The Clams revisited
Name: The Clams
Genre: formerly listed as TV / Movie Surf, but prefer Go-Go powered Surf these days
Geographical Area: Central CT as always
Interview with: Dano Clam on 12/31/11 by email
Last Interview date: August 2005
Band formed: 2002
NESMA member since: 2003
2. Has your line-up changed since your last interview? If so, how?
Of no less importance than the musicians, are the go-go dancers. I can't overstate how important and inspirational the go-gos have been to me. I doubt The Clams would still exist without them. The Clamdiggers were the orignal go-go dancers with the Clams. That is Magic Wanda and Oceana - incredibly beautiful and talented and still doing an occasional show with us. Both Clamdiggers have their own bands and became less available, so Dano needed more go-go. I met more incredible ladies though some artsy friends in New Haven. The Nouveaux Pony Banditos go-go dance group was originally Mitzy-Lou and Polly Sonic. Mitzy-Lou was replaced by Dot Mitzvah and later joined by Kitty Katastrophe. These ladies really stoked my enthusiasm and creativity and are responsible for some of the biggest and most successful shows the Clams have ever had. Those Pony Bandito driven "Go-Go Smackdown" shows gave rise to even more go-go dancers. Veronica Vixen, Vanilla Frappe , Vivienne LaFlamme and Vanna Vroom formed Frisky-a-Go-Go. Soon Veronica teamed up with Dollie Danger while Vanilla, Vivienne and Vanna split off to form All Systems Go-Go! Both Frisky and All Systems Go-Go performed with the Clams and moved on to perform with many other bands too.
2a. If so, what process did you use to deal with the change in the line-up (ex. get a replacement, move to a smaller band, etc.)?
When Jimbo left the Clams, it stopped being an "us" band and became a "me" band. Pretty much every aspect of the band except playing bass and drums has been me. For good or bad, I know what I want The Clams to be. The core guitar / bass / drum surf instro character of the Clams never changed. I use networking and Craigslist to keep the band populated.
Not much. Every different musician that plays with The Clams leaves a different flavor and has different strengths, however I have specific bass and drum tones and styles that I want for The Clams.
3. Since your last interview has your music taken on new or different directions? If so, how?
Again, not much. We have more guest musicians (including singers) and other performers now. We have some new material that takes some slight detours into other musical styles, like Wu Tang Clam's funk version of Outer Limits or the bossa flavored Bossa Para Polly. The direction for the band is still to progress from the fun, engaging surf instrumental-based music that we are playing today to the even better, fun, engaging surf instrumental-based music that I imagine we could be playing.
4. What NESMA bands have you had an opportunity to perform with, or share a show with?
We have done many shows with 9th Wave, The Aquatudes, SPF-4, the Crustaceans and North Shore Troubadours. My apologies to all the bands I never really played with or forgot that I played with, but I think we have also done shows with Laika and Cosmonauts, The Rip Chords, Acoustic Surf Tones, Atom Bumz, Atomic Mosquitoes, Big Wipeouts, Blue Wave Theory, Bongo Surf, Bosch, Coffin Daggers, Commercial Interruption, Diamond Heads, East Coast Tremors, El Muchacho, Findicators, Gein and the Graverobbers, Howlin Thurstons, Thee Icepicks, Mr. Neutron, Mofos, Octomen, Outpatients, Preston Wayne 4, Recruders, Reverb Galaxy, Ronnie Lake, Sea Devils, Sharkskins, Shecky and the Twangtones, Simon and the Barsinisters, Squid Pussy, Strange But Surf, Surf and Turf, Surfalicious Dudes, TarantinosNYC, Tsunami of Sound, and Venice Beach Muscle Club.
We have done shows with the Nebulas (surf), Ghouls Night Out (garage / horror punk), Hollie and her Buddies, Jonny Earthquake (blues / rock), Big Fat Combo (garage / rock), The Radiation, Nasty Disaster, Thee Swank Bastards (surf / garage), Eh Steve and the Melon Farmers (classic rock and etc.), Sasquatch and the Sickabillies (psychobilly), Truckstop Playboys (rockabilly) and many, many more.
I would also like to mention some of the fabulous not-band performers we have shared shows with! DJ E-Bomb, DJ Zoloft, Burlesque Beauties, Dot Mitzvah, Kitty Katastrophe, Vivienne LaFlamme, Vanilla Frappe, Ruby Solitaire, Lily LaVamp and more!
6. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings? Has this changed since your last interview? If so, how?
We tend to play about 25% surf classics, 25% originals and the rest a mix of TV / movie themes, contemporary surf covers, and rock classics mutated into surf instrumentals. Although the set list has changed, the general theme has stayed the same.
In 2008 we released Acting Shellfishly. Like our earlier CDs, this was all done in my living room, but this was a much bigger effort. New recording gear and techniques. New songs. New musicians. The CD has sold relatively well. There is a lot I like about it, but there is so much more I want to do in the future. Check CDBaby or Deep Eddy!
8. Where does your band typically practice?
The band practices at my house. I keep drums and amps set up all the time. When
I have a regular crew, we typically do a 2 hour practice once a week.
Hawaiian shirts more often than not, but I never know what overalls, smoking jacket or luchador mask that the other musicians will show up wearing.
10. Do you ever have additional performers on stage with you?
11. How do you continue to get gigs?
All the gigs lately come from people finding us and asking us. We have been at this for 10 years and are very established. Cruising Craigslist and contacting venues directly has worked for us in the past.
12. Approximately how often do you perform out?