Clutch's Dan Maines Talks New "Earth Rocker" Album And North American Tour
Maryland rock maestros Clutch are so excited for you to hear their new material they aren't even going to wait for the album to drop before storming the world with "Earth Rocker."
The album may be coming March 19th (pre-orders available here), but the North American leg of the "Earth Rocker" tour kicks off March 8th. Check out a full listing of tour dates, with support from Orange Goblin and Lionize on the first leg and The Sword on the second leg, at this location.
With the wheels already in motion and the band gearing up to hit the road, bassist Dan Maines hit up Metalunderground.com for a quick chat. In the interview below Dan talks about the band's recent European trek, the imminent release of "Earth Rocker," and the other projects that Clutch's members are involved with.
xFiruath: You guys crossed the 20 year mark just two years back. How do you feel about that milestone?
Dan: It’s kind of blown my mind that we are where we are. I certainly wasn’t anticipating this when we first started the band. I would say remarkably little has changed within the band over the last 20 years. We just continue doing what we do, and we’ve been fortunate enough to retain the audience we had. It’s just slowly grown over the years.
xFiruath: You just wrapped up the European leg of this tour. How did that go and what stops did you hit?
Dan: That was a very short, by European standards, a short tour. It served as the initial announcement of having a new record out being released in March. It was the starting point of a two year touring cycle we’ll be engaged in. We did one show in London and then we jumped over to Amsterdam, and we spent six days in Germany, then Belgium, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, and Paris. It was a three week tour, but half of that time was spent doing interviews. It was a good experience though, it was nice to have so much press available to get the word out.
xFiruath: You’re about to start the North American leg of the tour. Who will the support acts be and what’s the set list going to look like?
Dan: We will try to play at least four new songs, we’ll probably average four or five new songs a night. We have a very democratic system of writing set lists. Each night it’s a single band member’s responsibility to write the set list. That helps ensure we get a lot of variety within our sets. We do find people like to go to two or more shows on a tour. It makes things a little more exciting for us as well. It would be more stifling to play the same twelve songs night after night. We try to mix it up. As far as support bands go, we have Orange Goblin from the U.K. and Lionize, which is from our neck of the woods in the D.C. area. We did have Kyng originally lined up for the tour, but the bass player I believe was in a car accident. So they had to remove themselves from this tour and we have Scorpion Child coming in. Hopefully somewhere around the road we can have Kyng join us.
xFiruath: You’ve got a couple of interesting stops coming up, including some rock festivals and even a stop in Montana in April. Have you guys gone there before?
Dan: Montana, I don’t think we’ve ever played there but I can’t recall. No, I think this will be the first time. I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure it will be a great show.
xFiruath: Your new album is coming out next month as well. Can you give me some background on recording for the album and how the sound has changed?
Dan: We’ve been working on this record, song writing-wise, for a little over two years. It was kind of a slower than usual process because we’d spent so much time touring. We do most of our writing at home. We wrapped up the writing process, the final stages, working with our producer who calls himself Machine, he’s out of New Jersey. We worked with him on our 2004 release “Blast Tyrant.” He has a unique recording process. He records each instrument one at a time. Usually everybody’s in a room together. It was a good way of recording these particular songs. It helped to keep the energy level high, which is what we wanted to carry through with these songs. I think it turned out great, I’m very happy with it. I look forward to releasing it on the public in March.
xFiruath: Do any of the Clutch members have any other projects running right now?
Dan: Our drummer Jean-Paul, with a couple of guys from Sweden, is in a band called King Hobo. It involves Per previously from the band Opeth. He plays keyboards and I think he does bass for King Hobo. Neil, our singer, has released an album in a band called The Company Band, which is a project he’s been involved with for a few years now. The label Weathermaker released The Company Band, and that features members from Fu Manchu and Fireball Ministry. Sometimes our guitar player Tim will lay down some guitar work for Lionize, the band I mentioned that’s on our tour. They’re from Maryland and their music is kind of a melding rock and reggae.
xFiruath: What else would you like to say to the readers?
Dan: Come out to the shows, if you see us playing in your area, come out to the show and look for our new record to be in stores March 19th.
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