#617: Diarrhea Planet’s Jordan Smith on lots of guitars, garage professionalism, and audience fist-bumping


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s really no way around it: Diarrhea Planet’s name is awesome …or insane, depending on who you ask. Maybe that’s just an immature sense of humor talking, but it’s a name ridiculous enough to either completely throw you off or draw you in like the Death Star’s tractor beam. Once you get past the moniker, though, and all the poop-related jokes that come with it, Diarrhea Planet are a four-guitar mountain of Nashville spaz-punk madness.

Having evolved from the wailing, shred-heavy debauchery of their first few EP releases and one long-player, Diarrhea Planet bring a more dynamic, melodic, and deep approach to their latest release, via Infinity Cat Recordings, I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams.

But don’t be alarmed! Even though I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams takes the band’s garage craze and fine-tunes it into catchy, more meaningful songs, there’s still plenty of face-melting solos and songs about random subject matter to satisfy even the most base of listeners. For some multi-guitar harmonic shredding, check out the ear-splitting opener “Lite Dream,” and for some slower, more lyrically intense material, give a listen to “White Girls (Student Of The Blues).”


Diarrhea Planet are no strangers to Boston’s dark clubs, having played Great Scott this past summer with Krill and the So So Glos. Now, they take their loud, sweaty, hair-brained rock over the Charles to T.T. The Bear’s Place in Cambridge this Sunday, November 10, with California X and Lovely Bad Things.

Ahead of their T.T.’s gig, Vanyaland caught up with Jordan Smith, lead vocalist and guitar player, for some #617 action. Hold onto your ghosts with boners (sorry, couldn’t resist), ‘cuz here we go.


Adam Parshall: How did you come up with the name Diarrhea Planet? I have to know. It’s been killing me.

Jordan Smith: Well, Slayer and Fidlar were already taken, so we had to go with our third choice, Diarrhea Planet.

Four guitars is pretty unusual for a band, just in terms of having them all line up and not sounding completely messy and chaotic. How/why did you decide to have four guitars and how do you keep them all from getting completely messy?

We wanted to be able to pull off everything we would do in a studio live. Most bands track a number of guitars beyond what they have in their band when recording and have a lot of holes in their sound when they play live. We pull four guitars off by listening to one another and playing different roles in each song. If you watch us closely live, we essentially function as a three piece: Mike, Casey, and I (Jordan) function as one, Emmett and Evan function as one, and Brent is the third piece of the group.

You’re pretty well-known for collaborating and being friends with a lot of younger, great bands like Titus Andronicus, Wavves, etc. I feel like this is kind of a new wave (pardon the use of “new wave”) of younger musicians who are actually just rocking out and kind of giving a big middle finger to what people think should happen in music. How did you come to befriend all these bands and what do you think sets you and this group apart from the “music industry?”

To clarify, we aren’t actually really friends with Wavves, we only met them once or twice. We mentioned a humorous run in we had with their tour manager once and people thought that meant we were super tight or something. The Titus dudes we have been friends with for a long time. We met them through the interwebs and became cyber pals. A few months later we were hanging with them in NYC. I think what is setting a lot of these bands apart from a lot of the music that has been coming out in the last decade is a return to the true roots of what it is to be a musician. I’m seeing a lot more commitment to the mastering of one’s instrument and a lot more work being put into songwriting.

I guess you could say there is a higher level of professionalism being put into what bands are doing again. A great example that I really respect is the band Haim. These girls are writing insanely catchy pop songs with real lyrics and are actually good players. Garage rock really set the bar low for a lot of players and I think people are finally trying to put it back where it belongs again.

What changed with the songwriting/recording from your earlier releases to this first big LP release with I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams?

I think all of us realized a need to start digging deeper and being more honest with our songs. Instead of singing about partying and other one-dimensional topics we started writing about more personal experiences. We also decided to stop writing only fast songs and saw the need for a variety of sounds on a record.

You play a lot of smaller gigs/venues/clubs (Empire Books in Greensboro, Duke Coffee in Durham, Great Scott in Allston) that let you just cut loose and get in the audience’s face. What do you like about these smaller places, knowing that T.T.’s in Cambridge is somewhat smaller and intimate?

I like the ability to be able to walk out into the audience and play if I want to. Bigger venues usually have some sort of barricade to prevent the crossover from stage to standing floor and vice versa, but it kind of kills the vibe sometimes. I like being able to fist bump the people in the front while we are playing.

What do you like most about touring/being on the road with your best friends from home and playing music every night?

I love getting to see a lot of friends from all over the country. Most of all though I love to hear my Marshall sing behind me every night.


We asked Jordan to recommend something anything…

Hmmm… check out Masks by Fumiko Enchi. I love that book.


Ok, I figure why the hell not, since your name is a little bit odd and you also have a song called “Ghost With A Boner”: What are your 7 favorite songs that are about weird/random subject matter?

Seven songs, huh?

1. “Leader of the Gang” by Gary Glitter
2. “Altar of Sacrifice” by Slayer
3. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
4. “Master of Nothing” by Balloonpants
5. “Respect Yourself” by Bruce Willis
6. “Wanna B Ur Lovr” by Weird Al Yankovich
7. “Heavy Burden” by Dr. Pepper Blues Band

DIARRHEA PLANET + LOVELY BAD THINGS + CALIFORNIA X :: Sunday, November 10 @ TT The Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge, MA :: 8:30pm, 18-plus, $10 advance / $12 doors :: advance tickets :: bowery boston event page