The Clintons
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The Clintons

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"The Clintons: Who Invited Roger CD Review"

"Who Invited Roger" by The Clintons showcases the zappy, sometimes ferocious compositions of lead singer and guitarist John McLellan and was produced by nationally known producer Ken Mary and recorded at The Saltmine, Paramount Recording and Sonic Fish Studios in Los Angeles.

The six-man rock combo from Bozeman brings a brash and decidedly upbeat sound to the stage. The Clintons have delivered their high-energy act and wild stage banter to appreciative audiences throughout Montana and the West. The tunes are seasoned with reggae and hip-hop inflections and punctuated with earthy, stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

The songs range from straight-ahead rock to hip-hop, with a ballad or two for good measure. National recording artist Shawn Mullins, after appearing with the band last summer, said they were “part rock band, part downed electrical wire – these guys are totally entertaining.” - Lively Times


"Gibson Guitar New Musician winner"

A panel of judges selected The Clintons, a Bozeman-based band, as this year’s winner of Gibson Acoustic Guitar’s New Musician Award. The band performs at 8 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Emerson during the HATCHfest.

Many Montanans have heard this energetic quartet, whose music pairs sensitive songwriting with funky quirkiness, and a vibe that fans say reminds them of OAR or the Barenaked Ladies.

Guest artists include 2004 award-winner Brandy Vaughn, 2006 award-winner Marshall McLean and special guest artist Benjamin Taylor (son of James Taylor and Carly Simon).

The Gibson Acoustic Guitar New Musician was selected from a field of entries spanning the globe. A panel of local judges first reviewed submissions, and the top entries were sent to an advisory panel of judges known for their achievements in the music and film industries.

Local panelists are Michelle Wolfe (KMMS 95.1 FM "The Moose" and HATCHfest music coordinator), Dave Goodwin (recording engineer and producer, Big Sky High Studios), Brett Cline (Zebra Cocktail Lounge and HATCHfest music coordinator) and Robi Johns (Gibson Acoustic Guitar sales director and HATCHfest sponsor).

Advisory panel judges are singer/songwriter/HATCHfest mentor Jackson Browne, film producer and HATCHfest mentor Richard B. Lewis (“August Rush”), and legendary music manager David Spero (The Eagles and J.D. Souther).

This prestigious awards package comes with mentorship from music industry insiders, a custom Gibson Acoustic Guitar, free recording-studio time, exposure to news, radio and television coverage and public relations opportunities, and other prizes geared toward enhancing and building a lasting and productive music career.

The awards concert is free, but tickets are required due to a limited number of seats. A list of outlets is available online at http://www.HATCHfest.org. - Lively Times


"The Clintons Live!"

by Scott Prinzing

I now feel like I know what it’s like to be at a frat house party, without all the drunkenness: the Clintons were back in town last weekend!

When I was last at Yellowstone Valley Brewing’s Garage Pub a few weeks ago, Big Caboose and the Soul Penetrators were playing Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy” on my way out the door. The Clintons were in the middle of that song as I arrived last weekend.

Every time I’ve seen the Clintons, a Bozeman party band, perform, they seem to get better. After a half-dozen gigs over as many years, last Saturday’s show at the Garage Pub was the best yet.

The Clintons’ shows are energetic, spontaneous and fun. Their music is eclectic, while accessible, their lyrics are stories filled with wit and humor, and their musicianship is top shelf. That goes for both instruments and vocals. (That Stevie Ray Vaughan song sung by lively percussionist Josh Keehr was the one cover tune of the night.)

John McLellan, lead vocalist and chief songwriter for the Clintons, is like a big man on campus/life of the party, who surrounds himself with sidekicks equally as entertaining. His style blends country, rock, funk and pop, drawing comparisons to a range of artists like Barenaked Ladies, Big & Rich, and John Mayer. His excellent vocal delivery suits the songs perfectly, without sounding derivative of his influences.

The solid drumming of Levi Kujala keeps the crowd moving, even those sitting or standing toward the back. Kujala has also produced their most recent album, “Have Another.”

The album is as memorable as any of the other four-and-half albums they’ve released. After only one listen, I felt like I knew each of the songs I heard them play from it, singing along on the choruses like a longtime fan.

Lest I forget, I must mention the Clintons’ impressive five-string bassist, A.J. Miller. Midway through the Vaughan song, he and McLellan switched instruments, with Miller taking over on a second guitar solo.

So it was no surprise to see him bending those bass strings like a lead guitarist during his solo spots. Miller also did a little bit of white boy rapping a few times, proving that McLellan isn’t the only one who can throw down a rhyme.

The Garage crowd cheered with extra enthusiasm when local guitar fave Parker Brown joined in on a few songs. His biting, thick tone was a nice counterpart to McLellan’s crisp, funky rhythms.

Be sure to check out the Clintons’ interactive website, ClintonsBand.com, and search for their videos on YouTube. Be sure to watch “Love Song for Hillary Clinton,” which got reported on by Fox News. - The Billings Outpost


"Montana Band Named the Clintons Pens Love Song to Hillary"

April 5th 2008
MISSOULA, Mont. — "Hey, Hill, if you ever dump Bill, come date me."

The lyrics are part of a love ballad penned to Hillary Rodham Clinton by a Montana band, aptly named the Clintons.

The Bozeman-based band has been around since late 1999, when Clinton's husband still occupied the White House, although band members say they are not named after the famous couple. They say the band name was completely random.

Now, the Clintons are earning some national attention as a result of their ballad, "A Love Song for Hillary Clinton." They were part of a short segment on CNN and their video has received more than 4,600 hits on YouTube.

Band members say they decided to write the song after once again hearing jokes about Monica Lewinsky.

"We feel her pain," singer-songwriter John McLellan told the Missoulian. "We can't get no love, so let's love each other."

The song opens with McLellan singing: "Strong women turn me on. It's sexy when a woman knows exactly what she wants. And you're that girl. I think you're great. You're taken for the moment, so I'll just have to wait." - Fox News


"The Clintons band serenades candidate Clinton"


By CHELSI MOY of the Missoulian

There's not a wisecrack pertaining to the Monica Lewinsky scandal or political party affiliation that The Clintons, a Bozeman-based band, hasn't heard at least a gazillion times.

The brash comments subsided somewhat when George W. Bush took over as commander-in-chief. But now that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is making a go for the presidency, cheap shots from barflies who think they're throwing original one-liners - like “Where's Monica?” - are back.

“There's no way around political references, but come on. Are you kidding me?” said singer-songwriter John McLellan, reacting to the new onslaught of remarks.
But instead of throwing a hissy, this group of crazy-fun rockers decided to lean on the one person who might understand their anguish, and with whom they share a name. And they did it in the only way they knew how.

The Clintons wrote Hillary Clinton a love song.

The slow, sweet melody is accompanied by a chorus that goes: “Hey, Hill, if you ever dump Bill, come date me.”

“We feel her pain,” McLellan said. “We can't get no love, so let's love each other.”

The band spontaneously filmed the music video to “Hey, Hill” on a very cold, snowy February afternoon in Great Falls alongside the Missouri River.

The band didn't intend to capitalize on the heated Democratic presidential primary race, but just last week, that video earned 15 seconds of fame on CNN as part of a story about wacky YouTube video tributes to the 2008 presidential candidates.

“That's a first for us,” said drummer Levi Kujala of the national media attention. “It's a nice feather to have in our hat.”

Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, are expected in Missoula this weekend. Obama is holding a free, public rally at the University of Montana's Adams Center on Saturday. Clinton will hold a fundraising event Sunday at Missoula's Hilton Garden Inn.

It just so happens The Clintons are also in Missoula this weekend, playing a gig at the Other Side on Friday, and then in Bozeman on Saturday.

“If we get connected somehow to see her, or play a song for her, or take a photo, that'd be pretty cool,” said bass guitarist A.J. Miller, 23.

Contrary to popular belief, the band is not named after Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton or any other Clinton family member, though the band did get together when the family occupied the White House.

How The Clintons got its name, however, is the most frequently asked question band members get.

“We were hell-bent about making up a story about a dog,” said Kujala. “It's not true, but it shows how much no one (in the band) wants to be associated.”

The name came at random, with no rhyme or reason - much like the band's creative spirit.

The sugary love ballad to the senator from New York is not an attempt at a political statement or a gesture of support. It's not trying to make fun of Clinton either.

The band is using its name as a means to make fans laugh - kinda like when they decided to call their fan club “The Interns.”

“We love Hillary Clinton. Not the political Hillary Clinton necessarily, but the woman Hillary Clinton. And a woman she is. Hot, sensual, sexy, kinky,” reads an explainer of the love song on the band's Web site.

It was a Wednesday when Kujala, 31, awoke suddenly out of deep sleep, convinced McLellan, 30, should write the love song.

“This beautiful melody starts pouring out and it's so illegitimate because it's a love song to Hillary,” said McLellan, laughing in hindsight.

A few days later, the band sat staring out the window of Mackenzie River Pizza in Great Falls after playing a gig at Machinery Row the night before.

“It was cold. It was dark. It was gray. It was an industrial background,” McLellan said. “Everything lent to this desperation feeling.”

What a perfect time to shoot the video “Hey, Hill.”

Kujala filmed in minute-and-a-half segments from a window of the band's 30-foot RV while the others walked around outside “trying to make ourselves look as pathetic as possible,” which wasn't too difficult considering the subzero temperatures, Miller said.

“The mind-set was, there was no mind-set,” Kujala said. “There was no plan. The moment hit us.”

So far, the band has heard mostly good feedback. On Thursday, the YouTube video had 4,452 hits. Fans seem to love the crazy, wacky, spontaneous and hilarious music the band produces in between albums. The band relies heavily on the Internet to promote their music, posting some 60 music videos on YouTube and MySpace, Kujala said.

But what do they think Hillary's reaction would be to the sweet love serenade?

“I'd hope that she would laugh,” Miller said. “That'd be best-case scenario. Maybe give us a handshake, too. That'd be nice.”

Reporter Chelsi Moy can be reached at 523-5260 or at chelsi.moy@missoulian.com



It's a love song

To check out The Clintons' “Hey, Hill” video, go to the band's Web site at www.clintonsband.com/news - Missoulian


"Bright lights, big city concerts help sell Bozeman"

QUOTE:

[Duane Morris on The Clintons opening for Barenaked Ladies]

"Seeing the Clintons on stage was a great moment", Morris said.

"That's a group of guys with unbridled passion to play music," he said. "They got a standing ovation -- I've never seen that for an opening act. That to me is what that business is about. Sometimes it gets lost in the dollars and cents."

Duane Morris, Concert Promoter, Brick Breeden Field House, Bozeman, MT

- Bozeman Daily Chronicle


"The Clintons: Hard lessons haven't stopped them from making great music"


Notoriety appeared imminent.

It was early 2003. The Clintons were riding high, embarking on their first true nationwide tour.
"We thought, 'this was it,'" Levi Kujala, the drummer in the Bozeman-based band said.

The Clintons had flown to Phoenix to meet with a high-profile manager. They were interviewed on morning shows and major radio stations. Record label executives had come calling, impressed by the band's album, "Who Invited Roger?"

The band was booked to play in Hollywood as part of the tour.

A tour Kujala now calls, "The beginning of the end."


It wasn't the end of the band. In fact, the group is currently putting the finishing touches on their new album, "Strange Day in Mexico," set to be released in September.

It was the end of The Clintons listening to the wrong people in the music industry.

The band ended up playing just six dates on what was supposed to be a 26-date tour in 2003. The Hollywood show attracted only four people.

Following the tour, "I told the guys I was done," Kujala said.

"The well was dry creatively," frontman John McLellan said. "And the bank accounts were empty."

The Clintons, five men all in their 20s, returned to Bozeman.

"People were asking, 'How was the tour?'" McLellan said. "I told them, 'It was fine. Can you help me get a job?"

Two years later, four of the band members took a break from recording a track at Jereco Studios on the north side of town. Along with Kujala and McLellan, percussionist Josh Keehr and bass guitarist Andrew Pertroff (guitarist Ian Anderson wasn't present) talked about their maturing sound, still partying and their upcoming self-produced album.

"I think our expectations are in line this time," Kujala said about the new record. He added, "But these are the best songs we've ever, ever had."

One of the tracks, "Come with me," was released earlier this year on an EP. It quickly garnered air time at local radio stations and sold out at regional music outlets.

With the band's renewed energy and sharpened musical skills, "Strange Day in Mexico" is the band's most accomplished full-length album to date.

"We're better players and singers," McLellan said, which results in a fuller, cleaner sound.

The band has spent countless hours brushing up the new album. Jeremiah Slovarp, who is recording the tracks at his studio, called The Clintons "self critical" and "perfectionists."

"They really care about the music," Slovarp said.

While their music has grown up a bit, The Clintons are still a party band with a pop-rock, radio-friendly sound.

"A couple of guys are married now," McLellan said. "It doesn't change the partying. It just changes how late we stay out."

The Clintons (named after a stray dog on a drunk night) have been a staple in the Montana music scene for more than five years. The former Montana State University students are known for their high-energy live shows and draw hundreds of fans in towns across the Northwest.

Their fan base has spread even further. The band has an interactive web site, clintonsband.com., where they sell the majority of their CDS.

"Of the last 50 online orders," Keehr said. "Thirty-five were sent to the East Coast or overseas."

Once again, The Clintons are gaining momentum. Their new album is being well received. The band recently opened for the Barenaked Ladies.

It's beginning to look a lot like 2003.

Except, this time, The Clintons are doing it on their own -- having learned the hard way from their past mistakes.

"And I think we have the strongest run still left in us," Kujala said. "Our strongest years are definitely ahead." - Cover Story By KELLYN BROWN, Chronicle Staff Writer


"Soon to be national act?"

QUOTE:

"Live music has never jumped off the stage like you will see The Clintons" - The Regular Guy understands now.... They literally jump off stage, sit at your table with the freedom of their wireless electric instruments. This band will be a national act. It is just a question as to when. - CorvallisLIVE.com's Regular Guy


Discography

Have Another 2008
Not Fighters 2007
Strange Day in Mexico, 2005
The Clintons Demo EP, 2004
Who Invited Roger, 2002
Kinky, 2000

Photos

Bio

Just crowned with the 2008 Gibson Acoustic Guitar New Musician Award! (Final results judged by: Jackson Browne, film producer Richard B. Lewis (“August Rush”), and legendary music manager David Spero (The Eagles and J.D. Souther)

The Clintons got their start nine years ago at a frat party on the upper floor of the historic Story Mansion in Bozeman, Montana. Since then they’ve toured the western half of the US and shared the stage with bands like Dierks Bentley, Barenaked Ladies, Blackhawk and the Kentucky Headhunters. The band has now just released their 6th CD after a whirlwind year of recording, playing shows and landing a live, international interview on Fox News after getting their
Hillary Clinton love song video featured around the world on the AP newswire and CNN.

Check the Official Clintons Website daily for new music, tour dates, daily blogs, clintons.tv episodes, and tutorials on how to play their songs.

If you have Montana roots, you’ve probably heard of this energetic, driven, four-piece, inspired by the soft, sensitive songwriting style of John Mayer; the solid, funky, quirkiness of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; and the in-your-face, loud-and-proud proclamations made famous by country stars, Big & Rich. Their sound is diverse but focused in a way that you can only call The Clintons.

For a large playlist of Clintons music visit:
reverbnation.com/theclintons