You’d think that by this point – 15 years into their career – people would know that SoCal punkers Guttermouth are all about the tongue-in-cheek fun. They are called “Guttermouth” after all.
But that isn’t the case. Every time the band try to joke about anything it backfires. From issues with former record labels to lead singer Mark Adkins being deported out of Canada after a much-publicized exposure issue in Saskatoon years ago and now a to-do with the majority of left-wing punk rock bands and their anti-Bush stance, Guttermouth can’t win. It’s a situation made more perplexing by the fact it’s blatantly obvious the band are only trying to get a rise out of people.
“We’re just pointing out the ridiculousness people stoop to,” says Adkins. “It’s not like we’re trying to hurt anyone. We just see the opportunity to stir up shit so we do. Boy, do we ever.”
Stirring up shit is exactly what the band [rounded out by guitarists Don Horne and Scott Sheldon, bassist Kevin Clark and drummer Tyler Smith ] did in regards to their pro-Bush leaning at last year’s Warped Tour. Opposing the general anti-Bush opinions in the punk rock world mostly for the sake of being contrary, the end result was clearly not in Guttermouth’s favour.
“We were walking around in pro-Bush shirts just to go against the rest of the bands that were saying ‘Fuck Bush’ only to gain acceptance from the kids,” relates Adkins. “Not all of our band members are pro-Bush and we just wanted to be the only band to say, ‘Yay war!’ It was stupid, but I can’t stand it when bands act like they’re political when all they do is read the paper and watch the news.
“After we started to poke fun, people got really mad,” he continues, noting that Guttermouth are still feeling the effects of that tour. “Friends I’d had for years stopped talking to me and where did it get them? They still lost! It was ugly though. I had to leave the tour because people were so pissed off with us. I was like, ‘Fuck this.'”
Chastised and ostracized by their cohorts, the band became increasingly frustrated not only with the Warped Tour, but with punk rockers in general, a sentiment that haunts their latest effort Eat Your Face. A snide, humourous look into punk rock, Guttermouth hope that Eat Your Face challenges the mindless, ignorant loyalty to punk rock that has been generated amongst fans over the past few years.
“Do you really think that television gives you the whole story? I mean, people can have an opinion but to be rallying off about something you have limited knowledge about just makes you look even more ignorant,” he says. “People need to think for themselves instead of ganging up on the person who offers an alternative viewpoint regardless of its nature.”
Adkins goes on to say that mob mentality has plagued punk rock for years. Although he’s pleased that punk rock is returning to its “roots” per se. It means more people are understanding Guttermouth’s point.
“The political twist was just a way of keeping punk rock in the limelight,” he says. “Isn’t it funny how punk’s popularity was waning just as this issue came about? Regardless, I’m glad to see punk rock going back underground. Punk had a good run of almost a decade and there were all of the skateboarding dorks that just wanted to be a part of something. They didn’t understand it at all. I’m glad to be back into smaller venues with people who really understand what we’re doing… well, the ones that don’t hate us at least!”