Prior to CLUTCH's December 13 performance in Madrid, Spain vocalist Neil Fallon spoke with GoetiaMedia.com. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether the band has obsessive fans:
Neil: "There's a point where you can be very flattered by someone and how much they like your band, but then there's, like, a meter goes off where it goes from flattering to a little bit freaked out. I can't think of any one [example] in particular. Most of our fans seem pretty level-headed. It's not like we're a K-pop band. We don't have that burden, and I'd like to keep it that way. We're very lucky in that regard that we don't have a lot of those horror stories."
On his lyrics:
Neil: "I always liked in music the escapism. That's one of the things I always liked about heavy metal. It's fun to sing about dragons, and then in hardcore, which we also listened to growing up, it was the complete opposite, lyrically. It was very reality-based. I think sometimes, I go between those two, even at this age. Politics sometimes creep in accidentally. I try not to, because I almost think music's too good for it. I don't want to pollute it in certain ways, and it can also date a song. There are classic songs like CCR's 'Fortunate Son' which you can sing in any decade, but if you mention certain names or are too specific to a time period, the song kind of just lives there and doesn't live anywhere else. I try to stay from that, and also too many personal things. I don't like lyrics that sound like a diary entry, but I think there's a time and place for that if it's done thoughtfully."
On covering other bands:
Neil: "I think learning a cover song is a good exercise, because what you're doing is learning to get into the brain of the other musician. It can be very challenging — 'Why would they do that?' 'Why would he sing it this way?' It's a good exercise. I think that's the spirit of why we learned some of these songs as opposed to sometimes a major label might push a band to cover something that's been a hit before, because it's a surefire way to get it a lot of listeners... I'd rather have something our own."
On an act he regrets not seeing live:
Neil: "I've missed so many shows because I'm on tour. This is pretty embarrassing — I've never seen BLACK SABBATH. I've seen HEAVEN & HELL. I've seen Ozzy Osbourne. I never saw the original lineup... My son saw them when he was six years old. I was on tour and he was at home. I also remember years ago, in 1989, NIRVANA came supporting their 'Bleach' album. I said, 'You know what? I just don't feel like going out tonight. I'll see them next time they come around.' Next time they came around, it was at RFK Stadium, and that was that. I never got to see them either. I guess the lesson is, don't assume anything. Take advantage of it while you can."
On the band's early music industry experience:
Neil: "In the '90s, we signed to major labels. We had a manager at the time who was like, 'This is your one chance. You've got to do it this way and this way.' We grew up thinking, 'Maybe we can do it like Ian MacKaye and Dischord [Records] ourselves,' but no one knew who we were. We did that dance for a while, and there were plenty of times where they wanted to push us to do things we didn't want to do. They pushed us very hard to cover LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out' and 'My Sharona' by THE KNACK, and we said no. They just wouldn't take no for an answer, and that's kind of when we lost our minds with that. Then we signed that deal with DRT and went to court and won those masters back. We were like, 'You know what? Let's not do this again.' This way, if we get mad at somebody, it's ourselves... We have to live with our mistakes."
On the band's late manager, Jack Flanagan:
Neil: "I remember the day I met him. We were in Texas, and our manager at the time said, 'This band doesn't know what the hell they're doing. You need to get the fuck out there.' He was right, so Jack showed up... He looked at us like, 'Oh, fuck.' I don't think he wanted to be out there with us, but then all of a sudden, it was 25 years [later]. He was a member of the band. When Tim [Sult] broke his wrist, he filled in and played guitar for six weeks. A hysterically funny man. He could keep us up all night cracking jokes... I think we're still kind of processing it."
On his collaboration with VOLBEAT, "Die To Live":
Neil: "I am always up for a challenge. I think it's flattering and I think saying no, it would have to be a pretty extreme thing. I like trying things that are not in my comfort zone. To do things that are too familiar, you don't really ever grow or get challenged."
On whether there are any songs in the CLUTCH catalog that he's vowed to never play live again:
Neil: "No. I think it's like picking your least-favorite child. There might be one that you think it's a real pain in the ass... I listen to some of the tracks on 'Transnational [Speedway League]', and I think it sounds like a different band, particular with [my] singing. My singing style has changed quite a bit since then, and I don't know if I could sing like that if I tried. It would be very, very difficult, but it's not because I hate the song. It doesn't sound like me. I think any time you perform music, it should be fun. It should not be work."
CLUTCH's latest album, "Book Of Bad Decisions", was released in 2018.
The band will support VOLBEAT on the Danish group's spring U.S. tour, which kicks off in Phoenix, Arizona on April 4.