see if they had any genuine Maryland crab meat. As the first words in the song go, “Never mind that stuff they sell from Vietnam/Get it from the Chesapeake but never from a can.”

The track recommends Backfin, but as Fallon notes, “There’s nothing wrong with Special.” I grabbed a container of what I thought was from Maryland because that was the address on back of the package, but found out after I brought it home it said “Product of India” on the top of the lid. I know I’m old because I suck at reading packages now. Used to have that down. So not a great start, but one presses on. I assembled ingredients: Some whole wheat bread crumbs because I have food issues and authenticity is a myth so keep the 4C. Ground mustard. Mayo. Butter. A raw egg. Some fresh chopped parsley. I’m not huge on parsley and was going to get it dried, but remembered in the video the shot of Fallon chopping it. I’ve trusted Clutch on way more serious issues than garnish herbs, so I rolled accordingly. The idea, after all, was to follow directions.

I was surprised there was no call for Old Bay Seasoning, but again, not my recipe. I resisted all kinds of temptation to embellish. Maybe some jalapeno pesto in there instead of mayo? Maybe some paprika and red pepper flakes to give it a kick? Nope. Keep it simple. This is folk food. It’s not meant to be elaborate. It’s meant to be something you make for your friends and/or family on a Monday afternoon. And yes, with The Patient Mrs. looking on — she doesn’t eat anything with a face, so I knew that was out — I did let The Pecan sample some crab meat as I made my way through the preparation.

Separating said Product of India in my fingers was probably the most time-consuming part, but there wasn’t much shell to find, so that was okay. I threw my ingredients all together in a mixing bowl and got a 1/2 cup measuring cup to shape the actual cakes. In the song, Fallon uses a biscuit cutter. I looked for one at the store, but no dice, so I made do with what I had. They turned out to be a pretty good shape, so as instructed, I stuck them “in the reefer” for a while to cool off, then browned some butter in a pan — also substitution, since “Hot Bottom Feeder” calls for a cast iron skillet; well, all my skillets are in another state, so again, I made do — put the baby on my shoulders and began to fry them on each side.

I didn’t cook a full pound of crab meat, because that’s an awful lot for basically me, but I wound up with three good-sized crab cakes that were awesome. And for all my doubting, I think the fresh parsley actually made a huge difference. Making them made me think about some of the other crab cakes I’ve had, and the difference that some of the “to taste” balances make — some with too much mayo, some with too much mustard, too much breadcrumbs, etc. On the whole, I was pleased. I had two for lunch, without my favorite beverage because time’s always a press these days and I wasn’t exactly eating to relax, and was kind of sitting on the third until I decided to call my mother and have her over for the third. She said it was delicious. Nice to have that support.

“Hot Bottom Feeder” is maddeningly catchy and I hope Clutch like it because it’s the kind of song that’s going to feature in live sets for years to come. I’d never made my own crab cakes before, but the chance to dig into this recipe was too good to pass up, and I sincerely doubt this will be the last time I make it. This week. My particular taste? Well satisfied.

Clutch, “Hot Bottom Feeder” official video

Clutch on Thee Facebooks

Clutch on Instagram

Clutch on Twitter

Clutch Website

Clutch on YouTube

Tags: , , , ,

Clutch Announce North American Tour for Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

clutch 2 (Photo by Dan Winters)-1400

What, you didn’t think Clutch were going to tour to support their new album? Did they ever really stop touring to support the last one? Or the one before that? They barely take a break at this point to record, so yeah, obviously they’re announcing a new tour. They finished the last one. Time for the next one.

My only question is where Sevendust came from on this bill. Even when I think it, I’ll very rarely go all out and say a band sucks, but I’ve never been a Sevendust fan, even during their late-’90s commercial radio peak, and I liked some really shitty stuff when I was in high school. Some good stuff, but yeah, some really shitty stuff too. Never Sevendust though.

I guess Clutch are keeping it eclectic, which is admirable in a way, but I’ll be super-duper-curious to see the crowd for this one. Info comes from the PR wire:

clutch tour banner

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE BOOK OF BAD DECISIONS TOUR DATES WITH SEVENDUST AND TYLER BRYAN & THE SHAKEDOWN

Clutch has just announced US/Canada Fall tour dates for their “Book Of Bad Decisions Tour 2018.” Clutch is making the following special offer for this tour: The price of a ticket when purchased in advance online includes a physical CD copy of Clutch’s new album “Book of Bad Decisions.” Fans will receive information on how to redeem the album after purchasing the advance ticket online. Offer valid through 10/29/18, open to US residents only. Not valid on Resale tickets. Offer only valid for Clutch headline dates. Festivals, Canadian headline dates and the October 13th date with System of a Down are exempt from this offer. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, June 22nd at 10AM local time and will be available at www.pro-rock.com and www.facebook.com/clutchband.

Supporting the tour will be Sevendust and Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown.

Book of Bad Decisions, CLUTCH’s 12th studio album is scheduled for a worldwide release on September 7th, 2018 via their own Weathermaker Music label. The album was recorded at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN by producer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and consists of 15 new tracks.

Clutch Book Of Bad Decisions Tour with Sevendust and Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown:

Sun/Sep-16 Chicago IL Riotfest **
Tue/Sep-18 St Paul, MN Myth Live
Wed/Sep-19 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater
Fri/Sep-21 Houston TX House of Blues
Sat/Sep-22 San Antonio TX River City Rock Fest **
Sun/Sep-23 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey Live
Tue/Sep-25 Orlando, FL House Of Blues
Thu/Sep-27 Norfolk, VA The NorVa
Fri/Sep-28 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
Sat/Sep-29 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade *
Sun/Sep-30 Louisville, KY Louder Than Life **
Tue/Oct-02 Denver, CO Ogden Theater
Wed/Oct-03 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
Fri/Oct-05 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
Sat/Oct-06 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory
Sun/Oct-07 Seattle, WA Showbox SODO
Mon/Oct-08 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
Tue/Oct-09 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
Thu/Oct-11 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom
Fri/Oct-12 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theater
Sat/Oct-13 San Bernardino, CA Glen Helen Amphitheater w/SOAD ***
Sun/Oct-14 San Diego, CA North Park/Observatory
Mon/Oct-15 Tempe, AZ The Marquee
Wed/Oct-17 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
Thu/Oct-18 Sauget, IL Pop’s Nightclub
Fri/Oct-19 Grand Rapids, MI 20 Monroe Live
Sat/Oct-20 Detroit, MI The Filmore Detroit
Sun/Oct-21 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Tue/Oct-23 Toronto, ON Rebel
Thu/Oct-25 Worcester, MA The Palladium
Fri/Oct-26 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Sat/Oct-27 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Sun/Oct-28 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory

*= no Sevendust
** = festival date / Clutch and festival bill only
*** = date w/ System of a Down/ no Sevendust

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Gimme the Keys” lyric video

Tags: , , , ,

Clutch Set Sept. 7 Release for Book of Bad Decisions; “Gimme the Keys” Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

clutch (Photo by Dan Winters)-1400

All along in the recording process for their new album, Book of Bad Decisions, and particularly in a behind-the-scenes video series they’ve put out that you can see in its entirety on their website, Clutch have talked about capturing their live energy in working with producer Vance Powell and I think the newly-posted record-opener “Gimme the Keys” bears that out. No doubt the record has its ebbs and flows in terms of push — I don’t know if Clutch‘s listenership would let them put out an album without a blues song on it if they tried — but “Gimme the Keys” is a kick in the ass from start to finish and makes an excellent intro into what still has pro-shop studio clarity but maintains a stage-born vitality that’s as signature Clutch as Jean-Paul Gaster‘s drum fills. First taste? I dig.

You can dig too if you feel up for streaming the track at the bottom of this post. Album’s out Sept. 7 on Weathermaker Music; preorders up now. Details follow courtesy of the PR wire:

clutch book of bad decisions

CLUTCH TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM “BOOK OF BAD DECISIONS” SEPTEMBER 7th

Maryland rockers CLUTCH have announced Book of Bad Decisions as the title of their new studio album.

Book of Bad Decisions, CLUTCH’s 12th studio album is scheduled for a worldwide release on September 7th, 2018 via their own Weathermaker Music label.

The album was recorded at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN by producer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and consists of 15 new tracks.

“With Vance Powell as producer we were able to make a very different kind of an album. The songs feel as if they could jump out of the speakers!” says drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. Bassist Dan Maines seconds that when he says “Recording in Nashville with Vance Powell gave us a new and fresh approach towards making an album that truly captures the live energy of Clutch in a way I don’t think we’ve done before.” Guitarist Tim Sult adds “Laying down guitar tracks with Vance was fun and inspiring. Going through and trying out his and his engineer, Mike Fahey’s collection of vintage amps was one of my favorite recording studio experiences. I think the outro solo of “Emily Dickinson” turned out particularly great.”

The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.

Book Of Bad Decisions track listing:
1. Gimme the Keys
2. Spirit of ’76
3. Book of Bad Decisions
4. How to Shake Hands
5. In Walks Barbarella
6. Vision Quest
7. Weird Times
8. Emily Dickinson
9. Sonic Counselor
10. A Good Fire
11. Ghoul Wrangler
12. HB Is in Control
13. Hot Bottom Feeder
14. Paper & Strife
15. Lorelei

The first single from Book of Bad Decisions is “Gimme the Keys” and will be released May 18th, 2018. The accompanying lyric video was created by David Brodsky.

The song is about the band’s first tour back in 1991, a time where they began to cut their teeth in the live music business, dealt with show cancellations and incidents on the road. One particular show in a shed surrounded by cornfields in Lawrence, Kansas ultimately turned ugly over a missing microphone and accusations brought by drunk and gun-toting security people at the end of a long day. “Gimme the keys they can keep the guarantee | Gimme the keys and get the hell out of dodge” is a reflection of the mood of that night.

Pre-ordering the new album Book of Bad Decisions starts May 18th at www.pro-rock.com.

This single is the first of four to be released over the next couple of months as an instant gratification track when pre-ordering the album at:

iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/book-of-bad-decisions/1376829212&app=itunes)
Amazon (http://amazon.com/dp/B07CNYD1R7).

All album formats (CD, 24-page book with CD, 2xLP Standard Black, Limited Colored 2xLP, and 2xLP Picture Disc) will have the same 15 tracks. In addition Weathermaker Music will release two very limited 7” Picture Discs.

“I’ve never been one for nostalgia,” says Neil Fallon, “I’ve always shied away from it. But after 27 years of this, I realize that there is a wealth of stories to look back upon as lyrical fodder. As the saying goes, ‘You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.’ Not all the songs reference our collective experience as a band, but ‘Book of Bad Decisions’ seemed like an apt name for these various chapters, whether factual, fictitious, or somewhere in-between.”

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Gimme the Keys”

Tags: , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Clutch, Blast Tyrant

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Clutch, Blast Tyrant (2004)

Some records have the songs. Some the sound or the production. Some are pure performance. With Blast Tyrant, it’s everything. There simply wasn’t a level on which it didn’t work. The previous two Clutch albums, 2001’s Pure Rock Fury and 1998’s The Elephant Riders — yes, I know 1999’s Jam Room was between them; I’m trying to make a point — had run a gamut of presentation for the band’s signature heavy, funky grooves. The Elephant Riders was smoothed out, with a radio-ready sheen (sadly, radio was in the process of collapsing at the time) to its fuzz that both Jam Room and Pure Rock Fury answered back by being rawer affairs entirely. Blast Tyrant, which marked the first collaboration between Clutch — vocalist Neil Fallon, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, bassist Dan Maines and guitarist Tim Sult — and producer Machine, as well as their first of three albums issued through DRT Entertainment, which was founded by, among others, Derek Shulman of classic prog rockers Gentle Giant.

That Blast Tyrant followed Pure Rock Fury is important, because at that point, and especially with the band’s departure from Atlantic Records, I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect from Clutch. They’d just gone from “The Soapmakers” to “American Sleep,” and somehow, they’d split the difference with songs like “Mercury,” “Profits of Doom” and “Cypress Grove.” Apart perhaps from their landmark 1995 self-titled, Blast Tyrant might be the most front-to-back album they’ve ever produced. Each song leads the listener into the next so perfectly, whether it’s “Mercury” at the outset or “Worm Drink” picking up from the more subdued vibe of “The Regulator” (still my favorite song to see them do live) and renewing the party atmosphere and momentum honed up to that point. Blast Tyrant wasn’t the moment Clutch came into their own, but it was the moment when, as a mature band both on stage and in the studio, they seemed to realize the full extent of their power. Clutch at Maxwell’s in Hoboken supporting Blast Tyrant? One of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Hands down. Hands down.

And there’s no letup on Blast Tyrant. The album’s characters — “La Curandera,” “Worm Drink,” “Promoter (Of Earthbound Causes),” and so on — are hooks unto themselves, but “The Mob Goes Wild” made itself an immediate classic, and even later cuts like “Army of Bono,” “(In the Wake of) The Swollen Goat,” the quickie jam “Weathermaker” that would later become the name of Clutch‘s own label, Weathermaker Music, through which they’d start releasing albums with 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West, and the superfunk-heavy of “Subtle Hustle” — a hidden gem if ever there was one; one of the record’s most infectious hooks and they stuck it way down toward the end — or the acoustic-laced “Ghost.” Seriously, I feel like I could just go on naming tracks and let them simply argue for themselves — and they would, make no mistake. That’s the thing about Blast TyrantFallon had never been in such command as a frontman. His lyrics had always been a highlight of the band’s work, but lines like “Now who will toast our noble host who has this morning given up the ghost” seemed to show a new level of attention to detail. Likewise, Machine was able to capture a “bigger” Clutch sound than they’d ever had before, but it was still clear and nuanced. Each note from a Sult solo came through. The bounce in Maines‘ bass. Each pop in Gaster‘s snare. These things were treasures, both to established Clutch fans and those who came along to discover them later thanks to the band’s relentless touring.

It’s interesting that the second half of “(Notes from the Trial of) La Curandera” and jammy closer “Wysiwyg” — the latter more reminiscent of offshoot project The Bakerton Group — featured keys (as did others throughout), since by the time the band returned in 2005 with Robot Hive/Exodus (reissue review here), they’d have brought organist Mick Schauer on as a fifth member of the band, which he’d remain on the subsequent and likewise blues-informed From Beale Street to Oblivion in 2007, departing before Strange Cousins from the West. The three DRT albums — Blast TyrantRobot Hive/Exodus and From Beale Street to Oblivion — were re-released by Weathermaker in 2011, with Blast Tyrant receiving the special attention of including the Basket of Eggs collection of acoustic reinterpretations and demo tracks for songs like “Cypress Grove” and “La Curandera.” Obviously, given the legacy Blast Tyrant had earned on the part of fans in the intervening seven years, that was special attention well earned, and it’s noteworthy too that when Clutch were looking to head in a different direction after Strange Cousins from the West, they returned to work with Machine on 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) and 2015’s Psychic Warfare.

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Clutch have a new record coming out later this year produced by Vance Powell (Jack White, Red Fang, etc.). Once again, no idea what to expect. Once again, no doubt it will kick ass. That’s pretty much how it goes.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It’s Friday, right? Probably should’ve asked that at the start.

Being that it’s Friday (I checked), I’m flying out to London tomorrow night. Not that that happens every weekend, just this one. I’m a week late for Desertfest, sadly, but I’m headed over because The Patient Mrs. is taking a group of undergrads on a study-abroad trip and The Pecan and I get to tag along. I’m already going to go see Elephant Tree at The Black Heart on the 16th — or, you know 16 May, as it were — but if anyone knows anything else I need to hit I’ll be there through the 22nd, so please drop a line.

So between baby and travel and baby and travel and baby and travel and baby and travel, I’m not sure how much posting I’ll be able to do each day. Of course I’ll make it as much as I possibly can, but even though I’ve been to London before, this is actually the first overseas airplane trip The Patient Mrs. and I have taken together since… (pauses to ask her)… at least nine. We’ve done more travel separate inside the US and out, but yeah, it’s been a while since we hopped a plane together and crossed the Atlantic. I think last time we were in London together, Blast Tyrant had just come out.

My notes for next week are pretty vague. More so than usual. But here’s what I’ve got so far:

Mon.: Amorphis review.
Tue.: Witch Mountain review.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions with Bong.
Thu.: Elephant Tree live review.
Fri.: Mr. Bison album stream.

Alright y’all, time to start doing laundry so I don’t go to the plane both with-a-baby and a foul-smelling mess. At least pretend I have it together for a little bit. You know how it goes.

Some potential news coming as regards August. And no, I don’t mean Psycho Las Vegas. I’m going to that. I’ve already said so. Something else.

Thanks for reading and please have a great and safe weekend. More Monday. Forum and Radio.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Clutch Announce Spring Tour with Red Fang, The Bronx & Fireball Ministry

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

One of these days — probably not today, but maybe tomorrow or the next day or the day after — Clutch are going to start putting out the details about their next album. I’m talking about things like the title, the songs that’ll be included, the cover art. It’s gonna happen. Hell, there might even be video. Mark my words, we’ll get there, and I’ve got a feeling once audio starts coming out from it, this one’s going to be a banger. After two records in a row with Machine at the helm, they’ve switched up producers and I wouldn’t be surprised if that as a significant effect on the outcome of the album as a whole. Clutch‘s studio work has always had that as a factor. Think of the differences in sound between Elephant Riders and Pure Rock Fury. Or Strange Cousins from the West and Earth Rocker.

Anyway, a new Clutch record is going to happen, and if you’re not stoked, get that way. The Maryland foursome just announced a quickie Midwestern run with The Bronx, Red Fang and Fireball Ministry for the Spring. Maybe a warm-up for a larger tour? Maybe a lead-up to a second installment of their own festival? Maybe an album-release celebration? I have the feeling we don’t know all the details yet, but the PR wire brings what we’ve got to go on:

clutch tour dates

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE SPRING HEADLINE TOUR DATES

Clutch has just announced a string of Spring headline tour dates starting on April 27th in Chattanooga, TN. Supporting the tour will be The Bronx, Red Fang and Fireball Ministry. Fan club pre-sale tickets will go on sale today, Tuesday, January 30th at 2:00 pm and will be available through Thursday, February 1st at 10:00 pm. Fan club tickets will be available at https://www.mt.cm/clutch Password: fans1. Tickets will go on sale to the general public Friday, February 2nd at 10:00 am at local outlets as well as at pro-rock.com and www.facebook.com/clutchband.

The band is currently in the studio working on their new record with producer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, Old 97s, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Red Fang) at Sputnik Sound in Nashville.

Clutch, The Bronx, Red Fang and Fireball Ministry Spring Tour Dates:
*Festival date
04-27-18 Chattanooga, TN The Signal
04-29-18 Jacksonville, FL Welcome To Rockville*
04-30-18 Athens, GA Georgia Theater
05-02-18 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
05-03-18 Birmingham, AL Iron City
05-04-18 Memphis, TN Beale Street Music Fest*
05-05-18 Lexington, KY Manchester Music Hall
05-06-18 Charlotte, NC Carolina Rebellion*

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Electric Worry” Live at Starland Ballroom, Dec. 28, 2017

Tags: , ,

Clutch Release Live at Googolplex Vinyl to Start Picture Disc Series

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

There was a while there when Clutch were putting out limited releases at an almost Melvinsian pace. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but offerings like Live at the Googolplex, Live in Flint, Michigan, and even Full Fathom Five are treasure troves of the band doing what they do best — kicking ass on stage. It’s the former that’s the occasion for this post, as Weathermaker Music has newly released a picture-disc version of Live at the Googolplex as the start of a three-record series that will continue with Jam Room and Pitchfork and Lost Needles before the end of the year. If you’re even a moderate Clutch collector — and no reason to not be, frankly — you don’t need me to tell you these will be gone if they aren’t already, so, you know, preorders and timeliness and whatnot.

Clutch hit the road next month with Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed. Dates and more info follow via the PR wire:

clutch live at the googolplex

CLUTCH TO RELEASE LIMITED EDITION VINYL COLLECTOR PICTURE DISCS

THE FIRST IN THE SERIES “LIVE AT THE GOOGOLPLEX” OUT TODAY

Clutch and Weathermaker Music have prepared three very special Clutch limited edition vinyl collector picture discs. The first in the series, “Live At The Googolplex” [is available now].

Recorded in 2002 in Chicago, Montreal, Kansas City, and Columbus, OH. “Live At The Googolplex”, like all three releases in the series will be the first time these releases will be available as a picture disc vinyl.

The next two releases in the series will be “Jam Room” (scheduled for release October 27th, 2017) and “Pitchfork & Lost Needles” (scheduled for release November 24th, 2017).

“Weathermaker Music is releasing 3 limited edition picture discs” states frontman Neil Fallon. “The first will be Live at the Googolplex. That will be followed up by Jam Room and then Pitchfork and Lost Needles. All feature art from the original releases. For what it’s worth, I drew Medusa’s head for the Jam Room release. With a pen. And paper. This is your chance to own a bit of art history”.

All 3 in the series will be available at all major vinyl outlets and is available to pre-order now at https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/clutch.

Clutch is set to embark on another leg of the Psychic Warfare World Tour 2017 starting November 29th, 2017 and running through December 31st, 2017. All tour and ticket info can be found at: https://www.pro-rock.com.

Clutch is currently in the throes of working on new material for a 2018 release.

Clutch, Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed Tour Dates:
Wed, 11-29-17 Greensboro, NC at Cone Denim Entertainment Center
Fri, 12-01-17 Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues
Sat, 12-02-17 St Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live
Sun, 12-03-17 Fort Lauderdale, FL at Revolution
Tue, 12-05-17 Saint Augustine, FL at Backyard Stage @ St Augustine Amphitheatre
Wed, 12-06-17 Pensacola, FL at Vinyl Music Hall
Fri, 12-08-17 Baton Rouge, LA at Varsity Theatre
Sat, 12-09-17 San Antonio, TX at The Aztec Theatre
Sun, 12-10-17 Houston, TX at House Of Blues
Tues, 12-12-17 Springfield, MO at Gillioz Theatre
Wed, 12-13-17 Lincoln, NE at Bourbon Theatre
Fri, 12-15-17 Peoria, IL at Limelight Eventplex
Sat, 12-16-17 Nashville, TN at Marathon Music Works
Wed, 12-27-17 Clifton Park, NY at Upstate Concert Hall
Thu, 12-28-17 Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom
Fri, 12-29-17 Richmond, VA at The National
Sat, 12-30-17 Knoxville, TN at The International
Sun, 12-31-17 Columbus, OH at Express Live

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Pure Rock Fury” from Live at the Googolplex (2003)

Tags: , , , ,