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Clutch performing at First Avenue in Minneapolis, 2007
Background information
Origin Germantown, Maryland, United States
Genres Stoner rock, heavy metal, funk metal,[1] blues rock, hardcore punk[2]
Years active 1990—present
Labels Atlantic, Columbia, DRT, Earache, Eastwest, Inner Journey, Megaforce, River Road, Weathermaker
Associated acts The Bakerton Group, Five Horse Johnson, The Company Band
Neil Fallon
Jean-Paul Gaster
Dan Maines
Tim Sult
Former members
Mick Schauer

Clutch is an American rock band from Germantown, Maryland, formed in 1990. The band's first release was an EP entitled Pitchfork, which debuted in October 1990. Their first studio album, Transnational Speedway League, was released three years later in 1993.



Neil Fallon and Clutch performing in 2007.

Clutch formed in 1990 and built a local following through constant live performances. Following the initial 7" single release of "Passive Restraints" on the Earache label, Clutch was signed by the EastWest Records label. The debut LP, Transnational Speedway League, was released in 1993. It was followed by a self-titled album two years later that afforded Clutch mainstream exposure. The band moved to the larger Columbia label for 1998's The Elephant Riders release.

Pure Rock Fury appeared in 2001 on the Atlantic label. 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 was afforded a surprise hit single. The follow-up tracks, "Immortal" and "Open Up the Border" were also well-received by American rock stations.

The album Blast Tyrant was released three years later, 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.

Among Clutch's numerous side releases were a groove-based album, 2000's Jam Room, as well as Live at the Googolplex and the rarities record Slow Hole to China, both issued in 2003. The 2005 release Pitchfork & Lost Needles combined Clutch's 1990 Pitchfork 7 with 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 and From Beale Street to Oblivion. The latter album was released in March 2007 and featured producer Joe Barresi (Kyuss, Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool). The album was leaked onto the internet in early March. Critical reaction has been overwhelmingly positive; the magazine Metal Hammer called it a "future classic, the best album the group has ever produced, and easily a front runner for album of the year."[citation needed]

While the band has not recovered their previous radio airplay with subsequent releases, Clutch have accumulated a devoted cult following. The following has been cultivated by an ambitious touring schedule; the band often performs more than one hundred shows per year. 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.

On March 9th, 2010, the band announced via its Myspace page, a 2 disc DVD set CLUTCH LIVE AT THE 9:30 via Weathermaker Records, due for a May 11, 2010 release. The set includes the entire December 28th, 2009 show at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 club, which the band performed the entire self-titled LP. The 2nd disc is to include a documentary entitled "Fortune Tellers Make a Killing Nowadays", which is rumored to include material from as far back as 1991.

Musical style

Each Clutch album is marked by a distinct and cohesive sound. The musical style of the band has migrated from heavy metal and hardcore punk to hard rock. The band has also integrated funk influences into their rock sound. Strong blues influences have also become prominent in the releases of the later years as vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon notes: "We've been really conscious of the blues over the last couple of years, and you have to admit that the blues really is the source of all rock and roll. I think it's important to go to the source to find that inspiration."[3]

The lyrics of Clutch songs have progressed from early releases that were marked with an angry, serious tone to latter releases that are characterized by intelligence, wordplay, and subtle humour. The songs make frequent references to history, mythology, popular culture, and religion; for example, "I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth", from the self-titled album, tells the story of a fisherman who discovers the corpse of Lincoln's assassin in the Susquehanna River. Jam Room's "Release the Kraken" inserts a hero called Useless the Younger into the movie Clash of the Titans. The band's lyrics also contain some surrealistic imagery at times, as in these line from Robot Hive/Exodus's "Burning Beard": "Every time I look out my window/ same three dogs looking back at me. Every time I open my windows/ cranes fly in to terrorize me."



Other projects

In the late 1990s, Clutch and its sibling project The Bakerton Group (an instrumental jam band composed of Clutch members Maines, Sult, Gaster, and Fallon) 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, Space Guitars, a self-titled full length album and a full length album titled El Rojo. The band now runs its own independent record label for its own releases, Weathermaker Music.

Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster made an appearance on the album The Mystery Spot of blues-rock band Five Horse Johnson. The album was released on May 23, 2006 via Small Stone Records.[4] 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.[5] Gaster also appears on the album Punctuated Equilibrium by Scott "Wino" Weinrich, released via Southern Lord Records in 2009.

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" (Osmonds cover] by Throat; "Slippin' Out" by Never Got Caught; "Mummies Wrapped in Money" by Lionize; and "Blood and Thunder" by Mastodon, on their 2004 album Leviathan. Fallon is also the singer for The Company Band. In addition, Fallon's younger sister Mary Alice Fallon-Yeskey has appeared in the Food Network reality show Ace of Cakes as office manager of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, Maryland.

In late 2009, the Clutch song "Electric Worry" was used in a commercial to promote the video game Left 4 Dead 2. The Clutch song "The Incomparable Mr. Flannery" is used in highlight clips during Fox NFL games. The song "Spleen Merchant" has also been used as a commercial bumper in the nationally-syndicated Nights with Alice Cooper radio show.



  1. ^ allmusic ((( Clutch > Overview )))
  2. ^ Guitar Player Magazine – Clutch's Tim Sult
  3. ^ Clutch Feature Interview At
  4. ^ "CLUTCH Drummer Featured On New FIVE HORSE JOHNSON Album". Retrieved 2007-07-27. "CLUTCH drummer Jean Paul Gaster makes an appearance on the new FIVE HORSE JOHNSON album, "The Mystery Spot", which was released on May 23 via Small Stone Records" 
  5. ^ "OPETH Keyboardist, CLUTCH Drummer Collaborate On New Project". Retrieved 2007-07-27. "OPETH keyboardist Per Wiberg recently collaborated on a new project with CLUTCH drummer Jean-Paul Gaster called King Hobo, and released a self-titled album in 2008." 

External links


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