An Interview with Tim Sult of Clutch
We covered the ever rocking Clutch at the tail end of 2018 and before the show we got to sit down with their epic lead guitarist, Tim Sult. Have a read below of our chat!
Hows the current tour going? You're rounding off the year in the UK, then back to the US for your New Years shows!
Cleaveland Ohio, yeah. Well to start the answer, this has basically been the greatest tour of all time. The crowds have been absolutely amazing, especially here in the UK. We're super psyched to have had such a successful tour over here
Obviously Clutch have toured the UK a few times before. Are you feeling the love still over here? What's it like in comparison to the US, with you coming from over there?
Well it seems like these days we have way better shows in the UK than the US.
Oh wow! Ok, any particular reason can you guess?
Not 100% sure! But it seems a lot more people are coming to see us over here now than ever before
That's really good to hear. Well this tour is in support of 'Book of Bad Decisions' [their latest album] which is your 12th studio album.
I know, it's crazy!
What's that like, does it blow your mind a little bit?
It definitely blows my mind when I sit down and think about it too much!
This being the 12th album, what was it like writing this one in comparison to your first one?
Quite honestly, it was a lot easier. These days we have a great rehearsal space, and so much time to get together and work on new material. Since we put out our own albums ourselves, our own music. We aren't on anyones schedule, there's no label deadlines whatsoever. Ever since we started doing our own stuff, we've had so much more time, so many more song ideas and its honestly feels so much more easier over the past few years.
That's really nice to hear actually. And obviously the line up hasn't changed across the years, so you guys are all meshed together. Writing and recording must be smooth sailing?
We try to make it as smooth as possible [laughter]. I mean a song can appear in an afternoon or we can keep working on it for a year or a year and a half until we find the right arrangement. Every song is different.
The new album feels like it's built a little on reality, but with some tongue in cheek. Was that the kind of direction you were feeling when you were writing it?
Well, as far as the lyrics go, that’s a good way to describe it. I would say the entire history of Clutch, Neil has a tongue in cheek vibe. But we don't purposely go in thinking 'The albums going to be this' and try and write the songs around some kind of pre conceived idea. We just write the songs and hope for the best.
For myself, it's hard to pick a favourite, both musically and lyrically. I will admit I start most mornings with 'How to Shake Hands'
That is a great way to start!
Is there any particular song from the album that stands out for you?
Playing wise, I think the ones most fun to play are 'In Walks Barbarella' and the title track, 'Book of Bad Decisions'. For me, those are the ones that are the most fun to play, which is the way I look at it mainly. As far as getting up and playing songs live, those are my two favourite ones.
There's a lot of different sounds on the album, can you guide us through a bit of that?
Yeah, I mean we've got keyboards on the album, Chris Brookes from Lionize is on there and we've got Mike Dillon, who's played several shows in the past. He's a solo artist, but he plays with others a lot. He's done work with Primus, which is where we mainly know him from, on their 'Willy Wonka' album.
Yes! Did you catch that live?
Yeah, man, that was awesome. It was the first time we'd seen him play as well. Maybe JP had seen him before that, but that was the first time I'd seen him. He collaborated on vibes and percussion on a few of the songs. So we're going to have Chris and Mike playing with us on our upcoming holiday run.
Looking into tonight's show, I thought I'd be a bit sneaky and try and see what's in store on the setlist, but you change every night! What's going on there? How do you decide your setlists?
Well early on, we used to try and get together and set a setlist together and it would take forever. So we decided just one band member would do the list every night, so we rotate. Tonight is our drummer, JP's setlist, which has not been written yet. So I don't even know what we're playing tonight!
Oh wow, how much notice do you typically get?
Anything from between 6 hours and an hour I'd say.
That's a really great way to tour in my opinion.
Yeah, it makes life a lot easier. Early on we got really super bored trying to play the same set every night, so we decided to start mixing it up. And lo and behold, our fans are actually interested in the fact that we play different songs every night. And it keeps them engaged on social media and makes them want to come out to more than one show on a tour.
It's been nearly 3 months since the album dropped and you've been touring almost non stop. Has there been anything so far on this tour that you've seen from your fans that you haven't before?
I feel like over here, we have a lot of younger fans, which I havent seen before. A lot of college aged kids coming out which is pretty nice.
You have a pretty hardcore fanbase and I've heard the saying 'You either know nothing of Clutch or all of Clutch'. Does that ring true in your opinion?
Well, I'd say over here there are more casual Clutch fans, people who are just getting into us now. But we have so many diehard fans who have been into us since we started coming over here in the 90's. I'm not really sure why we're having such good shows over here, but I'm just totally happy about it.
We'll finish off with something we like to do at StereoRiot, our List of 50. So pick a number between 1 to 50 and we'll quickfire some random questions!
Ok, so 12!
12! Ok, a bit of a British one, so not quite sure if you'll get this! What are your thoughts on the pedestrianisation of Norwich City Centre?
I'm pro. I mean I'm not going to be driving round, so next time we play it'll be easier to walk around. I know exactly what you're talking about, because it's just a bunch of narrow roads, with super narrow sidewalks. I've been to Norwich, I'm with you on this. I'm pro.
Let's go again then!
Ooh. Jurassic Park or Terminator?
Even with the reboots?
Oh yeah, especially with the reboots. I have kids, so, I've rediscovered Jurassic park through my kids. Lets go onto question 46.
Ok, which James Bond would you have as a backing singer for Clutch?
Oooh. Probably Sean Connery, since he has a beard. Does he have a beard? I don't know if he did when he played Bond, but he has one now.
Nice choice in my opinion! Shall we finish off with one more?
Absolutely! Let's go with 30.
Ok, here we go. Is there a song that still gives you goosebumps?
Yep. The Ripper by Judas Priest.
Excellent choice! A Birmingham band as well
I didn't even think of that! It's a gut reaction choice.
Well it's been great chatting with you Tim, can I round off with a bit of a silly question. Hot Bottom Feeder, you've eaten the crab cakes, you do so in the video, but I have to ask, what's your 'beverage to wash it down'?
Yeah, for some reason, the British Strongbow gives me such a good buzz. It's only over here though! Back home it doesn't do the same thing as over here. That's what I wash it down with.
That's a great pick. Once again, thank you for chatting with us, it's been a great sit down! We can't wait for the set tonight.
No worries, it's been great fun.
(Editors note: You may have already listened to this on our Soundcloud, however looking back, we weren't happy with the audio quality and decided to transcribe it here)