Trash Talkers

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Posted December 17, 2009 in Music

Never try and shut up a punk rocker. At least not Guttermouth frontman Mark Adkins. Bad things happen. Case in point: In 1995, the band performed at a problem-plagued punk rock festival at what is now the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino. Not one to tame his tongue, Adkins verbally battered the overly aggressive security crew to the point that the venue cut the power to get the band off the stage.

 

Whoever thought silencing the singer would sedate the crowd was sadly mistaken.

 

The throngs of roughed-up fans kept the insurgency alive by pulling up metal drainage grates and throwing them at the stage. When the dust settled, the venue blamed Adkins, whom the police hauled away in handcuffs. The singer was accused of assault with a deadly weapon, namely using the microphone to incite a riot. The singer spent a few days behind bars but charges were ultimately dropped. 

 

This is just one of many events that highlights the band’s 20-year career. Guttermouth—currently featuring Adkins, guitarists Dave Luckett and Brandon Zinkil, bassist Clint Weinrich and drummer Ryan Farrell—is a veteran act that never scored the huge KROQ hit but didn’t fade away either when the mainstream moved on to Britney and Backstreet. They may have gained greater fame when “punk broke,” but the band doesn’t want to be associated with how commercial punk rock became. 

 

“Oh, don’t lump us in with all those watered down ’90 bands,” exclaims Adkins. “We’re a product of the ’80s. That’s where we get our inspiration.”

 

Birthed in Huntington Beach, Guttermouth came up alongside other SoCal acts like Pennywise and The Offspring who were all influenced by late ’80s L.A. acts like Bad Religion, Black Flag, the Descendents and the Adolescents. Reflecting these influences, Guttermouth plays fast and furious punk with a sharp, sarcastic tongue reminiscent of Jimmy Pop (Bloodhound Gang) or a younger Fat Mike. The biting lyrics are generally in good fun, but the band does offend—which is what punk was originally supposed to do. It was never meant to be safe. 

 

“We used to sneak out at night to go to the Koo Koo’s Nest to see punk bands and come home at four in the morning completely wasted,” says Adkins. “It was a time when moms weren’t dropping their kids off at a club in their minivans and SUVs.”

 

Though certainly more mainstream and safe than Guttermouth, their buddies in The Offspring didn’t “Keep ’Em Separated” when they broke in ’94. The multi-platinum punks took them on tour, and when singer Dexter Holland started Nitro Records, Guttermouth was the inaugural act. In fact, their early Nitro albums like Musical Monkey and Teri Yakimoto are still considered their classics. The band eventually joined Epitaph Records, and in recent years, released albums like Shave the Planet on Volcom Entertainment, a record label started by the popular surf-skate clothing company. 

 

Though the San Bernardino incident is the band’s most famous antic, it certainly isn’t the only one to put them in the cross hairs. Canada banned them for over a year for public indecency, Adkins was attacked by an Earth Crisis crew member for making fun of vegetarians and they had to leave the Vans Warped Tour after repeatedly making fun of other acts (notably ones that wore makeup and had the words “Chemical” and “Romance” in their name). In fact, the group even received a death threat recently that they posted and thoroughly mocked on their MySpace page. With fewer slots at radio for punk, many acts have gone more pop than ever, yet Guttermouth continues to run in the opposite direction. 

 

As a band that celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, Guttermouth has literally played every nook and cranny of SoCal, and they continue to do so today. The band plays The Vibe in Riverside next month, but they’ll first stop in Apple Valley this weekend for a show at Angel’s Roadhouse. It’ll be a wild show, so let’s hope no one cuts the power to the stage. 

 

Guttermouth w/The Darlings, Sorry State, Gonzo Fiction and Camp Schultz at Angel’s Roadhouse #2, 13685 John Glenn Rd, Apple Valley, CA, (760) 240-6923; www.myspace.com/angelsroadhouse2, www.xxx-guttermouth-xxx.com. Sat, Dec. 19. Doors open 6PM, $12 advance. All ages. 


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