Interview: Guttermouth give it 110 percent

guttermouth tour

Guttermouth vocalist Mark Adkins talks to Courtney Dabb ahead of the California-based punk band’s upcoming Australian tour:

Hi Mark. Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. You have been singing punk songs for over 25 years now. Do you feel like the message has changed over the years and generations?
Probably. I mean I don’t really pay attention to anyone else’s message except my own and as soon as I figure out what my message is I will let you know. Sometimes I think music is a bad outlet to get a message across, there’s better ways to get a message, you know? Like start a fake church or something.

You have a very easy-going, care-free attitude, but to make it in this industry for as long as you have, you must be very dedicated and passionate to the point of caring one whole hell of a lot?
Yeah I do, because when you have a job that you actually like, not like 90% of people who don’t like their job, especially here in The States, I am the lucky one so I am going to give it a 110%. I am going to hang onto this job before I start working at McDonalds.

After 10 albums, how do you keep up the inspiration? Do you feel like you have reached a point of saying everything that you have ever wanted to say or is it an endless process?
It’s endless because life is always changing, evolving and we see things travelling as much as we do all the time so there is fuel and fodder everywhere. An endless supply of stupid people to make fun of and they don’t even know it. It’s easier to pick out people’s weaker features than their more positive ones.

Do you find being on the road and visiting so many different places an inspiration in creating new material or is it simply a job with deadlines and songwriting tends to take a back seat?
It doesn’t take a back seat because that’s where most of your ideas come from. Meeting people, whether it’s at the shows, hotels, restaurants, gas stations, whatever. You just meet all kinds of strange people and especially across the states with such a vast population, it’s like six different countries in one. People from the south are all slack jawed yokels, you can hardly understand them with their weird southern accent and lack of teeth. We have a big problem in the south, there is a massive shortage of dentists, it appears that way anyway.

Touring has plenty of highlights, such as traveling to far-flung places on the globe but is equally demanding, particularly as a fast paced intense punk band. How do you sustain the drive and energy especially during your live shows? 
I am just wired that way. When I come home off a tour for a month or something, I go crazy, I go nuts. I always feel like I have to be doing something. It is just the way I am wired, the way my chemical make-up is. I can’t sit still so it’s the perfect thing for me. Mov’n and shak’n non-stop.

You have toured the world a bunch of times and played alongside some amazing acts. In that time you must have encountered strange individuals and wild times, can you share any bizarre stories with us?
We were in a town called Bishop, California last night and there is obviously something in the groundwater there that has done something to the entire community of people. I believe in the whole town there was collectively about 40 people, you play to towns like that all the time.

I was playing checkers with a girl who didn’t know the rules of checkers! You know it’s sad. There’s so much stuff that happens it is hard to pinpoint just one thing, but she was pretty dopey. I couldn’t even pursue it any further but thought she might be good for a roll around in the hay later on.

You recently played ‘6 rounds of punk’ featuring some of the biggest names in punk (Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, The Vandals, Strung-Out, The Dickies). That must have been something of a dream come true as a performer to share the stage with such massive acts?
It was good fun man, it was really good fun. I had never met the Dead Kennedys guys before but they were so cool which was nice but same with The Vandals, they were really gracious but to play with a band as noteworthy as the Kennedys was nice. Quite nice gentlemen actually.

You do a lot of design work for the band such as the merchandise. Do you find this a nice distraction from making music or is it the best way to compliment the music you are producing?
Just playing in the band is a small part of the big picture you know. The business end is something you have to sort out all the time and it does balance it out. It makes you feel like a human being. The design stuff is something I do when I get home because we do travel at a pretty fast pace and there isn’t much downtime at all. Right now we are out for 25 shows and we only have two days off so it’s go, go, go.

A question I ask everyone I interview… what does music give you that nothing does?
Oh wow. Umm, it definitely gives me a sense of satisfaction. Doing your own thing you know, I’m not working for someone else. This is my baby, I created it from ground up so it’s really satisfying, you know? A lot of people might not take it seriously like oh it’s just a punk band but that’s a load of crap, there is so much that goes into running a band like keeping five other people happy all of the time, so I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. But you can’t slack off.

Of all of your work, what album are you most proud of and why?
I think fans of the band should come ask me in person because, while I’m happy with most of my work, I change my mind all the time on what is best. Besides… I’ve been hitting the Innocent Bystander.

What can we expect on your 2015 Australian tour?
Expect the unexpected because even we do know how things will play out. No song list, no choreography, just a few VBs and some Innocent Bystander wine.

Guttermouth Australian 2015 tour dates:
Thursday April 2 – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
Friday April 3 – The Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood
Saturday April 4 – The Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood
Sunday April 5 – Barwon Heads Hotel, Barwon Heads
Monday April 6 – Bar 12, Frankston
Wednesday April 8 – Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay
Thursday April 9 – Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale
Friday April 10 – Studio Six, Sutherland
Saturday April 11 – Factory Floor, Sydney
Sunday April 12 – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Friday April 17 – Crowbar, Brisbane
Saturday April 25 – Rosemount, Perth

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Interview by Courtney Dabb.