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Guttermouth to play Vail

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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VAIL, Colorado ” Few bands have names that describe them perfectly. Take Led Zeppelin for example.

Nobody in the band was made of a metallic element flying around in a blimp-like aircraft. None of the Beatles were insects and The Barenaked Ladies are all fully-clothed men. But with a band like Guttermouth, you know exactly what you’re getting ” the name says it all. Their lyrics are full of cursing, vulgar sexual references and every other kind foul language ” all in the name of social satire.

The punk-rock outfit Guttermouth has been thrashing stages all over the world since 1989. They’ve tried to incite riots on-stage, been charged with public indecency in Canada and are banned from cities and clubs across America. They’ve also toured the world, released over a dozen albums and kept their large fan-base intact. Almost 20 years later they’re still testing the boundaries of free speech in America. Tonight Guttermouth prepares to turn the Sandbar Sports Grill into its own personal mosh pit.

“The whole project was an accident, to be honest with you,” said Guttermouth frontman Mark Adkins while nursing a hangover from the previous night’s show. “We just did it because it was something to do.”

But it didn’t take long for the band to grab the music world by the collar and start shaking. After playing for a few years on the burgeoning Southern California punk scene they were offered a record deal by the Dr. Strange label. A few years later they began national and international tours with larger bands like The Offspring and their on-stage antics got them even more attention.

And while they’re wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap lyrics and aggressive stage shows prevented Guttermouth from ever becoming a mainstream success, they are satisfied with the piss stain they’ve left on the leg of the industry.

“If you had a hit song on the radio, what are you going to do with it? Sell it? To who? Someone’s just going to steal it,” Adkins said.

Instead Adkins said that a heavy touring schedule is the only way to go in a world full of mediocre musicians. Give the people something they can be a part of and they will respond in kind.

Now at the age of 41, Adkins still has the attitude you would expect from the singer in a punk-rock band, only slightly mellowed with age.

So, any regrets after all these years?

“No … well … maybe taking it a little more seriously,” Adkins said, before quickly withdrawing the statement, saying that taking it more seriously probably would have compromised the accidental success of the band. He then launched into his thoughts on the prima donna status of today’s young musicians.

“You can’t get a big head as a musician, otherwise I think you’re destined for failure,” Adkins said. He quickly shifted into a monologue on the ever-changing music industry, which then u-turned back to the live show being the pulse of that industry.

Surprisingly, even a guy who makes his living screaming obscenities into a microphone has feelings too. Adkins wants people to realize that Guttermouth is about more than just moshpits and mohawks. He hopes that critics will dig past the surface of Guttermouth and find the heart of its message.

“There is an element of seriousness to it, you know, more than most people think and it’s masked with a lot of humor … you uncover that and there’s some truth to many, many, many of those songs and I think a lot of people miss that point,” Adkins said.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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