Interview with Austin LeDuc
by: Linda Spielman
With their debut album
titled Healthy Manipulation having just hit the streets in
early November 2002, the band Clockwise
is hitting the road, while alternative airwaves are claiming them
as nothing more than a straightforward, hard-hitting rock group.
Currently out on tour
with Kittie, the members of Clockwise are no strangers to hard work.
Every new up and coming band may say that, but this is a band who
truly means it. Within most local music scenes, a band has to compete
with other bands. However, how does a band compete with their hometown
as a whole? Competing with a rival band for attention, fans and
label interest is tough in any city, but since the late 1990s, Clockwise
has had to compete with all that is the glitz and glamour of their
hometown of Las Vegas.
Austin LeDuc, Alfonso
Bernal, Justin Pasquale, Scott Beare and Dave McMahan, brought Clockwise
to life as high school buddies. Their sound and live show can best
be described as "in your face rock and roll." Although
critics might try to classify them as alternative with a punk edge,
the band's front man LeDuc is quick to point out that no matter
what genre, it's all rock and roll. "Led Zeppelin, Sound Garden
and grunge in general--- it's all riff-based rock and roll. And
we're no different."
The inspiration and reflections
in the band's music are that of rebellion against everything that
their hometown embodies and of trying to be heard in the midst of
a place where everything is glitz, glam, girls, gambling and all
that is surreal in nature. Such aspects of growing up in Sin City
are evident in "Lay Her Down," the band's first single.
McMahan best describes the aura surrounding their debut release.
"We went for a muscular melodic sound with solid grooves throughout."
How does an honest, no
gimmicks rock band get noticed by people and labels when there is
already so much going on ALL the time? "The local music scene
is so small that bands 'become' out of necessity to stay alive.
We got together in high school. To get noticed by the labels and
prove you're something else besides the glitter, glitz, gambling
and hoopla stigma that our hometown is equated with is very hard.
We ventured out and played such places as The
Gig in LA, and CBGB's in New
York City in order to break away from that, so people and the labels
really had to take notice," LeDuc points out.
As the band relentlessly
kept playing any club and bar that would have them, the fans and
the buzz started to follow. LeDuc again emphasizes how living and
playing in his hometown helped to shape the band. "If you don't
play at volume 10, and you're just not raging, people don't pay
attention. And if you're not larger-than-life, louder-than-hell
and power packed, you're not going to draw a crowd." Once the
buzz started locally, it was easier for the band's manager to get
label reps into town to check out the guys live. RCA's Steve Ferrera
saw the potential behind the buzz and had the band sign with RCA
Having opened on the
Sammy & Dave Tour and for Alice Cooper, the band recently has
gotten back to their club roots--- opening a series of dates with
Kittie in the
Fall of 2002. As with any new band, the guys in Clockwise have been
eager to prove themselves on this tour. LeDuc remembers that after
about the third show on the tour, they were afraid the audience
wasn't embracing them and their music. When they realized that they
didn't need to go out on stage every night with the mentality of
proving their worth, but on concentrating on the true fun of playing
live, the audiences' attitudes changed. "We changed our attitudes
from trying to make every show a killer show, to just going back
to playing for the pure enjoyment of playing. Since then every show
has been amazing."
With the saturation of
Pop and resurgence of Urban Hip-Hop, bands like Clockwise are relying
heavily on the strength of their live performance to draw fans.
They pride themselves on the energy of their shows and feel quite
confident that that is where they will make their mark and break
into the national consciousness, along with gaining increased radio
Although growing up in
such a glamorous and money driven city, LeDuc's perception of music
comes across as very "East Coast." He and the band enjoy
the reception they have gotten in such "blue collar" towns
as Toledo. "All of Ohio shows have been off-the-hook. Everybody
is just going out and having a good time. I can be in Cleveland
or wherever and talk about anything and I get this great response
from the crowd," LeDuc notes. LeDuc also has experienced the
whole "what can you do for me" mentality that the West
Coast sometimes exhibits. Touring extensively been has giving the
band a new perception of just how diverse different areas of the
country are musically and personally.
Although Clockwise is
new to the music scene, their perception on what encompasses music
as a whole is very unjaded, despite their jaded hometown surroundings.
"You put down your expressions and feelings into a song as
a piece of work. Playing is about a good time, not necessarily about
always having to move the crowd. A rock star isn't a rock star because
of his shiny clothes or big stage production. They're a rock star
because they care about the people, the music they play, and most
importantly, playing the music live," LeDuc points out.
With grounded attitudes
on their music and live shows, Clockwise's buzz has left Las Vegas
and is gaining national attention. The band will be out with Kittie
until mid-November 2002. After that, they will be going out with
the Murder Dolls. For more information on Clockwise, check out www.clockwiseband.com
courtesy of RCA Records