The worlds of punk and comics have a long history of intertwining. There’s something about the nerdery that comes with collecting test pressings of LPs and seven-inches that also crosses over to the geekery of carefully bagging and archiving comics. Mitch Clem stands at the intersection of the two. In addition to his long-running series Nothing Nice to Say, he’s also the founder of the fantastic collaborative zine As You Were, and you’ve probly seen his artwork on flyers and album covers, like this one he’s just done for Buffalo’s Lemuria. The two have collaborated on a comic about their 2011 tour through Russia to coincide with their new seven-inch. To celebrate this unholy union, we had Clem interview the band, or the band interview him, we’re not really sure. It’s a mutual, meandering discussion about like, Scott Stapp and Russia, OK? Read it below. You can also check out a song from the record, “Christine Perfect,” which ironically is kind of perfect, below. Order it from Silver Sprocket.
Sheena Ozzella: Mitch Clem, what is your excitement level on this interview with Lemuria? One being least excited, ten being excited.
Mitch Clem: I’m gonna go with 11, let’s go with 11.
Kerns: Let me drop the first official question: who’s your favorite member of Lemuria?
Clem: Hmmm, pass!
Kerns: Are there passes?
Ozzella: I don’t think there’s passes.
Kerns: I think if he passes, it means he picked me. He just didn’t wanna pick me because…
Clem: I mean, I didn’t wanna make everybody else feel bad but it’s obviously Alex.
Kerns: It’s obviously me.
Gregor: He’s my favorite too.
Clem: I don’t do interviews so I asked Facebook to come up with the interview for me so most of these are really bad. “Ask them about a prom show in Riverside, CA.”
Kerns: Party Marty set up a prom show, Mikey Erg was my date.
Ozzela: We went to a thrift store and got fancy suits, this was before Max was in the band.
Kerns: Yeah, I wasn’t in the band then so I hate that question.
Clem: Well you can sit this one out, this is for the OGs right here. Don’t worry about it!
Ozzella: I don’t remember anything crazy happening.
Kerns: I remember I proposed to Mikey.
Clem: What’d he say?
Kerns: Well he said yes but nothing ever really came of it.
Gregor: Well other than you guys released a split seven-inch.
Kerns: We did release a split seven-inch. I guess it was a proposal for a split seven-inch, that did happen, so.
Clem: Fifty percent of all marriages end in split seven-inches so it’s not really a big deal, I think you’re fine.
Clem: What’s it like being a long distance band?
Ozzella: We miss each other a lot.
Clem: How do you practice?
Kerns: We just go to each other’s cities.
Gregor: It’s just really focused. When we all lived in Buffalo we would casually practice once a week but now it’s like, they’ve been hanging out in Austin for a couple of weeks and we practice every day. It’s like we have a goal.
Kerns: It’s way more productive too because every week, you’re not like, “What was that thing that we were doing last week? Will you show me that riff?” It was yesterday, so you just waste less time.
Gregor: Do you have any financial advice for Scott Stapp?
Clem: [long pause] Who is Scott Stapp?
Gregor: This is a current events question! Scott Stapp is the singer of Creed, who’s currently living in a Holiday Inn. He was living in his truck, he has no money, he didn’t eat for two days.
Clem: He has no money so he’s living in a Holiday Inn? OK, here’s my financial advice for Scott Stapp: rent for an apartment is cheaper than living in a Holiday Inn! There’s my financial advice. Poor guy, I thought they were famous!
Gregor: That’s what I thought too, I don’t know what’s going on with him. He’s apparently in a pretty serious crisis right now, he made a video and he put it on TMZ.
Clem: Oh, I’m gonna get right to that!
Gregor: What about Pomplamoose, do you have any advice for Pomplamoose?
Clem: Oh yeah, that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. The fact that a band is being berated for their love of a killer lights show, come on! Every band deserves to have a nine-person crew, each of whom gets their own really expensive hotel room. I don’t see what the controversy is.
Gregor: Mitch, would you every want to go to Russia?
Clem: You know that I am a quarter Russian? On my mom’s mom’s mom’s side, or something.
Ozzella: So you’d wanna go there and see…
Clem: Nope! Never! No way! You know what, Amanda’s co-worker is from the Ukraine and she’s very nice and she also doesn’t wanna there ever so I’m gonna take her word for it.
Gregor: Did this project sway any preconceived notions you had about Russia?
Clem: So I started writing it and sort of the idea was I was just trying to be funny, and then at some point it sort of like… oh, there’s actual people that live here. There’s actual people who will read this who live in this place.
Gregor: You have a lot of Russian fans.
Clem: Yes, so you say. Shout out to my Russian peeps!
Gregor: Do you have a favorite Russian villain?
Clem: I can’t think of one.
Gregor: Uh, Boris Badenov from Rocky and Bullwinkle…
Clem: Did you make a list?
Gregor: I’m just giving you some examples! Sgt. Yushin from Rambo: First Blood, Rosa Klebb from From Russia With Love, Ivan Korshunov from Air Force One or Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.