CLUTCH Vocalist On Why Band Doesn't Offer VIP Meet-And Greets: 'It Feels Uncomfortable For Us To Charge People To Meet Them'

October 27, 2018

CLUTCH vocalist Neil Fallon recently spoke with Cameron Buchholtz of the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma radio station Rock 100.5 The KATT. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On graduating from clubs to small theaters:

Neil: "We've been getting into some larger venues recently — some of these older theaters, especially that were built right around the turn of the [20th] century, the Vaudeville era. They sound great because they were designed before amplification, really. Just because you put a PA in a giant shoebox, it doesn't sound too great."

On new album "Book Of Bad Decisions":

Neil: "Both 'Psychic Warfare' and 'Earth Rocker' were done by Machine — he produced both of those records, and he uses the same techniques for both. This we wanted to change not because we were dissatisfied with those records — we're proud of them — but I think any artist always feels a compulsion to try something new just for the sake of doing something new. Vance Powell, his name came up a couple times in Jean-Paul's [Gaster, drums] playlist, whether it be Chris Stapleton or THE DEAD WEATHER. He's got a country background, but at the end of the day, a microphone doesn't care what genre your band is. It was a really, really easy record to make. We did the whole thing in three weeks, which is probably record time for us. We were really well-rehearsed, which made a big difference, and two, it was just easy. I felt a little weird when we were done, because I wasn't stressed out. I didn't feel like I needed to pull my hair out, because that's usually the case. I kind of felt uneasy because I was so relaxed."

On releasing CLUTCH albums via the group's own imprint, Weathermaker Music:

Neil: "We've learned a lot along the way. We didn't go into this 25 years ago with business minds, but we did the major label dance for years. In this day and age, it's so easy for artists to reach fans directly, I don't know why anyone wouldn't do it otherwise. I don't envy a lot of young bands coming up now because there's so much out there — it's probably easier to get lost in the shuffle — so we kind of had the best of both worlds where we got tour support in the '90s, and then when the rug got pulled out from under us and a lot of other bands, with the internet we were able to get back up on our feet pretty quickly. When we make a mistake, we know who to blame. We can't blame the label and point fingers — well, we do, but when it is, it's pointing back at ourselves."

On the band's consistent growth:

Neil: "I think a lot of that has to do with the Internet. It used to be A&R representatives were the gatekeepers and the tastemakers for all of planet Earth about what bands they would get hip to for the most part. Now, people's iPhones and laptops are the A&R representatives. Sure, it can be very overwhelming, and I get overwhelmed by the amount of music out there as well, but it's just word of mouth. It's just like when you're coming up in your local scene — 'I saw this band open up for so-and-so.' That's how it used to work, and this is sort of the same principle, but just on a much more massive scale. If someone listens to our music for free on YouTube but then decides to come to our show and buy a ticket and buy a t-shirt, I think that's a pretty fair trade. Not to say I don't want people also to buy our records, but I can't point any fingers because I do the same thing a lot."

On why CLUTCH doesn't offer VIP meet-and-greet packages:

Neil: "We don't do that. It feels a little uncomfortable for us to charge people to meet them. I'd rather do it for free, but I also understand and [don't] pass judgment on other bands that do that just so they can go home and pay for another month's rent. That's totally understandable. Sometimes we do that at festivals because that's part of the contract, but I'd rather meet someone in front of the venue for free."

"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. The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.

CLUTCH's fall 2018 "Book Of Bad Decisions Tour" with support from SEVENDUST and TYLER BRYANT & THE SHAKEDOWN will wrap up October 28 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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