A native of Cole Harbour, a suburb of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Clattenburg spent his years after high school as drummer in a Police-inspired rock band, The Spawning Grunions. Former Grunion keyboardist Blain Morris was instrumental in turning a part on the Tony Bennett classic "Left My Heart In San Francisco" into the theme for Trailer Park Boys.
Clattenburg's jump from music to television began with his co-hosting and production of a Halifax Cable 10 show, That Damn Cable Show, from 1990 to 1993. The program featured on-location interviews and profiles of Halifax entertainers, many of whom were acquaintances of Clattenburg's through his band contacts. Wedged in between the entertainer segments were comedic three-minute clips that displayed his early talent for irreverent film making. That Damn Cable Show was remarkable for its high production values despite being a local cable channel production on a shoestring budget, and made an early name for Clattenburg in film production circles.