Prior to CLUTCH's performance in Devore, California on October 13, vocalist Neil Fallon spoke with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the Riverside, California radio station 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On SYSTEM OF A DOWN, the group CLUTCH supported in Devore:
Neil: "We've known those guys for ages. We were both supporting SLAYER, and they were the first of three, and we were in the middle. Shortly thereafter, they just blew up. We've done a handful of shows with them since. We did a gig with them in Paris a few years back in a stadium — fifteen [or] twenty thousand people. It's good to see folks from back in the day still doing it, and doing it successfully."
On his initial impressions of SOAD:
Neil: "At first, it stood out because it was unlike anything out previously, which is a good thing. It was a bit of a learning curve, and I think that's a good thing for a band if you have a hard time describing it. I have a hard time describing it — you have to actually just hear it. If you can say it's like this or that, maybe the band isn't as unique, but because it's so unique, it's very difficult to describe."
On SEVENDUST, another group CLUTCH recently toured with:
Neil: "Both they and we were supporting LIMP BIZKIT years ago on LIMP BIZKIT's first record. SEVENDUST, I guess, is a lot like us in some ways — it's the same lineup after 25-plus years, and they have a very die-hard fan base. They bring it every night, and they're good people. A lot of times, a band can be great people. Sometimes, they can be a terrible band and be great people. They have it both ways — they're a great band and good people."
On wanting "drama-free" tour packages:
Neil: "I'm 46. I don't have the energy for it. Everything's about the show, and if anything interferes with that, then it has to go. Earlier on, in your twenties, you have a lot of excess energy, and sometimes it gets put into not-so-constructive things, but we've peeled that all away and tried to make it as efficient and easy as possible."
On the difficulty of choosing a set list after 12 albums:
Neil: "We play 17 songs a night. That leaves hundreds that we haven't played. You can't please everybody. You've got some folks that only want to hear things from when they were young, because they want to relive that time. We're not a time machine, so we just do what we want to do, and people can come along for the ride or not. We take turns writing set lists... and that keeps it interesting for us. I think if we did the same thing every single night, I would lose my mind."
On the group's latest album, "Book Of Bad Decisions":
Neil: "We're very proud of the last two records, but I think any artist always has that creative impulse to do something different, just for the sake of doing something different. It doesn't need to be justified. You don't know unless you try. We were very well-rehearsed [going] into the studio, so it was easier to capture more of a live vibe. We only wrote one song in the studio, and we did that just because we had an extra day. We've all learned that writing songs in the studio is not a good idea. You've got to write them and perform them on stage first to really figure out what the hell's going on."
On incorporating humor into CLUTCH's music:
Neil: "I think it's just an extension of our personalities — particularly mine, because I write the lyrics. I like a good laugh, and I think it's easier to be oneself, and that's just, I guess, my nature. I know there are bands who are very serious materially, and that's all well and good, and I dig that. To me, that seems like a lot more work to always put oneself in that head-space, but if you're just honest and the music is an extension of yourself, it's a lot easier."
On whether the band has any plans to commemorate their 30th anniversary:
Neil: "Collectively, we're not really keen on nostalgia. I always kind of felt like that's admitting that you're not looking forward to the future in some ways. We didn't do anything for the 25th anniversary. Maybe we should do something for the 30th. What that is, I don't know. It's hard to believe it's been that long. As time progressed, we saw a lot of casualties along the way — some by choice, some by not. Bands broke up or people left this earth or people threw in the towel for whatever reason — and we realize now that what we have is very, very fragile, and we're very defensive about it. We don't take it for granted. To be able to make a living in the creative arts is a rare blessing, so we treat it with respect, because we want to keep doing it. I know most of my musician friends have to do it as a hobby, and we get to do this for a living, and that's pretty awesome."
On his memories of touring with SLAYER:
Neil: "I was prepared for the worst, because of the reputation their fans had. It was actually the opposite — it was really, really easy. Sure, there were some nights where people didn't want to hear us, but that's [the same] with any other band. It was a privilege to be able to do that and watch them play every night."
On whether CLUTCH will ever do a farewell tour:
Neil: "I don't think we would ever do a farewell tour, because I don't think it would last very long before we came back. It's like Ozzy [Osbourne] with 'No More Tours' — 'No More Tours 2', which is pretty hilarious, actually. I think [for] people who have the creative impulse, once they start touring, [it] can be tough. You miss home; you eat terribly; but when you go home, you start getting itchy feet. I have a feeling that would happen to us as well. It maybe sounds great in theory, but once you arrive there, you're probably pretty damned bored."
"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.
"Book Of Bad Decisions" was recorded at Sputnik Sound studio in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Vance Powell. The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.