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Fighting & Violence: Neil Fallon

You grew up around the DC hardcore scene. Were those shows as brutal as history suggests?

Yeah, but there were different schools. The Dischord scene didn’t tolerate that at all, but the New England and New York scenes were more violent.

Did you get caught up in it?

I’ve seen terrible fights. The worst usually would have a background of some kind of political persuasion, which is just laughable, because you had eighteen- and nineteen-year-old kids wearing their political beliefs on their sleeves when they had basically just learned how to wipe their asses.

Are you as aggressive in real life as you sound with Clutch?

Not in the least. I can be very relaxed and calm, probably because every day I get to scream into a microphone for an hour and a half. It’s the guy that bottles up his road rage who goes out and does something terrible.

Have you ever punched any of your bandmates?

We had our shouting matches early on, but nowadays we’re mellow as mellow can be.

Here’s a theory: the longer your beard gets, the more mellow Clutch’s music becomes. Like Samson in reverse.

Ha! Well, I do have an inkling to shave it off. But I haven’t seen what’s underneath for years. I’m a bit afraid of what I might find.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.