League of Extraordinary GentlemenBy Jasen T. Davis
Clutch released its first album, Transnational Speedway League, in 1993. Since then, the band has made many albums full of hard rock, heavy metal, blues, funk and punk, and toured the world playing honest, high-octane music when the group isn’t hanging out back at home in Germantown, Maryland. After so many years—and with so many other genres (electronica, hip-hop, et. al.) to compete with—why do fans all across the globe continue to demand rock ’n‘ roll? Tim Sult, Clutch’s lead guitarist since Day One, has an answer.
“I think it’s because rock is a form of music that people enjoy seeing performed live,” he says.
After roughly 23 years playing in front of audiences with Clutch, Sult should know. “For rock bands it’s very important to put on a good live performance, but I think it’s also a necessary trait for any group, whether they play EBM or hip-hop.”
A band can make a lot of mistakes over the course of a career, but to Sult the worst error is simply quitting.
“Too many bands want to sign on to a big label before they go on tour,” he explains. “They don’t want to go out on the road without a major label to sponsor them.” Clutch spent years playing anywhere it could. “You have to play a lot of live shows to build up a good fan base.”
Currently on tour, Clutch has the opportunity to show off a few of the new songs from its latest album, Earth Rocker. The new release is slated to drop on March 13, 2013.
“It was a long time coming,.” Sult reveals. “We spent a lot of hours working in the studio, so I’m glad we’re done.”
Good thing, too, because the axe-man admits he prefers playing on the road to being locked up inside a studio. The hard labor paid off, though. “The recording is perfect,” Sult says. “It just sounds like a very sharp production.”
As far as the guitarist is concerned, Earth Rocker is the best, heaviest collection of rock and metal compositions the band has ever created. “Honestly, it feels like a cross between our first LP and the Robot Hive/Exodus album [from 2005].”
Fans can also expect a less vintage-y sound from the new release.
“Our old albums can sound more like classic rock, but this certainly sounds like an album from the ’90s and 2000s,” Sult says.
The hard-edged band even included an acoustic track on Earth Rocker—hold the “Kumbaya” jokes, please.
“We decided to take a chance with this one,” Sult says. “Sometimes a heavy metal band will write an acoustic song. It either works or it doesn’t.”
And with the band slated to perform in Colorado—an MMJ state that just legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over—Sult shared his compassionate views.
“I’m totally fine with medical marijuana,” he says. “There seems to be plenty of evidence of its medicinal properties.”
Live in Concert
Performing Dec. 21 at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.
The last album Clutch released, 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West, didn’t do to shabby considering it wasn’t produced by Kanye or written by Lady Gaga. It debuted at a not-too-shabby No. 38 on the Billboard 200. But why the four-year wait between albums? “We all felt like it had been too long,” Clutch guitarist Tim Sult says. “We had spent a lot of time compiling ideas for songs without recording any . . . Our motivation was to write the best record we possibly could,” The ploy worded as “the songs came out heavier and faster than anything we’ve done before.” he says. Fans of Clutch, rest assured the band hasn’t gotten soft with age.