Right now, Portugal. The Man is as hot as it gets on Billboard’s Adult Alternative charts. Who doesn’t take notice when someone works on something for years, and what seems like in the blink of an eye, they’re on top of the world. We’d like to think PTM is an overnight success, but truthfully, it’s been a long road to stardom for these cats from Alaska. That’s right Alaska, Wasilla to be precise! Politics, Russia and UFO’s have long been the topic of discussion over the years coming from the great state of Alaska. Albeit, they packed their bags and later settled in Portland, Oregon, they still consider Alaska home. For PTM, 90’s ALT Rock icon Art Alexakis of Everclear, and 70’s Classic Rock pioneers Quarterflash, Portland, Oregon is where the really hard work began. Along with a sophisticated alt-rock cool sound, a cool name was forged. The band said that Portugal. The Man is an alter ego, just like Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Beatles, Sgt. Pepper. After all, you have to have a great sense of humor if you openly identify Weird Al Yankovic as being one of your inspirations.
As for the band, PTM is comprised of John Gourley (vocals / guitar), Zach Carothers (backing vocals/ bass), Eric Howk (guitar), Kyle O’Quin (keys) and Jason Sechrist (drums). Collectively, they put out a great sound, and they are just plain good musicians and entertainers. Their first two albums were released on Fearless Records, in 2010 they were signed to Atlantic Records. Their sound is so different, yet it carries that same infectious overtone all bands that put out critically acclaimed music that matters. John Gourley once said that he feels rock & roll has become very tame. If anybody does it right, it’s hip-hop; hence, the sound you hear. The guys have been working on their sound for years. So-much-so, after four years of silence, they released their eighth album Woodstock. There’s also another album, the Majestic Majesty, 5 EP’s and the mega-single, “Feel It Still,” A song that was admittedly inspired by a politician, Bernie Sanders.
It wasn’t until March, 2017 that America felt the ALT Rock Bern and PTM became a household name. That happened because of the release of “Feel It Still,” a single from Woodstock. It should also be noted that Woodstock was produced with Mike D from The Beastie Boys at the helm. The band followed up with the music video days later, and it catapulted them to the uber-coolness-sphere. This video may just single handedly make moustaches, overalls, breakdancing and the Robot cool again!
The scope of their career is solid, but Woodstock is opening eyes. Steph Weaver-Weinberg is the Music Director at KX935 in Laguna Beach (Orange County). The station has its hand on the pulse of new music as well as classic alternative. Weinberg said that “Leaving aside the smash success of lead single “Feel It Still,” Woodstock is a phenomenal record, front to back, and has finally catapulted PTM to the front lines of the modern indie rock scene. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to choose the singles for this one; every tune is a wow.”
Notwithstanding their current success, PTM has put in the time to get to this point in their career. Over the years, they’ve been involved in various projects, including short films. That’s a good indication as to why their music videos are so damn cool. They’ve also played festival shows like Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Lollapalooza and SXSW. Although, to be a serious band, you have had to your Tour Van broken into and/ or stolen at some point to be considered “legit.” Suffice it to say, thanks to a 2011 incident at Lollapalooza, PTM can check all of the above from their “to do” list.
As with all legit bands, they’ve made the rounds on late night with the Jimmie’s (Kimmel – ABC and Fallon – NBC). Their music is so cool, it’s been featured in iconic shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead. They’ve also paid a visit to the Gallagher household with featured music in Showtime’s Shameless. Being the new Ambassadors of cool, their music has also been featured in HBO’s Silicon Valley and ABC’s American Crime. “Feel It Still” has been used in several commercial ads including some for Taco Bell, iPad Pro and You Tube TV. Feel It Still debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s & Clio’s Top TV Commercials chart. It’s the first song to come out of the gate at # 1 since “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. PTM is at the top of so many charts now, that it’s really hard to keep count. For ANY band, that’s a great problem to have.
Despite the lyrics to their signature tune, these cats aren’t rebels just for kicks. As a result of their hard work, the hits just keep coming for PTM. Although “Feel It Still” remains on the charts and regular rotation at radio stations everywhere USA, look for more music to be featured off Woodstock. This album is just that good.
Portugal. The Man perform at House of Blues, Anaheim on July 27th and at the Hollywood Palladium on July 29th and 30th.