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Interviewed by Kat Heitzman

Interview with Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch from 2012


You guys have been on several different labels and now you’re on your own Weathermaker label. How is that working out for you?

Well it’s definitely a learning experience. We have been successful so far. I think we’re getting better at running our own label. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be attended to and it’s still worth it, though. In the end we’re able to put out music when we want to put it out, the way we want to put it out. So, as a musician it’s very empowering.


I saw that Bam Margera helped you on one of your videos. How did you guys meet?

He used to come shows way back before he had a TV show. He was just a skater kid who used to come to the shows in the Pennsylvania area. We sort of got to know him and his crew of crazy guys. Next thing you know, he’s got his own show. We’re still friends, he comes to shows and we’ll hang out. I got a lot of respect for that guy. He does what he wants to do the way he wants to do it.


What would you say the most unique instrument is that you guys have ever used in a song?

We had Delfeayo Marsalis play trombone on “Elephant Riders.”

MSJ: They categorize you guys as many different types of music. What do you say you are playing out there?

Rock n Roll


Has Clutch ever used a standing bass during a live show?

I am not sure that Dan has ever played a proper stand up bass. We have done some acoustic things and he has played an acoustic bass. That’s a fun dynamic to experiment with.


Have you had any other occupation besides musician?

I was a children’s shoe salesman, a welder and I did odd jobs, like working on a farm.


You guys have been together for a really long time. What’s the glue that holds you guys together?

It really has to do with how we started the band. When we got together to make Clutch the intention was not to make a million dollars, or to sell out arenas. It was really just to make good records and play good shows. That was really where the mentality was when we started the band. Over the years there have been a lot of challenges. I don’t think we ever considered that we could do this for a living. That’s why I attribute the fact that we are just here to play music.


Does everybody contribute to some of the more crazy lyrics that you have?

No, lyrically it is 100% Neil’s game. He owns that domain. I wouldn’t even consider trying to contribute something. He is an absolute master and we are very lucky to have someone with his ability.


Are you guys still based out of Maryland? What do you guys do for fun around there?

I practice. (chuckles) We tour so much and record so much, it’s difficult for us to do much of anything other than this. If we are home for a few weeks, ultimately we’re getting together to write songs and start thinking about what the next project is going to be. We really do this day in and day out, 24/7.


What’s next for Clutch, a new CD?

Yeah, we are going to record a new record this summer and we are excited about that. We are going to release it the first part of next year. The songs are in the works in that we are actually putting them into the set list. We are playing them every night, at least a couple of them, so that makes shows exciting for us and I think will make for a better record.


What is the last CD you purchased for your own pleasure?

I just bought a record by a guy named "Walter Trout," a blues guitarist and I have not had a chance to listen to yet. I am excited about that.


What was the last show that you saw for your own pleasure?

Kyuss Lives, we saw them at the Baltimore a couple months back.


Do you have any Spinal Tap moments you would like to share with us?

Spinal Tap stuff happens out here every day. It’s the same old stuff. I can’t find the stage, I can’t find the dressing room, I can’t find the gig. In fact it happened today. I decided I would walk from the hotel to the gig and then I realized I’m not really sure what the gig is. There were a few minutes of confusion there and I worked it out and I made it.


Yes, because they changed venues…

That’s exactly right, so I was walking to one venue then I started to think, “Wait a second I think I am supposed to be walking to the other venue.” You know, I was second guessing myself. That happens a lot.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at
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