Guttermouth spirals into incoherence at the Troubadour

Nicholas Collard

Is it wrong to desperately want to give the Spice Girls crabs? Well, if as the result of extreme neglect or bad parenting, you grew up listening to Guttermouth since early childhood, then you would find the notion acceptable, encouraged even.

If you have heard the song then you know what I am talking about; if not, just take my word for it. Guttermouth has been at the vanguard of pop punk for almost two decades, occupying the same strata as The Vandals and NoFx with their childishly comical lyrics about sex, drugs ? and waffles.

The first thing that struck me as I entered the Troubadour on Santa Monica Boulevard in the semi-posh valet-it-or-face-the-meter-maids territory of West Hollywood was the abundance of middle-aged men drinking themselves blind at the bar while The Ladykillers played on stage.

As I entered the venue, a bouncer was pushing someone out the door. Just as that kid caught himself from smacking his tailbone on the cement, another bloody-faced ex-patron began yelling at me while I made my way to the will-call.

The crowd was pretty dead up until the middle of the third band’s performance. The Darlings rallied their troops a little better than the two bands before them. With his slicked back hair and crisp voice, singer George Harris had the room swarming with an anarchic gang of punks elbowing each other in the faces as they crackled shards of broken beer bottles beneath their feet. The room had no-doubt been raised from the dead by the time this young band from the South Bay started playing Operation Ivy’s “Just Another Crowd.”

Having such a solid fan base really helped Guttermouth singer Mark Adkins as he struggled to overcome the dueling adversities of an inaudible microphone and total inebriation.

Early in the show, Adkins referenced a previous performance in Malibu. It almost sounded like he was hesitant to talk about the situation. In fact, he really only muttered the city’s name and a few more slurred comments that nobody could understand before going on to the next batch of songs.

It was only later that I discovered what he was talking about, and realized that I had just witnessed what may have been the second most catastrophic show Adkins has ever played.

This is a small piece taken from the Guttermouth Web site in which Adkins describes the Malibu CD-release party incident. This interview is with PunkRadioCast, a small Internet show that focuses on punk bands not covered by mainstream radio stations.

“I started taking tequila shots with the promoter and the guys from their band, and the next thing you know I wake up in a hotel room in Malibu soaking wet, I don’t know if I soiled myself, with cuts and bruises all over my face and my shins and had no recollection of anything ? And then this morning Clint told me (I) just fell down on stage and the security guards got up on stage with flashlights in my eyes to see if I was dead or what ? I was laying there and I couldn’t move, and they’re like kicking me and nudging me and I wouldn’t move and then our drummer told me there were some girls crying because they thought I was dead.”

Adkins claimed he never drank himself into a stupor during a show before, and if this is true then Friday was a rare spectacle.

It basically followed the same motifs as the Malibu show: Adkins drank bottle after bottle of free beer from various audience members, started to get a little more crazy-looking, and then completely lost it after somebody offered up a tray of Irish car bombs.

At first it looked like he was trying to crowd-surf, but toward the end it was easy to see he was just having a hard time staying on his feet. Running around on stage, Adkins tripped on his microphone cord once, and fell over the speaker twice – right off the stage and into the open arms of intoxicated fans.

The show was fun, but the spectacle was a little depressing. The first five songs were pretty coherent, but at some point after they played “Bruce Lee vs. the Kiss Army,” Adkins got way too belligerent and just started trash talking Rise Against, Newfound Glory, The Bouncing Souls, and various ethnic minorities. He also forgot the words to a Suicidal Tendencies song, and eventually the show was reduced to people jumping on stage and slapping him around in the hopes of waking him up to sing a few more songs.

The rest of the band also pitched in to try to arouse Adkins for a few more songs. Finally he tumbled for the last time and everybody just put down their instruments and called it a night.

Sitting up again after the show, Adkins made small talk with some loyal fans who stayed afterward to chat. He and the rest of the band signed autographs, but it was impossible to get Adkins to sit still for an interview. The only thing he said clearly was in response to rumors circulating the Internet that he had died of a stroke.

“I have no intention of having a stroke,” Adkins said.

Earlier on stage he commented on how funny it was that his dad died of a stroke.

I will never understand it personally, but then again who will? Punk is not supposed to make sense, it is supposed to make noise.