In the Clutch

Imagine Black Sabbath’s darkly psychedelic metal riffs tacked onto funky jam-band rhythms and you get the aural picture of Clutch. The Maryland quartet, going for 20 years strong and possessing a cult audience that falls between Deadheads and Judas Priest fans, is known for its powerful live show. The band kicks off its North American tour Jan. 29 at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay and is joined by metal god Lemmy’s band Motörhead, and crowd-pleasing hard-rockers Valient Thorr.

Also significant is next month’s deluxe double-disc reissue of Clutch’s landmark album Blast Tyrant. Comprising 25 total songs and new artwork, the reissue (put out by the band’s own Weathermaker label) offers a bonus disc with four never-before-heard recordings. Clutch frontman Neil Fallon took time to chat with Soundscraper.

This isn’t your first tour with Motörhead. What has Clutch learned from Lemmy?

Watching Lemmy every night for a month made me realize that not all men are created equal. The man is a walking anomaly, a living legend and a badass songwriter. I very much look forward to doing it all over again. I’m also curious to see if he brings his own pinball machine on tour again.

Seven years have passed since Blast Tyrant’s initial release. How do you view the album today?

That album was the first time we recorded in full-on digital mode. It changed the whole process of getting a song recorded. Instead of doing multiple takes as a band and keeping the best one, we were doing individual instruments one at a time, part by part. It took longer, but I feel it gave that record a certain personality that we wouldn’t have gotten any other way.

“Groovy stoner rock” is a term applied to Clutch.

When I think of stoner rock, I think of bands like Sleep and Monster Magnet. Those bands were maybe a little more interested in emulating an earlier sound. I’m definitely fans of those bands and count them as an influence, so I see the connection. But I’d just call Clutch a rock band.

When “Army of Bono” was written, the U2 singer was already annoying. Today he peddles Louis Vuitton in Africa. Has your opinion changed?

I have no problem with the man. He has an army of organizations spreading food and wealth around. Sounds like a good way to spend his time.

How does your indie label Weathermaker weather online file sharing?

Selling CDs is just part of the bigger picture for us. The band’s main goal is to play our music on the road to as many people as we can.

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SWEET SCIENCE ( I don’t know science, but I’ve got profanity down pat. For example, I may not be able to properly explain how crystals are formed, but I can tell you how to [expletive] yourself in the [expletive] [expletive] until the United [expletive] Nations is forced to intervene.