It's 8:00 PM: A few days before I talked to Epitaph about doing a phone interview with Guttermouth. It's now 8:16 PM: My phone starts to ring. I pick up and some voice tells me "Carlo? Hello!", it was like a voice from the "gutter". This is what happened before the interview with Derek from Guttermouth. To know what happened during the interview, go on reading, you will find some cool stuff from Guttermouth: Derek told me about their newest album on Epitaph called "Gusto", their plans for touring, the secret plans the government has to create new trendy pop punk bands out of Orange County, and their love for country music.
Phone Interview by Carlo Gironi with Derek
Hi, how are you the guy that plays in Guttermouth?
Yes, Derek, that's me.
How are you doing? Are you in California right now?
Fine, thanks. Yes I am in California.
So, you're coming out with your new album "Gusto", how do you feel about it? Do you think it is your best c.d. ever?
I don't know, I think that it is our most various album ever. It has a lot of different influences and it is a bit more mature compared to our older albums I guess...
Where did you record the new cd?
We basically entered in a room and started playing. We were just there to have fun, with some beer and some wine, we were just five friends who were having some fun and the album is about this: having fun, without thinking too much and stuff. We had all the songs ready when we entered in the studio.
How much did it take to write the songs?
We wrote the lyrics and the music in about 2 months, then we entered in the studio to record it.
So you wrote the lyrics before the music?
No. Well, half and a half. With some songs we had the music ready and we had to put some lyrics on them, with others we had some lyrics and had to put the music, but in general we did it at the same time - music and lyrics all came out together.
Did Mark write most of the lyrics?
Yes, he wrote most of them, but I wrote a couple of songs too. I think that in general it was a work of the whole band anyway.
Did you record it in some studio? Who produced the album?
Yes, we went to a studio in Hollywood and we produced it by ourselves. We just entered the studio and recorded it; as I said before, it was just a way to have fun.
Why did you call it "Gusto"?
Because "Gusto" means to "going into"....so, it was a kind of way to say that the record was done to have fun. Like...I like it. Go for it.
Are you still in five people in Guttermouth?
On the Epitaph site they mention only 4 out 5 of the band. Yeah we are still five. The bass player we had left the band for some personal reasons, so out new bassist is the old one we had, the one who played on the first two Guttermouth's albums.
"Gusto" is your second record on Epitaph - Do you think that your sound changed after you departed from Nitro Records?
I think that the biggest thing that changed was the way Epitaph works. I mean, Epitaph is much bigger, has a bigger distribution, all over the world, and it is huge in places like Europe, while Nitro is quite smaller and does not reach as many people as Epitaph do. We choose Epitaph because it gives us the chance to get a bigger fan base and to tour world wide.
Some say you slowed down and get more educated...where has the irreverence of such albums as "Musical Monkey" gone?
Oh no hahah, I think it is a matter of age. I mean, when we were younger we were more immature, and on such records as "Musical Monkey" you can see it. As we grow up we feel more "mature" but this does not mean our lyrics are polished or we don't like having fun.
I saw the art of the new cd is done by Mark? How did you get that idea?
Yeah, the cover of the album was a painting that Mark had in his home. We decided to use it to have an artwork that was not sophisticated or with some useless hidden meaning.
So you wanted to keep it simple as the music?
More or less, we did not want to have a serious artwork - it's like the music, it's done to have fun with, a happy thing, not a serious one.
As you were saying before, you have a lot of different influences on the new album - Can you mention some songs as examples?
For example, "Foot Long" and "Looking Our For Number One" are kind of different; "Foot Long" has some country-ish influences, mixed with some punk rock...while there are other influences as I guess the music of the 80's...Mark and we have been listening a lot to stuff from the 80's ... Mark likes the poppy stuff from B52's...
That's the case of a song like "Contagious", it is slow, it reminded me of bands like Doors or Led Zeppelin...
Well, yes, "Contagious" has some influences from the 80's, yet it is punk rock. It's different anyway from 80's music, even tough you can hear some reminders of it.
I like "Pee in the Shower" and "Scholarship in Punk" ...
Yes, those could be called as "classic Guttermouth" songs, they are quite fast and melodic.
But do you like country? Do you try to play it with some punk rock attitude?
Well, we listen to country music, but we do not try to play with with punk feelings and stuff, it just comes out. It's our way to play happy music with fun.
Talking of your lyrics in general, do some lyrics of "Lucky the Donkey" and "Lipstick" refer to facts that are really happened?
Oh, let's say that those songs have two sides: one is real, so, the story is really happened, and the other is made up by us ...and know that Mark has a very bad relationship with his mom!
So are your lyrics all done this way?
No well, we get inspirations by things that happen to us in the real life, but some time we make up something.
You have been around since the beginning of the 90's . What do you think has changed since your beginning? Do you think that the music underground scene became related known and exploited by the media like MTV?
Sincerely, I hate what happens with punk bands that become famous. They are all a copy of other bands and then, after they become famous, so many other new bands are born and start to copy these famous bands. It's bad, I don't like it and I think it is also pretty sad ... all these new bands that copy famous bands are ridiculous. Maybe there are lots of bands you don't know, but here it is full of new infamous young bands that just play the same old thing copying their idols.
What do you think of Blink 182 then?
They are a copy.
You come from Orange County. A lot of punk bands come from there: do you think it has something special for bands to grow up?
So many famous poppy punk bands, like Lit, come from there ...
I think it is something in the water.
Yes, didn't you know it? That's a secret plan of our government. I don't know, they put some chemicals in the water so that a lot of new bad poppy punk bands are raised. Yes, it is definitely a plan of the government.
I though it was all fault of the sun, the beaches and the nice girls...
Oh no, it's something in the water, trust me.
With touring, do you have plans of touring to support the new record "Gusto"?
Of course, we are going to do a lot of tours. We will tour in the USA and then in Canada, we leave in a couple of weeks, and then in November or December we will go to Europe with the Punk-O-Rama tour...
Do you already know some bands on the Punk-O-Rama tour?
No, I don't, we are still working on that, but they will be other three Epitaph bands probably.
I know you had to come here with the tour also last year...
Yes, but the we got stuck in the US after the 9/11 attacks.
Will you also be at the Warped Tour?
Oh yes, we will be playing at the Warped tour. We will be on it in a couple of weeks, we are going to play something like 16 dates, more or less.
What do you think of the Warped Tour?
Is it a good way for punk bands to become known or is it just a way to help Vans selling new shoes?
I don't really know, I think it is a good thing because you have the chance to get a bigger crowd, also with people that usually do not listen to your music, but it might also be evil, it depends.
There also is the European Warped tour but then they didn't come there anymore.
I think now you have the Deconstruction Tour...
Yes, I remember seeing you at the Deconstruction Tour a couple of years ago with Good Riddance, Mad Caddies, NOFX and more. I think you did the best show on the tour, better than NOFX also. Do you always play shows with so much energy? Is Mark always so crazy?
Yes, we always try to put our best and put all the energy we have in the show, so that the crowd can have as much fun as we have. We are all about fun. I like when kids start jumping and doing the mosh-pit, I love it . But I do not love when some one starts a fight or hit other people, that's dumb. But I totally love the mosh pit.
With music, I wanted to ask you if you are listening to some records/bands these days and if you have some advice of bands to listen to?
I have been listening to some old punk rock music, a lot of bands from Orange County, like the Adolescents, while Mark is into B52's.
I saw you have a nice website and it is often updated. What do you think of the internet as a way of spreading punk rock and the word of Guttermouth?
I think it's great. It is a great tool to let know other people about you and your music, and I like it a lot for practical use ... for example for tour dates. When you do not know when your favorite bands play, you check on the internet and see it, so you know if the band will play and will not drive two hours for nothing.
One last thing I wanted to ask, do you play in Guttermouth full time or do you guys have some other job apart playing punk rock music?
No, we basically only play in Guttermouth. Personally I am the guy that deals with the press, as in this case, I do interviews and that stuff...
So Guttermouth is your day job?
Oh that's also my night job. Hahaha!!!
Have you got some final comments to say to the people who will read this interview?
All I have to do is to encourage people to come to our live shows and to have fun. We enjoy playing live and we hope kids will enjoy the new songs.
When does "Gusto" come out?
In the middle of August.
So it's in 2 weeks...
Well, it's almost a month actually.
Yes I know, I was thinking in a.....positive way.
Thanks so much for the interview.
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