Mitch Clem interview
My buddy Zach put together a magazine called Bottlerocket that has been massively beset by issues with the printer. Due to the fact that this stuff may otherwise never see the light of day, I will be running all the the interviews conducted for the magazine this week. They were done way back in April, so some of the material may be out of date, but it’s interesting reading, nonetheless. Here’s the first one…
Mitch Clem is the creator, artist, and writer of Nothing Nice to Say, “the world’s first online punk comic.” He’s also responsible for The Coffee Achievers, a NN2S spin-off, his autobiographical San Antonio Rock City, and innumerable show flyers. While he was passing through Lawrence with Texas’ O Pioneers, he was kind enough to wander into the alley behind the Solidarity Anarchist Library and do an interview next to a bike rack. Whatta guy.
Nick- I’m hoping this will turn out with the wind and shit.
Mitch- We can go into the alley back there.
Nick- Yeah, let’s move.
Nick- For the record, state your name.
Mitch- Mitch Clem.
Nick- This is you second tour with O Pioneers?
Nick- How do you know these guys?
Mitch- Gosh. How do I know these guys? They live in Houston, and I live in San Antonio, and at some point, Eric, the guitar the player for O Pioneers just started sending me e-mails. Oh, no- you know what happened? They had booked a show for Dillinger Four in San Antonio and I went there and saw them play for the first time. That was the first time I had seen them and thought that they were really good and I told them. We’ve been best friends ever since.
Nick- The first tour was just a South thing?
Mitch- Yeah, really quick. They had been offered dates with Against Me! so that was reason enough to throw a couple of shows between going down to Florida. It was just seven days or something, going down to Naples and back.
Nick- How long is this tour?
Mitch- Twelve days. I didn’t really realize it until we hit the road, but it’s basically a bunch of MidWest dates all half a day apart from one another. So, yesterday, we played in Lubbock and then drove thirteen hours here to Kansas. We’re somewhere in Kansas, right? And tomorrow, we’re going up to St. Cloud, Minnesota. And then from there, what… Chicago? And down back to Alabama.
Nick- It’s been two dates thus far?
Mitch- This is number two. This is number three.
Nick- Have you sold any shirts?
Mitch- I’ve sold some shirts and gave away some drawings.
Nick- Has anybody recognized you?
Mitch- Yeah, definitely.
Nick- Do you think you’re going to try and keep this up?
Mitch- I really like going out to shows more than cons mostly because they’re cheaper, you know what I mean? I don’t have to rent a table. I mean, I still have to pay for gas and food up here. It seems like I feel really awkward. Sometimes, people come there just to see me. Tickets are twenty, twenty-five bucks, so I feel really bad that someone would pay twenty-five dollars just to see me. So, I figure that three dollars is more than enough.
Nick- Is it kind of complimentary?
Mitch- Honestly, I just felt really bad about it. It makes me feel guilty. It’s like, ‘We just blew thirty bucks to get in, and now we really don’t have anything else to do.’ Then they just stand there, and I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s like, ‘Well, nice seein’ ya.’ So, now this way they can waste three.
Nick- And this way, they get to see music.
Mitch- They get to see music.
Nick- Have you tried to hook up with any other shows?
Mitch- Like, with other bands? No, not so much yet. I think I was considering putting together a bigger thing, if the book ever comes out. Some sort of of flagship merch that would be worth turning into a tour, I guess.
Nick- How is the book going?
Mitch- It is going very slowly. I decided that since I’m going to be redrawing the first three hundred or whatever, and doing all that, and making a book, it’s such a huge daunting goal, that I decided instead to make mini-comics. Just single issues leading up to it.
Nick- Are those out yet?
Mitch- We’re gonna talk about the deadline for the first issue when I get back from this tour. It ‘s probably going to be two months.
Nick- Towards the end of summer?
Mitch- Yeah, something like that. I don’t know- maybe I’ll put together some sort of tour for that.
Nick- Is there going to be another Coffee Achievers arc?
Mitch- It was a one-shot deal. I want do do another one, though. If I ever can come up with another storyline, I will. It’s certainly not out of the question. It’s not something I’m really thinking about right now. Before we ever that one as a book, I’m going to have to write extra strips and maybe a couple of extra chapters, kind of make it longer. There were a few things that didn’t turn out as they should have, as far as storytelling is concerned. I guess that was the benfit of publishing it for free online, instead of just jumping into a book. Now I know what the problem spots are and I can fix them before actually putting them into print.
Nick- San Antonio Rock City is just sort of a fun thing?
Mitch- San Antonio Rock City is very fun. Hopefully, I will keep on doing it for a long time.
Nick- That’s about it. Thank you, I appreciate it.