Guttermouth Front Man Mark Adkins Loves Playing Punk and Talking Shit

Guttermouth Front Man Mark Adkins Loves Playing Punk and Talking Shit
Courtesy of Guttermouth

On a Tuesday afternoon, Guttermouth front man Mark Adkins is laying in bed, slurping down a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, and talking about how boring it is living in San Juan Capistrano, how he's itching to get the band back on the road at the end of this month. "There's a sense of normalcy being on the road," Adkins says, his voice gruff from sleep, having been rousted out of bed for the interview. "Even when I am home, I take off to Tijuana or Rosarito just to get out of here. It gets really boring."

There's something rock & roll about sleeping until noon every day, a standard practice for Adkins, who has been making a living from playing with Guttermouth since 1995, with some additional income coming from a freelance screen-printing-and-embroidery operation. Still, the idea of "taking it easy" doesn't quite jive with him. For Adkins, a virulent road warrior of punk rock, it seems asinine to be bumming around OC. Which is why by the end of the interview, Adkins says he has had it with SoCal, the place he's called home for all of his 47 years, and admits he's seriously thinking about leaving the state.

"Colorado is the best," he says. "The people are way cooler; they don't have a chip on their shoulder, like, 'I'm from HB or this B or that B.' You know how people can be in Southern California. It doesn't seem to be so money-driven [in Colorado], like to go on a date [here] with a nice girl, you have to have a kick-ass car and this and that, and they're judging you on your possessions before they know you as a person."

But maybe that's just Adkins talking shit again. That's what he does best, after all. Here's a guy who has penned nine albums over 25 years, most of the material based on the angsty ribbing of his native environs. Born and raised in La Habra, Adkins came of age during the first wave of West Coast punk, forming Guttermouth, and then moving to Huntington Beach in 1988. When the Offspring blew up in the mid-'90s, Guttermouth launched onto the national scene with a few seminal OC punk records released on Dexter Holland's Nitro Records label. Without a doubt, Guttermouth's classic albums--Full Length (1994) and Musical Monkey (1997)--watermark the time and place as well as anything put out during that era.

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By the late '90s, the original Guttermouth lineup had dissolved. Members would cycle in and out, with Adkins as the sole constant. For the band's current form, Adkins has enlisted players 20 to 25 years his junior, and they play 100 to 120 shows per year worldwide--a lot of them at mid-sized clubs and festivals. There's a lot of footage out there of the guys boozing, fighting and blowing lines. You never know what's going to happen: Maybe there will be a riot, maybe Adkins will insult some dude's girlfriend and pick a fight onstage or in the parking lot, or maybe they'll hurl insults at the bands they're touring with. Maybe you'll see his schwantz. You don't know, and that's the draw.   But the road may be taking its toll. Guttermouth haven't released anything since 2006, although the guys say they're in the process of writing one, with a tentative fall release date. From his tone, Adkins seems over the whole write-record-release process. "It's a tough, fickle market out there for the record-buying public," he says. "I don't even know what labels are doing for bands anymore. Bad Religion had a record come out back when MusInk was going on, and that thing had been out for five months, and I didn't even know. I don't sit around and scan the Internet for bands; I'm not 12. I got other things to do. Like go to Tijuana."

Guttermouth perform with Authority Zero at the Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana; www.observatoryoc.com. Fri., 8 p.m. $5. All ages.

See also 10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die 10 Goriest Album Covers 10 Most Satanic Metal Bands

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