Interview with JEAN PAUL GASTER (Clutch)

Maryland’s finest, Clutch, are back in the UK once more for a headline tour in support of their excellent latest album ‘Earth Rocker’. I caught up with drummer, Jean Paul Gaster, for a quick chat about the album, tour more…

DW – Is it good to be back in the UK once more?

JP – It is very good to be back in the UK. Scotland gigs are always fun. We’ve been looking forward to this tour.

DW – The venues on this tour have increased in size, are you enjoying playing to the bigger audiences?

JP – We are grateful to have fans in this part of the world. We don’t take that for granted. In reality the audience size has little bearing on how we actually play. A bigger crowd does not always mean a better show. Regardless, this is the best job in the world.

DW – It has often been said that you are one of the biggest ‘cult’ bands in rock. Are you happy with that tag or do you feel your current status is now beyond that?

JP – We play rock n roll. The folks who come to our shows appreciate our work ethic and honest attempt to make a real musical experience happen every night. I don’t think there is anything cultish about that. We offer something most other bands can’t provide.

DW – Watching your live shows there is a real intensity in your live performance which in turn energises the crowd. Is this something that you are aware of or is it just a natural chemistry between you?

JP – The energy of the crowd always translates to the band. On a night that I feel worn out or jet lagged I look to the audience for inspiration!

DW – The support on the UK leg of the tour is Lionize who, I believe, the band have nurtured for many years?

JP – Lionize has worked long and hard to find their own sound. They are very gifted players and songwriters. We are proud to have them on this UK tour. We are excited to release their new album Jetpack Soundtrack on our own Weathermaker label.

DW – The tour this time around is in support of your excellent ‘Earth Rocker’ album which was released last year. Listening to the album it is, for the most part, a hard rocking record. Did you set out to write that way or did it just develop in the studio?

JP – Yes, we saw there was a lack of straight up rock n roll records out there these days. We made an effort to fill that void. I think we were successful.

DW – The title track was one of the first songs I heard from the album and as soon as the chorus kicked in it was clear it was a Clutch track with Neil’s distinctive vocal. Any truth in the fact that the noise he makes was based on Boss Nass from Star Wars?

JP –I’m not aware of this fact. Could very well be truth though! You’d have to ask Neil…!

DW – After this tour you are playing a number of festivals around Europe in the coming months. Do you enjoy the festival experience and playing a short, sharp set?

JP – We enjoy playing any place that has a few people in the audience and a stage.

DW – Next year sees the band’s 25th anniversary, are there any plans afoot to mark the occasion?

JP – We are planning to release a new album next year!

DW – Many thanks for chatting to Get Ready To Rock! and all the best with the tour.

Interview by David Wilson


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