Und jetzt ab zur Liebeserklärung:
Portugal. The Man has been our lives for the past four and a half recorded years. Together we have played near one thousand shows and we have released five full length albums and two EPs. We have done more traveling than my younger and more apprehensive brain would have told me. We traveled to Europe? I never would have ever expected this. To be perfectly honest, I would have been just as content with the handful of Portland shows that we played upon taking our first steps outside of our home of Alaska. It was amazing. Playing shows in the lower 48? I still find so much excitement in these memories. It was so absolutely massive to me. There was the realization that we could actually do this. We could play music and, yeah, maybe it was five or six people coming out at the time but you know what? It didn't matter. I think about this daily. My mother and father and brothers and sister call me and with every conversation we start with "Can you believe this?". We talk about where we come from and how small our world was. Every day I think of this. I remember the old house on Knik where we grew up. We watched beluga whales rolling and singing in the dark silt waters of the Cook Inlet. I remember my mother fixing our diesel generator whenever it would break down - building fires and chopping wood for the times when she couldn't get it started again. Levi and Lindsay helping with the dog chores while my dad was away with work. What a strong woman, an amazing woman. I feel very lucky for this family. I have since left. Not because I wanted to move away but because of our love for music - my family's love for music: our truck rides to town listening to KOOL 97.3 oldies radio, the sounds of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, The Rolling Stones, and yeah, The Beatles... Lots of Beatles. We sang along together and loved every minute of it. Never at the time did I think I would ever be playing music today, but I do it and found myself in it because of these moments. I feel very lucky to have the family I have and the support they have given me. We all have been lucky in this, Ryan, Zach and Jason included. We do this because we love it and we are supported in it. We could not and would not do it without our families.
What I am trying to convey to you all right now is how much music means to us. We have worked very hard at this and only have plans to do more. It is necessary to our lives at this point, it is what we know and what we believe in and who we are. In the past year we have come a long way thanks to festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Southside and Hurricane as well as many others in Europe and the states alike, bringing us some attention that we never expected, and never pursued and really never thought we wanted. Well, at the end of last summer we started getting calls from labels. Calls that we brushed off without thinking much of it. We voiced our concerns and stood by our love of what we do and what we have built. Some of these label people tired of it and others didn't, eventually bringing us into meetings. At the end of this chapter we were offered an amazing opportunity to begin the next walk of life in this project. We were approached by Atlantic Records about seven or eight months ago and as of a couple of days ago have made a decision to join their family, and let them into ours. This decision was not made based on one or two talks, or without other labels contacting us, but based on history of the label and the history of our band. Atlantic Records has been home to so many of our favorite artists and has done so many great things for these groups. You can go down the list: Rolling Stones, Crosby Stills and Nash (and Young), Ray Charles, Otis Redding, The Coasters... and so on until today. Oh yeah... Did I leave out that little group Led Zeppelin? When Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, passed away in 2007 FUCKING LED ZEPPELIN got back together to honor this man's legacy. He had an ear for music that is not often found - one of a kind even. He created a movement; he created something massive that artists wanted to be a part of. He has been a huge part of all of our lives in some way or another whether you know it or not. His talent for hearing what was there, within these artists is very truly a gift. This is an enormous talent in itself. This is something I learned as we went about these meetings with labels and A&R people. We understand it better through questions. "What type of band are we?" "Where do you see us fitting?" asking of them their thoughts on music, their love in music and, of course, my favorite, doing the playlist trades (thanks Craig, Pete, and Andrew!). So, we got to see this labels history from the inside and out and really, this label has history, true history, but, to be fair, most all major labels have history. That is why they are what they are. They made it and had great taste in music. Some great signings, real signings, that helped to sustain what they had created.
Now, we are back to square one. I have talked up Atlantic's history and our feelings of overwhelming excitement then brought myself back to the reality. All major labels have this history and have their handful of great ears. I will continue on, but will take a little jump to form a new paragraph. This part is important.
We are people. We are people that happen to love music, we happen to live, eat, sleep, think and love within this bubble of music. Going into these talks we made it perfectly clear, painfully clear, that we love what we do. We live for it. No amount of money could change this band... to be fair to that statement, we already do this on our own and have done it for sometime now. Don't expect to hear from our mouths things like paying our dues, or working towards this moment. No mention of eating poorly or sleeping on hardwood floors. That is what we do for music. We did not go through all that because we thought one day we would hit our payday, we did it because we love what we do. This will not change... It is who we are. We walked into this as skeptical as anyone would be. Why not, right? The general consensus on major labels is not that pretty. "Why is that?" I started asking myself throughout our blossoming relationship. What do we have against them? The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, The Beatles, The Beastie Boys, Oasis, Nirvana etc., etc. The list is enormous. The bands that shaped our lives all worked with them. They did that together. All of our favorite groups of all time had this very opportunity in front of them, and most from a much younger stage in their career. How lucky are we to have stepped in with this many shows under our belts, this many albums, and this much love and support from all of you? I find myself on this subject daily, if not hourly. We are so lucky to be here now. We are not a baby band. This is not our first or second or even third release. We are stepping into a new world with five albums of experience and enough touring to feel like we can handle ourselves. And you know what? I am very, very proud to say the negotiations went that way as well. They went this way because of all of you. Because of what we have built alongside our manager Rich Holtzman. They went this way because we have the smartest and most punk rock lawyer of all time in Dave Stein. It went this way because we talked - we really talked. We didn't ask for money. Money has never been a priority in this band. The band has been the priority. We talked to some truly wonderful people at Atlantic, and I feel very lucky for this fact. We traded music playlists, and we spoke about our families and (for the millionth time) what music means to us. It was very important that that be understood.
I want to say thank you at the end of this to Andrew Luftman, Craig Kallman, Pete Ganbarg, Julie Greenwald, Livia Tortella, Torsten Luth, Paul Samuels and Max Lousada for making this process so enjoyable. I want to thank you for taking the time from your day to talk to us and show such enthusiasm. This is a dream job, and this is a great label. The level of trust that is so visible within your group, the work ethic and excitement that you all have for music is so inspiring. Thank you for allowing us to record music at our own pace and allowing us the freedom to still release music through Approaching AIRballoons when appropriate. Thank you most of all for being real people. There is a lot of love in what we do and we won't let you down, nor will we let down the people that have supported us.
The biggest thank you goes to all of you. You lead us into the doors with the confidence we needed to stand our ground, to be ourselves and to fight for what we believe in. We love you all so very much. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments or call us on the phone, and I will do my best to update this blog with your questions and our response. We want you to fully understand this. This is not a moment to fear or be anxious about. This is a moment to be excited about. Let's get some new lasers and get back on tour. That will not slow, and this will only grow if we continue to push. You all made a huge statement with American Ghetto. You prove to us every day that there is a reason we are doing this. I realize I have used the word "lucky" far too many times in writing this. It is not luck we have found, it is something real and something that I fully believe in and we are doing it together. Thank you again and again for everything you have all done with this band. Let's continue to believe in this and continue to take our steps one at a time.