ohn Gourley and Zach Carothers know their way around a jukebox. It is rumored that the founding members of the Portland, Oregon band, Portugal. The Man carries a minimum of two rolls of quarters on them at all times. We’ve also been provided substantial evidence that during their time touring the globe, John and Zach have incited more toe-tapping, riots and smiles at local bars than if Ray Charles was bartending in a Superman outfit and handing out free whiskey shots on Christmas Eve. Portugal. The Man seems defined by not being shy of spreading love to improve the world through music.
Whalebone Magazine was fortunate enough to encounter PTM in a little watering hole providing karaoke lessons to the local student population. Between whiskey sours and well-timed renditions of “Day Tripper” Beatles and “Take Me Home Country Roads” John Denver, we managed to sit down with the Grammy winners and songwriters. After the lessons, they placed a few quarters in the jukebox, slid into the booth across from us, smiled and raised their glasses.
The following is an interview between Whalebone Magazine and Portugal. The Man about things such as; proper song selection, how to handle the Russian mob and what do when time travelers hand you a large sum of money. Na zdorovie!
Whalebone Magazine: We give you a five spot and send you over to the jukebox. What are the first five songs we’ll hear?
Portugal. The Man: I change my mind every day, but today’s dive bar list would kick the party off with …
- “Lust For Life” – Iggy Pop
- “Children Of The Grave” – Black Sabbath
- “We Gotta Get Outta This Place” – The Animals
- “Blue Bayou” – Roy Orbison
- “How The Gods Kill” – Danzig
WB: You walk into the wrong local bar in Russia and realize it is full on Russian mafia territory and they are in the middle of a deal. To survive, you’ll need to claw your way out, but you can’t do it alone. You realize that The Prime Minister of Japan gave you a special token to rub that will instantly teleport one person by your side to help you fight your way out. Who are you calling in?
PTM: Considering geography I should probably say Khabib Nurmagomedov, but I think I’d have to go with our boy Nasty Nate Diaz. I’ll fuck up the biggest guy in the room while Nate Stockton slaps the shit out of everyone in the bar.
It’s usually Jameson and Pabst around our camp. Stick to what you know. We’re creatures of habit.
WB: It’s raining, like pissing rain, you’re sitting in an older establishment enjoying a cold one after a long day on the road, and no one else is really in the place. The front door swings open and a man comes rushing in soaking wet and hysterical. He’s wearing an outfit that doesn’t match anything from our time period, he is not making sense but manages to grip you and whisper “spend this wisely” and discreetly drops a bag of exactly $115,950 at your feet before the bartender shoves him out the door back into the cold rain never to be seen again. What do you spend the money on?
PTM: Well, I sure as shit wouldn’t spend it wisely. Honestly, I’d probably buy everyone in the place drinks, then donate the rest.
WB: Later, we send you to the bar and ask if you wouldn’t mind getting a round of shots and beers on our tab. What are you coming back with?
PTM: Are we still in Russia? Vodka. If not, It’s usually Jameson and Pabst around our camp. Stick to what you know. We’re creatures of habit.
WB: Two truths and a lie that you would tell someone in a bar?
PTM: I wish I were a little bit taller. I wish I were a baller. I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her.
WB: Favorite David Bowie persona of all-time and why?
PTM: Ziggy Stardust. He created a fictional character that absolves all accountability. Genius.
I wish I were a little bit taller. I wish I were a baller. I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her.
WB: Three bands, or artists, that should have their name in Whalebone Magazine that you think would also enjoy a good dive bar? Living or not living
PTM: Twin Peaks. The Last Artful, Dodgr. Cherry Glazer.
WB: Karaoke song you think PTM could pull off better than most?
PTM: “Cry Me A River” by JT (Justin Timberlake)
WB: The best dive bar story you and the band might have from your adventures?
PTM: Our best dive bar story? Frankie’s. Sydney, Australia. You had to be there.
WB: If there was a drink named after PTM what would the drink be called and what’s in it?
PTM: We’ll just rep the Black Tooth Grin in honor of Dimebag Darrell.
Ziggy Stardust. He created a fictional character that absolves all accountability. Genius.
WB: Dream dive bar venue with the dream line-up? One show only. One night only.
PTM: The Dead Dog Saloon. Pantera. 1996.
WB: Being from Alaska, what famous dogs would you have on your Iditarod team? (i.e., Scooby Doo, Air Bud, etc.)
- Prehistoric Dog. Red Fang.
- Two-Headed Dog. Roky Erickson.
- Hound Dog. Big Mama Thorton.
- Black Dog. Led Zeppelin.
- Dog Shit. ODB.
WB: Dive bars that anyone reading this should definitely not visit in the world?
- Darwin’s Theory. Anchorage, Alaska.
- Frankie’s Pizza. Sydney, Austrailia.
- Thirsty Beaver. Charlotte, North Carolina.
- KGB. NYC.
- Mug Shot. Wasilla, Alaska.
- Library. NYC.
- None Of Your Business. Portland, Oregon.
WB: It’s a Tuesday night, and you’re in your Portland, a friend is in town, where do you bring them for a drink?
PTM: A friend I like or don’t really? For a don’t really, The Hollywood Theater. Beautiful place where I don’t have to talk to people. They show beautiful movies in 70mm. We saw Michael Ironside speak there. We were there with Quentin Tarantino when he was on tour premiering “The Hateful Eight.” We all went out afterward and partied the shit outta Portland. Wild shit.
WB: It’s the end of the night, lights are on, now you’re in NYC, any food you would like is an option, what is the late night meal you would order for after the bar?
PTM: We eat what the people eat. I like whatever is next door. That usually pairs well. Eat well. Drink well. Talk to strangers.
WB: Thank you. That was highly productive.
Catch Portugal. The Man’s video for their newest track, “Tidal Wave” below.