Clutch finally emerged as the critics’ favourites at the end of 2013 as latest album Earth Rocker won plaudits the world over. With a full UK headline tour kicking off in Newcastle next week RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with rhythm king Dan Maines.
RUSHONROCK: Earth Rocker was lauded by critics the world over last year – did you see it as a career defining album or do you now?
Dan Maines: Absolutely. Earth Rocker is the band’s tenth album, which is a huge landmark for us. We put a lot of thought and time into making the record as good as it could be, and to see that it was so well received by the music community feels great. We’ve had our up’s and down’s over the years just like any other band, but I feel like we are in a very good place, we’ve never felt stronger as a band as we do right now.
RUSHONROCK: Do you have any idea why the band suddenly clicked with so many new fans?
DM: Who knows? All we know how to do is write our songs and then go on the endless road and beat people over the head with them! Perhaps it was our own perfect storm. Having an album we are very proud of, the resources of our own record label, and the support of people around the world to help spread the word has helped the band grow immensely.
RUSHONROCK: After so many years as an ‘underground’ band how does it feel to be at the forefront of rock’s mainstream in 2014?
DM: We couldn’t be happier. I believe a big thank you to our fans and supporters is due. Aside from making albums there isn’t much else a band can do but go on the road and play shows, and Clutch crowds never disappoint! We look forward to seeing all of you soon.
RUSHONROCK: You look after everything in house now – is that the way to go in the current economic climate?
DM: The music business is changing so rapidly it’s hard to know where it’s going week to week let alone year to year. We had pathetic relations with our last record label. It deteriorated to the point where we found ourselves asking,” If you want something done right do you have to do it yourself?”. The answer is yes, but it involves learning how to do it!
RUSHONROCK: Does greater control over your affairs have its downside in terms of extra work ‘off stage’?
DM: You do have to commit more time, but the upside is the knowledge that you are in control. We may make mistakes along the way but we will learn from those mistakes and move forward.
RUSHONROCK: You’re back in the UK this month on a headline run of shows – what can we expect?
DM: You can count on plenty of material from Earth Rocker for starters. We have 20-plus years worth of songs we need to fit into one show, so there will be some heavy song rotations going on too. We have also begun writing new material for our next recording, hopefully we can fit one or two of those in the set each night as well.
RUSHONROCK: Do you feel under pressure to play a greater proportion of Earth Rocker material simply because the record was so well received?
DM: I wouldn’t say we feel pressured into playing ER material, we simply enjoy playing those songs. It’s some of the best music we have written in a while and it’s still a lot of fun to play. Eventually bands get tired of songs and will give them a break from the stage. We are very careful not to let a song lose it’s excitement and rotate our setlist as much as we can.
RUSHONROCK: You’re bringing Weathermaker label mates Lionize along for the ride – they bagged a RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 review earlier this month for their debut and sound great: where did you find them?
DM: Lionize is a band from our hometown. We have been friends and supporters for a long time now. Making the decision to add another band to the Weathermaker roster was not done lightly. Lionize is one of the hardest working bands out there, and aside from that they are simply incredible.
RUSHONROCK: How would you persuade people to turn up early and catch Lionize?
DM: Do you like to have a good time listening to great music? Of course you do.
RUSHONROCK: Are these good times to be in Clutch?
Clutch – supported by Lionize – kick off their UK tour at Newcastle O2 Academy on Tuesday April 22 and play 10 more dates before a trip to Dublin on May 9.