Saturday, April 28, 2007

Clutters Q & A

Q & A with Doug Lehman the leader of Nashville garage rock gods The Clutters about their new album, Don't Believe a Word (Chicken Ranch)
JN: You use the word "we "a lot in the lyrics on this album, are you writing from the perspective of the Clutters as an entity or is it a bigger we?

DL: You are a very astute music reviewer guy. I hadn't really noticed that. I tend to wanna start every line with "I" so i think that's me trying to avoid doing that. I don't think there are any songs from the perspective of the band, there are some that "we" refers to myself and another person. Like “On Repeat” (even though it's not really based on actual events, it's make believe) and then there are songs like “Surrender” that are "supposed" to be about a group of people. It's sort of about old friends and romanticizing "the good ol' days.” I can't really throw down and say this song is about this from this perspective, and I was intending this. All I ever try to do is put words together, and somehow they end up serving a common theme or thread, but I don't always know what the point of a song is (remember, I went to art school).
PS: Look at how many sentences I started with "I" it that answer!

JN: Do you have us vs them mentality about the music scene (Nashville and beyond) and the Clutters role in it?

DL: No. We've been pretty lucky. I don't ever think about anything except am I gonna like this music. Afterward, sure we think how can we get people to our shows or are we gonna be able to pay for a hotel out of town, but at the core of it all i ever wanted to do with this band is play at Springwater and record one full length. So we are beyond that and it's all bonus rounds now.

JN:Were any of the songs written as a response to the, understandably, frustrating process of getting your debut noticed?

DL: Again, I never had any expectations of how the album would do, so it really wasn't frustrating. I was just excited that you or Mike Grimes liked it and not just us. The fact that David Fricke and Cameron Crowe got it is awesome, but I'll probably never drink a beer with them. I've seen that sort of mentality in other Nashville bands and I just scratch my head and wonder why they are spending so much time trying to "make it" when they could be making another album.

JN: Musically, this record is different in some ways to T&C, what do you think is the biggest difference musically and how was the approach different in the making of the album this time around?

DL: The songs were obviously written in a shorter period of time. With T&C we had a collection of songs from about 4 years. With DBAW, I think the earliest song came about one year before we recorded. Which means there was a lot less deliberating about it. I also tend to switch styles based on what i listen to and the biggest difference this time is I was listening to classic rock stations and college radio where before I was listening to college radio and The Sonics. Side note - There are a ton of classic rock references on the album that were purely unintentional. (Some were intentional) Mainly, I didn't know there was a Thin Lizzy song called “Don't Believe a Word.”

JN: Was there a conscious attempt to do some things that would position you away from the garage rock tag?

DL: Sort of, but I realized we can't ever do that. At the core we are really a garage band. The way we play together, there is no way we won't sound like we do. I think it's a confusing moniker sometimes but I don't know enough to suggest a more appropriate one.

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