» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

December 7, 2004
One of the intrinsic problems with most avid followers of any pursuit is that, with time, it becomes increasingly easy to get lost in that pursuit. Take music, for example. As a listener's collection grows their tastes invariably change, leading them in new directions. After a time, from the remote vantage point at which they have arrived, it becomes difficult to look back and see all the details of the musical landscape across which they have come. As new music comes into focus, old favorites are forgotten. The same is true for any pursuit, be it books or film, and it is perhaps only the joy of rediscovery that outweighs new discoveries in sheer thrill factor. This column is dedicated to all of those past infatuations, those forgotten favorites from which we can still, if we remember, derive so much pleasure.


ARTIST: Clutch
TITLE: Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes & Undeniable Truths

There was a time when I would flip to MTV late Saturday nights, and wait for one of the few programs worth watching on a station inundated with dreck - a show that would keep me up late enough that hockey practice the next morning bred complaints and surliness - the Ricky Rackman hosted Headbanger's Ball. It was a time when metal still held some weight in this country, when the latest Megadeth album was a best seller and when finding another Pantera or Sepultura release sent tingles down my spine (or for that matter, finding those bands for the first time on that very show). It was a time when bands like Crowbar and Death debuted new videos, when Morbid Angel seemed taboo and Slayer were obviously evil men that could wail on their guitars like the demons they apparently worshipped.

I remember one fine evening quite vividly when a little band called Clutch released a video for their song "A Shogun Named Marcus." Monster trucks and all, the video was fairly pointless, if memory serves - mostly stock footage of shady people on a farm and large trucks crushing things - but the song, my god, the song. There was a time when Clutch kicked so much ass that it was best to listen to them in a group to offer more asses for the slapping. Ricky Rackman even commented on the perfection of metal and monster trucks mingling at long last.

The year was 1993, and I was early on in my high school career, just a little sprite trying to find my way socially while helping define my identity through music. The song was the first track on the disc Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes & Undeniable Truths, just one of 11 oddities that compile one of my favorite discs, even with more than 10 years past.

I recall coaxing my mother to buy me the CD even though it had an unusual, purple parental warning label on the cover and feeling dirty for doing so. That week, the disc was circulated among friends and copied to tape, and I recall discussions in the computer lab during German class about how bizarre Clutch's lyrics were. It's true, not every band can pull off numbers about the apocalypse and popular cola beverages, rednecks holding Japanese royalty on the farm, or a song about the big city's favorite rodent, the rat.

Clutch was not simply another metal band. They rocked hard, to be sure, but the key is that they could rock. Their formula wasn't restricted to huge riffs and guitar solos, as evidenced by their progression from sludgy, post hardcore metal to a funk-rock outfit, retaining little of their musical sound save for the twangy guitars and Neil Fallon's gravely vocals. Clutch was the type of band that bordered on exploding but managed to contain themselves in a sweaty, shaky mess; their power lessened considerably on their second album, and by their third, I was lost in a hundred other bands and sounds.

Even though I've lost touch with their music, however, their first album receives its fair share of playing time when I'm feeling a bit nostalgic - when I can't stop singing lines like "Yes, I'm a New World Samurai, and a redneck nonetheless," or when I feel like kicking a little backside in the hollows of my mind.

David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other articles by David Spain.



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