by Adam Holtzapfel & Jared Elek
This week we take you inside the mind of Clutch’s drummer, JP Gaster. We had a chance to talk to JP before their final show of The Missing Link tour with Mastodon and Graveyard at the Lifestyles Community Pavilion in Columbus. During the interview, we shared one our newest recipes with the crew. We talk everything from grilling to the heartbreaking demise of One Direction.
MBQ-You had four years between your last two studio releases, was the time in between filled with side projects or just kind of time off to relax and let ideas marinate?
JP-A lot of touring. You’re talking specifically about between Earth Rocker and this new record?
JP-Yeah you’re right that was a long break of time between Strange Cousins from the West and Earth Rocker. We wanted to record an album sooner than that, but we kept getting put on these tours. Lemmy called, so we had to do that. Then we went out with Black Label Society. That was really good for us too, it was a completely different fan base. That’s kind of been the story with the band. We sort of tour with bands that don’t necessarily sound like us and we’ve had a couple folks walk away that relate to the music.
JE-Absolutely. You guys have come with Mindless Self Indulgence, System of a Down, Flogging Molly, or when I first saw you with Marilyn Manson and Hanzel und Gretyl in 1996.
JP-Yes, I remember that.
MBQ-How do you end up on tours like that? Is it kind of pick and choose?
JP-It’s probably not as pick and choose as you would think. I know that prior to going out on the Manson tour I didn’t really know much about his music at all. It was a tour that to be honest we weren’t really that excited to do. Up until that point, we had toured with different kinds of bands. We had toured with Monster Magnet, Sepultura, Prong, Bad Religion even. Those were different kinds of bands for us. When Manson gave us the opportunity to tour we were a little hesitant because he was such a different kind of thing. In the end he was a fan of the band and we went out there and we played for a lot of people and a few of those folks came out the next time around. That’s when we realized you gotta play, you can’t be trying to choose your fan base. You have to play for folks, some of those people will dig you and some won’t.
MBQ-What are some of your favorite spots to eat at or what do you cook when you’re back home?
JP-My favorite spot to eat at is my backyard. I love to do a lot of outdoor cooking. I learned how to grill from my grandfather from Uruguay. There’s a long tradition of raising grass-fed cattle, some of the best beef in the world. They take their beef very, very seriously. I learned to cook on a parrilla from my grandfather. It’s kind of a two stage process. You have a fire over here on the side and this fire is in a grate. As the coals burn down, you take the coals and rake them under the meat and you can be very controlled about it. You can cook things very hot and fast, cook a steak like that. Depending on how you arrange the coals you and what you want to do, you can slow roast a chicken. I’ve done whole hogs that way, pork loins, things like that. It takes a little while to get used to that style of cooking. For me it’s my favorite thing, nothing beats a steak cooked over real hot coals. I’ll be doing that tomorrow night.
JP-It’s really a combination of both. The intimate setting we’ve done since day one, so it’s a real comfortable environment, whether it’s a little punk rock club or theater or those types of places. The festival thing was a little harder for us to wrap our heads around. It took us ten years to figure out what the hell we were doing up there. It’s a very different kind of experience. It goes for ourselves as much as the audience I think. It’s a great thrill to play for so many people. Again there’s so many people out in the crowd have not heard the band, that’s the key thing. We get the opportunity to do those festivals and we just get up there play as hard as we can and try to make an impression on those folks and hopefully they like it. That’s the great thing about festivals and sometimes you can run into bands you haven’t seen in a long time or friends you haven’t hung out with for a while , so those are always fun.
MBQ-On tour have you found a favorite craft beer or is there something you usually stick to like PBR?
JP-I am a huge fan of craft beers and my buddy Brann who plays drums in Mastodon is also a huge fan, so we’ve had the opportunity to taste beers from all over the country on this tour. I think the thing he and I are most into these days are sours. Luckily, a lot of breweries are doing that all over the place now. We like the sours quite a bit. Of course nothing beats a real fresh IPA. We were just in Michigan and they have some great breweries up there, Founders, Bell’s, Dark Horse. Man, beer is awesome we can talk about beers all day long.
MBQ-With ten studio albums and more than a few live recordings under your belt, how do you see your sales stack up against your vinyl, cd stuff and the digital stuff?
JP-The digital thing is definitely growing by the minute, vinyl market is growing as well. CD’s, it’s a different story. It’ll be interesting to see.
JP-(Eating Chipotle Apple Pie Pork Chop sandwich) Oh wow, that’s delicious. What the hell were we talking about?
JP- Oh yeah. We’re getting ready to release a new album in September called Psychic Warfare. We’ll have to see what happens. The market is very much declining. I think a lot of it has to do with folks sharing files illegally. I also think that streaming has taken a big part of it as well. I know myself at the beginning of this tour I took the plunge and made a full fledged Spotify account. It is awesome as a music fan. I love it. I try to find stuff that’s not available, even really obscure stuff. As a music fan it’s a great thing, but as a musician I know that it’s really the worst thing. I think ultimately what happens is there’s gonna be more emphasis on the live show.
MBQ-What’s your go to shop back home for some vinyl?
JP-I’ll tell you the truth, we don’t have much of a record store in town anymore. There used to be quite a few around but it’s a sign of the times, there’s not really a whole lot going on anymore. We have certain towns that we’ll visit that I’ll go out and buy vinyl. I love vinyl, but it’s a very specific listening experience, you know? To be honest, it’s not something I do every day. It’s something I maybe do once every two weeks with my wife. We’ll crack open a beer, go down to my studio, and put on records. It’s awesome, but it’s not something that happens often. I think it’s more of the case of people listening to music in their trucks on their way to work, as they cook in the kitchen, at a party with their friends. It’s a different kind of experience, it’s not such an intensive sit down and listen to what’s happening. Again it’s what’s happening in the industry, you can’t fight it.
MBQ-What are your thoughts on Zayn leaving One Direction and do you, or do you not, give a fuck?
JP-I think the gentlemen in One Direction have their work cut out for them, that’s my comment.
MBQ-Last but not least, In the event a zombie apocalypse what’s your weapon of choice if you choose to fight or do you lock yourself in a room and drink until you can’t feel feelings anymore?
JP-I think that’s it. Drink what you got, smoke em if you got em.
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