Chris Clavin on Plan-It-X’s new book, “Tour Sucks”

book cover - tour sucksIn addition to being the man behind Operation: Cliff Clavin, Ghost Mice, and The Devil Is Electric, plus running record label Plan-It-X, Chris Clavin is a damned fine author. The latest book he’s masterminded only features a short piece from him — but all of the pieces in it are short, because it’s a collection of tour stories, entitled Tour Sucks.

Some of the worst things happen: tire blow-outs on a busy interstate, dog shit onstage, various attempted sexual molestations, bad weather, and more. The book’s a great read, and the perfect size to fit in a backpack and take with you. Clavin was cool enough to answer some of our questions via e-mail about the book and the possibility of another volume.

How many bands did you have to contact to get the stories included?

Probably about 200 bands were asked. Most didn’t do it!

Are there any stories that you’d heard which you couldn’t convince the teller to include?

Yes — too many! A lot of band members were hesitant to share their worst stories for various reasons.

Were there any tricks you tried to get them to put it down in words?

Tricks? no, not really, just pleading, begging, and stuff like that.

cover - tour of the living deadYour story, “Chapel Perilous,” is disturbing. Was that the worst story you personally had, or simply the most entertaining?

No way, it was just the first one that came to mind. I have many many more.

For that matter, what’s the story behind the Operation: Cliff Clavin van photo on the cover?

We were hit by a drunk driver in Tucson, Arizona, in 1999 I think, it was pretty bad, as you can see from the photo, the side of our van was peeled off. Our roadie was on the loft when it happened. It worked out okay eventually, we got insurance money and stuff.

It seems many of the stories have a happy ending. To what do you attribute that?

I think people prefer to tell the stories that end okay, no one wants to retell or relive the true terrors.

Jonathan Pool’s “Sliger Slarmy” shows a side of touring not often covered — that of the person not even playing. How’d you come by his story?

He is a friend of mine and an even better friend of my co-editor, Rick Vee. Rick asked him to do something. At first we were not sure of what to think and it was long, but then we saw its greatness.

Any plans to expand on this with more comics or illustrations for the next volume?

Yeah, we hope volume 2 will be bigger and better!

Do you want to take this opportunity to exhort any particular acts to be in the next volume?

I really hope to get more stories out of This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Submission Hold and a few others that I know have some big ones!

Tour Sucks can be purchased from the No Idea store. Additionally, they are some book release shows coming up next month on the East Coast. Details follow:

Thursday 2/13, 7:30 PM
Molasses Books (Readings only)
770 Hart St, Brooklyn NY
L to DeKalb, M to Central

Larry Livermore Spy Rock Memories)
Mike Faloon Zisk The Book, Hanging Gardens of Split Rock, Go Metric)
Brook Pridemore (Brook Pridemore)
Joe Evans III ( Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc.)

Saturday 2/22, 7 PM (Reading and music)
Tachair Bookshoppe
60 Newark Ave, Jersey City NJ
(PATH Train to Grove Street)

Brook Pridemore (Reading and playing songs)
Mike Faloon Zisk The Book, Go Metric)
Joe Evans III ( Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc. – playing some songs with Marisa from Chandeliers/Science Police/Besties)
Brian Cogan (The Encyclopedia of Punk)