On the heels of their latest release, Psychic Warfare, Clutch has been rocking all over the world, playing at Voodoo Fest 2015 and returning to New Orleans with Lamb of God and Corrosion of Conformity tomorrow night to perform at the Orpheum Theatre. I spoke with guitarist Tim Sult about the show, theaters with seats, and performing just after the Paris attacks.
WYAT: How did you feel performing in Paris days after the attack at the Eagles of Death Metal show?
Tim Sult: It was definitely a very weird vibe, but I would say that whole day in general that we played that show wasn’t very weird itself. We actually started the tour a couple of weeks before we played Paris, and it was a few days after the shooting that we started the tour. So that’s when things were super weird, even though we weren’t playing in Paris. We were playing in Ireland. The whole thing had a weird, dark vibe in general. You could tell that even though they weren’t French people, they were still very worried about being a rock show. It was weird. Once we got to Paris, that whole feeling lifted. We had been playing a little while and had so many good shows. I think about half way through that show, I realized that a lot of the people at our show were at that Eagles of Death Metal show as well. The whole show felt very triumphant at the end of it.
WYAT: One of your current tourmates got in trouble in Europe and had to stay in jail for an audience member who got injured and died. Have you changed your style any when someone gets on stage?
Tim Sult: We really don’t have that as much as we used to back in the old days. Back in the 90s some of the shows were just constant stage diving all the time. These days our crowd has gotten a lot older and more mellow, and they don’t want to get hurt. A lot of our fans, it hurts them just as much to drink three beers as to do a couple of stage dives. They’ve got to pace themselves.
WYAT: You’re playing at a beautiful restored theater here in New Orleans. How often do you play such a venue, and do you find it to be any different than a normal bar?
Tim Sult: It seems like these days we do play a lot of restored theaters, especially in Europe. We did do a tour years ago in the U.K. opening up for Motorhead, and about 90% of the venues were old theaters, fully-seated. It was incredible. That was one of my favorite tours ever. I fantasize sometimes about doing a Clutch tour where we play all seated venues. I think some people would like that. Some people would hate it, but some would like it for sure. I’m just thinking of myself as a concert-goer at my age. I think I would prefer to have my own seat at a concert. I feel like a lot of our fans don’t go to a lot of shows because they don’t like going to concerts in packed clubs. I think a fully-seated tour would be great ofr those people. That’s just a little fantasy that’s in my head.
WYAT: That would be great for an acoustic tour.
Tim Sult: We’ve managed to do about 25 minutes of acoustic material. We’ve done a couple of tours where we’ve done an acoustic set within our show.
WYAT: For Record Store Day, you released a special limited-release vinyl album. Do you think that record stores are still important or just for nostalgia.
Tim Sult: I live in West Virginia which is kind of the far extreme reaches of the D.C. area. And within the past year or two, a record store has opened here. I think there’s still room for record stores in peoples’ lives. When we were recording our album in Austin, I spent a lot of time at record stores in Texas. I spent more money than I usually do buying vinyl. There’s always going to be a place for recorded music. But although people listen to music by other means, I think people are always going to be buying the physical product. I could be wrong, but I think that’s the case.
We’re totally psyched to get back down to New Orleans, this will be the second time in a row not playing at the House of Blues. It’s kind of weird.