Clete cracks a knowing smile when asked where the title for his new album came from. The upcoming LP produced by Jeff Saenz at Modern Electric Recordings has been a long time coming, including a stint abstaining from the call to perform.
“At the time, I’d just graduated college and I went to the oil field. It was chasing a woman. Instead of playing music, I thought I could go out and live the life everyone else lives. Maybe get married, have kids, that type of deal. I’d already done the band thing for almost seven years.” “To come off of that and chase a different dream,” he starts, not finishing his thought. “Some dreams just aren’t meant to be.”
“I was working in the oil field, and I heard that saying a lot from a tool pusher. He’d always say ‘Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians’. It’s an old saying. When he said it, it hit me in the head.” That line stuck with Clete long enough to coax him back to playing music. “At the time, I hadn’t touched my guitar in five or six years. When I got away from music, I had to fully get away or I would come right back. I thought ‘there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians’, whether in love, lust, adultery, and life. Living in the oil field, there is some Keeping Up With The Joneses. Someone’s always cheating on someone or ‘who’s cheating on who’. When I started writing this record I had some things I needed to say. I just wanted to create a picture of what goes on out there. It’s a completely different scene.”
To help craft the album, Clete knew he had to use Jeff Saenz at Modern Electric Sound in Dallas, TX. “I felt really at home there. A lot of the equipment has ghosts. The tape machine has had Grateful Dead and Prince through it. It was the one of those experiences where I told him what I wanted. I wanted it to sound ‘old country’ like I’m used to. Old vintage blues. I was blessed to have the Texas Gentlemen on it. The way those guys play together and the way their vision comes together with what you want, it really brings it alive.The first time I heard myself, when it’s pretty good but not mixed or mastered, I was giddier than a little girl. It’s cool because everything is live. The band is cutting it live right there. I’d walk in and play the song acoustically for them. They’d chart it out real fast and do four or five takes.”
Too Many Chiefs (Not Enough Indians) will be available 9/16.