New Clintons CD: Time to reinvent?

I’d love to get lots of feedback on this topic, so if you don’t mind, type some shit in the form of a comment at the bottom!

Get your friends to hook me up with feedback too:

Ok, so we released Have Another in 2008. It usually takes a year or so for me to get a feel for how good the last CD REALLY was. In the case of Have Another, I’d have to say that it’s one of my faves. We play Jesus, Real Man, She’s a Chimney, Undercover World, Senior Kegger, & Dub T Bootay at almost every show and they’re all still really fun to play.

We’ve got a pile of new songs that we haven’t even tried to play live yet. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to approach the production of the next CD. Here are some factors that come to mind:

1.) We just released “Decade: The Best of 10 Years” so it would be cool to put everything in the past and sort of start with a totally fresh approach that doesn’t abandon what we’ve built, but that might be a little uncomfortable at first.

2.) I’ve Got The Clap is a tongue-in-cheek, comedy song that doesn’t really represent Clintons music but at the same time, it’s by far our most popular song when you consider 250k Youtube views in 3 months. Do we incorporate a few of our best non-serious comedy type songs? (Ferretmeister, I’m Irish, I Aint Shittn Ya, Keehr Beer, etc)

3.) We’re far past trying to “make it” in the sense of being an MTV or VH1 artist or being mentioned in the same sentence as Katy Perry or Keith Urban. You see, we’ve already “made it” as far as we’re concerned. We’ve got the most die-hard and loyal fan base any band could ever want. We’re proud of what we have. Yes, we want more fans but our first priority is to make you, our existing fan, shit your pants because we released the best Clintons record you’ve ever heard.

So my question to you is:

What is that one element you’ve always hoped for in a Clintons CD but you’ve never gotten? Any other ideas (left field, legit or not legit)? If you don’t have anything constructive to say, please just make something up and/or be a total smart ass. In our world, even those types of comments can stir up ideas for us.

31 Responses to New Clintons CD: Time to reinvent?

  1. Greengoathead September 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    You guys rock! I had heard of you simply because I am from SW MT, but never really heard you until RTR10. I was THOROUGHLY impressed. When I got back to work at my out of state job, I pulled your website and found the 19songs………..The greatest thing about you guys (IMO) is that you appeal to such a HUGE group of different people. As someone said above, I truly “see” myself in 90% of the songs and the other 10%, I see some of my friends! They are extremely personal and STORIED!! AWESOME. I have promised myself that I will make it to RTR11, and I truly hope that you guys make it next year. I mean Brett Michaels was awesome because I grew up in the 80s, but I would go just to see you guys!
    Keep up the good work and if I had a suggestion……….stick with what you are doing…..because it aint broken! Maybe put in a couple of live songs mixed with 3-4 covers of stuff that no one would expect from you and then some new ORIGINALS!!!
    Keep rippin’

  2. Josh Keller September 21, 2010 at 1:31 am #

    Have Another was great! I think if you guys want to delve into the off the wall comedic side, a Giggles release might be a better avenue for that and maintain a more historically “Clintons” sound with The Clintons. That being said, perhaps EP’s of some Heartless Wench, Giggles, covers, or other more “party time” songs would be an easy way to not only get the music out but also please the masses :) (DRUNKEN SCOTSMAN!!!) There is definitely a sound you guys have created that is unique, and truly your own. I love being able to listen to songs and pick up uniquely Montana elements to them, and I love the diverse makeup. The CD’s are great, but for me, The Clintons will always be a performing band, where I am able to take in the full experience of it all: from swing dancing, to sitting back and enjoying a premium adult beverage, to singing along to covers, to laughing my butt off as John decides to improvise another lyric, to rounding up the band members for another set with a goofy song. Capture that, and you’ve got the perfect album.

  3. buzzy hardwood September 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Your rhythm section has always been a strength. Don’t let that slide. Josh is a helluva percussionist and Levi is a drumming monster. No flash, just absolutely solid groove. You guys develop a good groove to a lot of different material. If you can bop, dance to it, or bob your head, it’s got some groove.

    Having heard “Gravity” played by John in a semi-private show, please consider that song for this CD. It’s very strong on the serious side of your music and I think people would like it.

    When you do something strongly country, what about a steel guitar, lap steel or dobro ala Poco from days gone by? It would have to fit, but, for instance, I think the right steel guitar part on “Follow Me Home” would have enhanced, not detracted from the country feel of the song.

    In all of this, don’t lose the quirkiness to the lyrics, the tongue-in-cheek poking fun at ourselves. I think people love the ‘surprises’ that come on every CD- “Living Large” with the heavy crunchy guitar and the next number is “Jesus…” a flat out metal/bluegrass number.

    You guys have a great sense of Montana and the Rocky Mountain country. It is varied, beautiful and unpredictable. Let your music flow from that. I can’t wait to hear what you cook up next.

  4. Jean September 15, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    As always we enjoy the unique perspective and sound that you bring to all the songs. The music is easy to listen to and learn. I’d like to see a Karaoke disc. I know I could get our favorite DJ on board with that. I am usually in the camp of “if an’t broke, don’t fix it” but every now an again you have to do something for yourself, just the way YOU ALL want to do it. That is the beauty of art.

    If you want to do something more soulful and introspective or “unplugged”, then do it! It will show everyone the growth in your music and the reflection of the changes in your lives. If you want to do something that rocks harder, bring it! We’re behind you 100% as most of your fans would be.

  5. Spencer September 15, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Double disc set. Hall and Oates covers on the first and Huey Lewis and The News covers on the second.

    • A.J. September 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

      This is the best idea yet.

      • Levi September 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

        Ditto.

  6. Redboy September 15, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    I love the style, but what about a compilation of live stuff? I know there is a lot of music I hear on the night cap that was never on an album. Or a CD of just various songs done on the night cap. I’ve actually recorded a couple of tracks off the night cap and added to my Clintons play list.

  7. Jenn September 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    I love that you HAVEN’T gone crazy MTV style! It keeps me selfish to keep you here in MT and able to see shows locally. ;) I love the variety and range of music. I love you can go from comedy to country to pop to rock and kick it all off with a great high energy song. I’ve always loved the slow, more meaningful songs that take me away to blissful day dreaming. On one hand….don’t change and lose your roots but on the other hand to grow is to change. I’m not one for cliche quotes but….“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction” Winston Churchill. Keep the beat it make you different and unique, it’s what won me over first show. TRIANGLE!!! I love the covers! It’s fun and puts a new spin on songs I already love. The slow song…even though you don’t play them live because it kills the energy sometimes, I loooove those. I sit eager for your new songs!!

  8. Jared Ridgeway September 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    I’d really like to see another Clinton’s Bootleg. I always felt that the Bootleg CD’s were a really unique thing – that a band would take the time/money/effort/etc to send me a CD (for free) of some of their music. The “free” part wasn’t even what made it so special, but rather it felt like I was given an inside glimpse as of what is next to come. Even if what is on the bootleg never makes it to a CD (maybe it’s a song that had no intentions to go on a CD, but let’s just throw it out there and see what happens). It doesn’t need to be polished or perfect – just raw music like before. Maybe an acoustic version. Especially now with the internet, it could even be a digital download which takes the cost down a lot. I realize that the idea of releasing non-perfect music might make some audiophiles cringe, but to me that was the best part. Bootleg #1 had some live songs from pervious albums that were great, and Bootleg #2 was just acoustic of what was to come. Many of the songs from the Tuesday nightcap would be perfect, “Vegas”, “Happy is the Way”, etc.

    Just quick, fun, dirty, and to the point.

    A Live CD would be awesome, I realize the expense and planning that has to go into this, but being able to capture the energy of a live Clinton’s show would be great. This could be anything from a planned live special event, or maybe as simple as just running an output into a computer and capturing what happens – throw it up on the internet and see where it goes.

    A Covers CD would be interesting. This could be a studio or live idea. I feel that the Clinton’s covers are usually better than the actual version by the real artist. “Dust the on Bottle”, “Save a Horse”, Mily Cyrus, and whatever else has been played over the years has always been really fun. I’m not sure how the logistics of recording covers work (if you need permission, pay royalties), but a digital download might bypass a lot of that.

    I think the small simple releases between records help tame the natural cycle that a band undergoes. There is the huge build up to a new record, the release, then the months after as it slowly goes back down to normal. I think by releasing stuff in-between it keeps the momentum going and keep the cycle on the “up-n-up”. (Not that Clinton’s music ever dies off, this might be a tip for different bands :)

    As far as the comedy song goes, it say put them out there. I think tossing a couple hidden/bonus funny song on a CD is a awesome.

    (A solo or John and Josh Duet might be able to capture of a lot of what is above.)

    As far as “the sound” goes, I’m in the “if it ain’t broke…” camp. The newer songs, such as Jesus, Real Man, Chimney, Undercover, that you mentioned are great songs- especially live. The high energy dance and party theme is what makes them fan favorites. But at the same time, looking at my iTunes and seeing what my (personal) top plays are: Come with me, Sex on the Radio, Time of Day, Out of her Mind (Album version and Bootleg), We Could Be, Walkin’ on Air (Album version and Bootleg), This is Perfect, College Daze, Dance Slow. So I think my overall idea with this is that while continuing to move forward, remember the past and what has got you to where you are today.

    We are Montanan’s, we are simple people that like good, fun, music about real people and real stuff.

    • Levi September 14, 2010 at 10:32 am #

      All very good points. We’ve always loved the thought of throwing EPs in the middle of full CD releases. I bet we’ve released about 6 imaginary EPs in the last two years:) We need to make that happen. Digital download Bootlegs would be easier and cheaper but with less hands-on personal touch…but it still might be the only way to actually get it done these days.

      I actually agree with a covers CD, oddly enough. Maybe not a full CD but maybe a five song EP with a certain theme.

      The live CD has always been a wish of ours but it takes the resources of a big time band to make it happen to the level of quality that we’d be happy with. Amazing engineering, the perfect venue with the right crowd, and a kick ass mix job.

      I want to see how 11th and Grant turns out. I think that’ll serve as a baseline for what the possibilities are. It should air around May 2011. I’ll get audio tracks before then though.

      Thanks for all of your thoughts, Jared!

  9. Joeinboise September 13, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Two words: Zamfir duet.

  10. Chris September 13, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    My wife and I are big Clintons fans (as are our kids now). We became fans because of your excellent live shows and then purchased the music. Since then I have sent out CDs to many of our friends, most of them in California to get the word out (one just wrote me, “Do they come to California?”).

    One of the reasons that I enjoy your music as much as I do is because of your musicianship (as a former drummer, I particularly love the tight snare sound on most of your recordings) and attention to songwriting craft. While your songs are often about the same kinds of subjects that other songs are, you do not approach them in the same way (what better “I’m bored with my job” song is there than “Grant Wants to be a Pirate”?). You guys have a facility with lyrics and John has a manner of phrasing that is unique. It is also clear that you do not see a sense of humor as an impediment, but an asset, to your music. Because of this you have been able to explore a variety of styles and remaining identifiably The Clintons. Whatever style you have chosen, it is clear that you approach it with %100 effort to be as authentic to yourselves as possible.

    To me it is not the style that you choose, but that you retain those essential qualities.

    • Levi September 13, 2010 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks for the words Chris! I think you’ve tapped into an element that I’m more aware of now than ever. “Because of this you’ve been able to explore a variety of styles and remain identifiably The Clintons”. This is a very liberating take on things. We’ve got some left-field ideas that will still be identifiably The Clintons.

      • Chris September 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

        I forgot to add to my original post that another quality of your songwriting was highlighted by my wife a few weeks ago. We were listening to some Clintons in the car and she, “When I listen to their music I can hear myself inside the song.” Anyone can write a lame song like “This Afternoon” which sounds like every other “let’s party” song on the radio. From The Clintons we get “Party (You Know We’re There)” and “Jesus, If You Get Me Out of This One.” In my lifetime I will never have a pool party with dozens of bikini-clad women (not least of which because I would soon be a single man again), but I do know what it’s like to celebrate the weekend with friends and I can remember circumstances in college not far removed from standing on a rooftop in my underwear. And what married person (especially men) cannot hear themselves inside “Out of Her Mind”?

        • Levi September 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

          This is a good point and it certainly bolsters our songwriting confidence. When analyzing a song I always ask myself if it has the “mirror” effect. Basically, does it make a person feel like they’re looking into a mirror…if it makes both myself and the listener feel that way, it’s probably a good song!

          • Chris September 27, 2010 at 10:26 am #

            Here’s my final post on the topic about your style. I noticed that in the 11th & Grant promo each groups gets a stylistic introduction (e.g., “The Brazilian Jazz of…), except The Clintons. He just introduces you as “The Clintons.” I think this says a lot about your musical versatility.

  11. kiki September 12, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    one thing I love about the “bonus” new tracks on Decade is that they sounded like the path the Clintons could have taken– your sound had become increasingly country (an I like county), but the Get Out of the Way” et al sound like a band that had stayed more on the frat rock/hip hop side of your earlier stuff (which I also like). I’d be interested to see what you do with that premise. 10 years down the road if the clintons had aggressively pursued one of the other musical paths.

    • Levi September 12, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

      Kiki, that’s awesome that you perceived those songs that way. That’s exactly the attitude I hade towards producing them. I learned a lot from recording those tunes and I think I walked away wanting more. On one hand, with Outta the Way, it was super simple rock band with hints of a horn section, and on the other hand, there was Mall Of America with equally weird lyrics but more hip hoppy production. I’d love to do more of that on the next record.

  12. Connie Hogan September 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Don’t change anything love your music just the way it is. More like the bean!!!! Love that song.

  13. bnl1969 September 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    first off, a live album is way over due…of course i would want to pick the setlist.

    as far as a “fresh approach”, i think you all need to do whatever is going to make you guys want to play shows and play music together. if playing the same sort of music as you have made in the past works for you then keep doing it, but if you need to go in a little different direction so that the music is fresh to you and keeps you engaged than do that. because we(fans) want to see you guys live, to me that is most important. we will always want you to play “LMP”, “Kinky”, “fan of the bean”,”sex on the radio”, etc. and would want to you keep putting out music like that, but if you guys get burned out playing those and quit playing live show..that would be bad.

    i personally love quirkiness in songs, not as overt as “the clap”( which i like), but “excuse to jam”, “leave me alone, “strange day in mexico” and “jesus…”. it would be great if you kept doing that, but i completely understand if you need to diverge from that.
    all i ask is that you do not go straight country, or jazz, or whatever..keep mixing up the genres.

  14. Blayne September 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    I love the idea of some “off the wall” songs being on the next album. The songs that you only seem to be able to hear at a live concert. Tree Hugger, Aggressive Squirrel, I’m Irish, Rugby is for Pussiesh, I ain’t shitt’n ya… that add to it with some more “Have Another” feel. Maybe a remake of “BEER AWAY”. Maybe a sweet touch would be to finish it up with “Love is What is IS!” Just keep doing what you do. Can’t wait for another album.

    • Levi September 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

      Maybe we can figure out how to release these types of songs without interrupting the integrity or cohesiveness of a studio album. I think there are a lot of these off-the-wall party songs that need to see the light of day in the form of a studio recording. Some ideas that come to mind are:

      1.) An EP of party songs (songs like beer away, box of wine, I ain’t shitn ya, keehr beer, ferretmeister, I’m Irish)

      2.) Bonus tracks that come as downloads when you buy the new CD

      Maybe both?

  15. Steve September 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Good thought. I think most creative things needs to either grow or die, but you guys are the creative ones, who aren’t dead yet.

    A couple ideas…How about:

    Attitude, and messages about leaving a better world for our kids than we were given?

    Fricken kick ass vocal and instrumental harmony?

  16. greg September 12, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    just keep evolving into the great band you,ve already become.you guys are a kick-ass band that i constantly spread the word about.when you play in great falls i,m there.until next time peace.out.

  17. Steve Russie September 12, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Please don’t stray too far from the Have Another sound. I thought that was a really nice mix of great “serious” ballads and “fun” rockers.

    Aside from new material, I would like to hear some live recordings.

    Keep you the great music, and like Wied said, If it ain’t broke.

    • Levi September 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

      We did a shoot for 11th & Grant (Montana PBS) several weeks back. I’m very close to getting some live mixes from them. If this happens, I plan on releasing them as free downloads well before the next studio album comes out!

  18. Levi September 12, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    You’re going the if it aint broke direction? Cool. I can appreciate that approach and I’m not apposed to it.

  19. WIED September 12, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    How about an album of duets? Just kidding. If it ain’t broke……………………

  20. A.J. October 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    How helpful. Thank you.

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