Local Music Q & A

February 18, 2010

Rock/metal musicians forge new identity as Clubber Lang


Clubber Lang represents the best of what the churning tides of the Portland music scene can produce.


Most memorable show so far: Our best show so far was the big Halloween party at Geno’s this past fall. Great crowd, amazing costumes. We all dressed as killers from horror movies.

Best crowd in Portland: Well, obviously the crowd that comes to our shows. Just kidding. Not really. That’s a tough one. There are so many places to play and lots of good people that hang out at each one of those places. One of our favorites is Geno’s. You can’t go wrong with the people there. They are all fans of hard rock/metal/punk etc., and the staff there is awesome. JR is the man. We also really like Empire. That’s a great room, and the people there are always into the music.

Ever actually knocked anyone out in the Old Port? Well, it’s funny that you mention that. There was this one incident that happened at Bill’s Pizza involving a group of belligerent drunks and a staple hammer …

Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus? It would be awesome if the two of them could be genetically bound into one person – Taylor Cyrus or Miley Swift. Actually, you could make both of those entities and have them do a celebrity auto-tune death match. Whoever can sing the most notes without needing auto tune would be the winner and therefore allowed to live. The loser would go to music hell to hang with the likes of Milli Vanilli, Vanilla Ice, Ashley Simpson and New Kids on the Block.

Mr. T’s most important quality: It would have to be his punching ability – he did win that big bouncer competition – or his masterful use of his voice. Nobody will ever do justice to the phrase, “I pity the fool!” the way that Mr. T did. Also, his video for his song “Mother There Is No Other, Like Mother So Treat Her Right” is pretty amazing.

Formed mostly from the ashes of stoner rock bands Eldemur Krimm and Supersoul Challenger, Joey Nash, Stefen Samuels, Ian Riley and Sean Slaughter have added enough brawn and crunch to their sound to scare all the hippies out of the room.

Above all, they have retained the resolve to keep going, keep creating, reinventing themselves and getting their reps on stages around town.

Not only does this constant performing cultivate a mystique for the Clubber Lang brand, it also allows the band to become a more nuanced team of musicians on stage.

Not the type to go quietly into the night, the Lang romps, rips and throws lamps against walls with its growing rumble. As its own small coronation, the band shares the stage with Maine metal titans Twisted Roots this Friday at Empire Dine and Dance.

If you miss that show, you can catch Clubber Lang at MJ’s Tavern in Brunswick on Saturday, where the boys will be playing with Spawn of Man and the Marble Socket. You can stream demo tracks at www.myspace.com/clubberlangpredictspain.

GO recently chatted via email with Slaughter, one of the veteran players who have remade themselves as a new band on the rise.

In “Rocky III,” Clubber Lang is asked how he thinks his fight will go with Rocky Balboa. Mr. T famously retorts: “My prediction? Pain.” On your MySpace page, you describe your music as “sounding like” pain. What’s going on here? Are you trying to hurt people?

Yes, we are trying to hurt people, emotionally. Not physically. Maybe physically …

What’s the most challenging part about being a rock/metal band in Portland?

The toughest thing about being a rock/metal band in Portland is fighting off all those crazy groupies. It’s tough to get things like shopping done, because they show up in mobs and rip all your clothes off.

What artist that you admire has most pushed the boundaries of this sound?

Jane’s Addiction, Queen, Motorhead, Sabbath, Alice Cooper, etc. …

Who are some of the band’s closest collaborators in Portland? Whom do you trust to team up with around here?

We have been together for a year but have only played four shows because we wanted to write lots of music instead of playing live. But the bands that we have played with are Arcane Lore, Batshelter, Antiseptic and Murcielago. We would like to do a show with Pig Boat and Covered in Bees.

Also, we’re totally psyched to be sharing a bill with Twisted Roots this Friday night at Empire. They are one of Portland’s greatest bands.

On “Mjolnir,” the song ranges from a Pink Floyd haze to focused, hard-charging rock. Do you write with this tension/release in mind?

On “Mjolnir,” which is Norse for “Hammer of Thor,” the dynamics musically are centered around the emotion of the lyrics. The song was written by Sean about the unexpected and sudden passing of his pet wolf Thor, and the out-of-body experience Sean had the morning Thor died. 

Describe your evolution since the Eldemur Krimm and Supersoul Challenger days.

There are definitely some elements of Krimm and Supersoul in Clubber Lang, but those bands were definitely more on the stoner-rock edge. Clubber Lang is a whole different world away musically, and largely guided by the musical prowess of Joey Nash.

Joey and Sean formed CL in the spring of ’08 with Eddie Dickhaut (East Wave Radio) on drums and Keiran Donahue on bass. Eddie and Keiran departed, and Stefen was recruited on drums. Stefen recommended Ian Riley, who at the time was drumming for Anna’s Ghost, to come jam as the bassist. The lineup was solidified at that point. 

How is the record coming? When can we expect it?

The record is coming along quite nicely. We are recording and mixing it ourselves at Sean’s V69 recording studio. We hope to be finished tracking it by the end of February and have it mixed and mastered in March, so it should be ready for release sometime around mid-spring. Hopefully.

Where will Clubber Lang be in five years?

Hopefully the world won’t end in 2012, and Clubber Lang will still be around in five years knocking out fools with rock ’n’ roll!

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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