Clutch’s Tim Sult: I'm a Happier Person If I Play a SG
On “Earth Rocker,” hard rockers Clutch narrate a sludgy, bluesy tale that brings together more than two decades of musical pedigree. There’s a dash of funk and classic rock-inspired groove, but the album really showcases Clutch as straight-forward rock ‘n’ rollers, giving listeners a sense of the band’s live show.
Whether he’s in the studio or on the road, Clutch guitarist Tim Sult turns to Gibson guitars to get the tone and growl to sustain the band’s towering sound. Sult spoke with me at a recent stop of the band’s “The Missing Link” tour with Mastodon to talk Gibson guitars and what to expect from Clutch’s upcoming album. After seeing both Clutch and Mastodon on tour, I have to recommend both acts for anyone with a penchant for heavy, punishing hard rock and metal that also has a sublime groove.
You’re a loyal Gibson player. What Gibson models are you using on this tour with Mastodon?
I go back and forth between SGs and Les Pauls, so tonight, I actually have SGs onstage with me. On the new album, I played a ’59 Reissue for every song. One guitar, for the whole album. It was the best-sounding guitar I had, and that’s why I wanted to use it on the album.
What make the SGs a good fit for you and your playing style?
I feel like I’m a happier person in general if I play a SG for the show. I have more fun playing SGs than any other guitar on tour. With an SG, the access to the higher frets, of course, is great for me. Tonight, I have one of the Silverburst SG “guitar of the week” things that happened a few years ago, that’s my main guitar and what I’ve been playing for every show. I also have a 1990 ‘61 Reissue that’s great. It’s factory blue, and it’s really blue.
Clutch have been together for more than two decades. What inspires you to push forward and keep making music?
I think at this point it’s too late for us to quit, because we’ve been doing this for so long. It would be really no fun for me to go get a regular job. I think we just managed to last so long because we kept focused on working on new material and moving forward and continuing to tour and build our fan base. I think we’ve kept going just because we love playing music and enjoy playing shows.
“Earth Rocker” marked Clutch’s 10th studio album. How do you guys go about writing music?
We usually get into a room together, and the songs can start different ways. Somebody can come in with three riffs that are already together that sound like a song, or we can just end up with one basic idea we start beating around and eventually mold into something that sounds like a song. It’s always a collaboration. We get together, and we all work on the songs together and get them to the point where we all love them.
Your 11th studio album drops in September, “Psychic Warfare.” What can you tell us about the new tracks?
We as band members are very happy with the album. We’re very proud of the songs we wrote. We’re very happy with the whole thing, and we just hope Clutch fans like it, too. You can expect the best Clutch has to offer at this time in our lives. There are a few vibe-d out tracks that I think turned out really well, and I think people are going to like them. There are also some different style rock songs. We have some more funky, almost ZZ Top-y rock songs that are done in a different way than in the past. There’s a lot of “Earth Rocker”-type fastness and heaviness, but guitar-wise, I would say it’s a little more in-your-face and distorted than “Earth Rocker.”
Photo credit: Anne Erickson