Fleek's Video/Artist of the Day #3 (CLUTCH)

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2/28/08 8:46:46AM


Neil Fallon – vocals, guitar, harmonica
Tim Sult – guitar
Dan Maines – bass guitar
Jean-Paul Gaster – drums
Mick Schauer – organ

Clutch is a musical group from Germantown, Maryland in the United States. They have been playing together since the early 1990s, and released their first EP, Pitchfork, in October of 1991.

Each Clutch album is marked by a distinct and cohesive sound. The musical style of the band has migrated from metallic hardcore punk to hard rock. Strong blues influences have become prominent in the releases of the later years as vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon notes: "We've been really conscious of the blues over the last couple of years, and you have to admit that the blues really is the source of all rock and roll. I think it's important to go to the source to find that inspiration."

The lyrics of Clutch songs have progressed from early releases that were marked with an angry, serious tone to latter releases that are characterized by intelligence, wordplay, and subtle humour. The songs make frequent references to history, mythology, popular culture, and religion; for example, "I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth", from the self-titled album, tells the story of a fisherman who discovers the corpse of Lincoln's assassin in the Susquehanna River, and Jam Room's "Release the Kraken" inserts a hero called "Useless the Younger" into the movie Clash of the Titans. The lyrics also contain some surrealistic imagery, as in this quote from Robot Hive/Exodus's "Burning Beard": "Every time I look out my window/ same three dogs looking back at me. Every time I open my windows/ cranes fly in to terrorize me."

Clutch formed in 1991 and built a local following through constant gigging. Following the initial 7" single release of "Passive Restraints" on the Earache label, Clutch was signed by the EastWest Records label. The debut LP, Transnational Speedway League, was released in 1993. It was followed by a self-titled album two years later that afforded Clutch mainstream exposure. The band moved to the larger Columbia label for 1998's Elephant Riders release, and many thought the group might join their sonic cousins Korn and Deftones in the alternative metal winner's circle. That did not quite happen, but it did not matter, because a quality fan base continued to thrive for Clutch.

Pure Rock Fury appeared in 2001 on the Atlantic label. The title track was initially released as the first single. The program director for North Carolina rock station, WXQR (Rock 105), Brian Rickman, suggested that the label switch singles to another track from the album: "Careful With That Mic." Atlantic did so, and Clutch was afforded a surprise hit single. The follow-up tracks, "Immortal" and "Open Up The Border" were also well-received by American rock stations.

The similarly uncompromising Blast Tyrant came three years later, their first for DRT Records. The band once again enjoyed more rock radio airplay and heavy rotation on the Music Choice cable service thanks to the single "The Mob Goes Wild." Its accompanying video was directed by Bam Margera.

Their seventh full-length album, Robot Hive/Exodus, followed in 2005 and featured the first lineup change since the early 1990s: the addition of organist Mick Schauer. Among Clutch's numerous side releases were a groove-based album, 2000's Jam Room, as well as Live at the Googolplex and the rarities record Slow Hole to China, both issued in 2003. The 2005 release Pitchfork & Lost Needles combined Clutch's 1991 Pitchfork 7 with unreleased demos and early tracks.

In the fall of 2006, the band hit the studio with producer Joe Barresi (Kyuss, Melvins, Tool) to record their next album, From Beale Street to Oblivion which was released in March 2007. The album was leaked onto the internet in early March. Critical reaction has been overwhelmingly positive; the influential magazine Metal Hammer called it a "future classic, the best album the group has ever produced, and easily a front runner for album of the year."

While the band has not recovered their previous radio airplay with subsequent releases, Clutch have accumulated a devoted cult following. The following has been cultivated by an ambitious touring schedule; the band has often perform more than 100 shows per year.



2/28/08 10:20:41AM
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