Prior to CLUTCH's performance in Bristol, England on December 18, bassist Dan Maines spoke with Metal Underground. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's decision to hire Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Willie Nelson) to produce the group's latest album, "Book Of Bad Decisions":
Dan: "He came onto the radar when we were thinking about producers for this album. Jean-Paul [Gaster, drums] was listening to a lot of Chris Stapleton with his brother-in-law. He was really struck by the sound of the albums, and so we started doing a little bit more digging into his catalog. Obviously, there was stuff that we were familiar with but didn't realize that he was connected to — he did a RED FANG album, all the Jack White stuff. He had a really good, kind of a live vibe sound going. We wanted to make more of a rock n' roll sounding album – a little less modern-sounding, a little more authentic – and approach recording like all of the good albums that you like to listen to still today from the '70s. That's the way he records."
On how the album compares to other CLUTCH recordings:
Dan: "I think guitar tones, bass tones, there's a big difference. We were very dead-set on recording it all together as a band and just picking the best take as opposed approaching it as part-by-part, which is kind of the way the past two albums have been done. There's mistakes on the album, and I'm happy with that. It doesn't bother me, because that's what a band is."
On the album's artwork:
Dan: "We stuck with the photographer who is kind of an all-around artist, but mostly known for his photography — this guy, Dan Winters, from Austin. We've known him since 1993. He shot the video for 'A Shogun Named Marcus' off our our first full-length album. Ever since that, he's kind of been involved — or we wish he had been — in some capacity. He did the 'Psychic Warfare' album artwork; he did 'Transnational [Speedway League]', the self-titled, '[The] Elephant Riders'. When we were first talking to him about ideas, we were kind of just throwing stuff all over the wall, but he just happened to have that [eagle] photo already. I don't know what the occasion was, but he had already photographed that eagle for another project, and that was one of the unused shots. It was his suggestion — like, 'What do you guys think of this?' At first, I didn't really know if it would work. I loved the image, but I was like, 'Where would you put a logo?' — some stupid thought like that. We decided the logo doesn't need to [be displayed prominently]. Once we realized that we all loved the image, we just kind gave him a lot of free reign to do his thing."
On CLUTCH's southern rock influences:
Dan: "I think that style-wise, when we started off, we were kind of lumped in with the hardcore genre. As we started touring more and more, and the sets became more and more repetitive, we were trying to figure out different kinds of ways to free up the songs and not just do the same thing every single night. We started jamming on 'Juggernaut', I think it was. That might have been the first song we started doing extended jams on. That kind of, I think, initially took on, like, a SWANS type of vibe, but as we toured more and more and started pushing ourselves to be a little more adventurous instrumentally during the show, it coincided with some of the songs that we were writing for the second album — the self-titled album — [which] had more of a swing. We were listening to southern rock albums like THE ALLMAN BROTHERS [BAND], and try to incorporate a little more of the jam style into our music. That's probably where that connection comes from."
"Book Of Bad Decisions" was released in September. The record sold 26,000 copies in America during its first week of availability, giving the group their third consecutive Top 20 album on the Billboard 200.