Claw Hammer

Named after a Captain Beefheart song, Californian band Claw Hammer formed in 1986 by Jon Wahl, who previously played guitar in the Pontiac Brothers.

One thing Claw Hammer always did is sound different than anything or anyone around them, while never forgetting how to fucking rock. They could out-blues JSBX any day of the week, they could out-spazz the Jesus Lizard, and they could outplay all comers (especially live!)

A good insight into the music of Claw Hammer would be the mass array of covers they produced over their career. Eno, Pere Ubu, Devo (especially Devo!), Patti Smith, Gordon Lightfoot, and of course Captain Beefheart himself. What exactly does this add up to? The Trouser Press calls it "dada-blues/hard-rock fusion".

Originally, Claw Hammer was Jon Wahl on guitar and lead vocals (and harmonica, and sax, and whatever was laying around in the studio), Chris Bagarozzi on 2nd guitar, Rob Walther on bass and Rick Sortwell on drums. Later Rick left (sometime between March 90 and November 91) and the amazing Bob Lee was brought in to play drums. Claw Hammer's first album came out in 1990 and their last in 1997.