Hunched over his guitar and dressed in jeans, a plaid shirt and tennis shoes, Tim Sult could not look more unassuming for a member of a band that tours the world. Sult is the lead guitarist in Clutch, a rock band that played at The Blue Note this past October.
Clutch‘s sound lies somewhere in between rock, hard rock and alternative and funk metal. I hadn’t seen them live before but after having friends rave about their show last May at The Pageant in St. Louis, I couldn’t wait for them to come to town, and when I came across the chance to interview the band’s guitarist Tim Sult, I couldn’t pass it up.
The band is on tour for their latest album, Psychic Warfare. The band has been together since 1991 and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
Sult says songwriting is something that is shared among all members of the band. “It keeps everyone so interested in being in the band. That we’re all artistically and creatively involved in every song from the ground up. That’s what makes it Clutch, the fact that there’s four cooks in the pot,” he says.
“We’ve always tried to remain creative and move forward and just try to write new songs and try to work on a new album… We never really felt like artistically, we were limited. We always felt like we were allowed to do whatever we want,” Sult says.
The show opened with Don’t Mind Dying, a local rock band with a similar sound to Clutch, as well as Kyng. The bands were a perfect match and Clutch lead singer, Neil Fallon, even gave Don’t Mind Dying a shout out during the show.
Clutch took the stage and kept the energy high throughout their performance. I’ve seen my fair share of concerts that start off strong and die down until the encore, but not this one. If anything, I’d say they started off with some of their more mellow music, amped it up throughout the show, and then came back down a little toward the end.
Sult strummed in a concentrated focus, rarely looking up from his guitar. Meanwhile, the audience (who sported more leather jackets than I’ve possibly ever seen in a room) kept security on their feet in a constant effort to mosh.
A fan favorite, “Spacegrass,” was the first song of the encore. “I honestly don’t know 100% what the song is about,” Sult says. “I think we had the title and we were just playing it instrumentally. When we were jamming and playing it, we thought it sounded totally trippy. That was like the early days of stoner rock and that kind of music. Niel always says it’s about driving a car through outer space.”
Overall, the show rocked. Their lyrics drew me in and led me to make a playlist of Clutch essentials. At first, I felt a little out of my element, but by the end of the show I had joined everyone in jamming out in pure rock fury.