Punk Rock As It’s Meant To Be: We Talked With Mark Adkins Of Guttermouth

Controversial for doing whatever they want, but respected for being true to what they are, Guttermouth have always been like that since their beginnings as a band. Early this year they returned with new music in 10 years and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk to the legendary frontman Mark Adkins about all sorts of things, with no bullshit attached.

It’s been 10 years since you released yor last effort, 2006’s album Shave the Planet, and this year you released a new EP Got It Made and now you’re about to release a new one titled New Car Smell. Why so long to release new material?
Part of it was the changes in the record industry with everything going digital and the collapse of the record stores, you know, everything that happened. It just didn’t was the time to releasing records, it just didn’t seem appropriate at all because there wasn’t a market especially in the Unite States, it’s gone. I don’t even know where to buy a compact disc anymore in the US, unless it’s ordered online. You can’t find them. [laughs] Then after having 10 years of thoughts in your mind and experiences that you had, it was like they needed to come out at a certain point. Bird Attack Records and Rude Records approached us to do something and I had some songs in my head, it just happened like that. People just push me a little bit to exercise my brain and use it of just packing up all these memories inside.

What was it like getting back into writing and releasing new music?
It hasn’t changed, even though the technology has changed digitally, but it’s easy and didn’t changed a bit because I’m still the same person I was way back then when we were writing the previous records. The adult silent syndrome that we all have as band members and it never goes away. [laughs] It was easy. [laughs]

You’ve gone through some lineup changes since your last album. How much did that affect the band’s writing and recording process?
Overall, you have someone that didn’t fit, because you have to mash with all personalities after mash and that kind of mashes with me [laughs] which is pretty easy to do because I’m a super easy going character. I’ll tell you that it hasn’t been negative and most of the guys that I’m with now, I have been working with them for five years.

Throughout all these years on Guttermouth and having released nine studio album, what experiences were more important for the band’s core during these years?
I’ve never looked at it like anyone is supposed to read in anything and get something out of it or I just do it because it’s fun and I’m not trying to make a difference by writing records and songs, I do it because I like to do it. I know a lot of people say “Oh, you’re in the band and you’re supposed to have a voice and use it and change the world” but I say it’s a complete bullshit because the hippies bands in the 60s didn’t stop the Vietnam War and I’m definitely not going to change the course of American elections by singing some stupid song and put it on a t-shirt. It’s not gonna happen and it’s just not realistic to think that way. For me, it’s just fun and it’s something that I do. It’s something that’s in my blood which is to write songs that make me giggle a little bit, but all stand from something that has happened, that’s the thing. Every song has a little something there that has happened in my life and so the reviewer reviews my record and says “Oh, he’s misogyny pig this or that.” They don’t have the smarts to say “Well, where was he coming from that song?” or contact me and ask me and do a question like that, so I don’t get enough reviews. [laughs]

What did inspire you while writing New Car Smell EP?
I’ve never been married or had kids or anything like that and that sounds too dreadful to me so I had no relationships that crumble and that’s what New Car Smell is about. You have this pretty great girlfriend and you think she’s the best thing on Earth, but you know what? It loses its luster over a little bit of time, it doesn’t keep going… As they say, when you buy a new car, that new car smell wears off pretty fast. [laughs] People don’t ask questions like that and I’m glad you did. [laughs] There’s something different in every song, they’re an experience.

Any plans of releasing a full-length in the near future?
The full-length will come out sometime early next year, like February or March. It’s been non-stop. [laughs] It’s crazy. We’re back 100%. We’re gearing up for proper tours with proper people. We’ve already started a tour in the States and parts of Canada, and then the rest of the world. We haven’t put a record out in 10 years, usually you’re not going to get response and so we put out new material for people to hear it and people are liking it.

How’s going the process of getting the full-length complete?
All the music is written. I write the lyrics after the songs are done and I always wait until the last second to do it all, because when I’m under pressure my brain just kicks in and I pour everything out into the lyrics. [laughs]

You never have a set list for any live show, which is pretty awesome and it makes each show unique. Why do you guys never pick up a set list?
Because I hate watching bands who we are on tour and every four song they have a break and then the singer says some intermission and talks about whether straight edge or whatever the hell they are. They say the same thing every night, do the same four song and then in between those four songs the guitarist is tuning and then the singer is preaching some bullshit… It’s just so contrived and those are the bands that are trying to change the world. [laughs] That’s what cracks me up. Those bands have choreographed jumps and I’m just like “Fuck that!” Just keep the spontaneity and something real to it and not just a bunch of bullshit.

With everything shitty that’s going on in the world right now and with Donald Trump as president of the United States of America, which is quite scary and revolting, what are your thoughts about all of this?
Here’s the thing, there’s something I do on a regular basis. I go to restaurants, clubs and bars and I start conversations with people that are 20 or 25 years older than me. 25 years ago or whatever, I think we were fucked up back then and now it’s just a different method, you know? The world has always been a fucked up place full of tyrants, dictators… The world has always been like this, it’s just that the media is focused on so much more these days because the media is essentially a circus now, and so I think we’re just exposed to more. I think it has always been a world of shit and we’re just exposed to more. It’s unbelievable everything that is happening. I hate to say, but it’s almost funny because Hillary Clinton is a fucking demon crook, she’s a fucking criminal and Donald Trump is going through the same path, so what are we going to do? [laughs] What can I do? There’s a lot of real serious punk rockers that are like “You’re supposed to change things through your songs” and I’m like “Oh yeah, I’m gonna become the soundtrack and teaching U.S. President” Get serious, dude! I’m sorry that doesn’t happen. [laughs]

I’m really concerned with what will happen next, everything is so uncertain and scary right now.
Who knows what’s gonna happen? You have no idea and that’s what keeps it exciting, you know? If we knew exactly where the world was going, imagine if we all lived the 1950s lifestyle… You would go to college, get a job, get married and have a bunch of kids and a dog and then you would die. If we all lived like that, it would be so much boring as you might kill me now. [laughs] Just keeping it exciting. [laughs]

Words: Andreia Alves – New Car Smell EP is out now on Rude Records.
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