Formed in 1991 in Germantown, MD, Clutch features Neil Fallon (vocals), Tim Sult (guitar), Dan Maines (bass), and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums). The band built a local following through constant gigging. After releasing the classic 7” single “Pitchfork” the band caught the attention of Earache Records. Earache released the legendary Passive Restraints EP.
Shortly after the release of Passive Restraints Clutch was picked up by EastWest Records. Their debut LP, "Transnational Speedway League...," followed in 1993. A self-titled album appeared two years later, on Atlantic Records and afforded Clutch their first mainstream exposure, as the label released a trilogy of psychedelic-tinged singles, "Big News", "Spacegrass", "Escape from the Prison Planet." A lengthy and very successful North American tour with Marilyn Manson put an exclamation point on this early part of Clutch's career. The band jumped to the larger Columbia label for 1998's Elephant Riders. Clutch re-joined the Atlantic ranks in 2001 for their 4th studio album, the six-figure selling "Pure Rock Fury". The band enjoyed their first Top 40 single "Careful With That Mic".
A year later, however, the band was tortured with label problems, and it was three years before the sonically brilliant "Blast Tyrant" was released by indie label DRT Entertainment. In the meantime, the band had self-released the studio album "Jam Room" and their first concert release "Live at the Googleplex" on their own River Road Records. These two pieces would eventually see the surface through Megaforce Records a few years later. The 36-month period from 2004 to 2007 saw heavy, non-stop touring of not just North America, but also England, mainland Europe, the Scandinavian territories, and Australia.
The band was now in top playing shape and writing the most challenging material of their career. With a decade of experience behind them, Clutch was now passing and/or outlasting the majority of their mid/late 90s contemporaries. Clutch's 7th studio album, 2005's "Robot Hive/Exodus" (DRT), produced by J.Robbins, was another breakthrough release, showcasing a diversity most rock bands could never dream of pulling off. 2007's"From Beale Street to Oblivion" took off where RH/E's final track "Gravel Road" left off... It was a hardened, simple blues approach with power that took the former Germantown High School compatriots to the next level. The album’s lead single, "Electric Worry" wasn't just another successful Top 40 rock single, but its anthem-like "Bang Bang Bang Bang, Vamanos, Vamanos" chorus and high energy guitar jam/drum solo ending became an instant Clutch classic.
In 2008 the four band members and longtime manager Jack began forging plans for the Clutch owned and operated label, Weathermaker Music. Initially self-distributed, WeathermakerMusic quickly found a home at Sony/RED Distribution. Since 2013 the label is distributed via Rough Trade Distribution/Believe and its sub-distributors in Europe. Clutch's 9th studio album, “Strange Cousins From the West" was released in 2009. It debuted at #37 on the Billboard pop/sales charts, initially becoming the best-selling Clutch release of their storied career!
In 2013 Weathermaker Music released "Earth Rocker” which went straight to #1 in the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums, #6 in the Billboard Top Rock Albums, and #15 in the main Billboard Top 200 album charts. “Earth Rocker” has been described as heavier and faster than the preceding albums. Clutch released their 11th studio record, “Psychic Warfare”, in 2015 via Weathermaker Music. The album reached No. 11 on the Top 200 Billboard chart and No. 1 on both the Hard Rock and Rock Billboard charts. On September 7, 2018, WeathermakerMusic released the 12th Clutch album, “Book of Bad Decisions”. The album charted No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock Charts and came in at No. 16 on the Billboard top 200. Simultaneously the album entered various European and Australian charts. Rolling Stone magazine stated that"Book of Bad Decisions is another solid latter-day Clutch record, bathed in the grit and liberal fuzz tone that has made their live shows legendary”.
Clutch had become recognized as one of the best rock acts of the modern era. Decades of global touring have been one of the main drivers of Clutch’s success. Whether in club shows around the world, or big festival appearances on several continents, fans love and continue to support this band. The global pandemic may have halted the band’s live appearances over the last 21 months, but Clutch are now back on the road, and a new album can be expected in 2022. Stay tuned.
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