Tim Sult has been the lead guitarist for Clutch since it’s inception in 1991. In that time, the band has released 11 albums, the most recent, Psychic Warfare, reaching number 11 on the Billboard charts, their highest ranking ever. He was kind enough to answer Korea Guitar’s 20 Questions while on the road in Europe. Enjoy!!
- When did you get your first guitar and do you remember what it was?
My parents bought me my first guitar from the JC Penny or Sears catalog when I was 14.
- Who or what inspired you to play the instrument?
When I first started, I was into Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath/Ozzy, Led Zeppelin, etc
- Do you remember the first gig you ever played? How was it?
It was a 2 song “band showcase” performance at my high school. We did The Trooper by Iron Maiden and Alone Again by Dokken. I’m sure it was awful.
- When did you realize that you wanted to make music a profession?
Sometime between Earthrocker and Psychic Warfare.
- I was recently listening to your first album, Transnational Speedways League. I absolutely love it. I then listened to Psychic Warfare. Holy crap. It’s still Clutch but the band has changed so much. How would you compare your first and most recent albums?
Songwriting wise, maybe the newer stuff is a little more focused with better arrangements.
- How do you think your playing style has changed since Clutch first started?
I don’t think it’s changed that much.
- Clutch has been together for over 20 years with all four original
members. This is pretty rare in Rock and Roll. How have you managed to do this?
Because we’re all equally invested in the band, artistically and as a business.
- (From Matt Ross) Clutch are a rock band that embraces groove, the old groove, the good groove that is in many ways totally absent from other modern rock bands with a handful of exceptions. Clutch’s music is danceable. What happened to danceable, groovy rock’s popularity?
I guess a lot of younger musicians aren’t interested in playing straight forward rock. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s so that’s where I came from and I’m still influenced by those bands today.
- You had a chance to tour with the late, great Lemmy Kilmister. You’ve toured with Mastodon, Thin Lizzy, Slayer and the list goes on. Who was your favorite band to tour with? Why? Did you receive any useful advice from any of these seasoned veterans?
I really enjoyed playing with Volbeat in Europe several years ago because we would play to 5-10,000 people a night who had never heard of us and by the end of the show, they were new Clutch fans.
- A) Which song from Psychic Warfare is your favorite to play live? Son Of Virginia
- B) Which song from your entire catalog is your favorite to play live? Usually, whatever is newest is my favorite stuff to play.
- C) Are there any songs that give you trouble live or is it all second nature now? All the songs go pretty smooth as long as we rehearse.
- Can you give us a quick tour of your gear? What kind of guitars are you playing now? Amps? Effects?
I like to play different guitars and amps and pedals because it’s fun to try different gear but I’ve been using PRS, Gibson and Orange this year so far.
- How has life on the road changed since your first tour?
No more vans. We tour in a tour bus. That makes life on the road easier.
- Can you take us through the recording process for Psychic Warfare? Did you record live?
We didn’t record live. The process was the same as usual–Drums first, then bass. Guitars and vocals after that.
- You play a lot of the European Festivals. How does playing a festival differ from a regular Clutch show? Is it a different vibe when you know many people may not know much about Clutch?
Playing festivals is fun but it’s nothing like a real Clutch show. The sets at fests are a lot shorter and most people watching aren’t familiar with the band.
- Any plans for an Asian tour?
No. I’m sorry.
- On the first couple of albums, you were listed as the only guitarist. How did things change when Neil started playing guitar on the albums?
I don’t think things changed at all.
- (From Van Walker) What’s the worst advice you could give to a beginning guitarist? How about the best advice?
Worst advice–quit. Best advice–don’t quit!
- Which guitar player do you like that would surprise people? What music do you like that would surprise people?
I don’t like any guitarists that would surprise people but I like a lot of rap.
- On Wikipedia, they list your genres as: hard rock, funk metal, alternative metal, blues rock, stoner rock, post hardcore, psychedelic rock and hardcore punk.How would you categorize the genre of Clutch?
I just call it hard rock.
- For someone just getting into Clutch, what would you say are the 5 best songs to start with? (Putting you on the spot here) What would you say is the best song in terms of Tim Sult guitar work?
I’d say start with the first 5 songs on Psychic Warfare. For Tim Sult guitar work, I always say listen to the newest stuff, but I also like both the Bakerton Group albums(our instrumental side project) and the album I did with a band called Deep Swell.
Check out the latest Clutch video, A Quick Death In Texas:
Official Site: http://pro-rock.com/