We love Clutch here in Maryland but they are much bigger then that. They are a huge nationally touring band who just released their 11th studio album, Psychic Warfare. Guitarist Tim Sult took some time some talk with Shockwave Magazine about the upcoming tour, his children, and why Clutch’s fans are so passionate.
SHOCKWAVE MAGAZINE: You and the guys are getting ready to head off to Europe, so talk a little about what you’ll be doing over there.
TIM SULT: It looks like we have a lot of festivals this summer in Europe, probably more than the average summer. We’re doing mostly festivals and a few of our own headlining shows over there, so that’s always fun and that will be awesome.
How long will you be over there?
We’ll be over there for pretty much the entire month of August. Yeah, about a month.
Then, do you return home?
Yeah, we’ll be home for a few weeks and then back on another US tour.
For both your tour in Europe as well as continuing in the States, is that all tour support for your latest release, Psychic Warfare?
Yeah, for sure. We’re going to continue shoving Psychic Warfare down people’s throats for several months to come still. [Laughs] At least through the end of this year and probably early into next year as well.
Absolutely. It’s been almost a year since it came out; how are you feeling about it? How are peoples’ reactions to the new record?
It’s been great. It was definitely our most successful album as far as charting goes. So, it was nice to get that kind of success on our 11th album. It’s good to see that we’re still showing progress, we’re showing hope. I haven’t heard anyone complain when we go out and we play the entire Psychic Warfare album at a show, so I would consider that an extreme success from an artistic point of view, for sure.
When you’re out touring, do you still work on writing new music or do you try to block off time after a certain amount of touring where you can get together and discuss another record?
We’re always, individually, working on new ideas, separate ideas, coming up with some basic rough ideas. But once we get together with Clutch and start trying to hash out those ideas, it does tend to be more of a concentrated songwriting process. There was a time where we would try to work on new music on tour while we were on the road, and that just, kind of, never worked out too well. When we’re at home we’re always working on new music. We’ve gotten together several times on this break and worked on new stuff as well. We’re always trying to move forward and come up with new song ideas.
When you look back to the early days and Transnational Speedway League all the way up to now with Psychic Warfare, how do you look at the progression of Clutch?
Well, I just, kind of, see it as a slow, gradual progression to get to where it is today. When I see videos and hear old live recordings of our early shows, it sounds a little different, but I don’t think it sounds hugely different. All the tones are still there, it’s still all about the riffs, and it’s still us four playing the riffs, so I think it really doesn’t sound hugely different. We did — in my eyes, the whole template of the band was set with our second album, the Clutch, the self-titled album, because after Transnational Speedway League, we really started to go on tour and started to really play together more. We were a full time band and we had time to get together in the afternoon and jam together. We weren’t going to work or going to school and we had the time, from the time that Transnational came out to the time the self-titled came out, to really discover who we were as a band. I think and I feel we set the template for what was to come on that album. It’s got the heavier, faster stuff, the weirder, spacey stuff. It’s got the blues stuff as well.
Clutch has quite a solid catalog now with many albums. Is there any particular album that’s close to you?
Well, every time we put out an album, the current album is my favorite album that we’ve ever done. So, I will say that about Psychic Warfare, I said that about Earth Rocker, I said the same thing about Strange Cousins From The West as well. Me being a band member I’m always going to say that, but I know that our fans definitely love the album Blast Tyrant. So that seems to be, probably, the one that we hear is the fan favorite the most.
Tim, when you’re not in Clutch-mode what do you have going on for yourself? I know you have a couple other musical projects that you dabble in, but what do you like to partake in when you’re not working with Clutch?
Well, quite honestly, I haven’t been doing any of the other projects at this time. I’ve just been hanging out with my kids quite a bit. I have two kids and I’ve just been doing the regular dad thing. So, that’s what I’ve been doing lately and trying to come up with new Clutch ideas as much as I can.
That’s awesome, man. How old are they?
I have a six year old and a three year old. They’re kind of a handful, a lot of violence.
Do they get egged on by Dad at all?
Oh, absolutely not, no way! [Laughs] Already today there has been one severe biting incident between the two and one severe scratching incident as well.
Nice, they’ll fit right in to the music business.
Yeah, you’re probably right. My six year old has been watching Iron Maiden videos on YouTube so he’s already there.
Hearing that, you might be the best Dad ever.
I don’t know about that. [Laughs] Or worst depending on how you look at it.
When Clutch goes out and does a European tour, do you do anything different then when you touring the States? Is there anything you have to do because it’s Europe, or you can do because it’s Europe, that maybe you can’t do in the States?
No, not at all. We do the exact same thing we do every night. We switch up our set list and just do our thing. We do our set, play our show the way we normally would whether we’re in Iowa or France. It’s the exact same thing.
Is there a place you want to play that you guys haven’t played yet?
Well, we haven’t gotten into Eastern Europe to much. This tour will be the first time that we’re going to Poland ever and that we’re going to Croatia as well. We’re doing a festival in Poland and our own headlining show in Croatia so that’s new territory for us and makes this tour a bit different. But if we could get into Eastern Europe more, we’ve only been to Russia one time, we’ve done on show in Moscow and that’s about it.
Being that you’re an original member, a founding member, and it’s been 20 years for Clutch so far, what does Clutch mean to you?
Well, what does it means to me? Huh, interesting no one’s really asked me that before. I don’t know, to me, what I think about is what the next song that we’re working on is. To me, I always feel like, what I am is what I’ve contributed to whatever we’re currently working on. That’s really who I feel like I am, currently at the time as a person, whatever the newest material we’re working on is. I don’t know if that would make sense to other people but that’s how I look at it, as part of my essence and who I am.
Clutch, without a doubt, has such a passionate fan base for you. It seems like a simple question when you have a fan base that loves your music so much and is so passionate for your craft, how does that make you feel?
It’s, pretty much, the greatest thing ever. Also, the fact that a lot of our die-hard, hardcore fans like it when we go out and play different stuff and change up the set list and add new material to the set, whereas, a lot of older bands don’t have that. Their fans only want to hear the old stuff. Other bands will go out and play the exact same set list for an entire tour and that’s something we’ve never done, and I think that has been a big reason that we have such a passionate fan base is we’ve been able to change up our sets every night and continue to add new material and keep people interested and wanting to come back to the shows.
Absolutely. Tim, let me let you get back to spending time with your family, but thank you so much for taking some time to talk before you head off to Europe.
Awesome, thank you so much for having me.
Clutch is currently touring all over Europe this month and will return to prepare for their latest US run of dates. You definitely can catch them in October at Louder Than Life in Louisville, KY.