Music Interview: Keeping your mind in the Guttermouth

By Chris Courtice

Lawyers, doctors, business people and other professionals make up one of the most rich and prestigious sectors of society. Respected for their intelligence and strong work ethic, these people drive our world. But have they really lived? Successful, rich and respected among other things, they haven’t experienced the important things. As the cliched phrase goes, money isn’t everything.

Sitting in their corner offices, they might be regretting so many things they missed out on in life. Going on the road with a bunch of friends, playing music in a band, getting drunk, breaking things and maybe even being kicked out of Canada for exposing one’s self–these are all perfectly viable possibilities for true happiness. If this is indeed the case for all you lowly professionals, then envy Mr. Mark Adkins, frontman of Guttermouth.

“They escorted me to an airplane in handcuffs and said ‘please leave our country’,” regales Mark of his encounter with the Canuck authorities. Luckily, with a good lawyer on his side, Mark is now welcome with open arms back to our wonderful country and just in time to serenade us once again with his and the rest of Guttermouth’s good ol’ punk rock.

The band headlines the 2005 Frostbite Tour, playing with the Planet Smashers and Ghosts of Modern Man. Currently on the road, Mark and the rest of the crew slowly make their way up to Calgary and, with the tour kicking off here March 4, the band is pumped to get back on the road and play.

“The whole reason we do this is for fun,” explains Adkins. The band has shown no signs of letting up after 17 years. In that time, they’ve seen all kinds of changes in the punk scene. But the biggest disappointment in the current scene for Adkins is the lack of the classic punk rock ideal: get rowdy, careless and just have a bunch of fun the whole way through.

“Everything’s getting softer and softer,” sighs Mark. Over the past few years shows have definitely become more tame and Adkins sweats to fight off punk’s obsolescence for as long as he can. Known for his crazy antics and offensive behavior on and off stage, he regrets how the whole scene has become increasingly bland due to this shift in the kids’ behavior. His lyrics are a rally cry against the change. The relatively new emo fad has brought renewed popularity to the “I’m-a-whiny-teenager-whose-life-sucks-because-my-family-hates-me-and-my-girlfriend-broke-up-with-me” lyrical prose and the political punk front always brought the generic “I hate Bush/Globalism sucks/Free Tibet” lyrical style to the table. Adkins prefers to sing about topics that actually make you laugh rather than angst. Hitting his mother, robbing Taco Bell, ridiculing rollerbladers and drinking profusely are just a few of the hilarious stories within Mark’s witty lyrics.

Unsettling the crowd appears to be his staple and it seems to be successful. The fun, upbeat, carefree feeling fans receive from Guttermouth’s performances is what keeps them unique and in demand. Though most of the band now have started families of one form or another, it hasn’t stopped the guys from continuing to enjoy what they’ve been doing for so long. More of the same fun and offensive behavior looks to be in the cards for Guttermouth and they wouldn’t have it any other way. But if Mark ever does cease to be involved in music, he has a backup plan.

“I’d probably sell real estate.”


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