Inquiring Minds

Portugal. The Man Talk Texas, Danger Mouse, and What Their Name Means

Portugal. The Man are coming into town tonight, hot on the heels of their newest Danger-Mouse produced LP, Evil Friends. With positive reviews coming in from all over the interwebs, P.TM are enjoying bigger venues and larger crowds as a result. Just the other day, Rocks Off had the opportunity to chat with Zachary Scott Carothers, bassist and founding member of the Portland-based indie rock group. While only a brief conversation ensued while he had a short break before their show in Dallas, he shared quite a bit about working with a top producer, the band's love for Houston and how similar Texas and Alaska really are.

Portugal. The Man have been either recording or on the road for seemingly forever - since they first became a band in 2004, after Carothers and vocalist John Baldwin Gourley moved from their Wasilla, AK home to the more music friendly Portland, OR. According to Carothers, growing up in Alaska was "inspiring and enriching, but didn't have much to offer as far as playing music. It took moving down to Portland to really open our eyes to what a real music scene had to offer. Going to bars with so many underground bands playing every night was completely different from what we were used to in Alaska."

Having spent so much time in Texas with family and touring, Carothers described the state as being "pretty similar in mentality" to his home state of Alaska. "I can't explain it, they're still completely different, but there are so many similarities. I think having spent so much time down here I've grown accustomed to the people and feel at home in both states."

"We love the hell out of Texas. Ever since the beginning of the band, we would come down here and the shows would have so many people. So much support coming from Texas."

Having seen P.TM four or five times here in town, I can support that statement. "We say openly quite a lot that it's one of our favorite places to play. Everyone loves Austin, but I love Houston too, really nice people there."

Portugal. The Man's show at House of Blues tonight will be at their biggest venue in Houston to date, previously playing the smaller Fitzgerald's for their past two shows, and the smaller rooms at Warehouse Live and the now closed Meridian in years past. "We paid our dues, worked hard and toured non-stop year after year. When we were first touring, we would play a show and only 15-20 people would show up, but the next time we came back those people had told their friends and our crowds doubled, which we're obviously pretty happy about," noted Carothers, "I've got no backup plan, I really need to make this work."

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Jim Bricker