Blasting out of Bournemouth this titillating trio are here to save the future of British RAWK music. Come taste the hairy Clams
Interview by Conan Troutman
Gravy: Introduce Yourselves.
Clams: OK, we have Rich Peacock on guitar/vocals
Andy Guttridge on the bass
& Pete Giles thumping his tubs
Gravy: The Clams have been receiving a lot of excellent write ups from both the major metal mags Kerrang and the indie press like NME; you must be very flattered?
Clams: It's cool to get good reviews and anyone who says they don't give a shit are lying! Although, it's probably a good idea not to read them good or bad, because then you keep some kind of even keel without any outside interference!
Gravy: Why do you think you have this cross over appeal; the indie rags and mainstream are notoriously hostile to anything that smacks of classic rock?
Clams: I think it's because the magazines know how fragile we are and any kind of poisoned pen attack would lead us to cry for days upon days! Nah, I think it's maybe because we try to incorporate a bit of variation in what we do. We're not just classic rock, stoner rock or whatever it's called rock - we're just a rock band that tries to swallow a lot of different influences and shit them out in a Clam type way.
Gravy: Does that tag bother you?
Clams: See above - yes!
Gravy: Your sound has been compared to Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top and Nirvana amongst others; so
who are your influences?
Clams: We're all huge Zep fans but especially our drummer Pete who has a non gay fascination with John Bonham. I love Kyuss just because of their earthy, big sound - John Garcia's vocals are great as is Josh Hommes guitar playing. Obviously Nirvana were great but I'm not too sure about ZZ Top - I generally trust men with beards but when they're that big you don't know what they've got hiding under there.
Gravy: 'You Bring Me Worry' had a very Soundgarden groove to my ears?
Clams: Yeah, I guess it's because of the downtuned groove effect of the song. I wanted to achieve a big fat groove but with a melodic vocal tune over the top - like Jabba the Hutt wearing a chiffon scarf.
Gravy: Apart from music what inspires you?
I wish I could come up with some decent answer for this but the upshot of it is, is that I'm a sad little man who thinks about music 24/7. I suppose that daydreaming inspires me because it's nice to get away from reality. So yes, music, daydreaming and err, bloody marys.
Gravy: The Zeppelin influences are undeniable on the instrumental tracks on the new album (October and StickleBirch); I guess you listened to your Dads' copy of Led Zep III a lot when you were growing up?
Clams: Led Zep - never heard of em!
Gravy: Joking asisde - You have a very mature sound for such a young band; who writes the material?
Clams: Well, I am the only member of Clams who has pubic hair, and so the mature sounding songwriting falls on my shoulders!
Gravy: Do you feel under pressure to deliver quality tracks on your own?
Clams: Not really, I suppose I have my own version of quality control on the stuff I write - If something sounds crap to me then I'll bin it - If it's good then I'll demo it. I really enjoy writing stuff alone because no one interferes although I do love what happens when the whole band plays a new song together.
Gravy: How do you personally construct a song? Lyrics first or music, do you jam till something clicks?
Clams: Music first and then usually I get an idea for a vocal melody - I normally sing gibberish along to a guitar part to get the melody and then write the lyrics afterwards.
Gravy: Have you had any label interest in the new material?
Clams: Yeah, we've had a lot of interest from labels in the US for the new stuff. I think that as a whole the US has much more time for rock music at the moment because the UK seems far too wallowed down with image and trend. Unless you are the next Kaiser Franz Shamble Light band they don't seem up for the RAWK!
Gravy: The first Clams album was also highly acclaimed, particularly the track Robert Johnson, but it didn't seem to get the push it deserved; what happened?
Clams: We were really pissed off that the album didn't get a chance - basically we recorded it and then the label turned round and said that they couldn't release it. We even had really good album reviews in Metal Hammer etc. and then no release date - it was insane! That is why we wanted to make a clean break with the new album - we did everything ourselves and are now able to look around freely for a new home and hopefully find someone who can push Clams.
Gravy: I recall having problems getting a review copy from your management; is this the curse of dealing with indies?
Clams: I think the trouble with some indies is that there are only very few people working there and don't have enough time to deal with everything. Either that or they're lazy bastards!
Gravy: Would you sign to a major label; what could they offer you that would make you sell your soul at the crossroads?
Clams: I would have no hesitation in signing to a major if the deal was a good one. You get a certain amount of people who say 'hey man, keep it underground' - well, fuck that, I want to be overground, underground, wombling free. It might suit some bands, but I want as many people as possible to hear Clams and as long as we don't have to compromise on our sound and can just be ourselves, then bring it on.
Gravy: It's kind of ironic that you have no pretensions to punk; either in image or sound and yet you seem to possess the energy and ethic of the genre that a lot of so-called punk bands lack?
Clams: I think that it is important to achieve goals and in order to do that you have got to push yourself all the time. We have a kind of D.I.Y. ethic that works for us because we don't like people telling us how to record or write. A lot of the so-called punk bands today don't even write their own songs and for them the idea of punk boils down to nothing more than a haircut. File in-between Jordan's breasts and label FAKE!
Gravy: Do you feel that bands such as the Clams, Sludgefeast, Winnebago Deal are
bringing the energy back to British rock music that has been lacking for the last few years?
Clams: I'm not sure, I think that all 3 bands have a good energy and it was probably brought on by the fact that there hasn't been any really good rock bands coming out of the UK recently - you kind of make your own energy to fill the void.
Gravy: Is it hard trying to break in the UK; both in terms of getting gigs and publicity?
Clams:Getting gigs hasn't been too much of a problem for us at the moment but publicity in the major mags is much more difficult without a label backing you up. It all boils down to dirty old cash at the end of the day.
Gravy: How much has the Internet replaced traditional means of getting noticed, such as touring and zines; The Artic Monkeys for example have just hit the number one spot in the UK with a corking track and they basically did it all through the Web; is this the future of RnR?
Clams: The internet is brilliant for bands and it is getting easier each day for people to hear you. I think that downloads are great too but I cant be doing with ripping one song by a band for track one, then another band for track two - It prevents people from taking a risk and buying the album on the strength of one song and finding some treasure. I'm still into the idea of getting a full album by a band rather than buying a song for 70p or whatever.
Gravy: So what's next for the Clams?
Clams: Well, we have recently gained a manager who is great. She is going to America to talk to a few labels who are interested in releasing the new album, so hopefully we'll get the record out and then do some serious touring. I cant wait to start touring again because it has been so long - without a label it is very hard trying to finance a tour and it gets very frustrating because you want to get out there and play your music.
Gravy: Do you feel the world is your oyster?
Clams: Ha, ha! - no, more of a barnacle
Gravy: How can people get in touch?
website: www.clams-rock.com or www.myspace.com/clams or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gravy: Thanks for doing this.