Clamfight has a much better ring to it than, say, Mollusk Warfare (and we already have Insect Warfare). We'd quickly exhaust our nautical jokes in a sentence or two so we'll leave it at the headline. Here's the scoop: for your listening pleasure below is Clamfight's new album I Versus The Glacier. This writer digs it. Following the stream we spent a few minutes with drummer and vocalist Andy Martin contemplating their Molly Hatchet fixation.
Listen, read and learn about this New Jersey based band. Then, go turn some loaves into, um, clams? Check out Clamfight on Facebook or Bandcamp. I Versus The Glacier will be released by Maple Forum on Jan. 22.
Why the name Clamfight?
It came about through the lethal combination of post jam session beers, 22-year-olds who think they're funny, and Skinemax. I'll be the first to admit it's a dumb name and we've actually had label types tell us "change the name and we'll talk" but changing the name to "Black-insert-medieval-weapon-or-mega-fauna-here" was never really an option. We're serious about our music and I Versus the Glacier is an intensely personal record for me, yet we don't take ourselves all that seriously as people. With a name like Clamfight it's kind of impossible to forget that no matter how much of ourselves we pour into the music, we're still grab-assing in the truck before the show, and for that matter, probably during and after the show as well. Basically, for Clamfight the grab-assing is almost as important as the rocking-your-face and our name'll help you remember that.
For those new to the band, how did you start playing together?
Joel, Louis, and I started playing together in junior high. Joel had hair like Kurt Cobain and wore a lot of cardigans which in 1993 was pretty clutch, and Louis lived around the corner. They found Sean in guitar class I believe, which is also where they found that Louis' sausage fingers were more suited for bass than the sort of intricate pick sweeps and dive bombs that would one day define Clamfight's sound. We bashed our way through a few different line ups, many, many firehall shows, and a lot of hardcore infused breakdown-metal before our old band ended in 2002 and Clamfight began. Mercifully somewhere along the way we'd gotten into better music (Clutch, High On Fire, Eyehategod, etc) and strategically misplaced our basketball jerseys and my sweet ass cornrows.
Can you walk us through writing and recording I Versus The Glacier?
Sean and I do the lion's share of the writing and the other guys come in more heavily on the editing side of things. We knew we wanted to make a more cohesive record than our first one, Volume 1, and we wanted to make the most no bullshit heavy record we could. Because of that we had to cut a few songs right off the bat that had a more fuzzy rock and roll vibe, and replace them with songs we wrote to fit the keepers, which was something we'd never done before. The heavier stuff is always way more fun to play live so cutting the fuzz-jams didn't hurt all that bad.
After that it was back to Steve Poponi at the Gradwell House in Jersey to record it-he'd gotten a pretty solid record out of us on the first one when we hadn't initially set out to make a record, so we were pretty excited to see what he could do with the new stuff. Steve's also done live sound for us in Philly so he knows how we should sound and how to bring that out of us in the studio. After that we more or less moved into Gradwell for a long weekend and had a blast banging out the rhythm tracks and some of Sean's solos and then dropped in to do the rest of the leads, fixes, and my vocals whenever we had the time. That's another great thing about Poponi and The Gradwell House, they have a massive live room so we were able to record the majority of the album with all of us playing live in the same room and for us at least that's the way to get the best energy out of us. We're a live band, and if the record doesn't feel at least a little sloppy and chaotic then it just wouldn't be a Clamfight record.
Why do you call your tunes "music for fat dudes and the buxotic women that love them"
We were being harassed via email by a promoter for a show bio and I blurted that at him rather than give him one of those "Clamfight is blending genres to create a new breed of sonic nihilism for a new millennium" bios that are so staggeringly douche-chill inducing. Somehow it ended up sticking and we've rolled with it ever since. It's actually pretty apt, a friend of mine said about our shows, "this looks like Bear night at the Gay Bar" and also because buxotic is my favorite adjective for my favorite ladies, RIP Russ Meyer!
You've know each other since childhood. Do you ever get sick of each other?
Short answer: No because any time we have a disagreement we strip naked to the waist and settle it Arkansas Luggage style (a process I can't describe because the Deciblog's a family site).
Longer answer: Of course we do. Be it in the bands we had before Clamfight or in Clamfight proper, everybody except Sean (dude has both great hair and the patience of Job for our shenanigans) has kicked everybody else out at least once. That being said we always came back to each other because frankly when you've grown up together, and been there for each other through the really, really bad times as well as the good it gets pretty easy to step back, take a breath, and say "sorry I was being a dick last night." That and ruthless ball busting. Ruthless ball busting is key to how we relate to each other.
Are you fans of Molly Hatchet? (Eds: See the cover art)
Yeah man. Josh Wright, a really great tattoo artist who's currently working in Seattle, did the cover art for us and I do believe one of my first comments to him was "holy shit, I need a van so that can be painted on the side of it." But to take this question way too seriously we grew up in pre-internet South Jersey, where the biggest party of the year was when the local classic rock station scored Blue Oyster Cult for the Fourth of July. Bands like Molly Hatchet, B.O.C, Skynyrd, Boston, and Foreigner are just as much of part of our DNA as Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Sleep.
Clamfight photo by Victoria Bowman-Steinour