Sweaty dudes make good

Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet serves up tasty licks, blazing solos.

Diarrhea Planet is much more than a crazy name.

Emily Quirk

Diarrhea Planet is much more than a crazy name.

by Alexander Brodsky

Diarrhea Planet is dead serious about rock ‘n’ roll. They’re not joking when it comes to screwing around on stage, reeling off harmonized guitar solos and generally blowing the minds of anyone who happens to see them.

Though Nashville is better known for its county and pop than scuzzy guitar rock, growing up in the Music City has undoubtedly influenced Diarrhea Planet. Frontman Jordan Smith believes their highly touted performances — Pitchfork called them the “greatest live show on Earth” — are a product of the city.

“Everything there has a little extra flash,” Smith said about Nashville.

Their  approach to performing helps the band stand out from their peers for reasons other than their name. Every show looks like a sweaty, low-budget approximation of an arena rock concert.

“We probably look like jackasses up there,” Smith said. “I feel like it’s not pretentious at all. We just have fun.” Smith also attributes the band’s propensity for huge, shout-along choruses to their city.

“Everyone in Nashville has a good ear for hooks,” he said. “Songwriting is really at the forefront.”

According to Smith, Diarrhea Planet’s impenetrable wall of riffs wouldn’t be possible without its fleet of guitars.

“People ask as what the point is of having three dudes play the same chords. It’s ’cause the sound is completely huge.”

Despite what music critics have written, Diarrhea Planet’s particular brand of unapologetic riff rock has little in common with the current garage rock scene.

“I don’t mind the association; it’s just that if you make one lo-fi record, you’re automatically a garage rock band,” Smith said.

The “garage” label, Smith explained, is gradually replacing “indie,” which replaced “alternative” years ago. There really is nothing “garage” about Diarrhea Planet, however. Their blistering guitar solos recall Van Halen more than the Kinks. As the band has steadily gained popularity, their recordings have moved away from the poor audio quality associated with the garage rock genre.

Rather than give in to the lo-fi aesthetic, Diarrhea Planet has opted to buck the trend. This year’s “I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams,” the follow-up to their 2011 debut “Loose Jewels,” features the same wailing guitar solos as the prior release, albeit with much higher recording quality.

Though Smith admits lo-fi recordings often can have more character, he believes Diarrhea Planet’s maximalist sound necessitates cleaner recordings. A half-dozen guitar parts don’t come through clearly without some crisp recording.

Diarrhea Planet hasn’t always been the (self-proclaimed) international mega stars they are now. Prior to starting the band, four of Diarrhea Planet’s members worked at a Papa John’s together. Smith is doubtful they’ll ever become the official sponsor of Papa John’s due to their name.

The name also meant Diarrhea Planet had a tough time finding a booking agent.

“We found the guy who books gigs for the band Fucked Up, but he wouldn’t even touch us,” he said. “At least you can say our name on the radio.”

Only recently has the band gained enough traction for the members to quit their day jobs.

Smith repeated a quote that Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles told him: “Rock ‘n’ roll has delivered us from pizza.”


What: Diarrhea Planet and the Lovely Bad Things
When: 7:30 p.m., Sunday
Where: 7th St. Entry, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis
Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the door
Age: 18+