сряда, 16 февруари 2011 г.

Asteroid interview

This interview was taken at the beginning of 2010 and published in the Bulgarian webzine Rawk'n'Roll, coinciding with the release of the bands breathtaking second album (here is the review, though it is only in Bulgarian). Now Asteroid is on hiatus (I hope temporary) but I decided to place the interview in English, so it could be available both for the band and its fans outside Bulgaria.

Few years ago Asteroid released a great three song demo. Then they recorded and EP with four pieces which until this day is among the strongest space/stoner rock records. The split with their fellow-citizens Blowback blows heads off and their debut album is amazing. And a month after the release of their killer second album, the guitarist and singer Robin Hirse was so kind to talk with me about music. In common.


Hi, guys! First of all, I’d like to share with you that you are the third band from Sweden I am making an interview with. Ironically, the first two bands have split some time after the interviews. So, are you sure you want to continue with this one, haha?

Why the hell not, haha? We don’t fear this curse of yours…

Well, if you are answering to this question, you obviously are not afraid of the “curse”. So, have you heard of Blind Dog and The Hurricanez (formerly known as Boogieman)?

No man, doesn’t ring a bell.

You are now at the very final stages before releasing your second album. What should we expect?

This album is much more back to our roots. More of the early sound and wibe… The production is lighter with a lot of space. But still with the same groove as always. Perhaps it’s a bit darker then our last record.

Tell us something about the writing and the recording of the new album. Where did you make it, any interesting stories around it?

The album was recorded in Elvis brother´s studio way out in the wood. We recorded there in the middle of winter, and in Sweden that means 20 below zero and lots of snow. But that’s really the best way to do it. No distractions! Just us, the music, our engineer Oscar and enough alcohol to kill a heard of elephants! As usual we write the songs either in our rehearsal by loosing ourselves in a jam, or at our flats. We try out different riffs and ideas to se what works, twist it around, break it into pieces, then put it back together again,

Would you share some thoughts of some of the songs we are going to hear next month?

All the songs on the new album are really interpretable. Lyrically we all have different opinions what the songs are about. If Johannes sing a song I know it means something else for him than what it would mean too me. The thread that brings them all together musically, if there such a thread would probably be that they compliment each other, almost like they were made to fit together. When one song brings you down low the next one comes along and points you in the right direction again.

What was the perception of Asteroid?

Bigger that Jesus!

Somewhere between the two albums you have changed a member of the band. How would you describe Elvis in few words?

The unknown son of John Bonham. He’s a great drummer and musician and has always been a close personal friend. Which is very important for us as a band, if you don’t like the people you play with it always shows in the music you make.

I guess you three have to work aside the music. What do you do for living?

Both Johannes and I work with rock n’ roll in different ways. I help rock bands in different ways. We have a “school” were the kids can learn how to play and find people to play with. I find a cheap rehearsals and places to play live. Help them with merchandise and thing they need for their band. Johannes is working as one of few Swedish rock music consultants, and is arranging and promotes rock shows. Elvis works at a printing press.

Now some years back – how the band was born? When and where did all start?

As for most bands it started after a jam session. We’d known each other for a while from other projects and one late night, after a really long evening in the pub, we found ourselves in a studio jamming like mad. This was back in the winter of 2003.

One should be deaf not to recognize the influence of the early 70s in your music. Which of the old bands are you listening to, just to mention some names? Is there a common favorite band or when it is about the old dogs you split in different camps (i.e. Black Sabbath vs. Hawkwind)?

Well we’re all fans of the classics like Sabbath, Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and so on. One common favorite would probably be Captain Beyond. But we’re not at all restricted to the 70s, there are plenty of new bands that we like; Big Elf, Mars Volta, The Black Keys, just to name a few. I don’t think we have split views on any bands really.

From some time now we can see the resurrection of the vinyl. What’s your position on this? Will we see an Asteroid LP?

We’re counting on it! But it’s up to our record label.

The first album is called Asteroid, the second one is Asteroid II. Will the third be named Asteroid III and after the fourth should we expect particular album titles?

I understand what you’re referring to, but the album is not actually called Asteroid II. That’s just a way of keeping track of the albums. If you look at out previous work neither the demo, the ep or the first two albums have names.

How often do you meet Doctor Smoke?

Dr. Lennart Smoke is our family physician.

A lot of bands have gone away during the years – big ones and small ones. Some remain just as a blurry shade of a glorious past, while a handful of others remain solid as monoliths. Speaking of this, AC/DC announced an eventual concert in Bulgaria next year. How do you feel about AC/DC?

Personally I think the soul of AC/DC died with Bon Scott, they lost they’re groove after that. I don’t really like bands that just keep going even when they don’t have anything fresh to bring to the table. And I know that Johannes is not a big fan at all.

You are musicians but also music fans – which bands have you seen live and which one impressed you most?

The last show we saw together was a Swedish band called Trummor & Orgel (Drums and Organ), an instrumental duo. That totally blew all our minds. We are also big fans of Johannes brothers band Graveyard, awesome live act.

Which ones would you like to see in future?

And we’re all looking forward to the Jethro Tull gig in 2010.

You have made a split album with Blowback. Do you still see each other, do you play together?

We see then almost every week because we share our rehearsal with them, but it’s been a long time since we shared a stage together. Neither them or us play very often in our home town.

Your first EP was a blast. It is one of my favorite stoner rock (if I can use the term) records for the last decade. And it is absolutely out of print now. Have you thought of re-release along with the demo?

Actually it’s been a plan ever since Elvis joined the band to do some sort of re-recording of the demo and the EP. We’re testing out old material to see what would work. But no dates have been set so far.

Any chances to see Asteroid go farther than Sweden, Austria and Germany?

Of course! We’re planning a tour the spring/summer which will hopefully take us to Poland, Czech, France.

If it depends on you – with which of the Swedish bands would you go on tour?

Well we had a blast on our tour with Graveyard and as long as the band is cool to hang out with and we like the vibe in their music we can pretty much see ourselves going with anyone. I think we could be a cool mix alongside Trummor & Orgel, that would be cool.

Since it is the beginning of the year now – which were the most impressive albums in 2009 for you?

Hm, tough question, what’s new. We usually listen to albums from early 70s you know. I know Johannes liked the now Mastodon album.

With whom would you guys share a joint?

That list would be far too long…

The photos are taken by Melody Rönnlund: www.melodypics.com and from the band's myspace profile.

петък, 4 февруари 2011 г.

Karma To Burn: Rich Mullins interview

This interview is posted in the Bulgarian webzine Rawk'n'Roll. I post it here in English so it could be available to wider audience and also for the band and its managers to use it as they find proper.

When Karma To Burn got back together two years ago, we almost shitted our pants brown. And when last year they released the amazing "Appalachian Incantations" we went insane because it apeared they hadn't moved an inch and they beat again our shit out with great riff punches. And now, in the eve of their fifth album and their upcoming big tour, we are talking to their bassist and the cofounder of Karma To Burn, the nice guy Rich Mullins.

RR: Hi, Rich! Are you just waking up?

RM: Yes.

RR: How has been 2011 so far?

RM: So far so good. No horrible tragedy.

RR: Last year’s “Appalachian Incantation” was a massive statement for your comeback. How did you come up with this album? Was it written and recorded in a rush or it was all natural process?

RM: It was pretty natural. We started with… I think the third track we did was “Forty One” and that’s when we decided we should try to do another record. We just went form there. At the end I think we were little bit rushed because we wanted to do one song ‘cause we worked with Scott Reeder. We wanted to try to do one song out there that we just kind of put together with him and we didn’t have time to do it.

RR: Mentioning Scott Reeder, he has produced the album. And you have John Garcia singing in it. What is this strong Kyuss connection?

RM: I think it was during “The Sky Valley” tour. We’re from the opposite sides of the country. The guitarist for this band Hermano he was in this band called Black Cat Bone out of Kentucky. They were in the recording studio and at the same label as Kyuss when they were doing “Sky Valley”. And he had a copy of it. And when he heard us playing, he said: “Hey guys, you’ll probably like this” and he gave us a copy. And so we heard it, we thought it was cool and we did some shows with them in Ohio. This was a long time ago and at that time we became friends. We opened for the Queens Of The Stone Age on their first tour. So we’ve just known those bands forever. And then actually John came to live with me in West Virginia for a couple of months, right before they did “… And the Circus Leaves Town”.

RR: How is the album accepted by fans and the critics? And is it selling good?

RM: It went really well. Really well.

RR: What was the reason for the band split in 2002?

RM: Ah… I had a drug problem. Hah, kind of got out of the way of things. I tried to do a geographical change in my life. I thought it would help out but it didn’t really.

RR: While Karma was disbanded all of you joined various projects. Was that a good experience for you?

RM: It was good. We kept playing and trying some different things. And we all had to go, me and Rob, get ourselves clean. It gave us how to do that and get away from everything that we’ve been doing and allowed us to come back to this situation with a different perspective.

RR: How did you decide to reform Karma To Burn?

RM: Gosh! Will and I talked for the first time in 7 years and it came up right away. It was weird. It was like “Alright!”

RR: When you were back in 2009 you did a lot of touring. You played many shows in Europe which seems to be preferable scene for bands from the States. Why is that?

RM: It’s because the US doesn’t really rock anymore. The US is pretty bleak for anything that isn’t straight up commercial.

RR: But there are so many rock bands from the States!

RM: You can do okay. There are bands that are doing better here than there. We have toured with The Sword. The Sword does much better here in the US than in Europe.

RR: Well, The Sword toured with Metallica which, I think, helped them a lot.

RM: Yeah. That seems to help a little bit. But even before Metallica they were doing pretty much the same. Their first record did really well here. It’s weird – it’s hard to predict what happens in the States because you can’t get much of the media coverage if you don’t get on TV a little bit.

RR: When you returned in 2009, you played the Roadburn. And you did two shows for night.

RM: Yes, we played twice in the same day. We had to play an extra show because of that volcano we had a lot of band cancelled. It was really weird to find out that a volcano is keeping people from travelling. No one expects to hear anything like that. And there were bands that were coming over to play Roadburn and we were playing a lot, it was a part of the tour so we were going to be there for long anyhow. So we came before the volcano and we saw people that were trying to get boat tickets and they were going to travel from England to Los Angeles. It was pretty crazy. We saw people doing desperate things trying to get across the ocean.

RR: What was the highlight of the shows you did after reuniting? Which country?

RM: We got really lucky; I think we had a lot of them. We went to a lot of places we’ve never been before like Greece and Poland. I was shocked to see how the rock scene was in these places.

RR: I tried to come to Greece to see you but I couldn’t make it on time, so I hope I’ll catch you some day.

RM: We are trying to come out your way this summer. We are booking our tour now. It starts in the last week of May. And I know that we are going up in Finland for the first time. Then we will try to come down in Russia. And then we are straight in Greece. So, we’ll see.

RR: During the years you have played with such a great bands like Monster Magnet for example. Which ones were the coolest to tour with and who were your favorite ones?

RM: Motörhead! We have done like a hundred shows with them and I still watch their show every time because they are so good. Every song’s great.

RR: With which band you still haven’t played and you really wish to?

RM: There’s only one. We’ve played with them at the same festival but I don’t really count it. AC/DC.

RR: Isn’t it exhausting playing both in Karma To Burn and Year Long Disaster?

RM: Man, it’s exhausting just playing in Karma To Burn. We do so many shows, it’s crazy. I like playing music so to me it’s not exhausting. No matter what you do, if you’re doing it a lot so you become profession out of it, you are going to give it thousands and thousands of hours, so no. I wanna play music so I wanna do it as much as possible.

RR: What made you decide doing again songs with vocals?

RM: At the beginning it was just because we couldn’t get a vocalist that we could work with. We are not the easiest three guys to get along with. We have requirements for writing, for what we do in the song an sometimes it doesn’t leave a lot of room. And it’s really hard in a lot of instances for a voice to reflect this power that we can reflect. So it was really difficult. Recently we’ve got better in writing, so this record has some songs with vocals on ‘em.

RR: How did you meet Daniel Davies?

RM: I was buying booze for this party and he was buying booze at the same time and I started talking to him at the store, haha. We shared similar interests with the party at that time. We hang out that night and then it turned out that we shared similar drug interests. When you meet people like that, you usually hang up with them for a while. We were hanging up for a week when I found out that he can play guitar. When I heard him play I thought that this guy was good.

RR: How does it feel working with John Garcia? You are friends for so many years but how does it feel working with him? Because I can tell that “Two Times” is a personal favorite of mine.

RM: Ah, cool. Yeah, he’s just a natural. He steps up to the mike and it starts happening immediately. Sometimes it happens… we have experienced that with a lot of people trying to sing with us, you see some people whose vocals just don’t pick your song up and take it any place. And he instantly stepped on and took that song to a better place.

RR: Did he write the lyrics or they are yours?

RM: They are his lyrics, he writes his own. That’s part of the thing – we do the music, like the bass parts are mine and the guitar lines are Will’s. Well, basically music starts and ends with Will for Karma To Burn, to be honest. We all try to put our little expressions in there. When somebody is singing, he’s gotta bring his thoughts. If you’re doing it live, they have to go out and be able to express it every night.

RR: That sounds true. You have announced that you are working already on a new album. Which means that you are definitely here for good. Can you tell me more details on the record? What should we expect? Are you working again with John Garcia?

RM: The stuff that we did with John Garcia is gonna come out in his record, Garcia Vs. Garcia. We made a deal with him. He’s gonna give us, I don’t know exactly, but when we started working he wasn’t doing Kyuss Lives and now they are doing this thing and it’s gonna take them a lot of time. So I’m not sure exactly if we’re gonna get anything with him for our record.

RR: When should we expect it?

RM: Our record’s gonna come out at the end of May.

RR: Oh, it’s close!

RM: Yeah, we are recording it. We’re starting recording in a couple of weeks. We are going at the Dave Grohl studio which is just the greatest studio on the planet. It’s gonna be probably the biggest album we’ve ever done. Just the demos that we have, they’re giant. I am pretty excited about that. It’s the closest I’ve heard of somebody capturing our sound like live on a recording. We are going to be there for a month. Daniel’s gonna do a couple of songs with us. He’s gonna play guitar on some songs. Scott Kelly from Neurosis is gonna come down and do a song with us. And we’re always talking to Burton Bell and we are trying to get him to do a little bit stuff, so we’ll see if he’ll be able to get… It’s just heart getting people out of their schedules. It’s not just people show up for one day and then go. You’ve got to come and work with us for a week at least.

RR: Do you have any idea for the title of the album?

RM: We’re just going over things right now. If it was a rap album, we would just call it “Karmageddon”, hahaha.

RR: Are you still working with Napalm Records?


RR: How did you get in touch with them? It’s an Austrian company and you are from West Virginia.

RM: Who knows? Our agent Matthias is from Germany and has his own band called My Sleeping Karma. They originally started as a Karma To Burn tribute band. I’m just making that up, haha. He knew the guys at Napalm and asked them and their president just said “I’d love to have Karma To Burn”.

RR: Are you doing something besides the music or you can make a living of playing the bass?

RM: Right now I’m scratching a living of playing the bass. It’s rough because Los Angeles is an expensive city. When I was living in West Virginia it was much cheaper. But we got to record out here, so we are out here for right now. We are fortunately enough to do shows in US and we are okay in the US. Most bands in our genre can’t so we are fortunate enough so we can play here. The music industry is very much returning to, at least for the artists, I think, to where it all began which is the travelling musician. The guy who’s going from town to town and playing and making his existence that way. We just have to keep playing because that’s how we generate our income.

RR: In 2010 you released albums with both of your bands, so it definitely is a strong year for Rich Mullins. What do you expect from 2011?

RM: 2011 is going to be focused in just Karma To Burn.

RR: Since Karma To Burn is such a great riff machine, I am curious what music are you guys into? What bands inspire you most?

RM: We are all over the map, we listen to everything. Whatever we get our hands on, we try it. When we first started, we haven’t changed much since then. What happens after a while, after the first year we really became our own thing. When a song starts you know that it’s us. If you’ve listened to us you could probably be in the other room and somebody plays a new song and you get like: “Oh, that sounds like Karma To Burn” and then you come in and it would be us. Sometimes we go like: “You know, that song of Thin Lizzy with that crazy ending? We should do a song with a crazy ending.” This would be stuff like that. “You know that The Cure song?” or “You know that Joy Division song?” People don’t realize it but we covered one Joy Division song in our first record. And to be honest whenever we think of some of our… I think it’s probably one of the greatest bands of all time and we would imitate them in a metal kind of way in some instances.

RR: What was the last record you bought?

RM: Aaah! I just bought something. Oh, yeah, I bought “Freak-A-Zoid” by this band called Midnight Star. I also bought this band called Stillwater, they have a song called “Mind Bender”.

RR: What is Karma To Burn like while on tour? A rock and roll band with all the wild things surrounding it or a group of calm people?

RM: You think it wouldn’t be as crazy as… When we toured in the early 2000’s, it was pretty insane. It was pretty dangerous situation for everybody involved. These days it’s not nearly as much. We just try to focus on making sure that we are going to make it for the next show and we would be in the best shape so we could play well every night. But it’s still pretty weird group of guys, we are very bizarre people and we have strong personalities that are closed in a small area.

RR: Can you tell some of the craziest stories around you while on the road?

RM: People ask me about that and it’s really hard to convey the situations and emotions through your random sampling stories and what actually occurs in the evening and what is occurs on the next day but you can always point out practical joke nights and crazy situations. I never know what people want to know.

RR: What does this thing with numbers mean? Why did you decide to put numbers instead of names of the songs? Well, there are some songs with names but most of them are numbers.

RM: If one has a name, then we did vocals to it. If it’s instrumental, then we just number it.

RR: Who brought this idea?

RM: I have to say Will because he was doing that with his riffs before we started Karma To Burn. He was calling them: “This is going to be number one” because there was no singer. It just means sense to us. I have a background with math in engineering, so I like numbers. Sometimes rock is a little confused. Sometimes we’ll do two particular songs – “Thirty” and “Thirty Four” to cause the most confusion. When they are on the setlist I always have to wait to make sure I would start the right one.

RR: And which songs are your favorite songs playing live?

RM: I love playing “Twenty Eight” and “Twenty” because they are really filled with energy. Recently I really like playing “Forty One” a lot. “Forty Seven”, the opening of the new record, that song is just smash.

RR: Last year when you released albums with both of your bands, how did you decide which riffs and which melodies to put in Karma To Burn and which in Year Long Disaster?

RM: The Karma To Burn songs are written like the three of us are at a practice and we start playing.

RR: More like a jam session?

RM: Yeah. That’s how we write the Karma To Burn songs. Except for “Waiting on the Western World” – me, Will and Daniel we were living in the same house, then Will started playing that riff and then Daniel started singing so this song was written separately. Then Daniel brought it to practice and put it all together. And the Year Long record was written with the Karma To Burn contributions to it. We were having a sound check in Spain and a couple of things sounded cool, so I recorded them on my phone and then I e-mailed them to Daniel and he sang in these and we put it in the Year Long Disaster record. The Year Long record usually starts with little bass riffs I have. And that was even before Karma To Burn started to play, we had most of the “Black Magic” record already done.

RR: OK. And just to finish this interview, I would like to ask you about your favorite albums in 2010, which records impressed you most?

RM: By other bands? Aaah… Ah! I’m trying to recall what records I’ve listened to. Do you, guys, have Metalocalypse over there?

RR: Yeah.

RM: The cartoon. (laughs) Season three! (bursts in laughter) And the new Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I loved the last season. I liked the new Sword record. I listened to the new Monster Magnet record a little bit. Who else put out new records?

RR: And what other bands seeing live impressed you most during the last year?

RM: Torche. We saw also a couple of really good Monster Magnet shows when we toured with them. We see also great opening bands but I forget the names because they are so many. There are a lot of good bands out there. Like this one we played with in Gernany, I can’t remember their name (probably Rich speaks of Sungrazer). It’s hard to remember all of them and I am just waking up. Maybe in an hour I’ll be like “Yeah! Them! Oh, that record was really good last year!” Haha.

RR: You’re right. Okay, I’ll leave you now. I will send you the links to the interview when we post it online in two weeks.

RM: Cool, thanks. You know, you should change the questions, to pretend like you asked me something else. I can do a couple of answers for you like: “After hiding the body and wiping the scene from all the DNA, there was nothing left to do that night.” Okay, have a good day, man! Bye!

RR: Bye!

сряда, 2 февруари 2011 г.

Clutch: Interview with Tim Sult

This interview was published a couple of weeks ago in the Bulgarian webzine Rawk'n'Roll. I am posting here the English version of the material, so it could reach more people and so it could be useful for the band too. We did it not exactly by the scheme "question-answer" but made it look more like an article in order to make it full-blooded text and as a way to express our love and respect to Clutch.

Clutch is one of the steadiest and hardest working bands in rock and roll ever. For 20 years on stage they have released 9 studio albums; one compilation with strong enough songs to be counted as a studio album too; two DVD’s, a few official live recordings; half a dozen official bootlegs; tens EP’s and singles; countless number of concerts; a side band with two and a half albums and a few more projects. And all of these are stamped with the mark Pure Rock Fury. Are we fans of Clutch? A lot more!

Clutch is a name with which we come to attention and bristle up, waiting our eyeballs to rocket out of orbit in every tone, played by the quartet of Maryland. Clutch, subjectively or objectively, are the greatest and most authentic rock and roll band today. Clutch are four friends from the high school since 1990 and until now on they play, live and travel the world all the time, always together. Because the Music, dear friends, is the motor of these people, it springs out of them and fuels them, makes them breath and they never cease to create and play. That is why the fans of the band all over the world are the same – crazed melomans to whom the sincere, powerful rock and roll with bluesy groove acts as an adrenaline shot up the ass. And how does the band accepts this situation? “We're just happy to be in the position to play shows all over the world for fans of the band. It is amazing how many people around the world know the band, but we're not exactly huge or even close to being rock stars.”, answers the guitarist Tim Sult.

You must be blind or deaf to miss when Clutch are on tour. Because they play so intensively at so many places that the pulse of their music vibrates with the one of the Earth and there is no way to pass by your heart rhythm if in your chest there beats rock and roll. In November it finished the tour of the band as a special guest of Black Label Society in their Black Label Berzerkus Tour and supporting acts were Children Of Bodom and 2Cents. And although “I’ve never been much into Zakk Wylde’s music, the tour felt great and all the shows were fun. It's always good to play for people who have never heard of us. I believe we were accepted very well by the Black Label crowd. Hopefully, we made a few new fans.” When the tour was over, the band made some headline shows and instead the four of them to sit and rest during the Holidays, they went out to few special gigs, including New Year’s Eve. This is how you build up a name.

Let’s see. In 2009 there are released albums of Clutch, of their instrumental alter ego The Bakerton Group, of The Company Band – a project in which Neil Fallon sings with friends from a few other American rock bands. An during the whole year when they are not in the studio, the four are on the road where even a few times The Bakerton Group opened for Clutch as for the change of the bands they’ve just put out a microphone for Neil. 2010 finds them working hard on the re-releases of their previous three albums for which they have regained the rights from thei former label DRT Entertainment so they could put them out with their own new company Weathermaker Music. “Well we had our own label called River Road Records that sold online and at shows back in the 90's/00's but we decided it was time to hire somebody and get real distribution. At this point in our career, it just makes more sense for a band like us to put out our own stuff.”

And when they are not recording nor dealing the deeds of Weathermaker, Clutch jam all the time or are on the road. It appears that they are of the most active and busiest bands ever. Which leads to the thought that Neil, Tim, Dan and Jean-Paul are feeling best when they are working only that playing is not just a “working process” for them but also a pleasure and need to create. “Thanks for the compliments. I'm not sure what you mean by "working progress" but yes, being in Clutch and The Bakerton Group is a pleasure. Working on new music constantly is always important, I think.” And with the two active projects in hand it is easier to divide the various musical searches of the four guys. So, on the move they find out if a certain riff or melody fits more Clutch or The Bakerton Group. “The Bakerton Group originally started in the late 90's. Neil moved to Colorado so the rest of us wrote a few instrumental songs and started playing shows around the east coast for fun. As you know, Neil ended up joining The Bakerton Group on 2nd guitar about 10 years after the first Bakerton show.” In the second album of the instrumental project, “El Rojo”, along with our heroes, there stands the name of Per Wiberg, keyboard player for Opeth and Spiritual Beggars. The interesting in this case is that a musician from a European leading underground act plays with a common band from the American scene. It appears though that as usually happens in life, the things just happened by their own. “We met him when we toured Europe with his band, Spiritual Beggars. Yes I like Opeth. Per also has a side project with our drummer, JP, called King Hobo. Per has played keyboards for several Clutch shows in Europe as well as these past 5 U.S. New Years shows.”

The keyboard is an important part of the music of Clutch in their later records, mainly from “Blast Tyrant”, to “From Beale Street To Oblivion”. The Hammond in these records adds space in the band’s groove and brings associations with leading names of the scene from the 60’s and the 70’s. Thus, apart the totally obsessing rhythm, the fiery preaches, great riffs and rusty-muddy solos from the Gibson of Tim, we receive a new until that moment for Clutch epic sense of freedom. In two of these three albums on the keyboards is the friend of the band Mick Schauer who quits the line-up in 2008. And when “Strange Cousins From The West” comes out a year later and the band shares that its sound is more straight and direct, it is due to the fact that “Maybe it sounds more raw because there are no keyboards in the record.” The CD reminds more of albums like “Clutch” and “Elephant Riders”. But this doesn’t mean that Clutch are turning their back on the idea for keyboards in their music. “Yes, we plan to add keys as we see fit. Mick also played keys on the first Bakerton Group full length CD. We have also had Chris Brooks from Lionize play on a recent acoustic session. (we see him also on stage with Clutch in their last DVD “Live At The 9:30”) Of course, Per Wiberg plays with us when possible as well.”

With so many guest appearances with Clutch it is not surprising that other bands often invite band members to take part in their records too. While with Mastodon with whom they are connected with strong friendship and Tim claims to be a big fan, they change appearances in the live performances of the bands. Dozer invited Neil Fallon to sing a few lines in “Empire's End” and “Two Coins For Eyes” of “Beyond Colossal” which happened to be the last album of the Swedish. The connection of the bands again results of incidence. “Well, they were one of the bands on the tour that we did with Spiritual Beggars.” That’s it. Just Neil is a cool guy and when he finds time, he doesn’t mind to do a little help to his friends.

Besides his strong stage appearance where he shakes like obsessed of religious fanaticism preacher, his deep and inspiring voice, Neil Fallon is also expressed lyricist. Influenced by the revelations of Henry Rollins and his favorite author of music poetry Tom Waits, Neil recreates images drawn deep of the American subculture and he often interweaves blues themes and gospel proverbs with futuristic pictures and mysticism. For example in their last album the American president Abraham Lincoln is honored with a song dedicated to his assassination while his presence in the artwork is of a pagan god with four hands holding Nature symbols. While asked why they pay such an attention to his figure, Tim simply answers: “We just love that beard, man.” And he denies explaining who the strange cousins from the west are. The humor often presents in the band. But not when it comes to music. When they hit the road, the four of them often don’t stop touring for months. “We're pretty mellow on tour. We just chill and play the shows.”

Now, in the beginning of the year, Clutch are at home, they relax from their intensive schedule drinking beer and smoking weed, watching their families… or not exactly. ”It is now January and we are off until the end of the month when we start a 6 week U.S tour with Motörhead. We have been in the studio finishing up a few things for the Blast Tyrant double CD reissue.” Vacation, eh? Interesting, what happens with the acoustic songs they announced they intended to put out as a ЕР and then it appeared that they would keep them for other purposes. ”So far, we are going to have 4 of them on the Blast Tyrant Reissue.” Namely, on 29th of March.

We cannot keep from asking Tim for some of the bands that impressed him years ago. As favorite bands in the 80’s the guitarist points Circle Jerks and Minor Threat and for the early years of Clutch he says: “we’ve listened a lot Kyuss and Monster Magnet in the early day of Clutch” but he appears to be laconic on that matter. In an attempt to return to him the mean trick that Weathermaker Music played with the fans of the band, making us to point out only 5 favorite songs of Clutch to put them on the website of the label as a podcast and free download, we invite him to point out his five favorites. Tim, however, doesn’t hesitate at all: ”Ghost; Abraham Lincoln; White's Ferry; Release the Dub; Rapture of Riddley Walker”. Topically for the beginning of 2011, he shares also his favorite albums for 2010:

Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
The Budos Band - Budos Band III
Grinderman - Grinderman II
Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder
O'Death - Broken Hymns, Limbs, and Skin
OFF! - First 4 Ep's
The Sword - Warp Riders

And what should we expect from Clutch in 2011? ”Well we have a six with tour with Motörhead from January 29th to March 12th as I said. On some dates they will have a break and we will have headline gigs. In the spring we will put out the re-release of “Blast Tyrant” and we have a few European shows in June planned so far.” Profession Rock.