By Вen Li
Despite recovering from a night of karaoke to songs by James Brown, Cyndi Lauper and Sammy Davis Jr., vocalist Mark Atkins says he and his band Guttermouth are happily on the road again in this year’s Punk-O-Rama tour.
"We’ve been touring for almost a month now in the US," says Atkins over the phone. "Almost every night has been completely sold out, so it’s been a pretty amazing trip."
Sharing the stage with US Bombs, Deviates, and Union 13, Atkins recognizes and appreciates the diversity of bands and fans in the Punk-O-Rama tour.
"I’m into the concept of the package tour thing," explains Atkins. "The diversity of the bands is really cool because you have the really old school following coming out and then you have what I call the ‘Guttermouth kids.’"
Coming off a festival put on by the radio station WHFS with 60,000 attendees–not all of them Guttermouth fans–Atkins says unlike some other bands who talk down to their audiences, they try to treat their fans better.
"It’s just appalling to me to see some of the mainstream rock acts just thinking they’re bigger than life and then they treat fans like ‘The fans owe us,’" he says. Atkins paused to take his medicine, followed by beer and what was possibly a taco. "We treat them like people, like we’re on the same level as them."
Guttermouth is also trying to appeal to a broader audience with their new album Covered With Ants.
"It’s is a little bit different than anything we’ve written in the past," he says. "We wrote little up-beat songs that are not typical to keep the band interesting."
Covered With Ants was also driven by a change of scenery.
"I would like to say the whole inspiration behind the album was the label change from Nitro Records to Epitaph," explains Atkins. "We really wanted to deliver a quality, quality record and we definitely feel we have done that."
Atkins also points out that Epitaph has been more helpful in getting the band exposure as well.
"Their promotional stuff are ten-fold better than some of the other labels we worked with before. It’s amazing the amount of press in magazines and whatnot everywhere."
Atkins, who was barred from entering Canada due to indec ent exposure during a concert in the late ’90s, looks forward to the Canadian leg of the tour. Of course, they think he won’t do the full monty this time.
"We’re totally fired up. It’s been a while since we’ve done it."
After the Punk-O-Rama tour, Guttermouth will play two weeks of the Vans Warped tour, followed by appearances in Japan, in Australia, and "unfortunately Europe."
"It’s definitely not my favorite place to go. I like a place where the sun shines once in a while," laughs Atkins.