The Inertia Rock & Roll Scientist
Mark Adkins of Guttermouth gets into the crowd during a recent Warped Tour.

Guttermouth has been tearing up the scene since the late eighties. All these years later, Mark Adkins is still just about getting out there and having some fun. Photo: Kevin Baldes

The Inertia

This August, sat down with Mark Adkins and company at the Black Cat in Washington, DC as they were finishing up their most recent East Coast tour.  As they readied for their last show with tour mates The New Threat out of St. Cloud, FL, the band discussed everything from the sorry state of the record industry to the Ground Zero Mosque.  On the horizon for Guttermouth? A holiday in Australia, documentaries, and perhaps a little new music…

INERTIA: So, you guys have been on tour a couple weeks now, any particularly amusing anecdotes from the road?

Mark, vocals: Feels like longer! Um, off the top of my head, it’s so hard…

Dave, guitar: My cousin announced to the audience that she loved dick the other night. She was on the stage, and then up came this other girl, and I guess the crowd wanted them to kiss. But she just got on the mic and said, “Sorry people, I like dick!”


 I: Well that’s…something. I heard that after this, you guys are also embarking on a Down Under tour, and that there might be some cameras rolling, chronicling the whole thing?

 M: Yeah, we’re gonna have a film crew with us 24/7, it’ll be like Guttermouth reality TV, all compliments of the Australian government.

 I: Is there a plan to post videos of this odyssey as you go along, or will all the footage be compiled into a documentary at the end of the tour?

 M: That I can’t say. But yeah, there are these programs common to some countries like Australia, Canada, France… young students or filmmakers can get funding for these sorts of projects, and this guy wanted us to be his victim. He’ll be following us around to Asia and New Zealand as well.

 I: You guys have been to Australia plenty of times before, is there a surf spot or a town there that remains particularly close to your heart?

 M: Certainly being at Bells Beach, those big festivals they have…it’s pretty damn cool. Sharing a stage with guys like Iggy, some other heavy-hitters, you know? It’s been so great to just go down there and hang. Usually when you’re on the road, you don’t have time for squat. There’s a lot of hurry up and wait. But at those Australian festivals, man, people love us over there. It’s been wonderful. That’s easily our strongest market in the world. We kick ass, every city.

 I: All these years on the road, what stands out as your worst tour or show injury?

 M: Just dumb luck, some sort of staph infection took me out of Warped Tour in‘96, and it put me in the hospital there in Chicago for nine days, until I was well enough to fly home. We were skateboarding a lot, and my knees were fucking hamburger meat. With the taxing Warped schedule, the heat, trudging through the Midwest, it just broke you down.

 I: I’ve read you tape a fair number of your shows–

 M: Where’d you read that? I mean, we try. But we don’t always have a lot of follow-through…

 I: Ah, well out of the recordings you do get, what was the last thing that really surprised you, something ridiculous on there that you just didn’t remember doing?

M: [sighs] That’s a daily occurrence, sir.

 I: Judas Priest once had to stand trial when a ridiculous suit alleged that their version of “Better By You, Better Than Me” triggered a fan suicide pact. Have you ever wondered if some kid would be abusive towards his mom and testify that “Lipstick” [off 1997’s Musical Monkey] made him do it?

M: Oh geez. Definitely not something I worry about. It’s entertainment, for God’s sakes!

 I: With songs like “When Hell Freezes Over” and “Octopus Hairpiece,” Guttermouth hasn’t hesitated to poke fun at old timers that look funny, carrying on the same way as when they were younger–

D: You do that all the time!

M: What can I say, I’m a fucking hypocrite! No one ever thinks they’re gonna get old, but then it happens, and you turn around and realize you’ve been doing this for twenty years. But I’m a 42-year-old guy who loves playing punk rock, and that’s what I do. I feel lucky.

 I: Do you have an opinion on what the media has been calling the “Ground Zero Mosque?”

M: Well, initially, taken at face value – since the media does such a ‘great’ job of reporting things – they’d blown this story up in California that there’s this mosque going up at Ground Zero, and I thought: “That’s probably not the best thing to do.” Then, you get more pieces of the story, and it’s a few blocks away…I mean, whatever! I do think America has become sort of a pushover country though. We’d pander to anybody these days.

 I: What’s the latest news on the band’s next release? Is anything brewing?

M: Yeah, we’ve actually been working hard, making demos, going through all the rough stuff, but at the same time, the record industry’s in such turmoil, you wonder how you even go about releasing something the right way. Do you make an actual record, a hard disc? You might get stuck with 10,000 beer coasters. I mean, where I live, there aren’t even any record stories left, period. So, do I really want to be releasing singles on iTunes?

 I: You’re saying you’ve got a lot in the works, but you’re not quite sure what your distribution angle’s going to be?

M: Yep, we’re doing our homework as much as possible, online, on the road talking to people, to get things figured out. We’re also in the position now where we like having ownership of everything…dealing with the labels- it can be kind of harsh.

 I: What’s made Hopeless Records feel like a good fit for you guys right now?

M: Louis, the head of Hopeless and I have been good friends for a pretty long time. He’s a great guy, you know, like he’ll name his companies after his first signings- we put out a 7” with him, which had the song “Hopeless,” and he named his label after it. He was also a video producer at one time and did NOFX’s “Bob” video, and named his production company Bob Productions. He just fosters special relationships like that with people, and it’s kind of cool.

I: What’s an average day out on this tour been like? Do you have any pre-show rituals?

M: Every day when we enter the city limits for our destination, someone puts on the song “Africa” by Toto. Why? I don’t know. But it’s been that way for like, the last five years, and we’ve had fun with it. But yeah, those guys with us, The New Threat? They’re from the South, from Florida, and those guys are just on cruuuise control, man. They are in no hurry, whereas our crew runs a pretty tight ship. If van call is at noon, you are in the van, ready to go, we’re leaving. We’re Southern Californians, we’re moving around all the time, and that’s just how we operate. And now with these guys, I’ve learned to relax a little bit, they’re just: “We’ll get there, man, we’ll get there.” It’s been weird though! Oh, and those restaurants in the South, everyone’s just taaakin’ their tiiime…

I: Can you remember the last time you did an interview where someone didn’t ask a question about being arrested in Canada and/or the infamous Warped ‘04?

M: Dude, it’s been every one of ‘em.

I: Alright, just wanted to keep that streak alive. Let’s wrap this thing up with some free association. Tears… Dog food…

M: Senior citizen!



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