From page 13 of Classic Rock Magazine August 2005
After years on the periphery, the Maryland hard rockers finally have an album that could give them their big break.
INTERVIEW: MALCOLM DOME
It’s taken nearly 15 years, but at last the world seems ready for the full-on Clutch experience. Since their formation in Maryland in 1991, the band have steadfastly stuck to their brand of classic hard rock, with southern influences, the occasional burst of swamp rock fever and just a hint of stoner syndrome. Now, with their seventh album, Robot Hive/Exodus, ready to hit the shops, vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Des Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster seem to have found the right groove for the current times.
So Neil Fallon, does stardom, as opposed to cult status, beckon? Stardom? Hell no. I reckon my time’s virtually gone. If I ever did have a window of opportunity, then it’s almost closed now.
Still, stranger things have happened, eh? How does the new album differ from last year’s Blast Tyrant?
“We went technical crazy on the previous
album – digital
overload. Don’t get me wrong, I love what we did, but why repeat it? So this time we’re a lot more
organic. What we’ve got is an album that’s more southern and more in touch with what the fans want in 2005. I’ve noticed a lot more AC/DC shirts at our shows.
Is the Clutch sound starting to get through to younger kids? You said it. What we’re getting now are the younger brothers and sisters of the Limp Bizkit generation – and they don’t want rap metal, because it belongs to the past. That’s why bands like us are scoring heavily.
Where did the name Robot Hive/Exodus come from? Is it connected to an X-Men story? Nothing like that at all. In fact it doesn’t mean anything. A couple of the songs – Of Mice And Men and 10001110101 – have robot themes, but in general it’s an association of words.
You’re very proud of the artwork for this album.
Definitely. So many people seem to miss those days of the LP sleeve with intricate artwork. We decided that it was time to bring it back, albeit in CD format. The guy we got to do the artwork is Nick Lakiotes, an animator who’s never done an album sleeve before. But his art is stunning. It’s among the very best I’ve ever seen.
Youil be spending a lot of the summer touring the US with the Sounds Of The Underground tour. What appealed to you about it? Mainly because a lot of the names on the bill are very cool and have a genuine feel for underground music. You look at bands like Lamb Of God, Opeth, Madball, Chimaira and Unearth... they’ve got credibility.
How would you define ‘underground’ music in 2005? I guess these are the bands you don’t hear on the radio in America. What’s so cool about all of the bands on this bill is that we’re not trendy. We rely a lot on the fans’
enthusiasm, spreading the word through message boards, and so on. That’s real
dedication, and it means a lot more than having one big album and then disappearing Will that tour come to the UK? One step at a time. If it works in the States, then obviously the organisers will look at taking it further afield. I’d love to see this happen across the world. Many great plans begin small.
You’re working on a DVD right now. When will that be released? If I said it would be out by Christmas, then I’d probably be wrong. But that’s the idea. It will include a lot of footage we did during the making of the new album, plus loads of live stuff. But it’s self-financed and self- produced, so it’s a very slow process.” Robot Hive/Exodus is released by DRT on June 21.