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Guttermouth punks everything and everyone

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Guttermouth hates everything, including punk rock.

Why would punks hate punk? Well, because of what the genre has become.

In interviews, tour diaries and lyrics, lead singer Mark Adkins laments – to the point of “self-induced vomiting,” according to a diary entry on the band’s Web site – what he views as the co-opting of punk by fashionistas and fair-weather fakers obsessed only with mainstream popularity and marketing schemes.

His band’s been thrashing for 16 years, and Adkins is tired of watching the walls of his genre crumble around him.

So Guttermouth – singer Adkins, guitarists Don Horne and Scott Sheldon, bassist Kevin Clark and drummer Tyler Smith – focuses on resurrecting its vision of true punk rock from the rubble, and will continue to do so at Fat Tuesday’s, 109 W. Pacific Ave., on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

By the band’s definition, punk is about “pissing off as many people as possible, maybe even you included,” according to a press release.

On “Party of Two (Your Table is Ready),” the first track from Guttermouth’s latest album – 2004’s “Eat Your Face,” released on punk staple Epitaph Records – Adkins trashes politics and punks who use the genre to espouse political platforms.

Adkins sings: “Up to the mountains in a cave/ I’ll never vote or even shave/ I’ll wash my hands of all this/ ‘Cause ignorance is bliss/ Right on the floor I’ll take a piss/ While you endure political abyss.”

Politicos aren’t the only folks taking hits on “Face.” Surfers invading the band’s hometown (Huntington Beach, Calif.), trendy mall punks with faux-hawks, proponents of political correctness, noisy infants, liberals, emo kids, pacifists and the band members themselves limp – bruised and battered – from stereo speakers.

If you think and breathe, you’re probably a target.

But does punk rock really mean pissing everyone off equally? Sure, the punk ethos traditionally follows the anarchist model of radical individualism, but individualism doesn’t necessitate a lack of beliefs – in fact, it means the opposite.

Guttermouth’s early peers – such as the über-political Dead Kennedys and Black Flag – may have fought society with clenched fists and power chords, but they always had a point: damn the status quo.

In its universal opposition, maybe Guttermouth’s quest to revive the punk ethos will fall short. After all, what’s a body-thrashing, fist-pumping punk anthem without a common enemy?

It’s a thin line between hating everything and believing nothing, Lebowski.

But perhaps Guttermouth’s exactly what punk rock needs. In a genre obese with popped-out, self-important label pawns and pretentious odes on unrequited love, maybe simply damning the status quo isn’t enough. Maybe someone should take on everything.

You’ll have to decide on Saturday. And remember: If you end up hating Guttermouth, the feeling is probably mutual.

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