Huntington Beach punk rockers Guttermouth got their start 25 years ago, penning some of the funniest, most sarcastic, foul-mouthed punk rock songs ever written. Today, they are doing pretty much the exact same thing. Their website says it all: “10 Albums later…we’re still punk”. The band plays the Blank Club on July 26.
“I think when bands change styles they usually lose more fans than they gain,” says lead singer Mark Adkins. “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.”
That doesn’t mean that Guttermouth is in auto-pilot mode. If anything, they thrive on spontaneity more than most new bands do.
“One thing about us is every show is different,” Adkins says. “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.”
They’ve perfected the art of operating on the fly so much that they have a sort of shorthand in communicating with each other on stage. No one even needs shout out a song title.
“Everyone can read each other’s minds basically,” Adkins says. “Someone starts a part and everyone follows. It’s more fluid that way. Structure isn’t what we enjoy—just capturing the moment. We all think the same. We’re five like-minded people up there.”
Of course, one of the aspects Guttermouth is most known for is saying and doing things that offends people. That may very well be the byproduct of such spontaneity, along with copious amounts of alcohol and a love for feisty, politically incorrect humor.
In 2004, they famously left the Warped Tour early after several bands (Yellowcard and My Chemical Romance among them) complained about their onstage banter—which involved making fun of them and the other “fashion punk bands” dominating that year’s lineup.
After the incident, Adkins posted a lengthy explanation online.
“I can only imagine some of the groups getting together over an alcohol-free drink or maybe a vegan smoothie in an environmentally safe cup preparing their rally cry (complete with tears and thus, running make-up) to ultimately have me censored,” Adkins wrote.
More recently, Adkins upset a San Francisco audience when he complained about their status as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. One angry attendee even slashed their tires.
“I made a comment about that, criticizing it and they snapped,” Adkins says. “It’s just too wound up, I don’t understand it. It’s hard to comprehend,” Adkins says. “San Francisco blows. I will never go back there.”
Though Guttermouth hasn’t released a proper album since 2006, the band stays quite active touring. They aren’t in any rush to release an album, and lately have just been releasing singles on the Internet when the mood strikes.
“The record industry is what it is, which isn’t much,” Adkins says. “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.”
Besides, Guttermouth is a band best experienced live.
“We’re more a live band than anything,” Adkins says. “That’s what we do best, play live, so we focus on that more than anything.”.
Blank Club, San Jose
Fri, 9pm, $12 adv/$15 door