Everyone likes a good poop joke now and then -- but Nashville's Diarrhea Planet are quick to point out they are "not a joke band with a joke name. We are a very serious band with a joke name."
The weird moniker was chosen as a "fuck you" to the commercial music types at Belmont University, where the six-piece band formed. Plus, as guitarist (one of four) Jason Smith explained when we called him up, it's better than choosing a serious-sounding name, like Vampire Weekend, then waking up one day and realize it's stupid and means nothing.
"With a silly band name where it's out of the way and you don't have to think about it," Smith says.
In spite of whatever gag-worthy images their name puts in your head, Diarrhea Planet actually takes their craft quite seriously. Indie pop charms funneled through heavy metal puts them somewhere between Wavves and Fidlar with plenty of nods to Black Sabbath, AC/DC and The Ramones. "Ugliest Son" gets sludgy, peppered with themes of sickness and ultimate evil, while "Kids" gets more emotive, exploring the realization that nobody, no matter what age, really has it all figured out.
Their second LP boldly claims they're Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams -- and Diarrhea Planet definitely seem to be living the good life. Having all quit their jobs at Papa John's, where four of the six members were once employed, Smith explained what being rich really means to the band.
"Not necessarily overflowing wealth or anything like that, but I guess being rich is more of a rounded characteristic than just having money," Smiths says. "Having friends and family that are there for you and make you happy. Sort of feeling like you're following your calling ... like you've found your purpose."
Quitting your job to focus solely on your creative project is exciting at first, Smith says, but it can quickly become overwhelming.
"At first you're like, 'I'm just going to write and play all day!' and you do that for a little while and end up getting burned out," Smith sighs. "A lot of big artists will tell you, make sure you've got something else or else you'll go crazy. ... Days kind of run together. Some weeks you won't do anything, and you feel like you're completely losing your grip on reality. You feel so stagnant, like you're losing it and you start questioning everything. It's so frustrating."
Diarrhea Planet is fond of rich activities like stick 'n' poke tattoos, even recently hosting a self-tattooing party at their house, and their live show is allegedly quite a ride. But they're not really into doing gobs of drugs and taking shots until their livers bleed out.
"A lot of people when they meet us expect us to drinking 25 beers a night and doing mountains of cocaine," Smith laughs, saying he barely even drinks or smokes on the road. "Everybody's had tours where they just drank all day and were just wasted, where you can't stand up right, you just fall over and you're slamming into stuff. I think what happened, after we'd had enough experiences doing that, we all individually recognized how bad our bodies felt and how hard it was for us to enjoy playing when we were hungover and messed up all the time. We gradually got it out of our system and now we're one of those bands that'll hang out with people and just talk a couple hours after a show."
Smith does mention that the last time Diarrhea Planet came to Phoenix, they got pretty rowdy with a bunch of Bud Light Platinums, which was "a horrible mistake. It made us feel terrible."
Diarrhea Planet is scheduled to play Yucca Tap Room in Tempe on Tuesday, August 12.
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