"But wouldn't that make it shunned by the other fruits? It'd be" /> Clutch: You Say Tomato... :: The Dwarf


Clutch: You Say Tomato...

"I'm gonna have to say tomato only ‘cause most people don't realize it's a fruit"


"But wouldn't that make it shunned by the other fruits? It'd be an outcast, I think".


"Yeah but then as soon as he was gone everyone would realize how much they relied on him".


I can't believe I'm having a conversation on the leadership qualities of fruit with Neil Fallon, frontman of powerhouse blues-rock band, Clutch. Massively revered for their blistering synthesis of rock, metal and blues, Clutch are a group of high, high caliber and diligence within a hot frenzy. But today, Neil is discussing with some little rock journo from Melbourne which fruit would be king if fruit lived in a monarchic society. How the world turns.


Alright, onto more pertinent questions: influences, Neil?


"Really anything you listen to is an influence. Sometimes it can be positive in that you want to emulate it, or sometimes it's negative in that you don't wanna sound like that. I don't really pay a whole attention to our peers and contemporaries, I'm more intrigued by classic rock bands and old blues bands and jazz bands; the founders of the genre we all live in today". When I commend him on his and the band's diversity, he replies amiably, "Life's too damn short not to be". Damn straight.


Onto the Aussie tour; "We were a band for probably thirteen years before we got there the first time. We kinda went there as a gamble, and we were really shocked to see how many people were there, not only to see us but who were familiar with the music. It was such a blast we decided- we'll go where there's audiences. Even though it's on the side of the planet, it feels familiar; it's a good time. We just enjoy playing music for as many people as possible". Neil calls us "cultural cousins", praising our hedonistic, island in the sun country; "People there are just relaxed and like rock and roll, there's not a lot of pretension there".


After eight albums, you're probably assuming Clutch are ready to get out their laurels and rest dozily upon them, give up the rock star life and bathe in the riches. Well, you would be wrong, dear reader! Neil's commitment to the perfection of the Rock Show is enough to keep him trucking for some time; "In this day and age, album sales don't really mean a whole lot. We've always made our living touring and getting satisfaction from performing for people and I think it took me, personally, a long time to realize there's no little prize at the end, there's no point where you say ‘Ok, now I'm successful'. The way I look at it is, I get to do this for a living and it's my only job and I get to travel the world playing music and that's it's own reward".


Before I know it, I have to wrap it up (the interview, not a sandwich…ha-ha, I kill me) so I try to get the skinny on the band's writing process. Roasting riffs and tightly composed rock mammoths interspersed with cool blues and a dash of hairy metal for good measure; such is Clutch. But how do they make it? "We get together, someone has a riff that they wrote at home, or they write a riff right on the spot and if the majority of people react to it, we pursue it, if people start staring at their feet, we throw it in the trash…. the guys patiently wait for me to write lyrics ‘cause I'm terribly slow at doing that and we just kick it around". I add half-jokingly, half- of experience that "you can't rush genius" to which the sharp-edged bluesman encased in a powerhouse frontman that is Neil Fallon replies, "That's what I always say…it's the procrastinator's theme".

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