PORTUGAL. THE MAN - The Satanic Satanist
(Equal Vision Records EVR-164, 2009)
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, Gourley's partner & back-up singer Zoe Manville, Zach Carothers, Kyle O'Quin, Jason Sechrist, and Eric Howk. Gourley and Carothers met and began playing music together in 2001 at Wasilla High School in Wasilla. Their first two albums, in 2006 and 2007, were released on Fearless Records. On April 2, 2010, the band signed to Atlantic Records. On January 28, 2018, it was announced that the band won "Best Pop Duo/Group Performance" category for their song "Feel It Still" at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. 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 Christie 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 June 22, 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. On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man was releasing Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, in partnership with Equal Vision Records. It was released September 16. Zoe Manville, a musician and graphic designer, was involved with this album and has an active involvement on all albums since 2008 including vocals on many of the tracks on "Woodstock". John Gourley was also chosen as the recipient of the 2008 AP Magazine's "Best Vocalist of the Year". 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. The Man played a new song known as "We Got It All". At "SXSW" 2011, they debuted another song titled "Senseless". Starting on April 7, 2011, Portugal. The Man began releasing one 30 second clip every week from their new album via their YouTube channel. The songs were "Once Was One", "All Your Light (Times Like These)" and "So American". On April 29, 2011, the first full track was released entitled "Got It All (This Can't Be Living Now)". They released their second song on May 5 entitled "Sleep Forever". The full album, "In the Mountain in the Cloud", was released on July 19, 2011. Portugal. The Man's short film, "Sleep Forever", directed by Michael Ragen, clocks in at over 13 minutes and was shot entirely in Gourley's hometown of Willow, Alaska. "Sleep Forever" premiered via IFC on June 6, 2011.
Portugal. The Man made their second appearance at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for the festival's 10th year 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. The Man went on a US headlining tour with the addition of guitarist Noah Gersh to the band. They also went on to tour Europe in January, opening for The Black Keys and going on to Australia to headline and perform at St Jerome's Laneway Festival. In the spring of 2012, they headlined the Norman Music Festival in Norman, Oklahoma, as well as the Jägermeister Music Tour with The Lonely Forest.
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. The Man leaked pictures on Bonnaroo's official Tumblr page which showed that celebrated producer Brian Burton, AKA Danger Mouse, was producing the band's new record. According to a Q&A Zach did on Portugal. The Man's official Tumblr page, their new album was influenced by Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon. On February 25, 2013, Portugal. The Man released the name of their new album, titled "Evil Friends", on Instagram. On March 6, the band revealed the album art for "Evil Friends" using a Tweet-to-reveal mosaic. The next day, the video for the title track from "Evil Friends" was released on the band's YouTube channel. On June 4, 2013, the album was released in the United States. The album featured backing vocals by Este Haim and Danielle Haim. A music video of "Purple Yellow Red and Blue" followed. 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".
On April 22, 2014, the band announced a partnership with Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute to release a limited-edition run of 400 records to raise awareness for critically endangered Sumatran tigers. The track, "Sumatran Tiger" does not officially exist digitally, and the copies were sent to "400 carefully chosen influencers, among them actors, activists, musicians, conservationists, bloggers and journalists," and is, as the band claims, "the first song meant to go extinct unless it's reproduced." The band encouraged fans to "scour the Internet" using the hashtags #EndangeredSong and #SumatranTiger to find recordings of the song. 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. 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", which was followed by the release of an accompanying music video three days later. It was revealed that "Gloomin + Doomin" failed to complete and was thrown out after three years. They have since completed another album, titled "Woodstock", which is promoted by "Feel It Still". 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. John Gourley and Zoe Manville married on New Year's Eve 2017. "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. The band also will get the ASCAP Vanguard music award at the pop 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. On June 6, 2011, Portugal. The Man released a short film featuring the songs "Sleep Forever" and "Got It All (This Can't Be Living Now)" from their album, In The Mountain In the Cloud. Produced by Richard Hutchins and directed by Michael Ragen, the film features 13 minutes and 16 seconds of Alaskan wilderness intertwined with scenes of John Gourley dog sledding before he is forced to travel by foot after his dogs abandon him. 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 "Noise Pollution" was released on December 1, 2016. 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 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 that 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 "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.