Clutch - Where the Hell is Beale Street?

By Kat Heitzman

 One thing that comes to mind is when a band that’s been around for awhile produces a new album there is a fear of it not being as good as the last. Clutch continuously puts out fabulous music and interesting lyrics. Now with their new album “From Beale Street to Oblivion” they have done it again!

I have recently had the pleasure of speaking with Neil Fallon, where he shares his opinions and some great info on the band!

Wormwood Chronicles: I love your new CD! What would you describe the overall theme to be?

Neil Fallon: Well...I'm glad you like it. We didn't write the record with any theme intended for it. Records are kind of like a snap shot of where a band is at. I like to think we were reacting to "Robot Hive Exoxus", which had some kind of atypical song arrangements...maybe some quirkiness to it, and we wanted to write something more bare-bones, or traditional.

WC: What or where is Beale St?

NF: It is a real's in Memphis, Tennessee. It's sort of a night club district...any day of the week you could probably see a dozen bands playing there...usually blues bands.

WC: This will be your third album release on DRT, will there be a 4th?

NF: This is our third of a three record contract. So, as of this moment we are free agents.

WC: You played most of the new songs live before going to the studio to record them...were you nervous when you first went out to play them?

NF: Not so much nervous, it's more about trying to remember your parts correctly. But I'm glad that we did, because ultimately it gave us confidence to perform them in the studio.

WC: There is a noticeable southern rock sound on this new CD. Do you ever see yourself doing a side project with a southern rock band?

NF: Sure, that's always a possibility. We needed some flavor, such as with the harmonica, slide guitar, and some of the vocal melodies. Wasn't really's like the way it ended up being.

WC: What was it like working with Mastodon on "Leviathan"?

NF: It was was pretty low key. They asked me to sing "Blood and Thunder", and they flew me out to Seattle. Did my tracks in about an hour...bought a case of beer and then just hung out.

WC: How many original members are left?

NF: It's the same core group of guys. We added Mick Schauer a few years back, he plays keyboards. These days, we also have Eric Goldblander from Five Horse Johnson playing harmonica live on stage. But the band is still the same four guys that started out in '91.

WC: Where do you hang out and what do you do for fun when not on tour or in the studio?

NF: We do get together and practice...but, writing music is much more fun. I just enjoy being at home and refining my domestic sciences. All the band enjoys time with their family.

WC: What was the last CD you purchased?

NF: It's been a while...I think the last CD I, I don't know. (voice in background) Oh yeah, my wife just reminded me. I got that Tom Waits "Orphan" record. It's a triple CD's phenomenal.

WC: All over MySpace the biggest saying about Clutch is: "my favorite Clutch song is the one that I'm listening to right now". Do you think any CD or song stands out above the rest?

NF: Like all musicians we state that our most recent material is our best.

WC: Is there a certain song on the new CD you favor more than the others?

NF: I like "White's Ferry" quite a bit. Mostly because it's unlike a lot of other material that we have written in the past. It's different for us...that's always more interesting for me to listen to us perform.

WC: Do you guys still use the vintage instruments?

NF: Pretty much...we kind of quit using vintage amps as much, because they are really unreliable. We still use vintage guitars, of course. They pretty much figured out how to make a guitar sound its best around 1970, and they haven't improved it since.

WC: Now for our standard question: do you have any funny tour stories or as we call them, "Spinal Tap moments"?

NF: Ohh, that happens quite often. (chuckle) Sometimes, entire tours are Spinal Tap moments.

WC: Thank you for your time Neil, any final thoughts for our readers?

NF: We will be rolling through Chicago, probably about the end of the year. You need to keep taking a look at for tour dates.

Also visit: Clutch's MySpace Site