Almost one year has passed since the release of more-than-successful ‘Psychic Warfare’ and the Greek audience couldn’t be more excited to see Clutch on stage again.

The Maryland-based band that was formed in 1991 has released 11 albums, and has managed to acquire a reputation for their excellent live performances.

Now, at the peak of their career, Clutch are taking the stage of Club Iera Odos on the 24th of August.

Get ready for some loud, dynamic rock ‘n’ roll, but before you buckle up, here’s a taste of their awesomeness: An interview with the one and only Neil Fallon (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards).

The stoner rock audience seems to keep getting bigger everywhere in the world, including Greece. Do you think this could be just another trend or is stoner rock here to stay?

It’s here to stay in that «stoner rock» is just another word for rock and roll.  Sure there are bands that are self-described as «stoner rock,» but by and large most of those bands  just play rock and roll.  And that’s not going anywhere.

What is the biggest challenge you ever had to overcome as a musician?

There’s been some physical hurdles.  Cutting one of my fingers off.  Neck surgery. Sinus surgery.  Thankfully all those things worked out with the best possible outcomes.  But it made me appreciate my health.  And ultimately music must be produced by a body.  It’s a physical thing, manipulating air.

For heavy rock, it all starts and ends with the blues. Who would you cite as your primary influence from the blues scene?

ZZ Top, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Skip James, and of course all those English bands that took American blues and electrified them (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, etc).

In your most abstract lyrics we can sense elements of sci-fi, history, fantasy and even esoteric themes. You have said before that ‘Things pop into your head for no apparent reason’ and that ‘When you dedicate time to write lyrics you end up with a blank piece of paper and a hangover’. But would you say that there have also been particular stories that have inspired you to write lyrics?

Sure.  I think that’s one of the things I tried to tackle with Psychic Warfare.  Decapitation Blues wouldn’t have turned out the way it did had I not had neck surgery.  A Quick Death in Texas wouldn’t be what it is had I not stayed in a small cabin in the Texas hill country while we recorded Psychic Warfare.  I think I have the most fun writing lyrics when I exaggerate real life experiences.

Why is it that ‘everytime you set to write lyrics on women you always seem to end up the victim of some terrible ass kicking’?

When I was writing «Sucker for The Witch» I got to thinking about the other songs I’ve written that involve female characters.  Specifically, «Cypress Grove,» «La Curandera,» «The Dragonfly,» Cyborg Bette» to name a few.  I realized that they all share a common theme that the female character is an ass kicker.  Not necessarily in a negative way though.  Maybe it stems from my adolescence when I read Heavy Metal magazine.  On nearly all those covers was a formidable woman with a sword or a laser pistol, or riding a wolf… I stared at those ladies for hours.  I’m sure it left an impression on my psyche.

What is the most bizarre thing that has happened to you while onstage?

I’ve fallen through a stage.  Jumping up and down on shitty wood planks.  That was awkward.  But in my own defense, I didn’t miss a line.

What do you like to do outside of music in order to rejuvenate your creativity?

I think the best creative exercise is simply playing with my kid.  Having to explain the world to a brand new human being is great way to think about things I wouldn’t normally.  How this? Why that?

You have been releasing your albums through your own label for more than a decade. Would you encourage young bands to chose an independent record label or create their own instead of signing with a major one?

I would encourage bands to keep as much control as possible.  And if they do sign with a label, make damn sure they will eventually get those records back eventually.  And never ever sign away publishing.

What do you think about online music sharing? 

It’s been a boon for Clutch.  We were signed to several major labels throughout the 90s.  Then that well went dry.  But instead of struggling to make ends meet, things started getting better for Clutch.  The only thing that changed in that time was the Internet.  That’s the only thing I can attribute that change in fortune.                                          Greece is a perfect example of that.  None of our releases in the 1990s were available domestically in Greece.  Then we played Athens a few years back and it was the largest headlining show in Europe we had ever enjoyed.  That was because of people sharing our music.  So if it means a kid gets our album for free, but then he buys a ticket to our show, maybe buys a t-shirt, I’m all right with that.  Music has been free for thousands of years.  I think online music sharing may be a return to normalcy.

What is next for Clutch? What is next for Neil?

We have shows booked until the end of the year.  After that we’ll take a bit of a break and start thinking about the next record.

For those of you who still think this summer is just not hot enough yet, here’s all you need to know:

When: 24.08.2016

Where: Club Iera Odos, 18-20, Iera Odos, 118 54 Athens, Greece

How much: 22.50- 25.00 €

How to book tickets: https://www.viva.gr

 

By Marina Akarepi and Labros Papaefthimiou

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