Diarrhea Planet's Dizzying Guitar Quartet Rages, Rips and Grooves - Rolling Stone
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Diarrhea Planet’s Dizzying Guitar Quartet Rages, Rips and Grooves

Jordan Smith, Brent Toler, Emmett Miller and Evan Bird cover the tone spectrum

Diarrhea PlanetDiarrhea Planet

Diarrhea Planet

Emily Quirk

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WHO: The presence of four guitarists makes Nashville-based Diarrhea Planet’s live assault particularly formidable. Jordan Smith, Brent Toler, Emmett Miller and Evan Bird have been playing together in the hooky but hard-rocking band since 2010, which has given them ample time to refine their approach. Now, they trade off riffs and solos in dizzying fashion.

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PUZZLE PIECES: “Each player has their own particular place that they shine,” says Bird. “We’re all pretty cognizant of that now that we’ve played so much together; it’s pretty easy to decide who’s going to play what, and what’s best for the song. Once we know where everybody’s going to fall on the spectrum of sounds we’re trying to cover, we’ll jam it out and figure out what to do with our strengths.”

EMOTIONAL RESCUERS: “Everybody has their own style, to the point that everyone has an emotional space they occupy, too. We’ve played together long enough that we recognize who will bring the right feel to a passage,” says Smith. Guitar tone, the guys note, is also important when choosing which player takes on which musical task. “I like to compare Brent’s lead style to the trumpet in a spaghetti Western,” Miller chuckles.

FOURTH POWER: Diarrhea Planet’s four-guitar setup allows the band to bring things to its raucous live show that, for other bands, might only be possible in the studio. “We can have all four of us play one string to play one chord, if we want; we can have two people not play, if we want,” notes Bird. The band just finished up an EP for release later this year that will build on the relatively expansive sounds showcased on 2013’s swaggering I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams (Infinity Cat) and give the six-stringers even more room to shine. “This is the first time we stepped into a studio where all they recorded was, like, Top 40, country, and stuff like that,” says Smith. “But it’s cool because you can hear all the guitars and stuff – everything is clear and big-sounding.”

LIKE A POLAROID PICTURE: This summer, the band’s live itinerary includes festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and other multi-day rock extravaganzas. At May’s Hangout Fest, they paid tribute to headliners Outkast with a peppy cover of the rap duo’s wedding-reception staple “Hey Ya!” They might bring the song to other big stages as well, to change up their sets a bit. “We got to groove a little,” says Miller, “instead of just raging and ripping.”


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