‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Clutch: the meta-interview

Before I even had a chance to prostrate myself on their lawn, the new music/arts/life newspaper I mentioned earlier asked me, ASKED ME, if I wanted to write something for their first issue. And then, in a moment of shining glory attributed to either synchronicity or sheer dumb luck, I scored an interview with the bass player from Clutch, Dan Maines. I'm submitting that story tomorrow, but there's just oh-so-much-more to the story - after all, what kind of story would it be if it went smoothly and without near-apocalyptic mishaps? Here's the Too Embarrassing for Publication version of how my interview with Dan Maines went.

The night before the interview Chris set up his Google Grand Central account so I could connect the call to Dan through Grand Central and then record it. We practiced on my brother-in-law, making several attempts and then finally figuring it out. As if by magic, an audio file shows up in our inbox when we end the call. Smooooooth. Smooth, that is, when it works.

It didn't.

I probably sounded like I was on amphetamines in the interview because I was babysitting a couple of extra kids and I had something like 4 minutes and 53 seconds before they realized I Was Not Available and started poking each other with screwdrivers.

Right off the bat I thought I was going to have a Deep and Meaningful conversation about music sharing and intellectual property (they allow recording at their shows and there's a venue for tape-trading on their authorized website). This is something that interests me and I'm always curious to hear where artists come in on the question. I asked him about it and he essentially said (faux quote) We're okay with taping, but don't really have much to do with it (end faux quote). And then I moved on because this is not a conversation it is a mission - a mission which must be completed before three children discover the box of matches.

I think I need to use faux quotes since I didn't tape the conversation on taping.

Clutch has been around for nearly 20 years. That's a long dang time to play some of the same songs and I would think that playing a song over and over again for 20 years would make you want to bang your head on something or maybe throw some bottles. Now that I think about it, we're talking about Clutch here and I suppose both activities are not out of the question (I've heard tales). Bottle throwing and head banging aside, Dan told me they change up the set lists quite a bit. He refers to Fugazi shows (I didn't go as was having tea with my mother that day), where they pretty much shout out songs to play as they go. "It makes the set less robotic," says Dan.

He also told me a bit about playing with Bad Brains in Atlantic City August 2nd. Bad Brains, as it turns out, is a big reason he knew he wanted to play in a band. I don't have a good question to ask after he tells me this because I am trying to stop myself from saying “omg, did you just Pee Your Pants when you found out you were going to be playing with them?” I may actually have clapped my hand over my mouth and held the phone at a safe distance to keep from saying it. Because really, rule number one may possibly be Do Not Ask Rock Star About Pant-Peeing.

And then I had to stop asking questions because there was a dental floss related incident which required my immediate attention. Fortunately I caught it before the kids completely encapsulated themselves in floss, to emerge later as butterflies.

When we finished talking I turned around and discovered the children swimming in packing peanuts. So I did the most professional thing I could think of, which was to take a picture of them and send it to Dan's wife. Dan's wife is Rock & Roll Mama, about whom you'll be hearing more because she's a writer who is up to great things. I just used the word "whom" in a post about Clutch.

For the interview I wore my fuschia Dior by John Galliano dress and an elegant yet understated updo. I forgot to ask Dan what he was wearing.

1 comment:

Laggin said...

I missed this post. But since you wrote it before I "knew" you, I supposed I can be forgiven. It's making me giggle. Oh, and I just found Rock n Roll Mama, or whatever she calls herself, and all I can say is, "THANK you."