Sugar High Podcast: Two Hours with Jennifer Clavin of Bleached

Bleached © Nicole Anne Robbins
Bleached © Nicole Anne Robbins

Atwood Magazine is excited to announce a new partnership series, Sugar High, formerly known as The Tour Manager’s Guide, a podcast by Danny Carissimi featuring various musicians and industry professionals as they talk about their life and career. The next episode features Jennifer Clavin, frontwoman of the definitively cool punk outfit Bleached.

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Hello friends. It’s time for me to talk to you about hanging out with cool band members again. This week, it was with Jennifer Clavin from indie punk buzzy buzz of all buzzes, Bleached. Prior to Bleached, Jennifer was in Mika Miko. If you aren’t a cool person in your late 20s / mid 30s, Mika Miko means nothing. But if you are the aforementioned, you know what’s up. Mika Miko was an all-female punk rock band from east Los Angeles.

They were from Echo Park — like FROM Echo Park. I’m not talking this, Whole Foods 365, I’m wearing a tuxedo to buy groceries, BULLLLLLshit. I’m talking about real Topeka people. Except these Topeka people are from Echo Park. In the early to mid 2000s, there was a vibrant DIY and punk scene in East LA, and Mika Miko was at the center. Downtown’s the Smell served as their personal fiefdom, and the city saw an awesome resurgence in punk. And I’m not talking your god damn spikey-haired, ring tattoo on the forearm, nonsense pop punk. I’m talking sweaty, yelling, screaming, indecipherable-yet-somehow-socially-conscious punk in the most irresponsible of ways.

Mika Miko is cool because they were an awesome band that didn’t give a fuck. They had no ambitions to be popular. They were friends that liked to play music and get fucked up together. Eventually, they attracted attention from some labels and toured the world. Suddenly they stopped it all and said enough is enough; we done. This sudden disbandment was something I wanted to talk to Jenn about. It was interesting, because the more we talked about it, the more even she agreed it was odd. We kept coming back to a feeling that it just needed to end. I’m sure there were economic constraints. A niche and hyper cool punk band pays the Instagram bills but ya know, you probably can’t have an apartment.

Jennifer bounced and played in Best Coast, then Cold Cave, then retired to her parents house in the desert after a drug fueled bender in NYC to write her first solo album. After months of isolation, Jennifer emerged with a critically acclaimed EP and a bunch of badass videos.

No matter how large her band gets, she’s retained her punk rock ethos while understanding that one must make adjustments. Jennifer knows she needs to buy healthcare but budget be damned she’ll throw together a kick ass music video. Her attention to detail surrounding her music and aesthetic was palpable. I’ve always known Bleached as a band that just looks cool. Everything looks so cool. So cool that I was expecting Jen to be pretentious.; but she wasn’t at all. She greeted me at the door and immediately got the La Croix involved.

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These days in my mind a host can be judged almost solely by their La Croix selection. I went for an underrated but powerful selection, Peach. After that, we dug in. It was rather intense, because the sun set and there was just one light in the middle of the table and it felt very much like a therapy session. Maybe I’ll end up a rock psychologist like that douche bag in Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster. Hopefully not, but maybe.

Again, I really didn’t want to make the whole episode about her gender because I know all her interviews are about that. But I just couldn’t resist. She did satisfy when it was brought up. A part I found very interesting was when she was talking about how she never noticed how sexist male concert goers are, because her initial years touring were with an all female band. She didn’t know any better. That’s a sad and fascinating anecdote.

After I left her home, I had that terrible moment where I forgot something inside and had to sheepishly return to get my sweatshirt. I find that humiliating. But what ya gonna do?

Anyway, Jennifer kicks ass and her music is fantastic. I hope you enjoy the episode and learn a little bit about the punk lifestyle.

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sugar high

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Bleached © Nicole Anne Robbins

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