Interview with JP Gaster of Clutch

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

When I saw Clutch take the main stage at Las Rageous, I just lost my mind. I was so entwined with their rock sound that had a somewhat boogie dance beat to it. They are one of the most hardworking rock bands are there. They keep pushing themselves to see how far they can go with their creativity. Fortunately for me, I got to have the opportunity to chat with one of them at the festival. Jean-Paul “J.P.” Gaster has been Clutch’s drummer since the formation of the group in 1991. Being that I really liked the group since 2013’s Earth Rocker, I was not all too familiar with their early history. Luckily, J.P. gave me the rundown.

According to J.P., Clutch got their name because they liked short, one syllable names that stood out. It was between “Belt” and “Clutch,” so the rest is history. While their sound is reminiscent with stoner rock, he said they are basically a rock ‘n’ roll band, influenced by many styles. We would have a discussion about how recording songs has changed since the 1990s, and they approach it today, mixing old school with new school technology. When it comes to making a new record, J.P. would explain how Clutch would try to do something different each time. Being a fan of 1960s pop jazz records, he would list some of his favorite jazz percussionists including Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, and Jack DeJohnette. They are releasing a new album in September, and he gave me a little insight about what to expect from it. We would also discuss their upcoming tour schedule and which album they put out in the 90s was their favorite.

It was an absolute pleasure speaking with J.P. He is a drummer that has been around the block in his years in music. Plus, seeing him perform live after our talk, it was a huge treat for me. He is so full of passion and talent up on stage. I cannot wait for the new album, now entitled Book of Bad Decisions, to come later this year. To Jean-Paul Gaster, I salute you. Horns up!!!

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