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Q&A with John Gourley of Portugal. The Man

Donít Feed the Animals

After recently singing to Atlantic Records, John Gourley of Portugal. The Man has less time to spend in his native Alaska, more time between recording, less time for video games, and if things work out, more time to buy new threads. Gourley (vocals/guitars) spoke with SF Station before the bandís gig at the Fillmore on June 18th.

SF Station (SFS): Do moose really stop traffic in Alaska, and do they follow stoplights?

John Gourley (JG): I think that the moose are probably my favorite part of Alaska, but I donít know if I can answer that question. Iíve hit two moose before, and itís the worst experience ever.

SFS: What do you do if you hit one?

JG: You donít have the choice to keep going. It will just smash your vehicle. They look like they would be really nice if you were to go up to them, but itís actually a really aggressive animal all the time. Donít feed moose.

SFS: How often do you go back to Alaska?

JG: I go back whenever we have substantial breaks. We donít go back all the time. I imagine Iíll be building a house soon, out away from everything.

SFS: Wow, how very Alaskan of you.

JG: My family builds houses, by the way. Donít think now that Iím on Atlantic Iím going to go build a house.

SFS: So itís been almost a year since you were here for Outside Lands. Do things feel different?

JG: The band feels like a different group altogether in a really positive way. We moved to Atlantic and had that transition. You have know idea what we said when Atlantic called: ďJust the fact that youíre [Atlantic] calling you need to know that this is my fucking life, and I will fucking flip out if any of this gets fucked up.Ē We had these talks, I hate to say we became friends, but we actually did.

When it came to making this album that will come out next year ó or whenever we finish it ó we really decided to sit back and take our time, which is a huge change for our band.

SFS: It seems like the move to Atlantic is a big step. Itís interesting that you guys are taking a lot more time given your track record of doing an album in two weeks or maybe a month.

JG: I feel like itís necessary. I didnít have any material when I went into American Ghetto.

SFS: Whatever the case was, itís refreshing that youíve had a good experience.

JG: The reality is, when it comes down to it, it has to be a good business decision for them as well. They didnít sign our band because they wanted a band that sells 20,000 records that just hangs out at their house and plays video games.

SFS: Wait you guys arenít going to still do that? Is image becoming a bigger factor?

JG: No, unfortunately not. One of the first things that I said when I went in there was, ďShit do we get a stylist? Do we get all those clothes?Ē They were like, ďNo, man, youíre doing alright. You guys look alright now.Ē I was like ďDamn it!Ē

SFS: Iím sure you can get a sponsorship from a thrift store or something.

JG: Yeah, I should have thought ahead and put on extra large T-shirt, and got a fucked up haircut and tapered jeans and been like, ďWhatís up! Letís make moves Atlantic!Ē Just so you know when you see me wearing a suit, I have to work for that with my own money.

Portugal. The Man perform at the Fillmore on June 18th. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 9pm.