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Clutch: Rock'n'roll outlaws

No clichés. No fashion statements. No hits. So when the music industry imploded around their ears, it didn’t matter a jot. If anything, it only made Clutch more successful than ever…

Think back to the major-label feeding frenzy of the early 90s, when every band was going to be the “next Nirvana” but none of them ever were. How many of those bands are still together?

It’s easy to be Pearl Jam, man. They’re rich. It’s harder to be Mudhoney. And it’s even harder to be Clutch. Clutch never appealed to the cool kids. Clutch were never hip. Every time they landed at a new label it was the same routine: stop dressing like plumbers and write a hit song. They never did either. 

Instead they endured, hammering together a red-hot, propulsive, stoner-funk attack so tight and loud and lethal that their riffs have actual weight and can strike a faithless man down – I’ve seen it with my own eyes. They’ve endured and they’ve thrived, building a nationwide – verging on global – working-class fan-base so rabid it borders on religious fervour, every trucker-hatted ham-and-egger in town hanging on the schizophrenic rantings of frontbeard Neil Fallon like it was some dirty, gutbucket gospel. 

What other still-intact grunge-era band could unleash their most devastating album so late in the game like Clutch did with 2013’s mammoth Earth Rocker? And could they follow it up with an even bigger, meaner collection of crazed boiler-room jams like Clutch have with their new Psychic Warfare album? The answer, of course, is no. Nobody could. Except these cats. 

Clutch are probably not the rock’n’roll heroes you want – I mean, they don’t wear leather jackets or shiny boots, they don’t bang fashion models or crash motorcycles or eat mountains of pills or anything cool like that – but they are definitely the rock’n’roll heroes you need. All hail Clutch, the last gang in town, pro-rockers in a sea of amateurs and dabblers. Eat their fuckin’ dust. 

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