Learning Curve

Clutch Cargo doesn't have to suck in front of its friends anymore

Wood is referring to Drew Tidwell, one of the founding members of Clutch Cargo, who left the band two months ago. The band had just finished recording with former Hagfish bassist Doni Blair at Dave Willingham's studio when Tidwell broke the news to the band. Although Tidwell had been with Clutch Cargo from the beginning, he decided it was time to grow up and finish working on his master's degree -- being a full-time student didn't leave much time for band practice. Since his schedule was already full with classes (both the ones he attended and the ones he taught), the band wasn't completely surprised by Tidwell's departure, just by the way that it happened.

"He literally laid down the last track, walked outside, and quit the band," Karchevsky says, still a little mystified by the turn of events.

"He just wanted to be on a CD," Ott adds.

Clutch Cargo is, from left: Jeremy Shelby, Ted Wood, Alex Karchevsky, and Chris Ott.
Clutch Cargo is, from left: Jeremy Shelby, Ted Wood, Alex Karchevsky, and Chris Ott.

"I guess, just to have something to show for being in the band," Karchevsky agrees.

It didn't take long for Clutch Cargo to recruit Wood, although Karchevsky jokes, "We had to go through Craig Welch first." The 29-year-old Wood (who the band claims has been 29 for the past three years) adds much-needed experience to Clutch Cargo, which features a bass player -- Ott -- who only recently graduated from high school. Fittingly for a kid who has been in the band since he was 16, Ott chose not to participate in his graduation ceremonies, opting to join the other members of the band at a GWAR concert at Deep Ellum Live. "That's really classy," Wood says.

With Wood on board, the band is busy rehearsing, as well as making final plans to release two records by the end of next month. First up is a five-song single on Small Things Amplified Records, a preview of the band's full-length that will come out a couple of weeks later. The disc -- 11 shards of angular punk that sounds like it might have been recorded by Baboon's kid brothers -- will be released on either Hot Link Records, the label run by Cornhole's Wally Campbell, or Re-Do Records, another local imprint founded by a musician, the Cleaners' Jef King. Or maybe neither.

"Yeah, there's a bidding war for us, between Hot Link and ourselves," Wood says, laughing. Just then, the Stars take the ice again, ready to finish the game. Wood and the band turn back to the TV, losing the conversation somewhere between a pass from Mike Modano to Brett Hull. Clutch Cargo may be on its way to bigger and better things, but right now there are more important things than debut albums and upcoming shows to worry about. Even for a punk band from Nacogdoches.

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