ATTENTION: I'm constantly (well, for right now) updating this page... so every time you visit, take the time to refresh your browser. I have to give credit here to Matt Swanson and Ken Coomer. Without them, this page would be a festering pile of camel dung.
Clockhammer, in my opinion, was the greatest band of all time. Otherwise, why would I take the time to make a web page devoted to them? Because I'm a drooling, worshiping idiot. Of course, if you listen to enough Clockhammer, you will be too. And I can't possibly thank Matt Swanson enough for his help with this page. Without Matt's inspiration, this page would be about half of what it is now.
They're a band originally out of Nashville, Tennessee, about an hour's drive from here, which should give you some idea where I am. In their first incarnation, they were four:
Byron Bailey: Guitar (lead and rythm) and vocals
Christian (Chris) Nagle: Guitar (and vocals?)
Matt Swanson: Bass
Ken Coomer: Drums
Chris didn't end up staying with the band for long ... however, in the most recent incarnation of Clockhammer, he's back.
Their sound was somewhat unique for the time ... a mixture of jazz and rock (otherwise known as fusion) and I consider them one of the primary leaders in this genre. Sure, several other bands have achieved a fusion-esque sound, like Dave Matthews, but this was different. This was hard rock jumping to mellow jazz, and back, and then to a harmonized blend of the best of both worlds. You've got to remember, this was in the late 80's, early 90's, so this was unique at the time.
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A quick rundown of the three:
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What's goin' on currently?:
Reportedly, the reason they broke up was because Byron's girlfriend was to Clockhammer as Yoko Ono was to the Beatles... in other words, a real trouble-inducer. Since they broke up somewhere around '92 I'd say, Byron has gone on to rebuild Clockhammer. What the hell he thinks he's doing is beyond me, but hey, I can't really tell him that. If you know him, tell him.
He's ditched Swanson and Coomer (actually, as I understand it, they ditched him) and has formed a new Clockhammer:
Byron Bailey: Guitar, vocals
Christian (Chris) Nagle: Guitar, vocals
Mark Smoot: Bass, vocals
Chris Gallo: Drums
One of my friends (okay, I can't leave that sounding anonymous ... his name is Ben Winters) saw Ken Coomer at a Jesus Lizard concert at 328 Performance Hall in Nashville. Ken's words were, "Now Clockhammer sounds like watered-down Kansas. Matt and I are going to go sit in the front row at one of their concerts and make fun of them."
As for Ken and Matt, they're both still involved in various projects around Nashville. Ken does the drums for Wilco, and Matt's tied in to several different things. For a decent list, check out the Dinah Shore Jr. homepage. Or, for a listing of creepier stuff, check out the CYOD page. Info on both Ken and Matt resides there.
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The new Clockhammer:
Evidently sometime after Coomer and Swanson nudged Bailey out of the band, he went on to re-form Clockhammer. He got his cousin Christian (Chris) Nagle to play guitar with him, and got a new drummer and bassist. It would appear that they're no longer on the First Warning label, as their label's address on their new (1994) album, Houses In Motion, appears to be in Germany.
So ... there's a new band. What do they sound like, you may ask? Well, unlike Ken Coomer's judgement, they don't sound like "watered-down Kansas" to me, however, they don't sound like Clockhammer either. The guitars themselves are more modern, more (o how I hate to use this word) alternative, less hard rock and jazz. Basically less fusion.
In terms of the vocals, Byron and Chris do a great job harmonizing, but someone's been working their devil majik on Byron, because he doesn't scream anymore. He just sings, and sings higher (or as Ben Winters says, "girlier") than he used to, but it's still unmistakeably Byron Bailey's voice.
Now the bassist, Mark Smoot, can play the crap out of a bass. It's a different style than Matt Swanson, but it's still good. However, Mr. Smoot can't write a song to save his life, and his vocals leave much to be desired. Whoever decided that he could write and sing on this album was sadly mistaken, and should be shot.
Chris Gallo is on the drums, where it's obvious he should be. The drums are the only part of the new album that resemble the old, in terms of skill. In terms of style, they're vastly different, but Ken Coomer's got a good match here. No complaints from my end.
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Well, you asked for it:
Here's my list of the other Clockhammer pages I've found on the web. Most of them are music reviews, but you ought to read them because they are far more eloquent than I.
The All Music Guide ... I didn't know this existed until recently.
The A&A Archives listings under C. Music review.
The Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock (GEPR). It's just what the name says... the encyclopedia of progressive rock. Worth taking a long look at.
Satan Stole My Teddybear - Clockhammer review.
Guitar 9 Records (doesn't have much to say about Clockhammer but you can buy it there)
Some random stuff about Ken Coomer.
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Here is exactly what you asked for: the Photo Gallery
I don't have much in the way of pictures, because Clockhammer wasn't a hugely followed band. The one time they came to my town to play at a local bar/grill/pizza joint, I missed it, and have been kicking myself in the head ever since. All I have at this time are the album covers, and some really cool pics that Matt Swanson has sent to me. If you have ANYTHING, send it to me and I'll make sure you get the proper recognition.
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Any questions, comments, complaints? Email ScareCrow. Thanks for calling.