Denise Falzon of recently conducted an interview with frontman Neil Fallon of Maryland rockers CLUTCH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Your previous record, “Strange Cousins From The West”, came out in 2009. Why such a long gap before releasing “Earth Rocker”?

Fallon: Well, we just didn’t stop touring. We would plan on stopping and then some opportunity would present itself, like THIN LIZZY orMOTÖRHEAD or VOLBEAT, and it just kept going and going. Finally we decided to put our foot down and say, “Enough, let’s just make this record.” Was there a specific idea of where the band wanted to go with this record, musically?

Fallon: I think the one thing that we talked about was we just wanted to make a faster record and a more efficient record and I think that’s really the only guidelines that we had. This record is definitely faster and also heavier than some of the more recent albums.

Fallon: We had written a couple fast songs and we realized we were having fun playing those songs, and it kind of threw a bit of cold water on our face because when you’re a band for 20 years, it’s easy to get into a comfort zone. We usually play between 95 and 100 beats-per-minute and that’s all well and good, but sometimes you’ve just got to push yourself a little bit. I know Tim [Sult, guitarist] had mentioned that he felt like his guitar tone was getting too clean and he wanted to gain it up. What is the writing process like for CLUTCH these days?

Fallon: It’s pretty much the same as it’s been for the past 20 years. One of us will write a riff at home or we just get together and start jamming and then when somebody does something cool, we all kind of look at that guy and we say, “Do it again.” Or Jean-Paul [Gaster, drummer] will come up with a beat and we’ll try to write a riff around it. It’s pretty organic and democratic, so when all is said and done, we can’t say who wrote what exactly. And then those guys patiently wait for me to write lyrics, because I’m terribly slow at doing that, and then we keep at it until we feel satisfied. Is there a formula that you stick to when writing a CLUTCHsong, or is it more just what comes naturally?

Fallon: I think the best formula is just kind of going in and seeing what comes out, almost like automatic writing, you can call it automatic riffing. You get into a room and just play what comes out of your hands and trust your heart and your gut and not try to over-think it too much because that’s usually when self-editing happens and recalculation occurs and I don’t think that’s ever good music.

Read the entire interview from