MRM recently interviewed blues-rocker Clay Melton. Melton spoke about his origins, working with legends in the studio, new music and much anticipated tour. For more information, please visit claymelton.com.
MRM: Where are you “calling” from?
Clay Melton: My home in Houston, Texas!
MRM: How was it growing up in Louisiana? How did you end up in Texas?
Melton: I was born in Lake Charles, LA, which is where my father’s side of the family is from. I grew up in the Houston area which is where my mother’s side of the family is from. We moved to Texas permanently when I was pretty young.
MRM: Who are your influences?
Melton: Started with what I call the “classic-rock-holy-trinity” haha – Hendrix, SRV, and Zeppelin. Was heavy into blues when I was a teenager, all the Kings, Albert Collins, New Orleans funk bands like The Meters/Neville Brothers, Dr. John, love lots of 70’s rock groups,, John Mayer, 90’s and modern rock bands like the Foo Fighters. But my guitar playing and songwriting is rooted in blues and roots styles.
MRM: What was your first concert as a spectator?
Melton: Eric Clapton with Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II in the band, it was incredible.
MRM: How did you start in the music business?
Melton: I started playing live locally in Houston when I was 13 and put out my first full length album, Burn the Ships, in 2017! Playing live at an early age taught me a lot of valuable lessons not only musically but also from the industry perspective.
MRM: How was it working with Danny Jones?
Melton: Amazing! We got a long great in the studio. He’s a great encourager and is willing to put in the work searching for just the right sounds.
MRM: How was it working with Malcolm Harper?
Melton: Malcolm is an incredible engineer and a great person we love to work with. Indisputably professional in his approach to engineering. I’m still very proud of everything we’ve worked on together.
MRM: Your cover of “Jesus Just Left Chicago” is amazing! Just have to ask, why not include “Waiting on the Bus” too? haha
Melton: Thanks! I always loved the transition from “Waiting for the Bus” into “Jesus just left Chicago” and it was part of the reason I wanted to do the track in our own way. I also sort of feel that ‘Waiting for the Bus” is covered plenty while “Jesus just left Chicago” is less covered and had more opportunity to rock up. “Waiting for the Bus” is probably too good to touch! haha.
MRM: We love your new single “Alive on a Wire”. It’s blazing blues at its best. And we are looking forward to your next single, “Runner.” Any idea when your next album will come out?
Melton: Thanks a lot! We’re touring more than ever before this year and will be taking time in between tours to complete the album. We’re looking to spring 2024 for the full album. We’ll have some new things to share to tide our fans over until then!
MRM: For the gearheads out there, what gear are you using these days?
Melton: I’ve always been partial to a Stratocaster. It handles how I like and the five way pickup switch and a custom pickup configuration really gives me everything I need in one guitar for an entire show. I plug into a Fender Vibroking combo with a few effects in front of it ran in tandem with a Marshall plexi type amp which stays clean, guitar direct to amp.
MRM: I see you’re coming to Elkin, NC at the The Reeves Theater on August 12, 2023. What can fans expect at that show?
Melton: We’ve got a really exciting show ready for tour this year. Headlining the shows this year gives us a chance to really stretch out and explore different ends of our stylistic spectrum. It’s a ride!
MRM: Thanks for the interview. Anything else you would like to add?
Melton: All of our 2023 US tour dates, our merch store, music and more can be found at www.claymelton.com – we’ll see yall at the rock show! Thanks for having me, cheers!