KSSU Loud Rock director Daniel Cordova recently conducted an interview with Neil Fallon of Maryland rockers CLUTCH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
KSSU Loud Rock: Who inspired your vocal style? Were you trying to channel anyone, or did you just grab the mic and what came out, came out?
Fallon: Early on I was listening to a lot of hardcore bands and punk rock bands, and I was trying to emulate that. I had that kind of naive opinion that melody was commercial, and that pitch was commercial. I had to teach myself. I never took any lessons, and it didn’t come naturally to me. Early on, I gravitated towards guys that maybe had a more gruff approach to singing, for example, Tom Waits. The first time I heard him was kind of a watershed moment. This is beautiful, in a horrendous way. You don’t have to be pitch perfect to be captivating, and once I realized that it opened up a lot of doors. It had a lot more to do with the lyrics, because you can say anything with enough conviction people will listen. He was one, I also was a big fan of Chuck D, more because I relied on rhythm early on as opposed to melody. Howlin Wolf, Nick Cave. There are other bands, like THE SWANS were an influence on us in the very beginning; you probably wouldn’t think that by listening to us, but “Transnational Speedway League” is, for the most part, a pretty slow record.
KSSU Loud Rock: I saw an interview where you were interviewed by a nine-year-old girl, and you brought up a toy of yours, a “Star Wars” lightsaber. Are you still a “Star Wars” fan?
Fallon: Oh, absolutely!
KSSU Loud Rock: How do you feel about the prequels and the future sequels?
Fallon: I have mixed feelings. I’m forty-one. When “Star Wars” came out it was really formative for me, and that changed my world. “A New Hope”, “Empire Strikes Back”, and “Return Of The Jedi”, those, to me, are a pedestal that will never be lived up to no matter what they do, and that has to do with how old I was. When I went to go see the other ones, I was bummed out. This is just a CGI orgy. Aesthetically, I didn’t like it, I didn’t like the characters, but also keep in mind that I was watching it as a thirty-something-year-old man. It wasn’t designed for me. Now I’m a father, I have a three-year-old son who is now getting into “Star Wars”, and I get to live vicariously again through this. On one hand, I’m glad that the universe will stay alive for him, but I’ll be very certain to make sure he understands that my favorites are the best ones. Let’s get that straight from the get-go. Sure, some of the effects, aesthetically, seem a bit dated, but I watch him watch this thing and it’s not dated, because the story’s great. I guess, I can understand both sides of the argument. I feel very possessive about it, but then they say, “If you truly love something, you’ve got to let it go.”
KSSU Loud Rock: Do you have any hope for the sequels? I heard the news and thought it was kind of neat that Harrison Ford may be back, but I’m really weary.
Fallon: A lot of us have made it impossible to be satisfied, because it’s entered the realm of a classic. I’m just looking to be entertained, and would never expect to leave thinking that was as good or better. That’s not gonna happen, but who knows? You see what happened with “Alien”, when they let anybody and their brother take control of it, and you ended up with some real travesties.
KSSU Loud Rock: I’ve never thought of that parallel.
Fallon: Once you just get to use that license, that image, it’s a very risky thing. I don’t think it’s really worked out for anyone. The first few “Aliens” were great.
Read the entire interview from KSSU Loud Rock.