JEAN-PAUL GASTER Explains How CLUTCH’s Songwriting Process Is ‘Very Much A Collaborative Effort’3 min read
In a new interview with The Razor’s Edge, CLUTCH drummer Jean-Paul Gaster spoke about the fact that all four members of the band are credited with writing on the music on their latest album, 2022’s “Sunrise On Slaughter Beach”. Regarding his contributions to the songwriting process, he said: “Well, you could argue that, as the drummer, I am sort of the engine of the band, so I can easily turn things off or turn things on, depending on where my mindset is.
“When we collaborate, I try to make my very first drum ideas sort of as mainstream as possible, because I don’t want to influence the riff that’s in the room in a way, until I truly understand, or I feel like I have an understanding of what’s going on,” he explained. “So oftentimes, these guys will bring in ideas and I’ll just play something that’s really pretty straight down the line because I’m really just sort of trying to let that idea develop. Once I have an idea of it, if I have a suggestion as to how to make the thing a little different or to push it in a little different direction, I’ll certainly offer that idea up. I sing parts to the guys. I play a tiny little bit of mandolin and a little bit of vibraphone, so from time to time I send ideas to the guys. But it’s really very much a collaborative effort.
“Writing a record is time consuming; it can be frustrating, but it’s also ultimately just very rewarding.”
Released in September, CLUTCH‘s thirteenth studio album, “Sunrise On Slaughter Beach” is a slamming summary of everything that makes the band great and another giant leap forward into career longevity. New bangers like “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)”, “Nosferatu Madre”, “Skeletons On Mars”, “Jackhammer Our Names” and “Mercy Brown” take their rightful place alongside CLUTCH classics. “Sunrise On Slaughter Beach” is the natural culmination of what CLUTCH began as teenagers in the early ’90s.
Recorded at the The Magpie Cage Recording Studio in Baltimore, Maryland, the album was produced and mixed by Grammy-nominated Tom Dalgety (GHOST, ROYAL BLOOD, PIXIES) with additional engineering by J Robbins (JAWBREAKER, AGAINST ME!, THE SWORD).
“Sunrise On Slaughter Beach” introduces some “firsts” into the CLUTCH canon: vibraphone (from Gaster),theremin (J. Robbins),and female backup vocals from singers Deborah Bond and Frenchie Davis. The album’s nine songs are a diverse ride, destined to please long-time fans and intrigue newcomers alike. It’s a new chapter in an ever-unfolding story which means as much to the fans as it does to the band.
CLUTCH shares more in common with THE GRATEFUL DEAD, RUSH and THE ALLMAN BROTHERS than their heavy riffs and heady twists-of-phrase might suggest. Because like those bands, the supporters who adore CLUTCH are there for the experience, community, and authentic connection. To love CLUTCH is to feel a sense of ownership, membership, and belonging.
Seneca Valley High School classmates Neil Fallon (vocals),Tim Sult (guitar),Dan Maines (bass),and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) share an unshakeable musical and personal bond now three decades strong. Shaped by the same region which birthed BAD BRAINS, MINOR THREAT and RITES OF SPRING, CLUTCH crafts hyper-literate and libertine jams informed by hardcore fury and fuzzy, athletic, stoner rock.
Fallon likens CLUTCH‘s longevity to the story of The Three Little Pigs. “You can quickly build a house with sticks, but it falls apart. It takes a lot longer to build it out of stone. I feel like that’s what we’ve done. This has been a marathon. It took a long time to build, but it’s gonna be here for a long time.”