Clutch Frontman Neil Fallon Talks New Album ‘Earth Rocker,’ Dedicated Fans, Touring + More
Clutch frontman Neil Fallon was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Fallon spoke all about the band’s new album ‘Earth Rocker’ and went in depth about yrics and how it was influenced by re-discovering early rock and roll acts. He also talked about Clutch’s loyal fans and the band’s nonstop touring schedule. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Neil Fallon below:
People love the new album ‘Earth Rocker.’ In your mind are you already thinking ahead to the next album because you’ve already set the bar so high?
Well I am thinking about it, we haven’t really written anything but there was a long stretch of time between this and ‘Strange Cousins’ and I think we have a lot of momentum now and it would be good to capitalize on that and certainly not have four years between this one and the next one. I think we got more wind in our sails from this record and it’s a good feeling all around.
Neil, your lyrics are pretty imaginative but do you ever come up with something that makes you think, “That’s a little too far out, even for me.”
Sure, all the time. For example, ‘Earth Rocker’ with the kind of lyrical hook of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins I did that on a lark during practice and I kept doing that and I told the guys “You know don’t worry about it I won’t do that in the final version” and they said, “No you got to do that.” Sometimes I second guess myself and sometimes even if I don’t know exactly what it means if it just sounds cool that’s all the justification I think anyone really needs.
[You've said] ‘Earth Rocker’ is largely a result of re-discovering Motorhead and Thin Lizzy while on tour with them. What appeals to you most about those bands now compared to what you loved about them when you were a kid?
I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we’ve learned a lot more about rock 'n' roll, we’ve learned a lot more about the history of rock and roll. I can see now when Lemmy [Kilmister] says Chuck Berry and Little Richard are an influence, I can hear that now – my 16 year old self couldn’t hear that. I think because we’ve learned more and more about rock 'n' roll, it’s just like a vocabulary.
We weren’t trying to emulate Thin Lizzy or Motorhead, it was more of a philosophy of just taking the first generations of rock and just speeding it up and gaining it up. It was a pretty illuminating two tours with those guys.
Neil, the same four guys have been making music together for so many years. What’s kept it fresh for you, what makes you look forward to continuing to make music together?
I think our mutual love of playing live rock 'n' roll. We never saw music as being a vehicle towards anything, it wasn’t a vehicle towards fame or fortune. We’ve had feast and famine but live is always what we could go to – in bad times, it helped us get through it and it brought us to places we never thought we would go.
This is a band that’s never enjoyed a smash radio hit and that’s probably a good thing. We built up our fanbase by just doing show after show after show and now we’re in a position that this is all we do for a living and that’s all I think we really need to ask for. I feel very fortunate that that’s the case.
Just talking a little bit about your fanbase, it’s a pretty dedicated group of people that sometimes have to wait long periods of time before they get to see you again but you kind of know when you do it seems like this religious experience for people. How do you feel about those fans that have been there for so many years?
I feel very fortunate that Clutch fans are the way they are, they’re very passionate, they’re in it for the long haul. There’s something in it for everybody, I think we have a pretty diverse crowd. It took a long time to be able to do this like we’re doing but I think it lasts longer because it was a word of mouth thing.
Clutch fans – I mean we’re not anything like Rush but I think there’s some analogy there because Rush fans seem like they feel like they own the band to some regard. I think Clutch fans might feel the same way it’s like this is their band and they feel like they could hang out with us, there’s not a curtain between us and them. I think they like that and we like it to because it makes our jobs easier, we don’t have to fake it.
I’m guessing you guys are going to be doing nothing but touring for the rest of the year?
Pretty much, we got four weeks left on this leg and go home for ten days, go back out for another month, go back home for two weeks. Then we go to Europe for four weeks and come home and take a break but then we’ll do another U.S. tour in the fall and then we’ll do our Christmas run. I pretty much know exactly what I’m doing from now until next March which is good, I’d rather be busy than not. It’s tough leaving home and the family but I do love traveling.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen to her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.