Unbeknownst to many except, yano, nearly 20,000 fans on Instagram, just south of the DIAG Canadian hub lives a prodigal modern American Renaissance man — a maker of memes, a trailblazer of Bandcamp, and a connoisseur of energy drinks and they tasty urine they dutifully produce. He’s not only responsible for bringing about 2,700 pivotal posts into the world, but also smash hit “Magic the Gathering of the Juggalos.” While he is known by many names, the myth, the man, the KornFan420 began his life responding to Clyde Webb long before the development of his most recent guise of one-man synthpop project, Hot Leather. His contributions touch many via his ability to stay in-tune with the culture behind the hot mess express that is the American suburb in decay, all while tapping into our middle school nostalgia of heelys and heartagrams.
Tragically, his demands for an interview have fallen on deaf ears at VICE, as have my job applications. Webb doesn’t play into tabloid-level stereotypes, like Amanda Knox talking about the joys of prison sex, and, despite sometimes drinking from drainage ditches and eating family size tubs of hummus with his bare bands, hasn’t sold himself out as a guinea pig for ventures like eating nothing but Nutella for a week. My disqualifications range everywhere from the fact that I sometimes wear Victoria’s Secret PINK non-ironically to the cold reality that I peaked in ’09 instead of ’08 (2008 was really a much better year to do so, objectively speaking). But, as fellow members of the juggalo fam, Webb and I have had each other’s backs through thick, thin, STD tests, and late night messages written in the throws of hypochondriacal mania surrounding suspected salt toxicity after adopting on an all-canned soup diet (I’m so sorry). So, strap yourself in with some hot leather, open wide for some warm piss, and give a warm Graveyard welcome as we take a closer look at your friend and mine, Clyde.
DIAG: Can you describe your life outside of KornFan? I think a lot of people are pretty oblivious of the Oregon outside of Portland — myself included.
CW: I live in Ontario, Oregon like an hour outside of Boise, Idaho and I work at a wood mill as a resaw operator, but I just quit. I live, like, seven hours from Portland.
DIAG: Were you able to quit because of your internet success?
CW: Not at all, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Quitting my job is really taking a huge weight off of me because now I can focus on what I truly love doing instead of just working long hours every day.
DIAG: I’m really happy for you, bro. But I’m still curious; what the fuck type of village raised you?
CW: So Ontario is really small and we used to try to set up shows and start a scene but most people didn’t really care. We had some stuff at the highschool but generally it just fizzled out. Boise is pretty sick and has some good bands. There’s a couple venues but it mostly has DIY house venues, especially in Caldwell which is like 15 minutes from Boise. I don’t really feel any connection to Ontario even though I went to school here and live here and everything and I don’t really feel that much of a connection to Boise because I don’t live that close so I don’t really feel like I have a place in either city. There’s not really that much to do in Ontario and when I go to Boise (if I’m not going to a show) I just go to a Chinese buffet and then go to thrift stores. There’s a lot of really good thrift stores in Boise because I don’t think people really pick through them as much as bigger cities.
DIAG: One of the things I really admire in both KornFan and Hot Leather is how you manage to tap into all of the absurdities that I sort of unconsciously noticed growing up in a pretty boring shithole outside of Baltimore. It was the same deal as Ontario — scenes came and went and there wasn’t much to do, so you had to get pretty creative unless you wanted your hobby to be huffing Reddi-wip in the Pizza Hut parking lot. How do you stay woke to those kinds of absurdities? Like the cartoon decal of the dude pissing on opposing sports teams’ logos, the kid in the Cookie Monster hat riding his Huffy to summer school, the single mom/freelance Pure Romance associate posting minion cartoons roasting their haters, and so on; all of those weird fixtures of having gone to shitty public schools and being sort of whiskey tango. It’s all stuff I’ve totally forgotten about but then you make me remember and it punches me right in the giggle dick. It’s like you have a third eye or something.
CW: It’s really hard to explain but it’s really funny how growing up in a small town with [only] a prison and/or only manufacturing jobs is generally the same experience for almost everyone and you can either be really embarrassed of the culture that you grew up or you can embrace juggalodom, taz shirts, doing whip, and laughing at how weird it all is. I feel like [fellow meme page] Gangster Popeye pulls it off really well too.
DIAG: I just looked them up and immediately saw butt chugging. And sloppy top.
CW: Butt chugging is truly the sickest thing you could do. I want to die butt chugging Nos or like RealTree Energy™. Sloppy top is the ultimate term for getting head, in my opinion.
DIAG: What’s it like to chug in the booty? I gave up on going away to college when that shit started getting on-trend. My final straw was the soaking the tampons in vodka thing.
CW: I’ve never done it so I don’t know but I bet it kicks ass. I know someone who butt chugged cough syrup.
DIAG: Is buttchugging Nos breaking edge?
CW: God, I hope so.
CW: Oh god, they’re both so epic. I think I’ll have to go Alesana Apology maybe right now. I truly love the YOU’RE EVERYTHING! YOU’RE EVERYTHING TO ME!!!!!!
DIAG: Why do you think the third is the superior Psypher?
CW: It just starts out so good and solid. All the psyphers are really good but Psypher 3 is the best
and three is the best number. It’s the number of perfection. I don’t remember why, but I Googled it once and that’s what it said. I think. Okay, I looked it up again and it says this:
‘Number 3 resonates with the energies of optimism and joy, inspiration and creativity, speech and communication, good taste, imagination and intelligence, sociability and society, friendliness, kindness and compassion. Number 3 also relates to art, humour, energy, growth, expansion and the principles of increase, spontaneity, broad-minded thinking, synthesis, triad, heaven-human-earth, past-present-future, thought-word-action, demonstrates love through creative imagination, comprehensive, fulfilment, encouragement, assistance, talent and skills, culture, wit, a love of fun and pleasure, freedom-seeking, adventure, exuberance, brilliance, free-form, being brave, non-confrontational, free-form, rhythm, passion, surprise, sensitivity, self-expression, affability, enthusiasm, youthfulness, enlivenment, psychic ability, manifesting and manifestation.’
All of those relate to Psypher 3.
DIAG: Oh, absolutely.
CW: I think most juggalos are super cool. There are going to be shitty people in any subculture, but juggalos are generally really cool and really nice. It goes with the same thing about growing up in shitty small towns and looking out for people who are also downtrodden.
DIAG: Where do you think the meme community fits into all of this?
CW: I don’t really know why meme people are so into juggalos, but I really like it. Maybe rooting for an underdog?
DIAG: Carving out a space for yourself maybe? A creative sphere in a dead world?
DIAG: Not to say that everyone needs to hold the same worldviews as me or nothing, but I can’t help but get kicked in the nutsack of disappointment whenever I see an IG page I like posting some ignorant shit. Like, sometimes it’s clearly just jimmy-rustling, but other times you can sense genuine intent behind it. KornFan is one of the few meme pages, at least that I’ve seen, that’s unapologetically leftist. Have you gotten any blowback or threats from posting shit in support of Antifa’s presence in Charlottesville and so on?
CW: I’ve had a lot of people just argue, but I’ve never really gotten death threats or anything. Some people I know that make memes have gotten death threats, especially female identified people which is so scary. I’ve really stopped engaging with the people who try to argue or fight with me and I don’t really block them or anything. I just kind of let them rot in their stupidity. A lot of people on the right seem really inexperienced in life and I think as they grow older and see what the world is really like they’ll start to get more left[-leaning]. A lot of people will say that they don’t want the political posts and just want memes, but my Instagram has been like all aspects of my life for almost the entire duration so usually it’s a new follower who gets upset about me being really left[ist].
DIAG: Is it ever challenging having your personal and creative Instagrams as one, as opposed to having two separate ones?
CW: I don’t think it’s really hard because I don’t really care what people know about my life. I really couldn’t keep up with a personal and a ‘professional’ one. I would entirely neglect one or the other.
DIAG: So you’re the monster responsible for exposing me to smash hit Deadbeat Valentine by nothing,nowhere. Now I’ve got his name tatted on my wrist. Are there any other new underrated bands or albums at the moment that you’d like to ruin my life with? Personally I’ve been hitting the fresh Spooky Black pretty hard.
CW: I’ve barely been listening to anything new except Wicca Phase’s Springs Eternal, smrtdeath, and Lost Balloons. Most of the stuff I’ve been listening to lately is all, like, 10 years old maybe. I am all about the 2007 revival.
DIAG: It’s neat to actually be around for a revival of something you can actually remember the first wave of.
CW: Totally. It’s really weird to think about the bands from, like, 2007 that were into stuff from the 90’s. Now the 2007 bands are old but you don’t really think about it. You remember that stuff (music from the 90’s) being really old music because you were like 5 or 6 when it came out, but now you’ll listen to something from 2008 and you’re like Jesus Christ, this song is nine years old.
DIAG: Could you describe Hot Leather? In many ways you’re pretty damn one-of-a-kind, but is there a genre you subscribe to or or do you musically identify with any other existing projects/scenes out there?
Clyde Webb: For years I’ve wanted to start a synthpunk band that was like The Emotron, Best Fwends, Math The Band, etc, and I knew that The Emotron used a Yamaha QY700 but those were way too expensive for my 16-year-old self, so I bought a Yamaha qy10 and couldn’t figure it out so I left it in my closet for years. I gave it to my friend and focused primarily on the acoustic punk stuff I was doing. I kept doing acoustic punk until a couple years ago when I started getting really bad carpal tunnel from work. I did one project where I sang along to the instrumentals of an album I did and then last winter I was talking to my friend about starting a band with him on keyboard, our other friend on drums and then myself on vocals. We wrote a couple songs together but the drummer could only play loud, fast punk so it didn’t really work out with him so I kicked him out. My friend that was playing the keyboard didn’t really work out because we couldn’t really write together so I asked him for my QY700 back and got dead set on learning it.
In the time that I gave it to my friend and the time I got it back someone put an instructional video on YouTube so I was able to figure it out, but I wanted something else, so I bought a Yamaha QY70 and ran out of space, and then my ex and I broke up and I had money from my taxes so I bit the bullet and bought a Yamaha QY700 and fulfilled that dream. I really wanted to sound like a more punk hellogoodbye so I bought an autotune pedal and was going to sing through a telephone, but I messed up making a telephone mic so I bought a vocal distortion pedal. I don’t really know any current synthpunk bands doing the same kind of thing that I’m doing. I feel like they were more prevalent in the early 2000s. I identify spiritually with Tabor Mountain though because he’s just a one man project with a sampler that’s really poppy.
DIAG: That’s a hell of a journey. What does your writing process look like after all that?
CW: My writing process is usually thinking of a riff in my head and then saying the first words that come to mind or I’ll grab a guitar and play something and say the first thing that comes to mind. I write a lot of stuff in the shower. I really like writing lyrics that aren’t ‘traditional’ so I’ll come up with a couple sentences and then repeat it a couple times. I don’t really try to put a lot of emphasis on the lyrics and be super conceptual and focus more on just writing music that’s fun or something to listen to when you’re driving around or cleaning. The band That Dog. has a huge influence on the lyrics that I write, though. The music is generally just trying to make something that sounds like it could be on Enema Of The State.
DIAG: So I’m dying to know — is the obscuring of the first “William” in “William Dafoe could have been my dad because he fucked my mom backstage at Guns N’ Roses” intentional?
CW: What do you mean?
DIAG: It sounds more like Willum than William.
CW: Oh, his name is Willem.
CW: Mandela effect.
DIAG: I don’t want to live.
CW: Wait, so get this — his name is William. But he’s known professionally as Willem? No, I guess in high school he got the nickname willem.
DIAG: Then I’m calling you Cleed from here on out. Starbucks keeps thinking my name is Janet and I’m really concerned about the fact that I look like a Janet. Remind me again what your full name is?
CW: I’ve seriously been to Starbucks like only a handful of times and mostly just to use the bathroom. My full name is Aaron Daniel “Clyde” Webb. Clyde is like an official nickname.
DIAG: It’s on your birth certificate and everything?
CW: Yeah, in quotation marks.
DIAG: In terms of the future of Hot Leather, you’re taking the show on the road, right? What goes into making a great HL performance?
CW: Yeah, I have plans for two west coast tours and maybe a south east tour right after. Whenever I perform for Hot Leather I just completely zone out and pay zero attention to what I’m doing. I think the thing that will make it as good as it could be is for people to be into it and dancing along because I think it’s more of an experience of having fun and not as much as hearing a good musician.
DIAG: God bless.