Season 1 - Ep. 13 - An Inspirational Rock Journey with Eric Howk of Portugal. The Man



In this episode, I have a great conversation with the lead guitarist of one of my favorite bands of all time, Eric Howk from Portugal. The Man. We talk about everything from his crazy journey to joining the band to how he had to leave his car in Vegas for 3 months to continue a tour with the band. We also talk about the upcoming tour with Alt-J in early 2022 and the new album that should be released in 2022 as well!

This guy is a seriously hard working, incredibly talented guitarist with some great insights and stories. To hear how 3 guys from a small town in Alaska came to be one of the best rock bands in the world is an awesome tale, and Eric tells it well.

If you are a fan of Portugal. The Man or any rock music, then this is truly a can't miss episode!

Intro Music: "Colorado" by Birds Love Filters

Portugal. The Man's Website:

Alt-J and Portugal. The Man Tour 2022:

Portugal. The Man Foundation:

Portugal. The Man on Instagram:

Portugal. The Man LinkTree for all things PTM:


Isaac Kuhlman 0:00
Hello and welcome to the Powered By Rock Podcast where we're going to be speaking with a member of one of my absolute favorite bands of all time. Eric Howk from Portugal. The Man, they have a new tour with Alt-J coming in early 2022. And they have a new album in the works as well. So hopefully we'll dig into some of that and we'll see what the other things are coming up for the Lords of Portland right after this.

You're listening to the Powered By Rock Podcast with your host Isaac Kuhlman. The Powered By Rock Podcast was created to help showcase some of the best rock musicians in the world and to pass on to future generations the rock music that has inspired rock fans around the world for decades. We want listeners to be able to hear great stories and life experiences directly from their favorite artists, as well as dig deeper into music theory and talk rock like no other show you've ever heard. This isn't about looking cool. It's about getting real and having a great time. Without further ado, let's start the show.

All right, hello, and welcome to the Powered By Rock Podcast. So when I first thought about doing the Powered By Rock Podcast, the very first band, I actually attempted to contact was Portugal. The Man, and I even got a response, but the timing a few months ago didn't quite work out. However, the moons have finally aligned. And now I'm absolutely stoked to be speaking with Eric, the lead guitarist from Portugal. The Man on the show today. It's an absolute pleasure to have you here. Eric, how are things going?

Eric Howk 1:23
What is up Isaac? Ah, thank you too kind. It's going good. It's a it's obviously been a pretty wacky wild year for us. But man, we're like the machine works are starting to kind of crank back into life. And we're, we're just happy to get back to it, man. Yeah, it's

Isaac Kuhlman 1:41
like, waking up from like, two years slumber almost.

Eric Howk 1:44
Inertia is a hell of a force and it works in two ways. And you know, when I look back on, like, you know, the last, especially the last handful of years leading up to the whole pandemic thing. Just the the amount of push, and the wind that we had in our sails with, with Feel It Still and all that stuff. You know, like we were, we were doing more than a show a day for a while, if you break it down to like all the little like three song acoustic radio performances, and kind of like exclusive performances and stuff. We did, like, we were doing, like 400 shows a year. And to go from that to nothing, both ends of the spectrum are equally unbelievable. But we're trying to like be reasonable and kind of creep back into it. And then, you know, we got a we got a monster tour in the spring. So we're gonna have to remember how we did that. And kind of draw up some of that reserve energy and get back to it.

Isaac Kuhlman 2:42
Yeah, I mean, obviously, you haven't been completely idle, you guys have been doing some things in the works. You have been working on an album, which we'll talk about. And you guys did do a show actually a live stream show from The Crocodile up in Seattle about two three months ago as well that I watched on live stream, my infant son was sleeping and I was like, I'm watching this, I don't care if you sleep inside, turn the volume up and listen to it.

Eric Howk 3:03
Waking up the whole neighborhood. Yeah, that was that was super special for me for a number of reasons I've, I've been I've been kind of involved with The Crocodile for the last 10 years. And it looked it looked like we were going to lose it all together. Kind of another victim, not necessarily the pandemic, but just kind of, of business and expansion and everything. Yeah, A Brief History of a complicated issue with that. But The Crocodile is a rock club that's been around in Seattle since you know, the halcyon days of grunge. And it was kind of where I played a lot of my first like, you know, I opened for The Strokes there in my little cheesy rock band back in the day. And like, played a lot of shows like snuck into a lot of shows with you know, an altered Id not fake ID but an altered ID. And I just love the spot and around 2007 I think I'd played like the third to last show before they just kind of really spontaneously announced a closure of that location being like thanks for 15 Incredible Years. Business politics, blah, blah, blah, we're shutting our doors, and the entire music community of Seattle. Collectively, it was like, That sucks. Fuck that. So I got to become part of this ownership group that came in and kind of saved it and rescued it. rebuilt the stage redid the sound system, open it back up. And things were great. For a long time. And then yeah, like right around the start of the pandemic. It kind of coalesced with when our lease was going to be up on that space. And we had been leasing it, you know, you know, that business had been leasing that building for 25-30 years. So we were like, yeah, maybe it's time to like, make a big boy offer and like come in so we got it evaluated. We got like a valuation on the spot. We came in way above that offered, you know, a suitcase full of money, like we want it. And they told us to kick rocks. They're like, No, this is a Seattle real estate is ridiculous. You can't have it, and we're not renewing your lease. So now we are in a super bad spot. And by pure providence of luck, just you know, right when we started putting the press releases out, like, thanks again for another 10 years, blah, blah, blah. This new space landed into our lap, and that's the spot The Crocodile spot that you saw on the live stream. Yeah. It was a venue back in the day. It's been a steakhouse for years. And now it's this huge complex that we've reopened. So Portugal. The Man playing that new spot that was like, that was a whole complete arc in itself. Man, that was an incredible thing. And

Isaac Kuhlman 5:52
yeah, and obviously you like the band is kind of headquartered in Portland. You guys are you and Zach and John are from Alaska originally. But you're now live in Seattle. Right? So you're kind of the one that lives there. Yeah,

Eric Howk 6:03
I do. Yeah, I've tried to do in the Portland thing. I I bought a house in Portland, and I still couldn't bring myself to move to it. I love I love Portland, Oregon. I adore it. But this city, Seattle just kind of has its claws in me. And warts and all. I just love this place. I've traveled the world. And I keep coming back to this spot it keeps.

Isaac Kuhlman 6:26
I grew up on the like the east side of Portland. My brother lives on the west side of Portland. But I live in Las Vegas now. And yeah, now that I'm here where all the sun is, you can't pay me to go back to the rain. So

Eric Howk 6:37
yeah, I mean, it's kind of like growing up in Alaska, too. I think like, you can get conditioned to anything like you can really get used to anything. And like, growing up in Alaska, I didn't know that it was weird that it was dark all the time in the winter, or that it was light all the time in the summer. It's just like, that's how it is. Yeah. And it wasn't until you get to other places where you're like, Oh, you don't? You don't have to, like put tinfoil on your windows to sleep at night? It's the little things.

Isaac Kuhlman 7:04
Yeah, exactly. So let's kind of talk about this journey. Because you haven't always been in the band. You've known the band for a long time, but you didn't start with the band. And it was kind of I mean, it's it's a whole journey in itself to talk about that. But I do want to obviously, you know, get into it. So let's talk about how you actually became part of the band, and how you guys kind of, you know, grew up together and then how you grew apart, but then came back together?

Eric Howk 7:28
Yeah, it's it's a crazy arc. And you know, I can I can write a book about this, but I'll try and I'll try and keep it to 45 seconds here. Yeah, I grew up with the guys I've known John since we went to elementary school in the middle of a forest in the 80s. Together. Literally, that's no exaggeration. I've known that kid since you know, we were living in the woods. Zach, I met sometime around like middle school or high school, we were playing in the same jazz band in school. We're all about the same age. So about the same grade. And yeah, I like my first real live performances were with Zach's punk band that he had in high school, which still has one of the greatest band names of all time. Dependable Letdowns try and beat it, man. I don't know. It's kind of unfuck-with-able. But yeah, I mean, that was like, you know, mid 90s. So we're talking you know, 25 years of of crazy history of you know, learning how to play covers and all that stuff. Um, right out of high school, obviously, none of us were smart enough to go to college. So I ended up moving straight to Seattle, kind of you know, doing the hobo thing and got really lucky came here with nothing kind of surfing on nothing. And you know, started playing in local bands and got really fortunate that one of them kind of found some roots, sign some sign some deals and we started touring when I was you know, a baby just like fresh fresh out of high school. You know, moved from literally the side of a mountain like kind of just the stakes of the valley.

Isaac Kuhlman 9:08
Like a true Alaskan immigrant.

Eric Howk 9:10
Yeah, in move not knowing anybody here I had like 100 bucks in a backpack and I got super lucky I should be dead in a gutter. Fortunately, rock'n'roll saved my life so I you know, I got to get into a van and kind of get in the road and get some touring experience under my belt, super young. Zach did a similar thing kind of right outta high school just shipped himself a little bit further down the road to Portland, Oregon. And yeah, around that time, I think, you know, what we did was was kind of possible then I'm not sure it'd be possible now to just like, come from this country bumpkin, kind of Beverly Hillbillies world. I love Wasilla, Alaska, but like it's a world of difference from the rest of the world. But just to Yeah, like have no real connections. And just some big dreams and you know, you make friends really quick you say on some couches. But you know, Zach was always kind of driven, musically ambitious and everything he did the music thing had a couple of different acts like juggled some stuff around and then I just remember hearing from some friends of friends like, Hey, John Gourley is singing with Zach in, you know, their new band and like, I remember John growing up as a kid, I had no idea that he was musically inclined or you know, had songwriting inclinations or anything. And then yeah, from no one. It's like this. This kid's special. This is incredible. So he

Isaac Kuhlman 10:45
wasn't singing in a band or anything before that, either. And that was Anatomy of a Ghost, I believe, right?

Eric Howk 10:49
Yeah. And I mean, yeah, we were all you know, the arty kids knew who the other arty kids were. It was a really small school that we went to, but by by virtue of being kind of lonely and artsy, like we were just scribbling in our notebooks on either side of the classroom, like we were, we weren't super close. I knew he was. I knew he was artistic. But I had no idea like he was that special. That incline to lead singerdom in rock star. You know, I think that's, I think it surprised him too. I think that's why some of those early anatomy shows and even some of the early Portugal shows he's playing with his back to the audience mic turned around.

Isaac Kuhlman 11:30
He still plays in the back of the band and lets Zach and everybody else kind of take front stage.

Eric Howk 11:35
He goes where he's comfortable. Some nights he'll he'll surprise the hell out of me. He'll like, you know, he'll be right out on the catwalk and other nights. He's back on the drums. It's whatever he's feeling. But yeah, in those early days, I think even his gifts surprised him. And I think that's the back the back of the crowd kind of thing. Oh, I I know I can do this, but I don't want to do it. But I have to do it. Yeah. Yeah, pretty wild energy. But anyway. So obviously, you know, the bands I was in, like, we kind of toured, we had to push, we signed some labels, we made a little bit of a splash. And then, you know, for, for one reason or another, just like didn't quite stick. And meanwhile, Portugal and it's early days and even you know Anatomy Anatomy of a Ghost did the whole kind of festival thing and play their asses off. And that same work ethic came to Portugal. And, you know, even kind of being, you know, a friendly observer of the band, it's clear to anybody like, oh, yeah, this is this is different, like these guys are broke, you know, playing for no money, just grinding and straight out of the gate just playing, you know, 100-150 shows a year. And that was wild. Like I remember, you know, watching on MySpace, watching my friends from Wasilla, Alaska get like, big in Germany. Yeah. Holy Smokes, man, look at them go. So it was always kind of clear to me that the work ethic was there, the drive was there, you know, the, the tunes were there, the aesthetic, like the whole thing was very cool. Um, and then, you know, as my dad's kind of fizzling out, and a couple other projects that I was playing him weren't really doing much. You know, Portugals got an album under their belt in their recording, new stuff, I think up here, kind of around here. That would eventually be Church Mouth. And we kind of started talking about maybe me joining the band, which was very cool. So this is like, 2006-2007 Yeah, some of those talk started happening. My schedule kind of gets cleared out, I'm still sort of playing shows with this other band, but you know, not doing much. And then kind of freak Fluke situation happened where I fell at a at a friend's, you know, party, basically into a hole, and I got myself paralyzed, which is a whole different story, but basically hit the brakes on a lot of stuff. Yeah, you know, touring on a shoestring budget in a van definitely seemed like, you know, that's, we're gonna table that, that's, that's a conversation for another time. So, you know, I, I'm figuring out kind of how to, like, navigate the life that I'm in meanwhile, Portugal is still going, you know, in one record after another, they're putting out an album a year and just touring their asses off, and I'm rooting for him the whole time. But I always kind of had in the back of my head like man, I really would have loved that opportunity. And what if he didn't, you know, gotten on that horse when when it was in the stable. Um, so it took me a long time to just like, you know, figure out how to play guitar again. And then you know, how to take that and like be on a stage and how to like play a show here and there. To go from playing guitar to like playing a show to like going on little tours little weekend warrior tour runs and stuff like that to going on like proper tours with some people that I was playing with, around here joined up with Kyle's old band Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground went on some like pretty big West, Western America tours and played all over the place with a gal named Shelby Earl. And basically, like, you know, I'm kind of doing like conditioning training. I'm doing these little two week three week stints to like, figure out how to do this thing, how to pack and what to bring, and, and how to live. Obviously, you know, you got to do a lot of those things to get to the point where you're just living on the road, which Portugal lives on the road. But yeah, basically, building it up, like I was playing with enough people to where I was starting to pop up at festivals around the Northwest. And I remember I think it was 2013 or 2014. They were playing Sasquatch Music Festival out in the Gorge. And I was playing with a gal named Shelby Earl. And it was one of those situations. Sama guys gave him a hug, you know, cracked some beers backstage. And I remember John just being like, you want to play with us? Like I'm about to play a show. He's like, Yeah, I know that. But we're playing later. You want to just like play with us? I'm like, I don't know. Any of your songs. Like I know them. I've heard them but like I played to him. Yeah. Ever been like, okay. 234 Yeah,

he's like, that doesn't matter. You know, and like, you know, I, I speak music and, and, you know, those guys are so good. Especially Zach is so good at communicating in real time to the people that we have on stage with us and I still see him do it. You know, anytime that we have like, string players horn players, you know, choir vocalists, anyone that comes up in jams. He's using the headstock of his bass, kind of like a baton and directing them and he did the exact same thing with me. And you know, it's like, Alright, 64 measures E minor solo go. Cool. I've got like, I got an hour a pentatonic in here. Yeah, exactly. So I played that one show with them. It was kick ass. It was like everything that I had kind of hoped for. And, and that happened a couple other times, like, I would just pop up at festivals that they were at jump up on stage, we'd have a good time. But it wasn't until they kind of spoken internally and then like, you know, came to me and we started doing rehearsals, and before I knew it, it was just kind of like, Alright, we're gonna we're gonna do a tour. And that was that first tour that I did with them was with Cage The Elephant in like, 2015, early 2016. And yep, basically, it was I don't I guess I passed an audition maybe. But I just I've been on the bus ever since.

Isaac Kuhlman 17:54
I think that was the Evil Friends tour or something like that, wasn't it? That was that was

Eric Howk 17:59
kind of that was like in between that was the end of like, Evil Friends promo stuff and like gearing up for the new record. And all the Doomin + Gloomin and and Mike D stuff was being created. Yeah. So that was, yeah, that was the band gearing up to put out a release, basically.

Isaac Kuhlman 18:16
Yeah. And so I mean, that whole stories is awesome. Because I mean, obviously the the accident aside, I mean, the the fact that I mean, these guys are just like absolute machines for years. I mean, like you said, an album a year, I think they had eight albums or six albums before, probably you, you might have enjoyed maybe seven hours. It's I don't remember now. But like, you know, even when John's bored, he's out there like creating that. It's Complicated Being a Wizard one, like basically, just for fun. I'm like, This guy's just nonstop. It's, it's pretty intense. But, you know, the, the the accident, I do want to kind of come back to that, because I don't want to brush over it. I mean, obviously, it's a huge part of how you have to live your life now. And it's just an absolutely incredible story that, you know, obviously you're not fully paralyzed. You can use your hands but you are from the waist down. And, and around there. I'm not sure what Yeah, chest down to basically can use the lower half of your body. So, I mean, I know you got you've been doing some PSAs recently and kind of tapping into you know, using your voice to kind of help people deal with this, but kind of explained to me, I know, just getting in a touring van and just getting out there. I mean, it's not the same for somebody who's, you know, in a wheelchair versus somebody who's got, you know, abled legs, right.

Eric Howk 19:30
Yeah, I mean, it's it. It's a weird life for everybody. You know, to like brush your teeth with a water bottle on the side of a gas station is a weird life for everybody. But it definitely like it's it's the it's the dominating conversation point with like, all things, all considerations. You know, because like even, you know, the definition of a stage it's elevated area of people and they're not always easy to get on. Yeah, you know, think about, like, go on YouTube right now and just search like singer falls getting onto stage. Like, they're almost always like a narrow staircase, like, it's kind of tricky for everybody, it becomes a lot harder in a chair. So So I mean, like, like I said, you know, I just kind of had to, like, I was just taken any gig that I can with with anybody and like, went out to Detroit for a while and, you know, thought about moving to Detroit joined a Detroit blues rock band and was touring all around with them. But in the, in the early days, it was definitely like, I tried to kind of make things as easy as I could. So like, I taught myself how to drive, got my license, got a car, and I just started following, you know, following tour acts while playing guitar while traveling in my car and staying at hotels and stuff. Because that was like, you know, rather than like, get shipped into this bus, or you know, van or like sleeping on floors, at least, like maybe I can afford to stay at some some ratty hotels and like, grab myself every night. And that formula works. Okay, when you're doing like a club tour, or like when things are kind of sporadically booked. And I did that for the first Portugal tour. I just chased the bus and like, you know, had some gear in my back and was driving in my little hatchback across the country. And there's a difference, the way that the bus tours are booked, like, they have to capitalize on the fact that, you know, they got mouths to feed, there's a lot of people that travel with the band, and days off cost a lot of money. Yeah. And to make up for that, like, you get a bus, you hire a driver, and that bus goes overnight after every show that you play. It's always overnight. Most drivers are nocturnal. They're on like a all night schedule. So even if you're pulling away, even if you're doing like, you know, Vegas to Reno, you're still not leaving, you know, in the daytime to make it to the show. It's still overnight, you get offstage, and then like three a.m. the bus is pulling out, gets to Reno, 530, whatever. And like it's always overnight. So, to sort of recapitalize on that. When you do get to that next city in the morning, you got stuff to do. Like you're going to go to the alternative station and make an appearance on like drivetime radio, you got promo Meet and Greet stuff like that. So when you add in, you know, driving 1000s of miles across the country, you know, I try and like go to a Days Inn, sleep for a couple hours get in my car and you know, haul ass to the next thing. Yeah. It worked for like a tour, and it nearly killed me in the second tour that I tried to do it like I think I made it five shows and I ended up ditching my car in a parking garage in Vegas. And just like I'm like, fuck it lift me on the bus. I'm done with this. Cuz I mean it is like a whole nother full time job. And it's kind of like the biggest asshole job in the entire touring thing is just like, you know, logistics and travel and driving.

Isaac Kuhlman 23:12
Yeah. Even though like ask a friend to help them and that's a big ask.

Eric Howk 23:15
Yeah, no, so I I ditched my car. I think it was. I think it was in the the Hard Rock parking lot. Vegas and just, you know, parked in a handicap spot on the roof. And when I came back three months later, it was covered in sand dust people drawn dicks in the window and but it was still there as like a billion parking tickets on sale yet.

Isaac Kuhlman 23:45
It didn't get impounded. It's pretty impressive.

Eric Howk 23:47
I think that tour ended in like Montreal, so I had to fly back to Vegas, you know, Uber, try and remember where I parked month ago, it just got to the car came around that corner and just saw it covered and shit and like, ah but that was the last that was the last time I even considered driving myself on a tour like that. Because you know, you're you're delirious enough. There's so many times where you wake up, kind of shake the sleep out of your eye open up the door, the tour bus and you're like, I have no idea what city I'm in. Yeah. When you're like, when you're looking at atlases and coordinating schedule and like booking days in it, like going to truck stops and stuff. It's just a whole whole nother level.

Isaac Kuhlman 24:28
Yeah. Yeah. And that's, I mean, it's impressive that you were able to even get, you know, one and a half tours or whatever in like that because, I mean, yeah, you play till like midnight, you're gonna be obviously like 11pm and then you're obviously hanging out trying to wind down. You're not going to sleep right after that. I mean, you're probably sleeping from like, six in the morning until Showtime basically because you're so drained.

Eric Howk 24:51
Yeah, but that that six in the morning thing was like when I was trying to get on the road and start driving again. And yeah, that's like, you'd sit there you'd lay force yourself to try it. Like, at least close your eyes for a while, but the adrenaline and everything comes down, especially, especially on that first tour. I mean, that was getting thrown into a new thing in my first tour out with them was with Cage the Elephant headlining and we're playing arenas, you know, so like, I'm going from playing like little dive bars and shitholes to, you know, maybe 100 kind of half interested people to like, 1000s of screaming, you know, fans, I'm like, Holy shit, this is I was there

Isaac Kuhlman 25:29
at the I was actually there at the Hard Rock when you guys played The Joint back in 2015. Or whatever. Yeah,

Eric Howk 25:33
yeah. That was a that was a kick ass. Yeah, that was I think that was the one where I left my car. Yeah.

Isaac Kuhlman 25:40
She let me know. And I just taken a home and parked in front of my house.

Eric Howk 25:44
I mean, yeah, it was, I had like our assistant TM at the time. Just like, basically follow me to have her he like jumped in the car with me. We drove up to a parking garage, left it went back to the bus. I'm like, lift me up. Give me up there. And that was it.

Isaac Kuhlman 26:01
Cool. So I had actually asked you before this, and you haven't been able to find the award. But the you guys actually did win an award from our company for the 2020 Song of the Year for Who's Gonna Stop Me?. So I finally want to say congratulations, because I haven't been able to speak to you guys about it since January whenever I actually, you know, sent it to you guys. I don't think it's maybe as prestigious as the Grammy you have. But I think it means something to me anyway.

Eric Howk 26:28
Yeah, I you slid into my DMs earlier and you were asking about that. And like, like I was saying, Man, I'm sure that we have it. And it's one of those things that maybe went from management to singer and it's on a mantle somewhere. Thank you, like, greatly appreciate it. And the second that I see it, I'm gonna I'm gonna do a selfie with you. And, you know, the gratitude, it'll be full circle. But that does mean a lot, especially for that song. Like that song was that song was special for a number of reasons, obviously. boyhood idol, Weird Al Yankovic, who was like one of the few national touring acts to make it up to Anchorage when we were growing up. Nice. You know, he was one of the guys that was like, I have to play Alaska. So

Isaac Kuhlman 27:14
he's like, his mission is to like play every civilized piece of the earth and maybe even Mars and the moon when it gets civilized.

Eric Howk 27:20
Dude, I love that. And that's something that a lot of a lot of high caliber artists forget is like, you know, that's why you're doing this whole thing is like the traveling to expose yourself to as many cultures and get your music to as many years as you can. And in Weird Al did it so to work with the hardest working man in show business and make a piece of art that, you know, all speaks to our hearts and matters a lot to us? It's it's huge. Thank you. Yeah,

Isaac Kuhlman 27:49
yeah, and obviously, for people who haven't seen the video or know anything about the song, it's obviously dealing with the land back movement, and obviously, the Portugal The Man Foundation, and, and everything about, you know, Native rights and everything like that. So it's, you know, literally, it was like this close between Eternal Summer by the strokes and who's gonna stop me by Portugal. The Man. And I was like, it's Portugal. The Man. So that's, that's what my thought process was where I went into, you know, presenting that award to you guys. But, you know, you guys have made amazing music for years. And that one was just like, you know, in the time when you couldn't really get a new album, at least we got something that was very cool in that time period.

Eric Howk 28:28
Yeah. I mean, we were, you know, that was that was something that snuck out of some sessions that we had been working on, because we we made a hell of a lot of music. But, you know, hasn't grabbed hold or hasn't stuck in some capacities, to where it's like, oh, this is part of like, a bigger thing. This is part of an album, but Who's Gonna Stop Me it's one of those things that was clearly special. And we got weird out to be a little less weird and a little serious. You know, that's, that's like one of the few things where weird owl has, like, played it, you know, not hilariously. Yeah. Obviously, his personality is still in the track. And, and, you know,

Isaac Kuhlman 29:10
it's like watching Robin Williams do a serious role. It's like, you almost want to laugh just because you're in it, but you're like, he's so gripping when you watch him. It's like, they're not being funny, but you just know who that person is. That's,

Eric Howk 29:20
I mean, that's a perfect example. And yet nothing shatters your emotional glass more than Robin Williams, you know, say, it's not your fault.

Isaac Kuhlman 29:29
Exactly. Right. Hold on What's in my eye all of a sudden

Eric Howk 29:35
me? And yeah, it's like Weird Al's a perfect example of of that same kind of thing where it's like, he's funny because he's emoting to you. And because he's so good at transmitting, you know, this this kind of goofy pathos over so when he flips the switch and you get serious about it, like Yeah, it'll rip your soul right out. Yeah. Unbelievable.

Isaac Kuhlman 29:58
Exactly. Well, Let's go on to a little bit more of a topical note. You guys were recently seen an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, sitting behind the gang while watching the release of what was supposed to be Lethal Weapon 7, but I think was ultimately called white savior by the actor Don Cheadle. But it's not the first time you guys have actually teamed up with the always sunny cast because I do remember a YouTube short from like eight years ago, the eternal High Five with John and Glenn Howerton doing that whole thing where they aids like 30 years while just doing a high five. And then obviously, Glenn was in the Rich Friends video. So you have to ask how did this friendship come about? Because I mean, it's like one of the coolest collaborations of all time.

Eric Howk 30:39
I mean, I, I feel like it may be a little lopsided, and the most of the obsession might be on our end.

Isaac Kuhlman 30:49
Like, alright, well, do you a favor, get over here? Yeah,

Eric Howk 30:51
I think if you knock on the door enough times, eventually someone's gonna be like, What do you want? Yeah. I mean, those guys are just the funniest and the smartest. And that that show is incredible. We've gotten to do some other things with them. We got to we got to come out the premiere in downtown LA for I think, forget which season it was, but basically got to got to come out. And Rob was kind of acting as emcee at, I think, Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. And the last couple of years, It's Always Sunny, it's been debuting the first at least couple of episodes of the new season, you know, right out the cam. Like, here's what we've been working on. And with that, yeah, it was a few of them. And, you know, Rob came out and it's, you know, L.A. premiere situation. So there's the red carpet, and everyone's kind of gussied up. And he basically came out and grabbed the mic and took the piss out of everything. You know, he's just like, all you industry people. And like, all you kind of, you know, you people that like got dressed up to be here. And like, you know, this is your glitzy Hollywood moment. This isn't for you. Like, we ended up giving away 500 tickets to this premiere to hardcore fans and fans, can you call yourselves out and you know, the whole place erupted he's like those people. Those guys, it's not for you wearing the ties and everything. And he's like, they're the ones that know every episode, every character, they're the ones that are going to be clapping, and you're going to be looking around trying to figure out what they think is funny. It's because they watch the show. But he did end it with being like, if you are one of these people that are wearing the tie, and you haven't watched the show in like 10 years, don't worry about it, you're still completely caught up. Because the characters haven't learned anything. There's been no development, there's been no lessons learned. You can come in only having watched season one and jump right into the new episodes and be like, oh, yeah, it's St. Yeah.

Isaac Kuhlman 32:51
Yeah, there may be a little bit more classified in there degeneration. But yeah, they are definitely never, they never learned their lesson. There's always a scam coming up. There's a scheme around the corner from a mall,

Eric Howk 33:03
there's always there's something and yeah, like the nuances get a little bit more specified. But basically lessons never get learned or never get completed. And, and I think that's the beauty of the show. That's I mean, that's, and that speaks to us from from, especially from like a touring kind of thing, or a musician kind of thing, because it's the same deal. We keep doing, you know, our shows, on you know, whatever level it is, whether it's playing the American Music Awards, or like, you know, playing a playing like a, you know, a dive bar or a club or a pop up show, like we're still kind of bringing the same energy because we don't we only kind of know how to do our thing the way that we do. Yeah. Oh, so just kind

Isaac Kuhlman 33:47
of start by like it, like, hey, reach out, email them, see what happens. And then hopefully, they'll come back to us. Yeah,

Eric Howk 33:53
we're fans. And we're like, this is the funniest show on TV right now. And these guys are clearly the smartest heads working in Hollywood. So it was it was respect and then I think it was a bit of mutual respect. And and yeah, we're gonna keep we're gonna keep knocking on their door see you? Because I actually

Isaac Kuhlman 34:15
remember like, around that same time and that eternal high five. John did like a little cold call to John Legend. Did you ever see that YouTube video?

Eric Howk 34:24
I remember hearing about I've never. That

Isaac Kuhlman 34:27
was so awkward. I didn't you could tell it was legit. Because like John, John, John Legend had no idea who John was. And John's was like, Hey, I was supposed to call you like, my management told me to get a hold of you. And he's like, who are you? So funny. But yeah, I just remember that. And I'm like, I wonder if he was just like doing this. Like, it's almost like a prank, but it wasn't. I think he legitimately wanted to like, talk to John Legend. And John Legend's like, well, thanks for like, hanging out and we'll see you later but on YouTube, and I was like, That's hilarious. But yeah, you

Eric Howk 34:57
get in enough of these rooms and eventually like he'll collect some phone numbers in famous famous person phone Roulette is is really a delightful thing if you've, if you've never done it find find like a touring band and be like, Who do you got in your phone? Right now? And yeah, I'll bet there's a bet there's some folks in there.

Isaac Kuhlman 35:18
That's interesting. Now, just as another one you guys are kind of tied to Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers is that kind of just a team fandom thing. And then and that you guys just reached out to him or

Eric Howk 35:27
that yeah, that's, I mean, that's Portland. And that's, that's the biggest rock star in Portland. You know? Yeah, there it is. He's a superstar. He's on a, he's on a level that we haven't. We haven't seen in sports in a long time. And, and, and he just, he reps that city so hard, and we try and rep that city so hard. And, you know, like, I, I, I love my Blazers, I tweet a lot of those games, I tweet at them, we get like a little bit of interaction in love and stuff, but like we also love coming to the games and rapping and you know, those those things getting pulled together kind of started with just the Blazers organization. And you know, we did some promo stuff for them. Did we recorded a version of Gimme Shelter for their pregame introductions and you know, some stuff like that. So we started working with like, the dance squad, the Blazers, stunt team, you know, Blaze the mascot, and one thing led to another and then yeah, I met him in the middle. I met him for the first time in the middle of the show. We were playing Edgefield out in Troutdale just east of Portland always. And I just feel his hand on my back and you know, look up and there's this do kind of pumping his fist. Oh my god. I'm gonna shake your hand but I'm playing a solo. And, you know, that's just kind of one of those one thing leads to another and, and yet, we obviously would love to do something with Dame Dolla the musician. We've tried, you know, we know a lot the same people. I think he's a little busy. But you know, we're gonna keep trying, we'd love he's kind of like a dream collaboration for me. Yeah.

Isaac Kuhlman 37:13
And it's not just a coincidence that their name is also the Blazers which happens to just be like a verb for something that you may do in a pastime, right?

Eric Howk 37:21
You know, what's even wilder than that? Like, you know, John's always been obsessed with theTrailblazers. And I just really recently put this together that school, that elementary school that I was just talking about in the middle of the woods where I met John Gourley, and like 1988 That was the Snowshoe Trailblazers name of our elementary school in just the middle of nowhere in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of Alaska, so he's been a Trailblazer. You know, since he was seven years old, and born and raised, born born and bred, man. But yeah, you know, with with Dame obviously, that's just that's a place of fandom. We're just we're just always gonna bleed Blazer red and keep going to those games. And, you know, if we get like a little What's up or a high five along the way, that's just all the sweeter if we can work with him in the future. That'd be incredible. But yeah, we're just gonna keep going to the games. Yeah, and

Isaac Kuhlman 38:16
that's one good thing about your guys's music is you do pull in artists from other genres. You're not just stuck in, you know, indie rock or psychedelic rock and, and you guys guys do a pretty well, I mean, I've been to some of the concerts where I'm like, what, like, this is half a rap concert. I'm like, this is pretty insane. Like, there's a lot of energy on stage right

Eric Howk 38:33
now. That's, you know, the the places we play but got big sound systems and we try and use every we try and use every watt. So yeah, we appreciate the subs.

Isaac Kuhlman 38:43
Yeah, exactly. So I think one of the coolest thing that you guys do is actually do some really good cover songs like I don't know, like, I personally don't like listening to cover bands or cover albums. But when a good band incorporates a good cover into the music, like throwing like Another Brick in the Wall or Wonderwall or even Dayman into the middle of a set just like naturally play it like you guys do. I think that's pretty awesome. And obviously you guys have done that for a while. Which obviously leads me to the next question about the new cover singles that you guys have which is Novocaine for the soul by the eels which one of my favorite bands of all time actually even I'm trying to get Mark Everett Yeah, Mark from the Eels onto the podcast because frickin love that yields have been fan since literally that song came out in like 96 or whatever. And then you guys did Steal My Sunshine by LEN, which was a huge summer anthem back in my high school for me so you know, I have to ask like, why these two songs and why now and in how did this all come about?

Eric Howk 39:39
Yeah, well, you know, with with both those tracks we ended up you know, getting Clem from Cherry Glaser singing you know the that incredible verse in Steal My Sunshine which is just as sweet as can be. And Sir Chloe, wrapping it up on on that eels tune, and that was just kind of like that was you know, we're still kind of in the thick of the pandemic and we just we wanted to keep working. So that was a little bit like Kyle took some of those tracks I took some of those tracks you know, John worked on some of that stuff but it was just like let's record some faithful covers and so much of it was just like what we came up with on you know, on the radio so you know, I was doing I was tracking some pretty wild stuff in here and there's for those of you that made the cut there was also like we did Spacehog In the Meantime. Oh, wow, we did that New Radicals track you know, we're we're recording one

Isaac Kuhlman 40:44
of like the two that they were very famous for and then they just disappeared off the Earth.

Eric Howk 40:48
It's like You Get What You Give Yeah. I mean, it's it's a monster smash hit, but like, if you don't get the bucket hat and the tracksuit like, you don't like convey the same energy Did you

Isaac Kuhlman 40:58
know that the girl from that the keyboard is from that was from the show Family Ties by the way. Remember, here they strange little factoid,

Eric Howk 41:06
but that the Steal My Sunshine thing like that. That's a song that you know, that was just like of that era of that time, I'd like my first job that I got in Seattle was working in this retail place. So it's the Levi's store downtown in that fucking song was on like every 45 minutes. I just fold in Levi's five oh ones and I hear that cowbell like yes. But to be able to, like, track that from the start and have it come out on on, you know, a beat that, you know, I kind of produced in this room right here, like nice that that bell that year, that's a cowbell that I smacked and then like manipulated in auto tune, auto tune to cowbell to get that sound, like going from the original to the track to the original to the track and just like making little tweaks. So definitely full circle, just being able to, like take a song that used to drive me crazy. Like pay it forward and be like, we're gonna, you know, we're gonna we're gonna move this thing along was was super cool. And those two songs just work together. Because like, you know, that those were anchors like staples of alternative radio and pop radio, you know, in the in the 90s when we're so

Isaac Kuhlman 42:23
yeah, I mean, like, I jokingly like admit to liking Ace of Base now, but absolutely hated Ace of Base for like, years. But I'm like, you know, when I listen to them now, I'm like, I'm not so bothered, because they're not on all the time. But like, I'll sing the sign every single time it comes on the radio. It's like, now it's not like in your face all the time. So yeah, like you go from like pestered to, like nostalgic almost when I think that's probably very similar to that song because, yeah, I did like that song in high school, but then it got played a lot really fast. And you're like, Okay, that's enough for a while.

Eric Howk 42:52
I mean, I will say the Eels never bothered me. Eels. Were always like that song Come on the radio and I'd be like, yes. I get to get cool in already. But steal my sunshine was one of those things like he couldn't escape that song. Anywhere that you went, especially like in a brightly lit retail environment in downtown Seattle. But I remember like, after I quit that job, I I found a copy of LEN. You know, You Can't Stop the Bum Rush. The album has steal my sunshine. And that album is legit. There's some bangers on there. There's a Bismarckee track called like, Oh, What a Beautiful Day on there. There's like some you know, German Kraftwerk kind of techno pop stuff going on. Yeah, it's wild. It goes all over the place. So like it's a super fun party album. So that kind of like re endeared me to that track. You know, postscript. So then to like, go from that. Especially like when you're at a party we're Steal M Sunshine comes on. I'm like, Dude, do you know the rest of the like, deep tracks on this? Stop at like, No,

Isaac Kuhlman 43:56
we didn't bother.

Eric Howk 43:58
So yeah, I've had a little special love for that tune. And we tried doing it right. And you know, obviously Clem Cherry Glaser killed it made it made it all the better but and full circle with that we're going on tour with both of them with this Alt-J tour coming up so it's it's a little something to have physical and tangible and you know it I think I think we might do physical copies of it as like a little tour exclusive kind of thing but it was mostly just like a lot of fun.

Isaac Kuhlman 44:31
Yeah, yeah, it's it's a lot of fun to listen to you because like when I first saw that it came out I was like, Holy crap, like they actually pick two songs that I enjoy listening to, you know now not Always loved Novocaine for the Soul and listen to and like they did a really good job of covering this because those are not easy tracks to cover, especially that like that like cowbell sound at the beginning of that that sample or whatever. I just assumed that you sampled it but to create it recreate it was

Eric Howk 44:56
pretty correct from scratch. Awesome. Every everything every kick drum Unlike that, that synth is right over here that got old swoopy and squarely on it. Yeah. Like every every little element of that was.

Isaac Kuhlman 45:07
So if you haven't listened to that, and you listen to this, go check out the two singles this Steal my Sunshine, I know, and Novocaine for My Soul,

Unknown Speaker 45:13
they all also both Yeah, and then we can move on. But I think both hearken to this thing where it's like, you know, pop pop music used to be used to get away with a little bit more, I feel like, especially around that era, like 90s pop stuff was kind of subversive, a little psychedelic. And yeah, you know, like, that was the same era that, you know, the Butthole Surfers were getting on mainstream radio with pepper. Poison poisoning the mind a little bit. So it was really fun to like, touch on that era. Yeah, yeah,

Isaac Kuhlman 45:42
there was a lot of weird stuff that came out. I mean, if you could get on MTV, and just get a little scratchy of that visibility, some people will get, you know, connected to it. And then we just blow up. It was like, you know, the next day, like, Tom, Tom Green had that Bum Bum song or whatever on Total Request Live for like,

Eric Howk 45:59
sweet. See? It's a banger.

Isaac Kuhlman 46:05
How was how are people voting for this? But it's yeah, it's hilarious. But it's like, why is this isn't really music? That was the 90's for you. It was weird. But it was good. Yes. So obviously, I've been a fan of you guys for I think since little I think my buddy Mitch, who's actually in the band commandeer who was one of the first guests of the show introduced me to you guys. Well, you weren't in the band yet. But it was probably around Church Mouth time. So 2007, somewhere in there. And, you know, you can see this evolution of the sound of the band over the years. And I think, you know, it's a little bit more bass and drum heavy focus, it seems like these days, at least on like, a lot of, you know, more popular tracks in these days, where I think when it first started was more geared vocally and guitar driven by John obviously, I remember reading an article where John then mentioned, he said, you can't say the same kind of gets trapped in your own bubble. So you got to get out of this like echo chamber. Because you know, in Portland, everybody knows each other, and knows all the bands and they kind of all just kind of play the same sound. So he obviously wanted to expand that out. But I'm curious, like, how do you guys go about writing music keeps evolving and growing, while still trying to maintain like an overall sound that you guys come to naturally over the years.

Eric Howk 47:13
It's just kind of whatever suits the song, whatever fits the mood, you know, like, the stuff that we're working on right now is, is kind of going back maybe even further than that, where there's a lot of, you know, there's a lot of hammond organ, and like really cool guitar tones and crate drums and like, this definitely like, you know, an earthier vibe here kind of thing. Obviously, when we were doing stuff with with Danger Mouse and Mike D, it was kind of like the production secrets and the tools that are in the room. But it's always just kind of like, you know, if a sound happens, and the reaction within the room is strong to it, then that's something to chase. Yeah. And you know, that's that's just something that comes out of options, but then you know, you go the other way with it. And that bass tone on Feel It's Still that's, you know, that was just something that John was plunking around with on a little 60s bass that was in the room. That's I know with Get Back and the Beatles thing coming out like everyone's looking at Paul McCartney playing that 60s Hoffner feel it's still it was pretty much that same bass littles. I mean, you can

Isaac Kuhlman 48:21
tell because it's got that don't, don't, don't don't don't don't do that functions. That's

Eric Howk 48:26
the sound. That's the sound. Yeah. And that's, I mean, that's why we have that thing kicking around, because obviously, that sound is something that appeals to us. It's something that you know, harkens back to, to an era but at the same time, it's exciting. It's musical. So to get that thump and get that sound. It's just like, oh, here it is. It's in my hands.

Isaac Kuhlman 48:47
Yeah. While we're on that topic, I do have to ask who start who did that little lead that little scale at Ba doo doo doo doo doo doo? Did

Eric Howk 48:53
No, that's John. Yeah,

Isaac Kuhlman 48:56
that's the coolest little guitarist I've ever heard in a song. I you

Eric Howk 48:59
know, we we all kind of took stabs at the hook. But like, that's just something that's undeniable. In in the head. And I've gotten to play live 1000 times and it's always like, Oh, here it comes. Here comes here comes you know, an exciting, cool, rad little run.

Isaac Kuhlman 49:16
Yeah, yeah. Cool. Another big thing I want to talk about is, obviously bring up your guys's social and political political activism, especially for the rights of land for indigenous people in the United States and Canada. Can you tell me a little bit about like the Portugal. The Man Foundation, what it stands for, and how people get involved in helping change things for the better?

Eric Howk 49:33
Yeah, PTM Foundation was something that, you know, again, really got to take flight while we were off the road. So start a pandemic happened and like, we were just getting this thing off the road and it it started with things that we had kind of learned and picked up on tour. You know, obviously growing up close to the Alaska Native population up there. We felt like day to day life was was maybe better informed up there in terms of, you know, indigenous representation. And it's around us and like, we would learn about it in school. And it was something that was, you know, presented and present and around you all the time, you know, you know that there's villager, villages and representatives and well informed voices all around where you can kind of learn about this stuff. You get into other parts of the country, and the history is still there. But the representation just isn't.

Isaac Kuhlman 50:26
It's almost like it's a past thing that happened, and it's not happening anymore. Yeah, when these

Eric Howk 50:30
are living, evolving cultures of people that are still here, and, you know, often the best informed in the room and the least listened to. So this is, you know, something that got reignited in us when we were on tour in Australia, we were doing, like a whole Australian kind of loopdy loop tour. We're down there for a while,

Isaac Kuhlman 50:53
and about how they would explain it in Australia, too. It's a bit of a loopty loop, mate,

Eric Howk 50:57
Loopdy loo, yeah, counterclockwise. It was one of those places where one of those things where we were playing some pretty remote spots. And we learned from our touring photographer who's, you know, Australian countryman that there's sort of a way that recognition exists down there that doesn't necessarily exist anywhere else. But down there, it's very, it's very kind of organized, and they call it Welcome to Country. And basically, you know, there's a website, you can kind of see whose land you're going to be on, you can reach out to representatives, elders, uncles have, you know, the original Aboriginal representatives of the land and tenants of the land. And you bring them out, you kind of ask permission, you recognize that the land that you're on, it's not yours, you ask permission to play it, and then everyone has a better time, and they come out better informed. Yeah. So we just thought that was great. And kind of tried to take that model a bit, and bring it back to the States. And the thing that we learned is, the stories that we heard in Australia are so similar to the stories that we heard up in Alaska, and they're so similar to indigenous plight and stories that we hear all across the world. So there's this really unifying thing to it, but at the same time, you know, we're, it's not up to us to inform how that acknowledgement or that ceremony goes, we pass the mic, and then we watch. And it's mostly like, hey, there's a crowd full of a couple 1000 people. Here's a microphone, what would you like to tell him? And that can be everything from, you know, traditional performance and song and dance, to really heartbreaking stories, to, you know, uplifting, funny optimism, or just to information, and it's always different. But a lot of the stories that we get backstage are really similar and really haunting, and really the same. So yeah, we kind of recognize the need to like amplify these voices, not just when we're on stage or playing shows, but you know, kind of around the clock, and there's so many, you know, so many times in issues of govern governments, and, you know, equality where indigenous voices are just the best informed. So to offer a little bit of an amplification was kind of the mission with that.

Isaac Kuhlman 53:19
Yeah. And for anybody who's sitting in the crowd, and like, Oh, why do we have to watch this? Like, just shut up? Enjoy, Watch, Learn? Stop being a piece of crap? Yeah, they're there. Because you, you know, we've, as you know, white people in our culture have taken that away. And, like, it's, it's good to acknowledge that, you know, we weren't part of it necessarily, but we reap the rewards of having that, you know, civilization decimated, which is, you know, haunting and heartbreaking all if you look at all the things that we've, you know, all the atrocities that we've accomplished in American history books. I mean, it's just nonstop genocide, like all this other stuff. So, yeah. Have somebody come in and speak about that for a couple minutes in the night? Like, it's not gonna ruin your day? Just like, enjoy it. learning something. And in get move forward?

Eric Howk 54:07
Yeah. And it doesn't. Honestly, we, we don't get backlash from this. Yeah.

Isaac Kuhlman 54:11
True fans, you guys were for sure. Like, if like, there's gonna be like some, you know, drunk idiot like this. This will happen obviously, like, this is a key key thing that could happen in Las Vegas. People are like, wasted when they show up. They don't know who they're they get comp tickets to the show and like, what the hell like What are we watching? Like? Yeah, just come back in 10 minutes or whatever, like, just shut up.

Eric Howk 54:32
If I hear it all, I'll personally come down and punch you in the throat. I will be a represent representative of my traveling touring group and I will come down and I'll punch you in the throat. Nice.

Isaac Kuhlman 54:47
I love it. All right. So let's get to the topic at hand, which I believe will be the you guys's next album. I know you're working on it. You know, can you give us any insights? When do you think do you know what It's gonna be released, how much of is done? And kind of what can people expect from this finally hitting their eardrums?

Eric Howk 55:05
It feels done, man, it's, you know, we've been working a long time. And we've been, you know, we've been creating music since the second that Woodstock was shipped, and you know, getting out, we started working on stuff. And we've recorded things all around the world, the way that recording technology has kind of gotten smaller, has, you know, allowed us to, to roll into shows I remember, you know, being in in Switzerland, and playing a show, I think in a town called Winterthur up in like the German mountains. Yeah. And, you know, the greenroom just had this like, funky old attitude parlor piano, and we got mics on it started recording stuff, and that was, you know, we were on the promotional tour for Woodstock, like, four years ago, five years ago. So we've been making music kind of everywhere, it took a while for us to kind of take everything that we were making, and focus it a little bit and like, you know, center it. But in the meantime, you know, we made a record with, or we contributed to an album of music with Black Thought, from the Roots, Tariq and Sean C, and, and it's a, it's taken a while to kind of like, sit back and look at all this stuff that we've created and all the tunes and kind of focus on but we really, really have, we're, we're at a point where like, you know, the album, as it sits, just has an arc, it makes a statement, it feels good, it sounds kick ass in terms of when it's just, you know, it's, it's gonna be within a year. And you know, we are figuring out, like, the how and the singles and everything, but like, we want it more than anybody else, you know, for anybody that's like, clamoring, like, put out an album out, you know, put it out already, like, trust me, I would love to i

Isaac Kuhlman 57:02
There's a whole promotional thing. And the record companies involved there's, it's not just like, hey, let's put it on Spotify. Now that it's done.

Eric Howk 57:08
Yeah. And, you know, it's also just kind of focusing it into like saying the right thing. And it's not just like, it's not just taking, like, you know, 10 catchy tunes and bundling them up and putting them in an album, like, we really wanted to, like, make something that mattered and said something cohesively with this, and I really feel like, you know, if, if the album for where it sits today is what comes out, it's going to be something that I'm going to be more proud of, than anything else I've ever done.

Isaac Kuhlman 57:37
Nice. So on a side note, we did mention Gloomin + Doomin. And before you guys ever gonna actually release that because it kind of ill fated it was supposed to be out, like around the time that Woodstock was when it got ditched. And then what's it you know,

Eric Howk 57:50
there's a lot of killer ideas and great sounds on there. But again, like Woodstock says what we wanted it to say, and it says it in a cohesive kind of more structured manner, Gloomin + Doomin, and was a lot, there's a lot of cool ideas. But like, that's, that's just like this, this mind that's opened up of like, great sounds, great ideas, great progressions, and we can we can take some of that stuff and then plan it and, you know, put it out, you know, I'm not going to say no, I'm not going to say never, that it's not going to come out the way that you know, we sort of thought that it might or intended but but, you know, again, like if it's if it's not saying anything, we were always making songs, we're always recording stuff. And, you know, even taken the album that we've got planned right now, we're going to have dozens of songs that aren't going to make the cut. And just because we didn't give it a catchy sort of onomatopoeia name like Gloomin + Doomin doesn't mean that those ideas don't get to that, like get carried forward and transfer down the road.

Isaac Kuhlman 58:57
I think I think the main reason people asked was because it was so close, it was T's there was, you know, the studio shots and is like, what the hell happened on that thing? It's like disappeared now. But yeah, obviously, he we all know, there's going to be songs that don't make the albums or songs you guys might even play live that we're like, Where'd that come from? And then it's like, oh, by the way that was from You'll Never say it. But that was from like, one of those scratch recordings that you guys just happen to like that you throw together something, but it's always one of those things is like every band's got this, like, one thing, one song or one album that everybody wants to hear. And it's like, well, not yet, maybe.

Eric Howk 59:31
And again, it goes back to like sitting in that room and listening to it, you know, like getting that reaction within the group. Like if it's not hidden, it doesn't matter how packaged up and you know, how, how cool it sounds, or, you know, if it's not hitting right and if it's not feeling then it's going to be really hard to go out. And, and, you know, pitch it if it's not something that everyone's just jacked on. Yeah, what are you doing?

Isaac Kuhlman 59:59
course. And I mean, obviously, you know, John going back and talk to his dad and then saying, like, let's just why don't you just go record music like that? I remember that as like one of like, the coolest stories of like, here, we're done with an album. And then he's like, Ah, I feel like it's just like not going where I want it to go. He's like, well just go in there and play music because now all you do when you go to a studio is like, oh, yeah, I guess we could do that.

Eric Howk 1:00:21
I mean, that's, that's perfect for so many reasons. But like, yeah, we're kind of pragmatic, simple Alaskan dudes like this is like, if Portugal. The Man was in a band, we'd be a hell of a residential construction team. So that kind of practicality. And let's face it, kind of like that challenge. Like, just go do it. Like, I'll do it. I'll do it. So good. I'll build this album better than any album. Yeah. It is. It is nice to get challenged every now.

Isaac Kuhlman 1:00:53
And obviously, you guys are going on tour with Alt-J now. I think it starts with March or February or maybe it's Berg? Yeah. So I mean, that's, that's one of those, you know, first of all, how old J got so famous? I'm not really sure because like their music's cool. I don't know how it's like got mass appeal, because it's so weird. But like people like it. I'm like, I like this. This tour is gonna be awesome for two reasons. One, because Alt-J and Portugal, The Man or some of these bands that like should not be necessarily famous, popular wise, mass mass media. Well, I'm not saying that in a bad way. I'm just saying like, like, it's the sound that you don't hear on the radio until you guys put it on the radio. And then when it's on the radio, like, holy shit, that's awesome. Why doesn't every like this music. And then when everybody does like, you're like, I can't believe that actually happened. Like, how did everybody like Feel It Still? And how does every like be the blocks and all the stuff but I think it's like one of these like combinations of two bands that like you just you know that it's going to work together because it kind of has a similar like this, this, I guess, rise to fame or rise to popularity or whatever you want to call it. And have you I don't know if you guys have ever played with him before how that came about. But that's one of the things that I think it's just kind of like this whirlwind that's gonna work so well for everybody to watch it. Yeah,

Eric Howk 1:02:08
outside of like festival worlds. We've never, you know, done something directly with them, which is gonna be really cool. And they're one of those bands that like, even if you think you don't know, like go search Alt-J on Spotify or Apple music and listen to those like four top tracks and you'll be like, oh, yeah, yeah, I

Isaac Kuhlman 1:02:24
definitely don't have a name right. Yeah.

Eric Howk 1:02:27
And it's it's hard work and consistency, man. Like they they put on a hell of a show. It's, you know, they they've got kick ass production. They sound great. They're they're really good at what they do. And you know, they're super legit.

Isaac Kuhlman 1:02:42
Yeah, not bad for a bunch of British people. Right? Yeah.

Eric Howk 1:02:46
British British people playing music. I don't know ever heard of it. You'll see it's a passing fad. I mean, they're they're incredible. And they're, you know, they bring a hell show So the onus is a little bit on us to like, you know, show them what we got. I think having a little a little like friendly competition within touring acts is great. Like we definitely try doing that with cage the elephant. Yeah, we we have height guy on stage. I don't know. I don't know what we're gonna do for main support for this one to like, get attention but like, we're gonna try and go out there and get attention. Yeah. Because that's what we do. But yeah, Alt-J's great. I can't wait. That's it's a long one. It's a monster one. We're playing some incredible rooms playing like Madison Square Garden and playing some huge spots. So we're chomping at the bit on it, you know, trying to get in fighting weight and go out there and kick its ass.

Isaac Kuhlman 1:03:44
That's awesome. And I remember that tour. And I remember the Grouplove tour item. I don't know if you were on the group tour. I think that was just right before you you came on. Yeah, it's like every time you guys can kind of like I wouldn't say I would, I would say it's like a co headline because you're you're at that point. I mean, sure. Cage The Elephant was like probably more popular just from like the history of the band being on the radio for so long. But you guys have rose to a point where it was almost like a co headlining tour because when you guys came on stage, people are going absolutely nuts for you guys just as much as Cage The Elephant. And the same thing with group love. And I expect the same thing for all j I mean, you guys I would feel intimidated as a headliner having you guys come before me I feel like oh, these guys are gonna go out there and kill it like I saw Minus the Bear and Cursive opened for them when I was like, Damn Cursive is a hell of a opener for Minus The Bear. And I'm like, that's a that's a pretty bold move to have those two bands like together just like when anybody is headlining with you guys. Yeah, but I

Eric Howk 1:04:41
mean, I'm sure that you know, they wanted Cursive because like the best bands want want to be pushed, you know? And like we want to be pushed and it's not competition. It's just like, let's, let's let's melt brains in our way from the You guys go melt brains in your way and yeah, it's it's gonna be kick ass. And like, you know, this is an Alt-J tour, but we're still gonna go out there and catch as many fish in their pond as we can.

Isaac Kuhlman 1:05:10
Yeah, yeah, that's awesome. I mean, I, I can't wait to see what 2022 comes. I mean, obviously with the new album that comes out in 2022, this tour that comes out. I'll be there at the at the Virgin hotel here in Las Vegas to watch you guys. Yeah, I see even bigger things happening for Portugal. The Man this year, then that has already happened. So other than that, would you like, we're gonna add some links to the music and other stuff in the show notes below. Do you have anything else that you'd like to plug upcoming shows or anything? Or anything you want to say to fans before we go today?

Eric Howk 1:05:40
I know. I mean, we you know, PTM and Alt J, I think there's a whole website dedicated figure out where we're gonna be in your town and come party because we're hungry to get back out on it. And, yeah, I mean, we try and lay out our advocacy for not just indigenous rights, but you know, disability rights, human rights. Just a lot of our advocacy lives at the PTM foundation. So that's all I If you could link to it, I'd be much

Isaac Kuhlman 1:06:09
more sure. Absolutely, definitely. Well, awesome. I want to thank you, Eric, for the awesome conversation. If you guys haven't checked out their music yet. You guys are insane. But there will be links below this show now or below this episode in the show notes there, so make sure to go check it out. been one of my favorite bands for years and years. If you liked what you heard on the show today, please make sure to subscribe to the podcast and share it with your friends on social media. You can see the full interview on her YouTube channel as well. Also, if you want to check out some of our written content or any of the products or merch that we have available, go to to read our absolutely free rocking blog full of album reviews, interviews and lists to keep you entertained and find gear as well so you can come pick up some items to play and look like a rock legend. That's our show for today. We'll see you soon for the next episode. Until then rock on

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