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Return to Buffalo for Portugal. The Man - INTERVIEW

blog by Kathryn Przybyla  • 

The band of the hour is making a visit to the Queen City this week.

Portugal. The Man, coming Wednesday to Town Ballroom is an American rock band with a groovy and psychedelic pop vibe. Originally from Alaska and now based in Portland, the group has exploded onto the music scene with their recently released seventh studio album, “Evil Friends.”

“This seventh album from the American experimental psychedelic pop/rockers is the follow-up to 2011’s ‘In the Mountain in the Cloud.’ Scrapping an almost-completed album to work instead with Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton (Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells), they have created their most accessible work yet, equally inspired by synth pop, hip-hop and alternative rock,” according to iTunes.

Just off a praised appearance at the annual Governors Ball, Newsday commented with a full recap.

Portugal. The Man operated somewhere between the two extremes. The group weds starry-eyed harmonies to classic rock chug, emerging with something not dissimilar to early T. Rex. Like Marc Bolan, front man John Gourley sings with a kind of celestial certainty, believing himself cosmically appointed to great things. On “Evil Friends,” he sang, “The stars got nothing on me/ The sun’s got nothing on me” in a trembling falsetto as guitars lapped gently behind him.

You can catch Portugal. The Man with Skaters at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Town Ballroom. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 the day of show and can be purchased through the Town Ballroom website. 

While chilling in Buffalo before their show in Toronto, I had a chat with Portugal. The Man frontman, John Gourley about their upcoming performance. Take a look at what he had to say below:

You guys are coming to Town Ballroom on Wednesday, have you been to the area before?

John Gourley: I’ve got family out here and we’re actually in Buffalo right now. I have family that lives in Hamburg and I would come here to visit from Alaska growing up. I love it out here. My dad is flying down for our show and the show is actually on my birthday which is cool. That doesn’t happen often.

Was there anyone that played an important role in your life with music growing up?

JG: I remember getting a cd from my cousin back when I was younger. I was just a kid hanging out in Alaska. My cousin, Aaron Perrino was in a band called “Sheila Divine” and he mailed me the cd for the first time. I was like, this is so amazing that someone in my family makes music. It opened up my eyes.

You guys just finished up playing at Governors Ball—how was that music festival?

JG: We’ve played Governors Ball before and it was kind of crazy. There was tons of mud and flash flooding on the first night of the festival. More people would have been there had the storms not all happened at the beginning. It was a massive Kanye show though. His set was huge and I couldn’t believe it. The guy has so many hits.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of touring?

JG: The lack of sleep is one of the hardest parts of touring. It’s not very glamorous as everyone expects. You get up in the morning at 5 a.m. sometimes or you have to leave the hotel by 4:30 a.m. It can get pretty grueling.

The schedule is really heavy, but it’s amazing that you can play music for your whole life if you do it right. It’s hard to be away from family but it’s cool getting a call from your dad in Paris.

If you could collaborate with any other and or musician on a future song or record, who would it be?

JG: You know it’s aways hard to answer these sort of questions. That sort of thing is always up in the air, but always a possibility too. I would just say, I love Kanye and I think he’s really smart, since the beginning with everything he does and how he presents himself.

I think he’s really good and that has a lot to do with the size of him as an artist. I really respect what he’s doing. Kendrick is doing cool stuff too.

Being known for our chicken wings here in Buffalo, are you more of a hot, medium or mild kind of guy?

JG: I’m as hot as it gets. I’m totally offending people saying this, but the best wings I have ever had were at this place Mammoser’s in Hamburg. I swear to God they are the best wings I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. And I’ve been all over.

Any favorite songs to sing in the shower?

JG: Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me,” one of our songs, “All Your Light” and since I’m usually waking up when I’m in the shower, “All You Need Is Love.”

TAGGED: alaska, american rock, behind the beats, governors ball, interview, portugal. the man, psychedelic, rock band, skaters, town ballroom

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