Don't be fooled by the scatological moniker and six-string shredding—Diarrhea Planet is a gang of goofballs with a keen taste for pop. "All of us are big pop music fans," says Evan Bird, one of the band's four guitarists. "Our music has always kind of been pop played through the filter of heavy metal." The resulting power-punk sound was first debuted on 2011's Loose Jewels. Now the Nashville rockers are back with their sophomore album, I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, out August 20 via Infinity Cat. Bird revealed that he and his band mates—lead guitarist Jordan Smith, drummer Casey Weissbuch, bassist Mike Boyle, and fellow ax-men Brent Toler and Emmett Miller—have stepped back a little from Loose Jewels' rampant riffing. "I think we toned down some of the gratuitous guitar stuff a little bit. It's still there, obviously, but the songs are a little more fleshed out."
En route to a show in Dallas, Bird talked to us about some of the band's biggest influences.
"We listen to a lot of Steely Dan on the road. The mentality of Steely Dan came into play in the studio—but that could be wishful thinking on our part. I think those guys were a lot more disciplined than we are. Musically I don't think it's anything that even came close, it's more that those guys are such taskmasters in the studio. They played for like two years on [2000's comeback album] Two Against Nature or something ridiculous. Even then, it kind of sucked, but I think their attention to detail is something that we subconsciously try to emulate."
"When I first started playing guitar I was listening to a lot of Bad Religion, particularly the No Control album. If I had to pick one album that would be the most, I don't want to say telling, but if there's one album that pushed me to be more interested in music, that was one. I liked that they were playing fast and they had this kind of precision to it, but at they had the same recklessness as a lot of the other punk I was listening to. A lot of other punk didn't appeal to me."
The Living End & Chris Cheney
"[Bad Religion] opened a lot of doors to music that has the same kind of attitude but wasn't necessarily punk rock. That pushed me towards a band called the Living End from Australia. If there was an album that was crucial for me playing-wise, it's probably their album Roll On. That guy Chris Cheney is an animal. I've never seen them live but I've seen so many videos. That guy just knows how to play guitar. He's really creative. And like I was saying, it's the same recklessness as a lot of punk, but with the skill level that I think exceeded a lot of the punk that I was exposed to at that time—particularly in his approach to rhythm playing. Overall that guitar player has influenced me the most."
Classic Rock Guitarists
"The cool thing about our particular situation is that we all have different strengths and we're all aiming at slightly different targets as far as what our guitar playing will do. I know Emmett is a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, so he's maybe more informed by that. Brent's playing style has a very timeless feel about it. Some of the stuff he plays points in the direction of the Stones. Jordan has been on a very big George Lynch kick recently. All his playing is very big. He's got a very aggressive tone. For me, it might be Angus [Young]. It's like we're all shooting at the same target but using different weapons."
"Nashville is influential in the sense that everybody there is in it for the benefit of everyone else. We've had the great privilege of being in a community of musicians that is very driven and very focused and very hungry, but ultimately they're motivated by the hope that they can make an experience better for everyone else. We've known a lot of bands that have gone out of their way to help us and create opportunities for us, and we try and do the same thing as much as we can. Being out on the road for three months doesn't seem like a big deal because I'm not doing this for myself so much as I'm doing this for Nashville. It's kind of hokey but we're certainly not the only band to approach it that way and we won't be the last band. There's a little bit of competition in the sense that we push each other, but it's never malicious. It's never that I want to be better than somebody; I want to be the best at what I'm doing so that will open doors to somebody else who's doing something that I can't do or not doing."