Heavy metal Clutch comes to Libertyville
Clutch, with Hell Yeah
Austin’s Saloon, 481 Peterson Road, Libertyville
Doors open 6:30 p.m., show at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 8
Tickets are $26 advance/ $28 day of show
Call (847) 549-1972 or visit austinsaloon.com
Few rock bands last as long with their original lineup as heavy-metal rockers Clutch. Since banding together in 1991, this quartet of Washington D.C.-area high-school buddies has stuck together from the tough early years, working their way up from indies to majors before launching their own Weathermaker Music label two years ago — all the while dedicating themselves to their first love, playing live.
Now crossing the country in support of a double-LP,180-gram vinyl release of the group’s 2004 release “Blast Tyrant,” Clutch will appear May 8 with tour mates Hell Yeah in the Fuel Room of Austin’s Saloon, 481 Peterson Road, Libertyville.
Pioneer caught up with drummer Jean-Paul Gaster soon after the tour began for a quick chat about longevity, generating nine albums as an after-thought between tours, and the importance of listening to something other than Motorhead on the tour bus.
Q: Is it true that Clutch still has the same line-up it began with in high school?
A: The four of us have been in the band since the very inception — yeah, all the way back in high school. We’ve experimented with adding other instrumentation, but it’s really always just been the four of us.
Q: How do you account with that stability and longevity?
A: A lot of it has to do with the fact that when we got together as a band, the idea was not to sell a million records and play arenas. We just wanted to play shows and make good records. That was the concept when we first got together and that’s what has kept us going for so long.
Q: How is it that you’re still touring in support of “Blast Tyrant,” which you first released in 2004 and reissued last year?
A: Well, we recently re-released “Blast Tyrant” as a double-vinyl LP and that was a fun project to do. We don’t really subscribe to the mentality where you record an album and then go out on the road to support it in an endless cycle. For us, touring is the priority. We’re a live band. We’ve made no bones about that since the very beginning. The records, really, are just something that happen occasionally between tours.
Q: Has your musical direction changed significantly in the past 20 years?
A: Certainly. Over the years, we’ve played a tremendous amount of shows and, consequently, we’re much better players than we once were. And we still try to listen to a lot of different kinds of music and open ourselves to outside influences. One of the most important things for us has been that when we’re touring we don’t listen to the type of music that we make — which is very loud rock ‘n’ roll. Though at times, a little Motorhead sneaks into the playlist. (Laughs.) We listen to everything from dub to jazz to blues — all kinds of things. And all those things get into the songs at the end of the day. We’re influenced by most everything we hear.
Q: What did you grow up listening to in high school? Who were your big influences?
A: Black Sabbath, Bad Brains, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Brown and his Soul Searchers. . . The D.C. area was a great place to see live music when we were coming up. There was a lot of stuff going on there, and all those things made us the band that we are.
Q: What was your earliest goal as a band? Has that changed at all?
A: No, the goal remains the same: To play good shows and make good records. We’re fortunate enough that we can do this for a living now and that’s something we don’t take for granted, but at the end of the day, we still do what we’ve done from the beginning. We want to play the best show we can and when it’s time to get into the studio, we want to make a fantastic record. That’s the beginning and the end of it.
Q: What’s coming up in the near-future for Clutch?
A: We’re going to record a new record this summer. We plan to start that process in early August and have a new release out early next year. And then we’ll be heading back to your town again.