Drumming Philosophy – Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch


For the first time in their career leading up to an album, Clutch really pulled back the curtain with a series of behind the scenes videos. Clutch discussed their writing and recording processes openly, a tried to articulate the intrinsic elements that makes Clutch what they are. It was refreshing. We asked Jean-Paul Gaster next about stepping out of the groups’ comfort zone collectively and what that added to the album:

I think we’re getting better at it. When we first got into this thing, we didn’t really know what the hell we were doing. Those things you are describing, those intangibles, you can’t really verbalize those things because you don’t really fully consensualize what’s going on. We’ve been around for so long, we’ve played so many shows, made so many records. I think we are better at those things, and just talking about the music. I think we are better at that as well.

With opportunity to talk shop with JP about drums, and knowing he is into a lot of Jazz and blues guys, and a lot of kinds of music that other people normally don’t call attention. JP discussed his favorite drummers, and who’s influenced him. He also mentioned, and who is contemporary that is influencing him now:

Early on, I had the opportunity to see some really great drummers that really formed the way that I look at the drums, my perspective of that. One of the first guys I ever saw was Elvin Jones, and I had the opportunity to see him play many times. I think one of the things that most inspired me about him was that for me, he was greater than just a jazz drummer. He transformed the way that people looked at the drum kit. For me he was very influential and continues to be very inspiring. I got to see a lot of go-go shows early on in Washington D.C. For me, that music is very important. I got to see great drummers like Brandon Finnely and JuJu House. These were guys who played incredibly strong groove, incredibly strong pocket. A lot of times when I’m up there playing, I still think about those guys. I saw Earl from The Bad Brains. He was great. We got to tour with some of my favorite drummers too. Igor Cavalera, from Sepultura. We did a tour with Pantera, got to see Vinnie Paul. These guys really informed the way that I look at the drums and these things just come out in the music today.

Clutch, by Keith Chachkes

Clutch, by Keith Chachkes

One thing about Jean-Paul that the average fan might not know is that he doesn’t single out brands that he is endorsed by. his philosophy of drumming is much the same as his approach to gear:

I don’t think you ever really reach that point. If you ever get to the point where you think to yourself man, I now everything there is to know about this particular drum or this particular style, it probably means that you don’t know anything about that particular style. For me, it’s about the process. It’s not about the end result. It’s not about “I’m going to do these exercises and I’m going to master this style.” That’s not really the goal. For me, the goal is to go through the process, to learn that stuff, internalize that stuff and then make it your own thing. For me, that’s never going to end. I never see an end in sight. Sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating, but I love it.

You can catch Clutch on the road with Lamb Of God and Corrosion of Conformity this spring.



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