Four screaming guitars, a loyal following of rowdy fans and a name that is anything but typical.
Diarrhea Planet, or, as it’s known to the more faint of heart, D.P., is a band comprised of six best friends who’ve all attended Belmont at some point. Casey Weissbuch plays drums, Mike Boyle plays bass, and Emmett Miller, Evan Bird, Brent Toler, and lead singer Jordan Smith all play guitar.
These shredders are now generating national press as JEFF the Brotherhood, who’s also on Nashville indie label Infinity Cat, has garnered mainstream attention over the last year. They’ve opened for JEFF in several eastern U.S. concerts, and JEFF is reflecting some of the limelight onto Diarrhea Planet, even getting them featured on SPIN.
That’s not to say that D.P. isn’t achieving success on its own merit. In addition to opening for JEFF, they’ve opened for Wavves, gotten thousands of downloads online, and even had a song featured in an episode of the new MTV animated show “Good Vibes.”
But that name. A band couldn’t get shows or a record deal, let alone be featured on MTV, with that name. Right?
“It’s really hard to get shows in Nashville as a Belmont band, anyway,” Smith said. “So we just decided to make a band name that would just be really annoying to Belmont and Nashville.”
Distancing themselves from the mainstream pop-blues sound that seemed to permeate most of Belmont’s showcased rock bands, they worked to uniquely define their gritty sound and, over time, developed a following in the Nashville house show scene. Before they knew it, they’d turned a frivolous party rock band into a real shredding act that no longer needed the shock value of a revolting name. But they kept it anyway.
“It’s a name you have to dig,”Smith said. “You can’t just judge it off the bat.”
And it’s clear the band would relish the chance to make a dent in what they see as an egotistical facet of the music industry. A few songs, like “Power Moves,” are “parodies of egomaniac music business moguls,” Smith said.
“But at the end of the day, we don’t f— around,” said Evan Bird, one of the guitarists in the up-and-coming band.
Smith, who writes the lyrics, says many of their songs are either dark parodies or angry and vengeful songs that mirror the real emotional struggles in his life. Smith said some of the true songs can be intimidating to play.
“It’s like being naked in front of people,” he said.
But with their upbeat sound and high-energy performances, Smith said the crowd would probably never know that there are such hateful undertones.
And the live shows have been known to get a little rowdy. The band recalls shows where glass bottles were shattered, equipment was destroyed, and friends got kicked in the face.
“It’s really not us, it’s the crowd,” Smith said. “But things can get violent to the point where you feel ashamed you created that environment.”
Some would describe that environment as extreme. With four electric guitars raging together, backed by slick bass riffs and Weissbuch wailing on the drums, sometimes the crowd can get lost in the moment. Dancing can turn to moshing, which has occasionally turned to fighting. But that’s not Diarrhea Planet’s intent.
“With all the crazy feedback, our music sounds pretty rowdy,” Smith admitted. “But in my mind, it’s just a lot of images. … All the songs are based on images and color and feel.”
Smith said there’s a little more to the songs than the raw emotion that typically comes across – there’s a purpose.
Now, the band is taking a break from the touring they did in the summer and fall, and instead is focusing on recording a second full-length album, and a few shorter releases before that, including a 7-inch split with Titus Andronicus, a New Jersey rising indie-punk band.
After the full-length album is completed, Weissbuch says the band has plans to tour through the spring with a pretty big act, but they’re still keeping its identity under wraps. This will also be the first tour in which they expand beyond their eastern footprint, including a performance at South by Southwest 2012 in Austin, Texas.
Diarrhea Planet can’t yet know how the band will fare on a national scale, but they’re confident, passionate, and love doing what they do. One thing’s for sure: they aren’t changing their name.