Chris Clavin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Operation: Cliff Clavin)

Chris Clavin
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Johnston
Born (1973-08-23) August 23, 1973 (age 50)
OriginIndiana, United States
GenresPunk rock, folk punk, pop punk
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1994 - 2017
LabelsPlan-It-X Records

Chris Clavin (formerly Christopher Johnston; August 23, 1973) is an American musician and record label owner from Indiana, United States, with a strict DIY (do-it-yourself) punk ethic. He has been involved in numerous punk bands and ran Plan-It-X Records, a label founded in 1994.

Clavin has been a part of many (primarily pop punk and folk punk) bands, including bands that have toured the world and been influential in the DIY punk scene.


Ghost Mice[edit]

Ghost Mice
OriginBloomington, Indiana, United States
GenresFolk punk
Years active2002–2017
LabelsPlan-It-X Records, No Idea Records, Hill Billy Stew Records, Anti-Creative Records, Friends and Relatives Records, Valiant Death Records, Discount Horse Records
MembersChris Clavin
Hannah Jones

In 2002, Clavin formed the two-piece folk punk band Ghost Mice with Hannah Jones. It was an American band based in Bloomington, Indiana, United States. Both members had been in a handful of pop-punk bands together: namely Disarm, The Devil is Electric and Operation: Cliff Clavin. They decided to "turn to the folk side"[1] in the hopes that they could tour more easily and play almost anywhere, and to this end Hannah changed from playing bass to violin.[2][3] The following is a quote from Ghost Mice:

We play 100% acoustic. We never use amps or mics (except at Plan-It-X Fest and on and once in Austin, Texas). We have been playing in bands together for about 7 years. We started Ghost Mice in 2002 because we were tired of being restricted. We were tired of having to travel in big vans and depend on amps, PA systems and electricity. With Ghost Mice we can travel very light and we need nothing to play. We often play in back yards or on the street corner in front of the venue. We have toured the United States many times and we toured Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, France, Spain, Belgium, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland) by foot. We hitch-hiked and took trains to all of our shows. It was fun and very liberating. We sing a mix of personal and political lyrics, we are anarchist, we are dedicated to the DIY ethic and the struggle to make the world a better place. We play music and travel for fun and to meet new people. Music is our lives. We love travel. We are nice and a little shy.[4]

Dark Times was released initially in 2017 and re-released on the internet in June 2018.[5]

List of bands[edit]

Below is a partial list of the bands Clavin has played in:[6]

Solo musical projects[edit]

Clavin started working on solo recordings in the fall of 2004 when he wrote a song and recorded it in the same day to give to someone as a gift. He tried to write and record one song a day. He only made it 8 days. Those 8 songs along with 7 others are on the first album, "May All Liars Burn in Hell". The idea behind his solo projects is to write songs without thinking about them, to be pure in writing and hold nothing back. Occasionally Clavin utilized his friends "Colorblind" Joe, McKayla or others for help. Primarily playing with acoustic guitar or ukulele, he has toured the US West Coast, Midwest, and Europe multiple times.

As Captain Chaos[edit]

Captain Chaos
OriginBloomington, IN, United States
Years active2004–2008
LabelsPlan-It-X Records, Anti-Creative Records, Fall of the West Records, The Scientist and The Duke Records, Sweet Now Records, Big Magic Records, Crafty Records, Valiant Death Records
MembersChris Johnston ("Chris Clavin") - acoustic guitar, vocals
and sometimes
Colorblind Joe - ukulele, backing vocals
McKayla - backing vocals
Matty pop chart - piano

When Clavin first started releasing solo songs, he did not want his typical moniker attached to them. Spoonboy (of The Max Levine Ensemble) gave him the name Captain Chaos. Though Clavin did not like the name, it stuck. He released six full-length albums, one split, and appeared on a handful of compilations and other small projects as Captain Chaos before using his real name on his solo work (see further below).

Captain Chaos discography[edit]

Early works[edit]
Year Title Label Format
2004 Captain Chaos Spoonboy's Tape Label Cassette
2004 Tour CD-R Self-Released/Chaos Records CD-R
Full-length albums[edit]
Year Title Label Format
2006 May All Liars Burn In Hell (a.k.a. Self-Titled) The Scientist and the Duke Records CD, Digital
2006 This is Cake Crafty Records CD
2006 Bloomington, Vol. 1 Big Magic Records CD
2006 Ireland Valiant Death Records CD-R
2007 The Fool Anti-Creative Records CD
2007 For The Devil Fall of the West Records CD
2007 Your Bright Eyes Are Gonna Kill Me For Sure Crafty Records CD-R
2008 Nice and Friendly/Captain Chaos Split - Have Fun/Die Hard Sweet No Records CD
Box set[edit]

All six of the full-length albums (and a bonus CDR of cover songs) were available in a hand-crafted wooden box set with hand-made art. These boxes were made by Dan Treiber of Crafty Records. Fifty-one of them were made. The first 25 were made out of recycled 99-year-old barn wood. The second 26 were made out of recycled 1960 Canadian crate wood. The box set became officially available as of April 5, 2007. It is now out of print.

Year Title Label Format
2005 Bella's Birthday CD (free!) Plan-It-X Records CD, Digital
2006 Live At Bandit H.Q. DIY Bandits CD-R
2006 Night of the Living Devilock: A DIY Tribute to the Misfits Playground's Greatest Records/Pop Monster! Records CD-R
2006 The Three Dollar Gallon Crafty Records CD
2007 Ponies in a Stable Don't Stop Believin' Records CD
2008 Thanks For The Floor Crafty Records CD

As Chris Clavin[edit]

In 2008, Clavin decided to stop releasing songs as Captain Chaos, and instead use his traditional moniker. He began to tour solo again on a small scale, and has released one album so far.

Chris Clavin discography[edit]

Full-length albums[edit]
Year Title Label Format
2008 The Roads Don't Lead Home. The Roads Lead Everywhere Crafty Records 12" vinyl LP
2009 Secrets (Chris Clavin / Sara Cilantro Split) Plan-It-X Records Cassette
2009 Chris Clavin / Madeline Ava Split Plan-It-X Records Cassette
2010 Chris Clavin / Andrew Lips Split Plan-It-X Records Cassette
2011 Waxahachee / Chris Clavin Split Plan-It-X Records Cassette, Digital
2011 Chris Clavin / Kyle Hall Split Plan-It-X Records Cassette, Digital

Record labels[edit]

Clavin's solo projects have appeared on the following record labels (this list excludes compilations and smaller projects)

  • Anti-Creative Records
  • Big Magic Records
  • Boom Boom Tapes
  • Crafty Records
  • Fall of the West Records
  • Plan-It-X Records
  • The Scientist and the Duke Records
  • Sweet Now Records
  • Valiant Death Records
  • Rock-it Records

Anonymous accounts alleging inappropriate behavior[edit]

In 2017, a series of Facebook posts were published, followed by the creation of a public Google Doc, which aggregated accounts from unnamed individuals alleging inappropriate conduct by Clavin.[8][9] The accounts were collected through an email address that did not require or request any personal identification from the writers to vet or confirm the accounts. Clavin did not admit or respond specifically to any of these claims, but instead simply announced his departure from the punk scene, stating, among other things: "I no longer play in any bands. I no longer run a record label or publishing company. I will settle all affairs and orders of course, and pay all outstanding debts and invoices."[9]

Several of the dozens of small artists Clavin collaborated with or published music for over the years - Kimya Dawson, AJJ, Waxahatchee, Spoonboy and Ramshackle Glory - publicly condemned his actions, requested that Plan-It-X Records cease distributing their products, and stated they would remove Clavin's work from future printings of these split records, although it does not appear any further physical printings of these records were produced.[9] Rather, most of these split records remains readily available through a variety of online sources.[10]

Clavin's bandmate in Ghost Mice, Hannah O'Connor, posted the following on Facebook, quoted by PunkNews in response to the anonymous accounts: "Since I have been Chris' friend for a long time, I know that he is being accused of things he has not done. I know there are a lot of false allegations, rumors, and lies spreading very fast about him."[11]

New music[edit]

Clavin continues as a songwriter and has released several albums under the moniker of Captain Chaos recently, including "Shawties," in 2019 and "Black Swan" in 2020.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ghost Mice". August 28, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  2. ^ "Ghost Mice". Last Hours. February 5, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  3. ^ [1] Archived June 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ [2] Archived December 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Ghost Mice Dark Times". Distrokid.
  6. ^ "Plan-It-X Records: If It Ain't Cheap - It Ain't Punx!". Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  7. ^ Marcus, Andrew (December 30, 2006). "The spirit of folk was everywhere this year, with a slew of tribute albums to various new hybrid forms -- from freak-folk to folk-punk and beyond". Salon Media Group. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  8. ^ (August 30, 2017). "Chris Clavin accused of assault, Clavin responds, bands react". Retrieved September 11, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c Hatfield, Amanda (August 25, 2017). "AJJ & Kimya Dawson split from Plan-It-X Records after accusations of abuse against owner Chris Clavin". Brooklyn Vegan. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Gentile, John (August 30, 2017). "Chris Clavin accused of assault, Clavin responds, bands react". Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  12. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Biel, Joe (2012). "Chris Clavin". Beyond the Music: How Punks Are Saving the World with DIY Ethics, Skills, and Values. Portland, Oregon: Cantankerous Titles. pp. 160–162. ISBN 978-1-62106-472-5. OCLC 793573868.