By Kay West
Diarrhea Planet Makes Guitars and Goofiness Contagious
Rock critics have no problem writing it, pre-adolescent boys delight in saying it and it definitely stands out in festival line-ups, but “Diarrhea Planet” wouldn’t be what any marketing consultant would advise naming your band. Even someone as proudly idiosyncratic as Robert Ellis Orrall—musician, songwriter and head of Infinity Cat, the Nashville-based label his sons started—was skeptical.
Band co-founder, guitarist and lead vocalist Jordan Smith was interning at Infinity Cat when Orrall said “I heard you’ve got a band called Diarrhea Planet. Why would you name your band that? You’ll never be able to release anything with that name!” Attending one show changed Orrall’s mind. “He apologized and told me he loved the band and wanted to work with us,” Smith says.
Smith admits he and Evan P. Donohue started the band in 2009 at Belmont University as a way to have fun. “We are both goofy dudes who love comical nonsense, and we needed something to get that goofiness out of our system…. But people were actually responding to the songs we were writing … so we decided to go with it.”
The two guitarists recruited drummer Casey Weissbuch. Mike Boyle played bass on their debut EP, Aloha and his buddy, guitarist Brent Toler came as part of the package. When Donohue left the band in 2010 to focus on his own music, D Planet (a nickname their mothers and the label use to avoid saying the full name) replaced him with Evan Bird and, to even it up, fourth guitarist, Emmett Miller.
“Having that much firepower is so exciting to me,” Smith explains of the guitar-heavy instrumentation. “It’s like a symphony of guitars.”
While impressive in the studio and at live shows, the songs are key to D-Planet’s growing success. Smith is the primary writer on both their first LP Loose Jewels and the current I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, but Toler, Weissbuch and Miller also write.
“Our band, our music, is based almost entirely on hooks. Nashville is all about the hook…You start to see that to be a truly great band you need truly great songs and the key element to having truly great songs is a hook that sinks itself in you and gets stuck in your head.”
The Planet (yup, another PC ) will be throwing hooks from stages coast to coast through the rest of 2014. “The ultimate thing is to be able to pull off live what you do in the studio. With four guitars, we can do that, we can do so much more stuff. I don’t know why more bands don’t do it!”