Clutch Biography

This noise-metal quartet was formed in 1991 by childhood friends Neil Fallon (vocals), Tim Sult (guitar), Dan Maines (bass) and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums), who grew up together in Germantown, Maryland, USA. The band drew from hardcore, metal, punk and industrial traditions for the abrasive, intense sound heard on their debut single ‘Pitchfork’, released on the Inner Journey label in October. They subsequently signed to Earache Records, releasing the Passive Restraints EP and establishing their style, and although the record was not a major commercial success it brought Clutch to the attention of EastWest Records. Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes And Undeniable Truths showed no signs of compromises being made owing to major label status, as Clutch maintained their angry hardcore groove, with a charismatic performance from Fallon.

The Clutch live repertoire had grown in stature and confidence since their early European tour with Biohazard, and the band toured with the likes of Fear Factory and Prong. A self-titled 1995 album showed the band to be developing stylistically, and their promising reputation was confirmed when they moved to Columbia Records. The stay was short-lived, however, despite the excellence of 1998’s roots-orientated The Elephant Riders. Clutch pursued a similar direction on Jam Room, which was released on the band’s River Road Records imprint and set the mark for their gradual move away from the machinations of the music industry.

A new contract with Atlantic Records resulted in the release of 2001’s Pure Rock Fury, which spawned the minor rock hit ‘Careful With That Mic...’. Subsequent releases appeared on either River Road or DRT Records, with 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus introducing keyboard player Mick Schauer to the line-up. The 2007 recording From Beale Street To Oblivion was a million miles away from the band’s roots; on this collection they could almost have been categorized as a roots rock band. Sustained by a devoted fanbase, Clutch have carved out an independent path that does not rely on sales figures and chart positions. More importantly, they continue to produce interesting and powerful music.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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