Clutch is in town Wednesday June 01 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre along with headliners Lamb Of God and longtime friends and frequent touring partners Corrosion Of Conformity. We had a chance to speak with Clutch’s Tim Sult on the eve of embarking on this their second national tour in support of the band’s 11 studio release, Psychic Warfare,
Vancouver Weekly: How do you feel touring is now, as compared to 20 years ago?
Tim Sult: It seems like venues now are considerably nicer than they were 20 year ago. It’s a lot easier to take a shower these days on tour. It took us a long time but we finally got this whole touring thing down where we don’t have to worry about anything. We’ve got a great team, great manager, and a great touring manager.
VW: How long have you been together with your touring manager?
TS: He started as our drum tech in the mid nineties. So he’s been with us forever.
VW: Is much of your crew long term?
TS: Yeah, we are fortunate to have a lot of our crewmembers around for a long time. Our sound guy been with us for over 15 years.That’s something that we try not to ever take for granted. Our crew makes everything run smoothly, professionally and make our lives easy.
VW: How many times you have toured with C.O.C.?
TS: As far as the Pepper version of C.O.C.? We did four tours with them and this will be the fifth. We have played a lot of shows with the three piece version.
VW: What a contrast in sounds, basically two different bands.
TS: I would have to agree. One of the first opening shows we did for a national tour was the Blind lineup, of C.O.C. Back in the Blind days.
VW: Being from Canada a lyric that always stick out was (“Mob Goes Wild”) “Everybody Move To Canada And Smoke Lots Of Pot. Everybody Move To Canada Right Now. Here’s How We Do It”.
TS:(Laughter) How does line go?
VW: “Bum Rush The Border Guard Before He And His Dog Ever Knew It”.
TS: Moving to Canada sounds like a great idea…During the summer. I don’t think I could handle a Canadian winter for one second. I guess Vancouver isn’t that bad.
Maybe we should change the line to “Everybody move up to Vancouver and just smoke lots of pot” because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to handle it. It is pretty awesome there though.
VW: What are your thoughts on the current U.S. political landscape? Clutch has always had a considerable amount of political innuendo lyrically.
TS: For me personally, I can’t really get too excited about too many politicians ever. I don’t really have any kind of faith in those people in any way whatsoever.
VW: Bernie doesn’t do it for you?
TS: He seems like the least horrible person. I mean, whatever, it’s just a clown show. Even if he was elected, what would he be able to do? But you can say that about any political candidate. If Trump was elected what is he really going to be able to do? If Hillary was elected what is she really going to be able to do? You’re talking to somebody that’s never had faith in any kind of politics, politicians, or the political parties whatsoever. But that’s just me.
VW: What have you been doing over the last couple months? Rollerskating or working on your archery skills?
TS: Just hanging out, being a “normal dad”. We got together a couple of times and have been working on some new Clutch material. We did a few shows in Australia earlier on in the year.
VW: What’s your favourite marine mammal?
TS: Would that have to be ocean mammal? Or could it be a river? Does marine mean ocean technically?
VW: Water based anyway.
TS: Crawfish I think.
TS: They just seem so ancient. You’re looking at something from a different period of history. It’s a crustacean.
VW: So not a marine mammal, Do you want to come back to that?
VW: Getting back to politics, there was a part of me that wanted to start this interview off with “Why’s Dick Cheney underneath my bed? No sir, that ain’t cool”, just to see how that would go over. I just always dug that tune from Beale Street To Oblivion.
TS: What song was that again?
VW: “Mr. Shiny Cadillackness”
TS: I forgot that that line was in that song.
VW: “Tied to the lips of a shrunken head, hell no, that ain’t cool”
TS: It has been a long time since we have played that one, we gotta start playing more songs off of that album.
VW: That album came out of nowhere and just slayed, front to back.
TS: Cool, That’s one of those songs that we need a keyboard player to play. Another song we can’t play is“101011” for the same reason.But we definitely need keyboards to make that work or the song just falls on its face. That kinda bums people out.
VW: The first time I ever heard you guys my buddy had a cassette tape and it was the George Orwell inspired, “Animal Farm”. The line “Tastes just like chicken they say” always stood out as a lover of chicken, specifically the taste of it.
VW: Anything new on the gear front? Guitars? Pedals?
TS:I bought a couple guitars off of Gibson last week. So I have a new Les Paul and a new SG that I will be playing on this tour.
VW: What track do you really like playing live right now?
TS: Off of the new album? “Sucker For The Witch”
VW: You guys have toured off of this newer album at least once prior?
TS: Yeah, we did a North American tour as soon as the album came out. But I feel like we are really starting to get serious about the Psychic Warfare Tour now.
VW: How’s the Bakerton Group?
TS: We haven’t done that in quite awhile. That was another one of those projects that is quite keyboard heavy.
VW: So not a lot of Rock-Reggae coming out of your camp?
TS:Not these days. We are pretty much sticking to as much Clutch Stuff as possible.
VW: Let’s get back to the marine mammal question.
TS: What is the one in Florida that always gets hit by boats?
VW: The manatee? The sea potato.
TS: Yeah the manatee. I’m going to go with manatee.
VW: Yeah, that definitely qualifies. Oddly Scott, the guitar player from Skeletonwitch said the same thing recently.
TS: And actually that’s my nickname too. “The Sea Potato”
VW: Is it really?
TS: Yes, ever since I was 14.
VW: Well now you are just lying to me.
TS: I wish I was.
VW: That was a very Seth Roganish laugh. Any plans post North American tour?
TS: We have four runs this year, we’ve got this one with Lamb Of God. We’ve got Europe that we will do in the summer, another North American run in the fall and then back to Europe in the winter. So we are going to be shoving Psychic Warfare down everybody’s throats for a while.
VW: Anyone on those tours that you are excited about playing with?
TS: Not sure of the date, but we might be playing with Iron Maiden in Europe. I would totally be down with that. Stuff like that is what makes all this stuff fun for me. Playing with Black Sabbath would be cool.
VW: Last time I saw Lamb Of God they played the Queen E, the very venue you will be playing June 02. The QE is a gorgeous but seated environment with a no drinking beyond the lobby policy.
TS: Interesting.We did a European tour with Motorhead about ten years ago and it was pretty much all seated theatres and it was pretty awesome. I can see how it would suck for some people, but it is pretty good for a lot of people. I thought it was a totally different vibe. People still had fun, but it was in a different way. It seems like at a lot of shows these days there are a younger kids coming without any concept of the fact that there is gonna be a pit and they might get kicked in the face. Then they end up getting hurt and needing to get pulled out of the crowd. So I can see both sides of the argument.
VW: What has changed in your crowd from the crowd in the 90’s to a crowd now?
TS: A lot more pits and stage diving.
TS: No, back then there was a lot more pits and stage diving; Considerably less these days. But it’s not a 300 person show anymore. So to consider a pit at a 300 person show as compared to a pit at a 2000 person show where it’s a little more overwhelming.
I think that the no beer thing is a little more shocking than the no pit thing.