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The Clientele

Bonfires on the Heath

The Clientele in-studio, 3-11-2010

Recording engineer: Steven Kray, with assistance from Bill Ward

To hear Alasdair MacLean tell it, he’d be satisfied with his band’s legacy were they to wrap it up today. The Clientele frontman prefers burning out to fading away, it seems, citing what he calls the “British model” of acts like The Jam to American examples of musical longevity like the Grateful Dead. Nevertheless, the roots of The Clientele began nearly twenty years ago, and the band released their fifth full-length, Bonfires On the Heath, last fall on Merge. We talk to MacLean about the specific inspiration for the writing on that latest album, as well as his band’s relative U.S. success over the years.

Of note, The Clientele plays a version of Big Star’s “Nightime” during our session, recorded just eight days before the death of Alex Chilton. MacLean talks about Chilton and his band’s influence on the music of The Clientele in what seems now like a posthumous tribute.

The Clientele returned to Portland this week in support of Minotaur, the new “mini-album” MacLean referred to during our interview. Here’s one of the new cuts from Minotaur: “Jerry”

Photos: Inger Klekacz

See the full photo set here

Video: Jarratt Taylor / Anthony DelCalzo / Jay Jaacks

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