Punk rock provocateurs Guttermouth won’t be coming to San Jose on March 9, after all, thanks to a booking error with the band. Before the announcement we checked in with singer Mark Adkins to discuss new music in the works, and why he’ll never perform in San Francisco or on the Warped Tour again.
I like the fact that your website says “10 albums later…we’re still punk.” I think it sums up what you do and that you don’t necessarily care what the trend is.
I think when bands change styles, they usually lose more fans than they gain. Bands are known for a certain thing and when they go the opposite direction or a different direction, they’re almost betraying their core fans who they started with.
You did have a brief period in the 2000s where you went a little poppy.
Record labels were throwing around a lot of money so we were taking that. We were catering a little bit, which wasn’t the right thing to do. It was the wrong thing to do. We were so sick of watered down pop-punk stuff that we were just made a trippy record that made no sense. We got a ton of backlash for that, but fans are starting to appreciate it. It’s the whole “10 year later” thing.
That record (2002’s Gusto) just didn’t work and it took a little while to rebuild some faith. It just seemed like at the time that there was so many bands doing the same thing that it was boring to us that we decided to make something a little kookie. We paid the price.
You have a new track called “Together.” Are you working on a new record?
We just want to put out singles. The record industry is what it is, which isn’t much. To release a full record is such a monetary out of pocket thing, I just want to record singles here and there and start releasing those. You can’t even buy hard copies anymore, practically, CDs and whatnot. Kids don’t even know what they are.
We have several more singles planned—just give them away for free and just pop them out on occasion. We are thinking of releasing a song a month. … We’re more a live band than anything. That’s what we do best, play live, so we focus on that more than anything.
Have you been playing a lot of shows in the past five years?
Yeah. We did Japan, Australia and Canada. The Bay Area isn’t too far for us, but it’s a little too politically wound up in the wrong direction. The last time we played San Francisco, we got our tires slashed, all four of them. San Francisco blows. I will never go back there.
The mayor had just declared San Francisco a sanctuary city for all illegal aliens. I made a comment about that, criticizing it and they snapped. It’s just too wound up, I don’t understand it. It’s hard to comprehend.
This whole thing about you guys having a reputation for getting banned and offending people, is that exaggerated at all?
There’s been a few incidents, but we don’t try and make things happen. One thing about us is every show is different. We have played with some bands that go through the motions, play the same thing every night, make the same comments every night. It’s just so boring.
We don’t even write a set list. We go on stage and just play off each other, so every night’s different. Sometimes things are said and happen and people get a little uppity. It’s just lots of sarcasm—tongue and cheek sarcasm. Some people take it the wrong way. It’s hard to remember cause I’m drunk, too. Some people take it really serious.
The things that offend people, are they, like the immigration thing, sometimes political?
I got into it for a short time, and just realized, it’s hopeless and there’s nothing I can do single-handedly. It was just hot air and getting me nowhere. Singing in a punk band is not the best way to affect change. It’s not going to work at all. Crass never changed the world did they?
Can I ask about the 2004 Warped Tour? Did you guys get kicked off or did you guys leave on your own?
It was a mutual agreement. There were nine bands who were complaining about us [Yellowcard and My Chemical Romance were two of them] We were mocking them on a regular basis. They would go cry to the boss. That was the Punk Voter year, when all of that was going on, and we didn’t agree with all that. [Guttermouth made pro George W Bush shirts to mock the uniformity of the politics of the other bands] All those complaints and all that political crap going on, we just decided, it was a mutual thing between Kevin Lyman, the owner of Warped Tour, and myself that it would be best if we left. Warped Tour used to work really well for us. Now I don’t even know what’s going on. I read the roster, I don’t recognize one band. We were on the inaugural one in 95.