Clutch Channels Inner-Mad Scientists In 'X-Ray Vision' Music Video: Exclusive Premiere
Neil Fallon cuts a convincing mad-scientist figure in the video for "X-Ray Visions," the first track released from Clutch's upcoming 11th studio album Psychic Warfare. "It was method acting, I guess," he tells Billboard with a chuckle.
Nobody's expecting an Academy Award -- or even a Video Music Award -- for the clip, which premieres below exclusively on Billboard.com. But Fallon says director Dan Winter did get the heavy-rocking Maryland quartet to emote a bit more on screen than it has before. "We're not a band that's at all comfortable acting in a video. That's probably the most acting we've ever done in a video," Fallon says. "We're very comfortable with Dan; we've known him since 1993, really, but we feel most comfortable when we have our instruments in our hands. It's really his brainchild and he kind of made it up as he want along. The song has a very kind of specific narrative to it, with very specific things that happen, and the lyrics aren't particularly vague. I think Dan latched onto that by taking it as a springboard to one very literal interpretation and then to more vague ideas."
There are, in fact, plenty of concrete concepts in Clutch's dozen new songs this time out. "The lyrics are more narrative than probably any other previous Clutch album," acknowledges Fallon, who even invokes an early life passion for Stevie Nicks on another track, "Sucker for the Witch." "There's more action that happens. When I write a song there's usually some vague movie that's running in the back of my mind that the music has evoked, and I try to bring that to the words. I never wanted to be heavy-handed and say, 'This is a rock opera' or a concept record, because that can be oppressive. But I like lyrics and music that sound cinematic, because I like the escapism in rock 'n' roll."
Musically, meanwhile, Psychic Warfare was designed to be more compact and concise and make their points without much expansive jamming. "We rehearsed these songs into the ground before we tracked them," Fallon says. "On our older material we were much more ready to play a part for longer and feel like something we fell in love with needs to happen 32 times or 24 times. But then when you play it over and over again you realize it's better to have it more economical and efficient. Now, for whatever reason, we're more inclined to keep it short."
After wrapping up a spring and early summer tour with fellow Marylanders Mastodon, Clutch has been laying low while gearing up for Psychic Warfare's Oct. 2 release. Save for a handful of one-offs -- including GwarBQ on Aug. 14 in Richmond, Va. -- the group returns to the road in earnest during October and is also planning a holiday run through the Northeast with Australia, Europe and more North American dates planned for the first half of 2016. Clutch is also flirting with some key anniversaries -- this summer marks 25 years since the band's formation, August of 2016 will be the silver anniversary of its first gig -- but the new album has put any celebrations on the back burner.
"We haven't spoken about it because I think we're hesitant to look to nostalgia. We're always looking to do something new," Fallon explains. "But it may warrant something, maybe for next year. We'll have to see."