Five Albums That Changed My Life: Neil Fallon of Clutch

As we’ve occasionally done in the past, we love to post (or re-post) a well thought out and/or highly imaginative journalistic pc. The below feature originally comes from Noisecreep…. We think you’ll enjoy.

Clutch recently announced their annual run of holiday shows for 2011 which will find them sharing the stage with Corrosion of Conformity and Kyng. Anyone who has already seen the Maryland stalwarts in concert already knows why many critics consider them one of the most vital live performers around today. In celebration of the gigs, Noisecreep asked Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon to take part in our ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ series.

‘Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers’
Skip James (1965)
“During one of Clutch’s first tours, I bought a blues cassette tape at a truck stop. I had never heard of the artist, but I desperately needed to hear something new. The first track was ‘Devil Got My Woman.’ Instantly, the late night creep-out meter went off the charts. That record, ‘Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers,’ scared the daylights out of me and it still does. James’ voice and cryptic guitar playing made me realize that music doesn’t need to be loud to be terrifying.”

‘Bone Machine’
Tom Waits (1992)
“Hearing ‘Bone Machine’ was a watershed moment for me. I realized songs don’t need to be about true life experiences. They could be tall tales, pieces of weird fiction standing on their own without any need for justification or explanation. Waits’ tales in ‘Bone Machine’ are nightmarish. In ‘Black Wings,’ the line, “Some say he once killed a man with a guitar string,” is genius. And to be totally honest, ‘Going Out West’ has given me lyrical inspiration for more than one Clutch song.”

‘Bad Brains’
Bad Brains (1982)
“A high school friend of mine lent me the yellow ‘Bad Brains’ cassette. I remember seeing the song title ‘Pay to Cum’ and thinking that this band just had to incredible. Upon listening, though, I was totally confused. I had nothing to compare it to. It was freakish. But after repeated listens there was that eureka moment and ever since they have been on the loftiest of rock pedestals.”

‘Dark Side of the Moon’
Pink Floyd (1973)
“The ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album cover poster was one of the rare chess pieces that escaped any collateral damage in my adolescent battles with my parents. Posters went up. I would do something stupid. Posters would come down. Repeat. But that poster always dodged the bullet. Maybe it was so innocuous they just thought it was art. Who knows? ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is one of the few records I love today more than when I first heard it. Sure, it’s been played into the ground and maybe it’s easy to dismiss because of that. But damn it, this album is a timeless masterpiece. For my adolescent self it was a secret escape hatch. And as a 40-year-old, it still is.”

‘Welcome to Sky Valley’
Kyuss (1994)
“I think Welcome to Sky Valley is without a doubt the best record of the 1990s. I can’t tell you how many times we listened to this record in our touring van. It was the soundtrack to many many overnight hauls. When I hear these songs now they conjure up a collage of faces and places that I hold very dear.”

6 Responses to “Five Albums That Changed My Life: Neil Fallon of Clutch”

  1. neal o. says:

    hells yeah welcome to sky valley. kyuss friggin’ rules.

  2. olivia says:

    Bone Machine is still in my top 5 and always will be. I love TOm Waits – he makes the music I hear coming down the streets in my dreams… Welcome to Sky Valley, a hypnotic piece of work that Kyuss has not managed to repeat, has also been a soundtrack to living for me, though not for years. It maintains its nostalgic quality for me now – ah, the 90s. Spooky blues? My dad gave me that, probably because he spent his formative years skulking around the delta – the big muddy is as spooky as anyplace. And Pink Floyd? Not on my regular rotation, but I find myself singing songs from dark side when I’m moody – the band that taught me music doesn’t have to be hard to be harsh. And then I would put Clutch on my list – Transnational Speedway League snapped me up and I’ve been in its clutches ever since. BEST BAND EVER> thanks for playing along, Neil, it’s good/nice/comforting to see that my favourite band listens to the same music I do. I am sorry that I missed you in Hally – please come back, if I can’t find a sitter I’ll just bring the hellians along!
    comin’ at’cha all oblique-like,
    -O.

  3. Catalyst says:

    Saw Kyuss Lives! and glad I did :D

  4. Greg says:

    Great article! I’m going to check these all out (except for Dark Side of the Moon which I’ve loved for years). The Skip James one especially sounds interesting.

  5. Yduobal Mailliw says:

    I like all five albums. I agree that music should not be angry and terrifying. this is why i am a fan of the CLUTCH…

  6. Gaz A. Riff says:

    Sky Valley is my all time Kyuss record. I love a nice cuppa tea and smoke, whilst sitting back and working my way to Whitewater. It’s one of my favourite hobbies in life.

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