Clutch’s Dan Maines: The Gun Shy Interview
On March 19, Clutch will release a new album called Earth Rocker, the second offering the band’s putting out through its own Weathermaker Music label.
Frankly speaking, the album’s a straight-fucking rocker, with huge riffs, groovy and inspired drum work, bass thicker than your sister’s booty, and Neil Fallon’s funkarrific pipes.
Last week, GunShyAssassin had a chance to speak with Dan Maines of Clutch, and we had a lengthy chat about life, beer, and glory holes.
I have said it before, but I will say it again: Now is the time to buy Clutch music. If you ever were a fan of the band before, support them now. This time, your purchase will actually go to benefit the hard working dudes who made the music.
“The whole reason why we finally came to the conclusion to start the label was because we weren’t getting paid even what we were owed from the label we were on,” Maines says. “It was frustrating because, at the time, those were, like, high points of our career and its not as though we’re in it for the money, but at that point, it was our job — that was how we were living. We didn’t have time to do anything else, so whatever money were were bringing in, we needed. And we weren’t getting it.”
Now, when you buy a Clutch album, the band will actually get the money. Directly.
“We started Weathermaker and it has been a learning process the entire time, and I think we are finally getting to a point where we have the right people working for us, who definitely know their stuff,” says Maines. “We have learned a lot over the years, being on a handful of other labels ourselves. It’s something that luckily, we’re in the position to be able to manage. If we had tried this label 15 years ago, it definitely wouldn’t have been as easy and it probably wouldn’t have been as successful as it’s been so far. It was the right time to do it.”
Maines says that for the next 12 to 16 months, Clutch will be road-dogging it, playing shows both in the United States and in Europe, where a full-scale proper tour is planned.
Clutch are one of those bands that tour a lot and one their loyal fans turn out to see. When Clutch comes to town, the regulars come out of their hiding places to see the guys do their thing.
Clutch are so beloved they’ve even had a beer named after them. And Maines loves it.
“I drink Clutch beer so quickly that I never seem to have any for more than a couple of days at a time,” Maines explains. “It was such a limited run to begin with that it was kind of difficult to find in stores. Luckily, we have a direct connection to the brewery and they would send out cases when available. That stuff turned out so good and its kind of hard to hold on to.”
The members of Clutch actually helped shape the flavor of the beer, and even went to the brewery for tastings and to blend the ingredients together.
“It was a great experience just going to the brewery and seeing how the whole thing functions, and just the fact that the beer turned out so good was an added bonus,” says Maines.
“We were definitely hands-on in the brewing process. What we did was, we — with the aid of one of the head brewers, this guy Eric — sampled the dark stout he had been working on, and he would come out on the road and bring variations to the show and we would have a very enjoyable tasting party before and after the gig. We would just kind of roundtable what we liked, what we didn’t like about the dark stout, and over a period of about three to six months, we kind of dialed in the recipe, and the idea was to take the stout that we created and we mixed that will sour ale.”
Sounds interesting as hell.
“We flew out to the brewery and we made the initial batch of the dark stout. It was really cool; we added all the raw materials, into the vats, and along the way, we’re just getting a really in-depth tour of the brewery and the whole brewing process. You get to taste the beer along the way, as you are adding the malt.”
“Yeah, you can funnel some of it off into glasses, and you can taste that and kind of gauge what direction the beer is heading in,” says Maines. “By the end of the day, we were all trashed. We got absolutely hammered making the beer. We had to try all the beers that they were in the process of making too. There’s a bar where, when you take a brew tour, the tour ends at the bar, which is always stocked with the current beers. You have to try as many as you can, you just have to.”
Sounds awesome. I’d think that’d be a fun date to take a chick on. You get to learn how to make brew and get her hammered. Win-win.
We also asked Maines to help us out with our Glory Holes Across America campaign, where we’re trying to disprove these sexual perversions as myths. So, Dan…have you ever seen a glory hole on the road?
“A hole in the wall? Never,” he says. “If I do, I am going to put tape over it, because that should not exist. Nobody should be putting anything in a hole in the wall. I would put a beer car in it, and tape it up, rendering it useless.”
Don’t hate the game…hate the players, man.