In a brand new, exclusive interview conducted by Rock N Roll Universe, CLUTCH vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon discusses the band's latest album, "From Beale Street To Oblivion", touring with MOTÖRHEAD, the band's longevity, as well as the possibilities of a long-rumored DVD from the band. Also covered in the interview are Fallon's thoughts on the effects of music downloading and the state of the current metal scene. An excerpt from the interview follows:
Rock N Roll Universe: The album was leaked onto the Internet in March, several weeks before the release date. What affect do you feel that has had upon sales, and what's your take on downloading?
Neil Fallon: Well, you can try and stop it but you're not going to succeed. Of course, it's a lot harder to sell records these days because of it. I can't really point any fingers because I've done it myself to other artists. That would be pretty hypocritical for me to not want it both ways. At the end of the day, a band of our size...we're not making money selling records. We never have, and probably never will. What we do is make our money on tour selling t-shirts. That's how we're able to continue what we do. So, if someone downloads a record and they like it so much that they actually decide they want to go check out the band live, then I think it's a positive thing. One of the good things about the Internet is that it kind of levels the playing field quite a bit. A band who 15 years ago, their only outlet would be to get a distribution deal, now they can put their music out on the Internet and have a worldwide distribution deal for free. It's not all golden, it does kind of m ake life more difficult to be lucrative, strictly financially speaking. But there's other ways to make up for that I think.
Rock N Roll Universe: As the band has continued to change its sound and you've gained popularity, inevitably, and this happens with every band as they become more successful, you'll have a portion of long time fans crying out "Oh, CLUTCH has sold out." Have you prepared yourself for such a backlash, and how would you respond to a fan making such claims?
Neil Fallon: The first time I heard that we'd sold out was around 1992. I heard it again in '93. I heard it again in '94. With every record there's always going to be someone who says that. With every record there's always going to be a group of people that don't like it and decide they're going to bow out from their "allegiance." Usually with a lot of melodrama attached to it. Selling out...I don't even know what that means anymore. I guess if you were intentionally trying to sound like something to make a quick buck, that would be selling out. But being successful, I don't think that's selling out. There's always going to be people that don't want to see you succeed for spiteful reasons, or don't want to see you succeed for selfish reasons. Because they think they have priority over everybody else. Who's to say? We can cross that bridge when we get to it. I would think someone who was truly a fan of the band would only want the best for us. But like I said, I don't think we're going to be hanging any gold records on our walls. (Laughs)
Rock N Roll Universe: You've done an incredible amount of touring throughout the years, playing with MOTÖRHEAD, MARILYN MANSON, PANTERA, IRON MAIDEN, KORN, MONSTER MAGNET, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, just to name several. What has been your favorite band to tour with and conversely, who were the worst?
Neil Fallon: There's been a number of favorites. The MOTÖRHEAD thing was awesome. We always have a good time with FIVE HORSE JOHNSON. THERAPY? was a good one... SEPULTURA... Man, as far as opening for bands, just being able to tour with a band that you get along with is always a plus. Sometimes you can't really explain why you do get along or don't get along, it's just life. Sometimes it clicks, sometimes it doesn't. As far as terrible bands, I'd rather just keep that underneath the radar.
Rock N Roll Universe: What was it like for you touring with Lemmy?
Neil Fallon: That was fantastic. I wouldn't have dreamt that in a thousand years listening to MOTÖRHEAD when I was 15. To be able to tour England was a plus. It was pretty inspiring to see that after all these years that they still play as hard as they can without using age as an excuse. Those guys can play circles around guys half their age. I admire that, it's a very old school work ethic. They're there because that's what they do. It was seeing rock 'n' roll in its most sincere form.
Rock N Roll Universe: Over the past seven years or so there's been talk of the band putting out a DVD. Are there still currently plans for something of that nature coming out in the near future, or has that been shelved?
Neil Fallon: No. (Laughs) I've talked about it in the past, and probably led people to believe it was imminent. And I shouldn't have done that. Once there's actually something in an editing suite, then we can have a release date. But at this point it's just us trying to find the right people and getting enough footage together on our own. The thing is with us, when someone puts a video camera in front of our faces, we just clam right up. That's not very exciting.
Rock N Roll Universe: What is your take on the current music scene? Do you feel that metal and hard rock is in the process of making a comeback?
Neil Fallon: I think music, genres and sub-genres, is very cyclical. When they enjoy success and popularity, eventually it starts mimicking itself, then it becomes a parody of itself, then it becomes pointless. Then it gets replaced by something. Then that new something does the same thing, and it goes back and forth for decades. Metal...definitely it's coming back. I see a lot of nostalgia for the '80s...the early '80s-style metal. Most by kids who don't remember the '80s. But that's alright. I think my generation did that with the late '60s. There will always be a regurgitation of old stuff, but in the process something new will occur. And, that's alright, that's cool.
To access the entire interview, go to this location.