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Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch from 2011


Can you catch the readers up on the history of the band?

The four of us formed Clutch in 92. We have toured and made records since then.


How were you guys chosen for the Motorhead tour?

I like to think it's cause Lemmy likes us.


What has the reception been like considering Motorhead fans are pretty hardcore?

Opening for Motorhead was no chore. Their fans appreciate rock n roll with no frills.


I've noticed that the set list changes a lot.  How do you go about picking a set list?

We take turns making a new set list every night. Dan makes the first, I take second then Neil and Tim last. Then we repeat until the tour ends.


If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

Maybe I would be a chef. I was a welder once. That sucked.


How did the name of the group originate?

We liked short one word names like Helmet, Prong and Fugazi. It was going to be Clutch or Belt. Clutch is the better name.


Who would you see as your musical influences?

Bad Brains, Elvin Jones, King Tubby, Wino.


What's ahead for you?

More touring and making new songs. We will record a new album this winter.


I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Rock n Roll


Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

I met Skeric the other night at a Garage a Trios show. They jammed.


Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

Thankfully most of our fans are dedicated enough to buy the record either in CD form or off iTunes.


In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

Fine by me. We are a live band first.


If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Bad Brains, Dr John, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, Kamchatka, and Mastodon. I would pick these bands because the music is good and they are all still alive.


What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

Garage a Trios.


Have you read any good books lately?

Currently reading Cormac McCarthy's Sutree.


What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Garage a Trios...before that was Sonny Fortune.

MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

I don't feel guilty about anything I listen to.


What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

More than once I could not find the stage.


If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Thelonius Monk, Baby Dodds and Jimi Hendrix.


What would be on the menu?

My wife would make her Cajun dirty rice. I would serve Blue Label Chimay.

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

We are collaborating with New Belgium Brewery on a beer. We brew next week. The style will be a strong dark sour ale. It will knock your socks off.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
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