Clutch is an American rock band from Germantown, Maryland, formed in 1990. Since its formation the band line-up has included Neil Fallon (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Tim Sult (lead guitar, backing vocals), Dan Maines (bass, backing vocals) and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums and percussion). To date, Clutch has released ten studio albums, and several rarities and live albums. They now own their own label, Weathermaker.
Early years: 1990-1999
Clutch (formerly 'Glut Trip') was formed in 1990 by Dan Maines (bass), Jean Paul Gaster (drums), Tim Sult (guitar), and Roger Smalls a.k.a. "ARCaine" (Vocals) in and built a local following through several live performances. Following a show with the band Maelstrom, Small decided to leave and continue his studies at Towson University eventually earning his degree in Ancient History. Small and the band believed it was in the best interest to continue with someone who was familiar with their hardcore edge that was focused on the heavy anti authoritarian-political lyrics that Small was becoming well known for. The departure of Small from the band was a mutual parting of the ways with no animosity between the members of the band at that time. It was decided that the band needed a new name and Clutch was chosen. Neil Fallon a long-time friend of Tim, JP, and Dan was promoted to lead singer. Fallon changed the style, delivery, and focus of the band from its previous Anti-Authoritarian political defiance to that of a Southern Stoner Rock ranging from subjects such as, John Wilkes Booth, trucks, and beer. Songs such as The House that Peterbilt, Rock and Roll Outlaw, Texan Book of the Dead, Bertha's Big Back Yard, and Raised by Horses continue to be fan favorites. Tim Sult's mastery of the wah pedal soon became Clutch's centerpiece during their live shows. The band quickly gained notice with the new sound gathering their army through touring. The initial 12" single release of "Passive Restraints" on the Earache label was a the first step in Clutch's march to glory. It was soon that many labels started to call the band and EastWest Records signed Clutch. Their debut LP, Transnational Speedway League, was released in 1993. It was followed by a self-titled album two years later that gained Clutch mainstream exposure. The band moved to the larger Columbia label for the 1998 album The Elephant Riders. They followed it in 1999 with a self-released groove-based album Jam Room.
Chart success: 2000-2007
The album Pure Rock Fury was released by Atlantic in 2001. 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 achieved a surprise hit single. The follow-up tracks, "Immortal" and "Open Up the Border," were also well received by American rock stations. In 2003 they issued Live at the Googolplex and the rarities record Slow Hole to China.
The album Blast Tyrant was released in 2004, 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, and featured Margera's Viva La Bam co-stars; Ryan Dunn, Brandon DiCamillo, and Don Vito. The video was filmed at Rex's in West Chester, PA. The 2005 release Pitchfork & Lost Needles combined Clutch's 1990 Pitchfork 7-inch release with previously unreleased demos and early tracks. In 2005 the band saw their first lineup change since the early 1990s with the addition of organist Mick Schauer, who performed on the albums Robot Hive/Exodus (2005) and From Beale Street to Oblivion (2007). The latter album was produced by Joe Barresi who has also produced for Kyuss, Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, and Tool.
Recent years: 2008-present
The band's first live DVD, Full Fathom Five, and accompanying CD, produced/directed by Agent Ogden, were released in September 2008. The band also released a remastered version of Slow Hole to China: Rare and Unreleased on April 28, 2009. The band's ninth studio album Strange Cousins from the West, was released on July 14, 2009. Songs from the album were played live on tour prior to the album's recording. A 2-disc DVD set Clutch Live at the 9:30 was released on May 11, 2010 by the band's own label, Weathermaker Music. The set includes the entire December 28, 2009 show at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 club, in which the band performed its entire 1995 self-titled LP.
On May 10, 2011, Clutch reissued their 2004 album Blast Tyrant on Weathermaker Music. The new edition contained a bonus album known as Basket of Eggs that includes unreleased songs as well as acoustic versions of previous hits. In its first week of release Blast Tyrant sold close to 3,000 copies nationally, landing it at No. 26 on the Billboard Hard Rock Top 100, more than seven years after the original version debuted at No. 15.
On June 10, 2012, the band released a new single, "Pigtown Blues", on iTunes, backed with an acoustic version of "Motherless Child" (from Strange Cousins from the West).
On October 16, 2012, Clutch announced that their tenth album will be called Earth Rocker. The album was released on March 16, 2013 and entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #15 giving the band their highest chart position to date. It would remain on the chart for a total of 5 weeks. The album also reached #4 on iTunes' overall Top 100 album charts and was #1 in their rock chart.
On September 12, 2013, Clutch announced that they were postponing their September tour (except for a hometown show in Baltimore, MD at the Shindig Festival), due to health issues with singer Neil Fallon. Fallon released a statement through the band's Facebook page saying "Dear friends, this week I've learned that a childhood injury to the neck, a genetic predisposition for spinal disease, and 20 some years of head banging will exact a toll. I've been diagnosed with an ugly case of cervical spinal stenosis and two herniated discs." Fallon was set to have surgery on September 17, 2013 and the band resumed their tour sometime in October.
In the late 1990s, Clutch and its sibling project The Bakerton Group (an instrumental jam band composed of all four Clutch members) formed an independent record label, River Road Records, to release their own music. River Road does not sign any other artists. The Bakerton Group has released one three-track EP titled Space Guitars and two full-length albums titled The Bakerton Group and El Rojo respectively. Clutch/Bakerton Group now runs its own independent record label for its own releases, Weathermaker Music.
Clutch members also feature in several other musical projects. Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster made an appearance on the album The Mystery Spot by blues-rock band Five Horse Johnson. The album was released on May 23, 2006 via Small Stone Records. In 2007, Gaster collaborated with Opeth keyboardist Per Wiberg and Kamchatka guitarist Thomas Andersson in a band called King Hobo, which has thus far released one album. Gaster also appears on the album Punctuated Equilibrium by Scott "Wino" Weinrich, released via Southern Lord Records in 2009. Guitarist Tim Sult also plays in reggae rock band Lionize.
Neil Fallon has provided guest vocals on the songs "Two Coins for Eyes" and "Empire's End" on the 2008 album Beyond Colossal by Swedish stoner rock band Dozer; "Crazy Horses" (a cover of a song by The Osmonds) by Throat; "Slippin' Out" by Never Got Caught; "Mummies Wrapped in Money" by Lionize; "Fearless Force" for early New York Hardcore band The Mob; "Blood and Thunder" by Mastodon on their 2004 album Leviathan; and "Transistors Of Mercy" by Polkadot Cadaver. Fallon is also the singer for The Company Band.
- Neil Fallon – vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Tim Sult – guitar
- Dan Maines – bass
- Jean-Paul Gaster – drums
- Former members
- Mick Schauer - keyboards (2005–2008)
Clutch in other media
- Fallon's younger sister, Mary Alice Fallon-Yeskey, appears in the Food Network reality show Ace of Cakes as office manager of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, Maryland. One episode featured a cake, in the style of an amp, being made for the band.
- In 1996, The Clutch song "Escape From the Prison Planet" was featured on the soundtrack from John Carpenter's "Escape From LA" Starring Kurt Russell.
- In late 2009, the Clutch song "Electric Worry" was used in a commercial to promote the video game Left 4 Dead 2 created by Valve Software. "Electric Worry" is also used in the movie trailer for Race Across the Sky, the promotional commercials for TNT's "Memphis Beat" TV show, the goal song for the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), in the 2011-2012 NHL season, the goal song for the Calgary Roughnecks (NLL), a theme song in the Mucha Lucha spin-off The Hairy Knuckle Show, and in the 2012 - 2013 movie short "The Baytown Disco" & trailer "The Baytown Outlaws".
- The song "10001110101" also was featured in the Human Head Studios developed 2006 first person shooter Prey as a selectable song playing in a jukebox at a bar in the game's opening scene.
- The Clutch song "The Incomparable Mr. Flannery" is used in highlight clips during Fox NFL games.
- The intro to "Careful with that Mic" has been used as an NFL game intro.
- The song "Spleen Merchant" has been used as a commercial bumper in the nationally-syndicated Nights with Alice Cooper radio show.
- The song "Power Player" was featured in the video game Need For Speed Pro Street; in addition, the song was featured also in the television series Sons of Anarchy Season 1, Episode 4, entitled, "Patch Over."
- The song "Immortal" appears in the fifth mission of Hitman: Contracts inside the bikers HQ.
- The song "Big News 1" was used in the movie Haggard.
- The songs "50,000 Unstoppable Watts" and "Escape from the Prison Planet" have been used for intermissions for the news radio show Alex Jones.
- "Mice and Gods" was used by DaMarques Johnson as entrance music at UFC 112.
- Their song the "Promoter" is the theme song for long running and popular podcast Weekend Justice which was given permission by the band to use the song. The song is also used as the theme song for the weekly television program PromoWest Live.
- Recently, their song "Mercury" was used for the opening of Pete Dominic's radio show "Stand Up with Pete Dominic" on Sirius XM's POTUS channel.
- The American television series The Walking Dead used Clutch's song, "The Regulator" for the closing credits of the episode titled Nebraska.
- In April 2012, Clutch's record label, Weathermaker Music, publicized that Fox Sports had been licensed to use Clutch's song "The Regulator" during its 2012 NASCAR and MLB seasons.
- For the 2011/2012 season NHL's Vancouver Canucks began using the Clutch song "Electric Worry" as a goal celebration song. Neil Fallon is a big hockey fan and says he would love to see it being played in person! No direct link copy and paste: www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=638785
- The song "Impetus" was used in the Tony Hawk's Underground soundtrack.
- Studio albums
- Transnational Speedway League (1993)
- Clutch (1995)
- The Elephant Riders (1998)
- Jam Room (1999)
- Pure Rock Fury (2001)
- Blast Tyrant (2004)
- Robot Hive/Exodus (2005)
- From Beale Street to Oblivion (2007)
- Strange Cousins from the West (2009)
- Earth Rocker (2013)
- Official website (English)
- Official website (Japanese)
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Image from Discogs