Portugal. The Man is an American rock band from Wasilla, Alaska, currently residing in Portland, Oregon. The group consists of lead singer John Baldwin Gourley, Zach Carothers, Kyle O'Quin, Jason Sechrist, Eric Howk and Gourley's partner, background singer Zoe Manville. Gourley and Carothers met and began playing music together in 2001 at Wasilla High School in Wasilla. Their first two albums, from 2006 and 2007, were released on Fearless Records.
Around August 2001, the band Anatomy of a Ghost was formed by John Gourley, Joe Simon, Dewey Halpaus, Nick Simon, and Zach Carothers. Gourley fronted the band having had no previous singing experience. Anatomy of A Ghost quickly gained popularity, but before long, the group broke up. Portugal. The Man was originally started as John Gourley's side project, with Carothers playing bass. Before they had a drummer, they used drum machines and synth-loops as the backing beat. Gourley and Carothers teamed up with Wesley Hubbard, Nick Klein (former guitar tech for Anatomy of a Ghost) and Harvey Tumbleson, and formed Portugal. The Man. The band left Alaska and went to Portland with the intent of recording and touring. The band recorded demos in the summer of 2004, followed by a U.S. tour that fall. In spring 2005, Klein and Tumbleson left and soon after Jason Sechrist joined the band. Portugal. The Man's debut record Waiter: "You Vultures!" was released by Fearless Records on January 24, 2006. The album was produced by Casey Bates.
The band's name is based on the idea of David Bowie's "bigger than life" fame. They wanted the band to have a bigger-than-life feel but did not want to name it after one of their members. "A country is a group of people," guitar player and vocalist John Gourley explains. "With Portugal, it just ended up being the first country that came to mind. The band's name is 'Portugal'. The period is stating that, and 'The Man' states that it's just one person" (any one of the band members). The name has a more personal meaning as well: Portugal. The Man was going to be the name of a book that Gourley had planned to write about his father and his many adventures.
On July 24, 2007, they released their second full-length album, Church Mouth, again produced by Casey Bates, and set out on a full U.S. headline tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos and The Only Children among others. They then toured Europe and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes The Square.
In 2008, the band left their label, Fearless Records, and added Ryan Neighbors, their touring keyboardist, as an official member and replacement for Wes Hubbard.
In 2009, Portugal. The Man played at Bonnaroo and also at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Chicago. On April 9, the band announced the next album, The Satanic Satanist, which was released on July 21, 2009. The Satanic Satanist is themed around memories and stories from singer John Gourley's youth in Alaska. The album was recorded with the help of record producer Paul Q. Kolderie of Pixies and Radiohead fame.
On February 11, 2010, Gourley announced that American Ghetto, the band's fifth studio album, would be released on March 2. In order to avoid a leak, no copies of the album were solicited until the release date.
In April 2010, Portugal. The Man announced their signing to Atlantic Records. During the summer of 2010, the band went back into the studio to record their new album with producer John Hill. They recorded the album in El Paso, Texas, London, England, and San Diego, California. Andy Wallace mixed the album.
During their fall tour in 2010, Portugal.
Portugal. The Man made their second appearance at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for the festival's 10th anniversary in June 2011, as well as another Lollapalooza appearance in August. On August 8, 2011, after their Lollapalooza show, the band's van and trailer were stolen. The van and trailer contained all of the band's instruments and performance gear. On August 9, the van was recovered, but the contents of the trailer were missing. A list of the missing equipment was made available by the band. John Gourley was reported saying that, "Basically every bit of money Portugal. The Man has made over the last five years was in that trailer." On August 12, much of the band's gear was recovered from the home of a man who claimed to have purchased it at a flea market, and the band subsequently posted a thank you note on their website saying, "it is more than just a win for PTM, it is also a win for Twitter, the world of social media, the Chicago police, and old school journalism." The man was charged with one felony count of theft for purchasing the stolen equipment. In the fall of 2011, Portugal.
On April 3, 2012, it was announced via Facebook that keyboardist Ryan Neighbors would be leaving the band to pursue his own music career with his new project Hustle and Drone. He was replaced by Kyle O'Quin. Drummer Jason Sechrist was replaced by former child actor and drummer Kane Ritchotte shortly after Neighbors' departure.
On February 8, 2013, Portugal.
On February 25, 2013, Portugal.
In 2013, singles from Evil Friends, including "Evil Friends" and "Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue", were remixed by artists including Bear Mountain, Terry Urban and Passion Pit. Airing on September 26, 2013, in the United States, Taco Bell featured Portugal. The Man's song "Evil Friends" to advertise their Grilled Stuft Nacho item in a television commercial entitled "Getaway".
In November 2014, Portugal. The Man were in the studio recording their eighth album with Mike D from The Beastie Boys producing. The band also actively updated their Instagram account with pictures of them in the studio with Mike D, as well as showcasing small teasers of what their new album would sound like. Mac Miller was also shown working with the band as well. During this period, guitarist Eric Howk, formerly from The Lashes, joined the band. Howk, who grew up with Gourley and Carothers in Wasilla, had been in talks to join the band in 2007, however an accident on May 5, 2007 left him paraplegic and unofficially tabled this decision.
The first week of May 2015, the band released teasers on social networks of what appeared to be new music with a Latin twist with huapango guitars, dream synths and drums machines. On May 5, Portugal. The Man released a Spanish version of "Purple Yellow Red and Blue" covered by a Mexican-American band called The Chamanas on their official YouTube channel to celebrate the Mexican festivities (Cinco de Mayo). On December 31, 2015, Portugal. The Man posted to their website that they had completed two records followed by separate hashtags #Gloomin + #Doomin. However, on February 3, 2016, the band tweeted from their official account that the new record would be entitled Gloomin + Doomin. In February 2016, Portugal. The Man were featured on the Yoko Ono collaboration album Yes, I'm A Witch Too performing "Soul Got Out of the Box".
On November 30, 2016, Triple J radio debuted Portugal. The Man's new song "Noise Pollution". It was released as a single, "Noise Pollution [Version A, Vocal Up Mix 1.3]", on December 2, and featured Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Zoe Manville. On March 3, 2017, the band released a single titled "Feel It Still" off their eighth studio album, Woodstock. The release was followed by an accompanying music video three days later. It was revealed that Gloomin + Doomin "failed to complete" and was thrown out after three years.
The album's title was inspired by an original 1969 Woodstock music festival ticket stub owned by Gourley's father. It led Gourley to a realization that almost 50 years later, music has the same mission as then – "to comment on societal and political unease." "We worked with so many rad people on this album, but ended up with just the four of us in a basement at 4 a.m. trying to say something that mattered," said Gourley. "Trying to write music that would help people feel they're not alone, even if they're angry or feeling lost." Woodstock was released on June 16, 2017. The band caused some controversy during their performance of "Feel It Still" at the American Music Awards in November 2017 because of their backdrop that read: "No computers up here, just live instruments." Critics felt that the implication was that bands who use backing tracks were less artistically relevant than ones who used only live instruments.
"Feel It Still" became the band's biggest hit single to date in the United States, reaching #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs, Hot 100 Airplay, and Pop Songs charts and becoming a Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. On January 28, 2018, "Feel It Still" won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards and would go on to win the Alternative Rock Song of the Year at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards. The band also received the ASCAP Vanguard Award at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards in April 2018.
"Live In The Moment]]]" became a #1 track on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart during the week of March 26, 2018. It additionally gained the honor of the track with the most spins (plays) during a week's time, that has ever been recorded on Alternative radio at 3,503. Beginning in February 2018, the band embarked on a world tour in support of Woodstock with stops in North America, Europe, and Australia that is due to end in October 2018. Prior to every show on the tour, the band has been introduced with a video featuring the Mike Judge characters, Beavis and Butt-Head.
In support of their album, the band has also appeared on numerous television programs.
Music videos and short films
On June 6, 2011, Portugal.
Portugal. The Man has also released music videos for their songs "So American", "People Say", "All Your Light", "Do You", "The Dead Dog", "AKA M80 the Wolf", "Lay Me Back Down", "The Sun", "Evil Friends", "Purple Yellow Red and Blue", "Atomic Man" and "Modern Jesus".
The video for "Feel It Still" was released on March 6, 2017, and received attention for its imagery of a burning newspaper titled Info Wars. The video features Gourley walking through a post-apocalyptic wasteland and was directed by Ian Schwartz. It also features around 30 "hidden Easter eggs." Clicking on specific items at specific times in the video provides viewers with links to web pages described as "tools for resistance." For example, one shot shows a couple engaging in sex. By clicking that Easter egg, viewers are taken to the Planned Parenthood site. Other Easter egg links include a video describing a protestor's legal rights, a direct phone call to the White House, and links for buying custom-designed protest posters and graffiti stencil kits.
Throughout the band's history, it has engaged in political activism and philanthropy in a variety of forms.
In 2015, the band partnered with StubHub and Dr. Martens to help raise $1 million to put instruments in schools throughout the United States. The initiative was carried out in partnership with The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation and focused on schools and institutions with limited funding. In June 2016, the band headlined the Gleason Fest, an indie music festival that raises money for the ALS non-profit, Gleason Initiative Foundation.
In August 2017, Portugal. The Man donated all proceeds from its Charlottesville, Virginia show to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation in response to the Unite the Right rally that ultimately claimed the life of activist Heather Heyer. In May 2018, the band cancelled a planned appearance on the Australian TV program, Sunrise, after racist statements made by panelist Prue MacSween caused controversy.
In March 2018, the band gave a free live concert at the March for Our Lives in Portland, Oregon after having collaborated with local students planning the event, openly stating their support for tightened gun legislation.
In July 2018 during shows in Oregon, Portugal.
Awards and nominations
A cover of the T. Rex song "Main Man" was featured in the credits of the 2013 film, Dallas Buyers Club. The band's song "Heavy Games" was featured on a trailer for the fourth season of The Walking Dead. The song has since been included in the show's soundtrack album that was released on March 25, 2014. The band's song "Sleep Forever" was featured on the Shameless episode, "Emily", which aired on March 30, 2014. The song "Hip Hop Kids" was used in the short film CyberBully]] which aired January 15, 2015. A remix version of their song "Evil Friends" (Jake One Remix feat. Danny Brown) was used as the end credits for an episode of* Silicon Valley hat aired on June 7, 2015. The song "Waves" was used in the TV series "American Crime" premiere episode, that aired on March 5, 2015. The song "Live in the Moment" is featured in the soundtrack for EA sports game, FIFA 18. Their song "Feel It Still" has been used in many advertisements, including commercials for the iPad Pro, Vitamin Water, and YouTube TV. In 2018 the band performed at the March for Our Lives Portland.
- John Baldwin Gourley – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar (occasionally), organ, synthesizers, drum machines, bass guitar (2004–present)
- Zachary Scott Carothers – bass guitar, percussion, acoustic guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals (occasionally) (2004– present)
- Kyle O'Quin – keyboards, synthesizers, organ, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2007, 2012–present)
- Eric Howk – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (occasionally), backing vocals (2015–present)
- Jason Sechrist – drums (2005–2008, 2009-2011, 2016-present)
- Zoe Manville – backing vocals, lead vocals (occasionally), percussion (2008-present)
- Nick Klein – guitar (2004–05)
- Wesley Hubbard – keyboards (2004–06)
- Harvey Tumbleson – beats (2004–05)
- Garrett Lunceford – drums (2008-09)
- Kane Ritchotte – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2012–2016)
- Ryan Neighbors – keyboards, didgeridoo, synthesizers, backing vocals (2008–12)
- Noah Gersh – guitar, vocals, miscellaneous percussion (2011–13)
- Kirk Ohnsted – touring beats
- Dewey Halpaus – touring guitar
- Matthew Moore – touring guitar
- Nick Reinhart – touring guitar