Interview: Neil Fallon of Clutch

Prior to their show in Manchester, Adam Lancaster and his daughter Niobe Grace had a wee chat with the frontman of American rockers, Clutch. After a warm welcome from Neil, the dynamic duo got down to business…

Adam: What’s the UK like compared to other countries in terms of how warmly you are received?

We’ve toured extensively all around the world now and to be honest, if you put a bunch of people in a room with loud music and beer in their hand then they end up acting the same. I think it’s more city-by-city. Some city’s are wild rock towns whereas others are more conservative.

A: There seems to have been an increase in bands playing albums front to back these days. Is this something you’ve ever considered?

We have done that. We played our self titled album front to back. We didn’t really like it as it feels quite constraining. We’ve got eleven albums out and we’d rather be able to have the flexibility to pick songs from all across our back catalogue.


A: Keeping on setlists, who normally picks the setlist?

We used to pick the songs as a group effort however it always ended up in bickering. These days, we do it in alphabetical order and tonight I get to write the setlist.

When picking songs, there are certain ones that can be classed as “go to” ones. There’s a few that don’t really translate well or that we don’t really enjoy playing. We normally try and chuck in a couple of fan favourites and also an obscure one for the die-hard fans.

Niobe: What’s your favourite food?

I think nowadays it would be my wife’s green chilli stew that’s my favourite.

A: When you go on tour, is there anything that you always bring along with you?

Nope, because I always lose stuff! I normally bring my phone but I’ve lost that as well. I’ve even lost my wedding ring!

A: Do you prefer the recording of the album or listening to the finished product?

I guess nowadays I enjoy the recording more than I used to as I understand it better. I don’t really listen to the music back as I always end up getting irritated with myself, as I’m my own worst critic.

A: What would you say have been the biggest challenges for the band?

I guess the biggest challenge is being away from home. We live in the age of the cell phone but it’s still hard as I’ve got a 6 year old son. Every tour I always say that I’m going to exercise and not going to have the extra beer but I always fail!

N: Do you get scared going on stage?

I wouldn’t say scared, but I still get nervous. I think that’s a good thing as the nervous energy can make you more awake and alert. If you didn’t get nervous then I think you might start daydreaming and not pay attention.

A: What music did you listen to growing up?

When I was really young, I listened to my parents’ music by default. That was kinda folk stuff like Bob Dylan and bands like The Beatles. Later on I started listening to punk rock and hip hop.

A: When you’re not on tour, what do you do to relax?

I normally just relax on the sofa. I don’t really like going out and it drives my wife nuts. I enjoy doing a lot of gardening and mundane tasks as it’s the best way to get away from all this racket.

A: You’ve worked with a lot of artists and bands over the years. Are there any bands that you would currently like to work with?

Most of the bands that I would like to work with don’t really exist anymore. There are a few, but I’m not sure how the crossover would work.

N: When did you start playing guitar?

First time I picked it up, I was probably about 16 years old. I then stopped for a long time and only picked it up again and started taking lessons at the age of 25. I still take lessons these days as I think there’s always something new to learn.

N: What’s your favourite smell?

Hahahaha! I’d say nothing is better than the smell of an open log fire in wintertime. It’s a really nice smell.

A: Do you have any pets?

We used to have a dog but he unfortunately passed away. The only ‘pet’ we have in the house is my son’s fish called Dragon.

A: What are the band’s plans for the next year?

We’re not going to be doing a lot of touring really. We’re looking into doing a new record after we’ve finished up all of the touring and festivals we have lined up. We normally write down and get as much developed as we can. At the moment we’ve got ideas recorded into the iPhone and jotted down in notebooks. We’ll be working on expanding those ideas in the coming months.

A: What song would you say you are most proud of?

That’s like picking your favourite child! Ummm, I’d probably say that “The Regulator” is my favourite as it was a new kind of style for us. It was received really well as well which makes it one of my favourites.

N: What is your favourite colour?

I really like dark purple. You know, the kind of ultraviolet colour? I love that.

N: Who is your favourite superhero?

I’m not really into superheroes too much, but when I was growing up I liked the Bionic Man.

A: You mentioned that you have a son. What does he think of your “job”?

At this point in his life, he kinda considers this normal. He has a different frame of reference of what dad does for a living. I think when he gets older he’ll understand that it’s not your typical “day-job”.

N: What’s your favourite cheese?

Oooh! All of them! Nah, I really like goat cheese and Roquefort blue cheese. There’s something to be said about a good English cheddar though.

N: Do you prefer your ‘rocking voice’ or ‘quiet voice’ while singing?

It depends on my health at the time. Sometimes the voice goes out and that’s when I prefer the soft one.

All photos by Glowe Photography.

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