It has been ten years since Guttermouth’s ninth release, ‘Shave The Planet’, and their lineup has been practically wiped clean with the exception of lead singer, Mark Adkins. The punk rock band’s music that you had to hide from your mother is full of non-stop, off the wall aspects of nonconformities that leave you with a bit of spunk in your step. I caught up with band member, Justin Van westBroek, to discuss Guttermouth’s latest EP release and more.
Your recently released EP, ‘Got It Made’, is the first dose of new material in ten years. How did it feel jumping back into the studio?
It was a great opportunity to get back into the studio and we were all very excited because we were prepared. It was quite the process though. We were lucky enough to spend some time in the studio in Australia during a break in between shows to work on some ideas that had been floating around for a bit, as well as some new ones. Once we got back to the states we were able to fine tune some songs and everybody was happy with what we did, so we decided to move forward with them. By the time we got back to the studio in Jacksonville, Florida at The Freq-Zone, we knew we were walking into a stress-free environment by the way they ran the studio and we felt really strong about what we had. And then we just needed to get into the right “vibe”, as they say, and have fun recording the record.
What tracks does the band enjoy performing most and why?
“I’ve Got It Made”. We really enjoy playing it and the crowd initially responded the way most crowds do when bands play new songs they have no idea about. Now that the record is actually out, we will try to throw a few more into the mix because we really enjoy playing them all. And with that being said, it’s hard to make everyone happy because the band has so many albums and hits, just like The Eagles and Tom Petty. We usually just do whatever we want: we never write set lists and are usually pretty f**ked up by the time we play, so I’m sure people will be hearing some of the new stuff in the near future.
Who writes your outrageous lyrics?
Mark writes all the lyrics. He’s a true poet.
Take us through some highlights of the latest EP.
We are happy with all of the songs on the EP, and felt the timing of the release couldn’t have been any better. So to us, it’s all one big highlight. It’s hard for any band to follow up and match what they have done in the past, especially with new band members that no one really knows and weren’t on any of the previous releases. Our goal wasn’t to make anyone else happy, we were just writing songs we thought were good and having fun doing so. We are happy with what we achieved and happy with all of the feedback from everyone, good or bad.
Let’s talk tattoos. Any standout pieces of artwork amongst the band?
Most of us have a few tour tattoos. They all somehow relate to the tour, and/or city we were in when we got them. They are all done on a barter system, which I think is fantastic. Most touring musicians are broke as f***, so trading merch, or getting multiple people into a show for free for a tattoo sounds pretty fair to me. As far as standouts, they are all standout in their own way. Corncob nunchucks done in Omaha, Nebraska. A cactus with a sombrero done in Tijuana, Mexico. A meat pie with wings done in Geelong, Victoria, Australia to name a few. We all really enjoy getting them to add to the timeline and hope to get more in the near future. But Mark, by far, has the best tattoo of them all, the best tattoo I’ve ever seen in my entire life: I think everyone should ask to see it next time they see him.
What were you guys up to during your hiatus?
Mark was getting into trouble. Justin and Matt were probably hanging drywall. Kevin was bartending and I’m pretty sure Geoff was surfing. We all still do that stuff when we’re not on tour.
Are you guys on tour? Any touring plans in the near future?
We are currently not on tour right now, we have a few one off shows in September. We have a small tour in the works for November and plan on having a pretty heavy schedule in 2017, hopefully hitting EU/UK, Japan, Australia, and some stuff in the states as well. We have been working on more new material and have been in the studio as well, so there’s a good possibility of another release in the not so distant future.
Music-sharing sites and blogs as well as a flood of online streaming applications in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What’s your view on the value of music today?
I think it’s hard to put a value on music in some ways. I’m a fan of all music and giving everything a chance. I give credit to any and every band/artist who is willing to write a song and release it or perform it for all to hear and be judged. I think as long as there are people writing songs, or kids forming bands in their garage with their friends writing all types of music, that holds value in itself. I’m not trying to be all “P.C” saying, “everybody is great and keep up the good work”, like a participation trophy in kids sports, or giving false to anyone because sometimes, it does f**king suck. But, everyone has to start from somewhere, somebody is always going to like it, and that’s what friends are for. I truly believe that some of the best songs ever heard haven’t been written yet, and that to me is what holds value as well. If you enjoy it, it’s valuable. This is only my personal opinion.
Tell us about your wildest experience on tour.
There is something wild that happens on every tour, not one of them really stands out. To be honest, it’s pretty mellow most of the time.
Last but certainly not least, message to your fans?
We are very grateful to our fans. We have the best job in the world, it sure beats swinging a hammer, or sitting behind a desk all day, or even serving a bunch of strangers who half the time treat you like shit. The fans are the ones who keep the train rolling and are the reason why we go back to each city, every time. This is our job, a great f**king job to say the least, but it’s pretty much the same every single day, minus a few things here and there. We have bad days at the office, just like everyone else, but it all goes away once we get to do what we love and what a fraction of a percent of the world gets to do for a living, and people actually show up; we don’t take it for granted at all. We understand that it could be the fans one big day out of a week, or even a year and they chose to come see our shitty band, spending their hard earned money. So for that, we thank you.
Follow Guttermouth on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram