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Portugal. The Man is an Americanmarker rock band from Wasilla, Alaskamarker and based in Portland, Oregonmarker. The band is made up of former members of the band Anatomy of a Ghost. The group was but is no longer signed to Fearless Records. They now have their own imprint label called Approaching AIRballoons through indie label Equal Vision Records. Notable for their already large output of recordings, their latest full-length album, released on July 21, 2009, is titled The Satanic Satanist.


Musically, Portugal. The Man's style is varied. Their style is rooted in indie, but their songs also contain elements of soul, blues, and folk music. At times, the band chooses to utilize drum machines and/or synth loops to anchor their songs, while at other times, the band chooses to use the more conventional guitar, bass, and acoustic drum configuration characteristic of rock music. The band also utilizes keyboards in much of its music. In addition to their instrumentals, Gourley's distinctly higher-pitched vocals add to Portugal. The Man's unique sound. Lyrically, Gourley provides the band with abstract and/or enigmatic lyrics that rely heavily on imagery. Gourley's verses are usually delivered in the first-person singular or plural.

Band name

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 didn't want to name it after one of their members.

"A country is a group of people," guitar player and vocalist John Gourley explains. "With Portugalmarker, 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." The name has 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.

The lyric booklet for the band's first album, Waiter: "You Vultures!", states: "Music performed and recorded by: The Approaching AIRballoons" and goes on to credit the band members as The Approaching AIRballoons. This started confusion as to who exactly The Approaching AIRballoons are, and why Portugal. The Man are not credited as the album performers. It was brought up on their forums, and was cleared up by Gourley, who stated "The Approaching AIRballoons are the backing band for Portugal. The original band name was 'Portugal. The Man and the Approaching AIRballoons'".


The members of Portugal. The Man (with the exception of Jason Sechrist who was born in Portland, Oregonmarker and Ryan Neighbors who grew up in Salem, Oregon) were all born and raised in Alaskamarker. Gourley grew up in various parts of Alaska, even spending a year in the woods, living in a cabin his parents had built that was powered by a generator and had no phone. Around the 8th grade John's dad bought him a guitar. "I started playing mainly because of Zach, who was in this awful cover band and they played at our high school from time to time. It was like Rage Against the Machine covers, which I loved!"

Around August 2002, the band Anatomy of a Ghost was formed. 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 Zach playing bass. Before they had a drummer, they used drum machines and synth-loops as the backing beat. Through the demise of Anatomy Of A Ghost, Gourley and Zach Carothers teamed up with Wesley Hubbard (of Mash Potato Mitch and the Jet Puff Marshmellow Men), Nick Klein (former guitar tech for Anatomy of 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 and followed this with a tour with Chiodos that fall. In spring 2005, Klein and Tumbleson left the band to pursue other opportunities and soon after Sechrist 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.

They have played with Action Action, The Matches, and have also opened up for labelmates Gatsbys American Dream on the Stampeding Machines tour, alongside similar acts such as HORSE the Band and Forgive Durden. In the summer of 2006 they were included on the Circa Survive headlining tour The Twilight Army Tour with The Receiving End Of Sirens, Days Away, YouInSeries, and Keating. Portugal. The Man toured with The Fall of Troy, Tera Melos and Damiera on The Fall of Troy's Headlining Winter Tour. In early 2007, Portugal. The Man self-released a new E.P. entitled It's Complicated Being a Wizard on their own label Approaching AIRballoons. The EP comprised one 23-minute original composition, which they nicknamed the "Michael Jordan" for being exactly 23-minutes long, and nine "magic" tracks which reiterate the album in summation, but with subtle differences.

On June 22, 2007 they released their second full-length, Church Mouth, which was again produced by Casey Bates. Shortly before the album's release, the band leaked the recording themselves, putting it online for free download. The band then 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.

On January 7, 2008, Portugal. The Man posted a new blog on their MySpace page detailing what the next year would hold for them. They have left their label, Fearless Records, and plan on independently releasing a new studio album and are heading over to Europe again this February. On March 26, 2008 it was announced in a MySpace bulletin that Ryan Neighbors, their touring keyboardist, is now an official member and the replacement for Wes Hubbard. In the summer of 2008 they were to be the main support band for Rx Bandits national headlining tour.

Portugal. The Man has collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of its first album, Tiger and the Duke. Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album.

On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man was releasing Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons (A play on the band's full name, "Approaching AIRballoons Present Portugal The Man"), in partnership with Equal Vision Records. It was released September 16, 2008.

The band recently wrapped up its most recent tour, The Gold Tour, with supporting acts Wintersleep and Earl Greyhound. They have since headed back into the studio to start work on their new album.

Portugal. The Man is listed as a confirmed musical act performing at the 2009 camping and music festival, Bonnaroo. John Gourley was the recipient of the 2008 AP Magazine's 'Best Vocalist of the Year'.

They played in Grant Park,marker Chicagomarker, at Lollapalooza 2009 on August 8.

On April 9 Portugal. The Man announced The Satanic Satanist, which was released on July 21, 2009. Originally named The Satanic Satanist of the Majestic Majesty, the album title was later shortened and an acoustic counterpart entitled The Majestic Majesty was released. The Satanic Satanist is themed around memories and stories from singer John Gourley's growing up in the state of Alaska. The album was recorded with the help of record producer Paul Q. Kolderie of Pixies and Radiohead fame, and it was the band's first time recording an album with pre-production.The band released the first video from The Satanic Satanist for the track "Do You" on September 17th, 2009. They are currently on a headlining tour in North America with guests Hockey and Drug Rug.In August of 2009, singer John Gourley posted on his Twitter account that he was doing some work in the studio with Casey Bates, producer of the band's first two LP's. He also stated at a live performance that the band would head back into the studio after their current North American tour to record the band's 5th LP.

On October 18, 2009 Portugal. The Man announced via Twitter that they had recorded "post-Satanist" material in Boston, Massachusetts. That evening their new album "American Ghetto" was played in full before the show.

Band members

Current members

  • John Baldwin Gourley - vocals, guitar, organ, machines
  • Jason Sechrist - drums and gang
  • Ryan Neighbors - piano, rhodes, organ, synth, vocals, percussion
  • Zachary Scott Carothers - bass, percussion, vocals

Former members

  • Wes Hubbard - keyboards, vocals
  • Nick Klein - guitar
  • Harvey Tumbleson - beats

Former touring members

  • Zoe Manville - vocals, Moog synth
  • Garrett Lunceford - drums, percussion
  • Jesse Cunningham - guitar
  • Dewey Halpaus - guitar, backing vocals
  • Kirk Ohnstad - guitar, percussion, backing vocals
  • Matt Moore - guitar


Studio albums

Year Album details
2006 Waiter: "You Vultures!"
2007 Church Mouth
  • Released: 24 July 2007
  • Label: Defiance, Fearless
  • Format: LP, CD, 2xCD
2008 Censored Colors
  • Released: 16 September 2008
  • Label: Approaching AIRballoons, Defiance, Equal Vision
  • Format: LP, CD
2009 The Satanic Satanist
  • Released: 21 July 2009
  • Label: Approaching AIRballoons, Defiance, Equal Vision
  • Format: LP, CD
  • Billboard 200 peak: #81
2009 The Majestic Majesty
  • Released: 21 July 2009
  • Label: Approaching AIRballoons, Equal Vision
  • Format: Digital
2010 American Ghetto
  • Release Date: Spring 2010
  • Label: Approaching AIRballoons, Defiance, Equal Vision
  • Format: LP, CD

Extended plays

Year Album details
2005 Under Waves of the Brown Coat
  • Released: 2005
  • Label: Fearless
  • Format: Digital
2006 The Pines & The Devil
  • Released: 2006
  • Label: Fearless
  • Format: 7-inch
2006 Devil Say I, I Say AIR
  • Released: 18 July 2006
  • Label: Fearless
  • Format: Digital
2007 It's Complicated Being a Wizard
  • Released: 27 February 2007
  • Label: Approaching AIRballoons, Defiance
  • Format: 12-inch, CD
2007 My Mind
  • Released: 14 September 2007
  • Label: Defiance
  • Format: 7-inch


  1. [1], Equal Vision Records. Published July 30, 2008.
  2. Portugal. The Man's Official Website
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. REDEFINE Magazine Interview with Portugal. The Man, October 2009
  6. Portugal. The Man on Twitter

External links

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