Over the last 20 years, Clutch has bred a cult following most artists would give their left arm for. Alternatively described as a punk band, a jam band, a stoner rock band and a metal band, their discography proves that they are all that and more. Clutch is made up of Neil Fallon (vocals, guitar), Tim Sult (guitar), Dan Maines (bass) and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums). Though they have nine studio albums and a selection of live albums, EPs and B-side compilations, they maintain their fan loyalty through a steady touring schedule with a variety of accompanying acts. The band has its roots in Maryland, where they spent their early years playing every venue that would allow them to plug in. As they grew in popularity, they started covering wider and wider areas and eventually started touring the country regularly. Now, they spend time in both the States and Europe, where they’ve picked up a large following. “The more often you get a chance to get over there, the better,” said Maines. “We play as many festivals as we can squeeze in. Europeans are more open-minded because of the festival culture.” The last show they played in Europe before starting their U.S. tour was the Esquina Festival in Spain. They were scheduled to play on day two, at 2:45 a.m., and wondered who would be left to listen to them. But when they began, “Everyone was there,” said Maines. “We haven’t had many opportunities to play in France or Spain,” he said. “But we have lots of shows in Germany, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Scandinavia. Sweden and Norway are really, really good to us. We’ll be there again in the fall.” Right now, however, they’re amped for their US tour that includes a Cleveland show with Flogging Molly — not quite the same genre of music, but a pairing that Maines felt confident about, “I think it’s going to go over well. Somebody who is an average Clutch fan has a wide taste in music,” he said. Clutch has toured successfully with bands like Gwar and Corrosion of Conformity, so he knows what he’s talking about. Unlike many bands, Clutch also has a unique side project, called The Bakerton Group. “The Bakerton Group is all of us,” said Maines. During their “Elephant Riders” period, they had just been booted from the Atlantic label and had yet to sign on with Columbia. “Limbo enabled some creative output. [We] didn’t have think about writing a Clutch song or recording a Clutch album.” Hence The Bakerton Group, an instrumental outfit that focuses on the musicality and creativity of the artists beyond their songwriting abilities. Where most musicians have side projects that involving separating from the band to work with other artists, Clutch has a side project that simply involves doing something different. It’s that kind of attitude that keeps fans coming back. Unfortunately, Clutch’s popularity means that The Bakerton Group has been on the back burner for a while. “We have been so busy with the Clutch business, we haven’t been able to do much with The Bakerton Group,” said Maines. “Right now we’re in the middle stage of writing a new Clutch album. And it becomes difficult to write when you’re on the road.” Fortunately, this means that a new album isn’t too far down the road. The band has cut back to touring only five to six months a year. “[Touring] is manageable in small enough chunks, but after 20 years the novelty of travel has worn off,” said Maines. In their down time they’re still close, sticking to their Maryland roots and “jamming at JP’s house. That’s pretty much the central location.” That will give them plenty of time to polish their work, especially since they now own their own record label. Weathermaker Music is run by John Nardachone, an executive who’s supported them since their first album and is cited as “a big part of our development,” according to Maines. The label only handles Clutch and The Bakerton Group, so hopefully that new album will be out in no time. While you’re waiting for the new album, be sure to check out Clutch at Nautica with Flogging Molly on July 28.