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Portugal. The Man’s John Gourley Reflects on Making Music With His Daughter Frances

Portugal. The Man’s John Gourley knows how to put together a festival setlist that everyone will enjoy, but he also loves to hear fan reactions to some of his band’s most personal tracks while on tour. In an interview for Rolling Stone‘s Green Room, Gourley reflected on the “emotional” records on his new album Chris Black Changed My Life, along with tapping the likes of Edgar Winter for the project.

Gourley looked back at when his daughter Frances was diagnosed with DHDDS, a rare genetic mutation, and how he sat down to channel his emotions through his music.

“We had written some of these songs around that. That’s one of the beautiful things to me: You don’t know if people will feel that feel while writing it. But a lot of people were writing us about ‘Times of Fantasy’ or ‘Anxiety,’ and those emotions,” he said. “That’s a really special thing. That’s me, man. That’s why I make music.”

“Times of Fantasy” even features vocals from Gourley’s daughter, Frances — and the memories made with her are priceless. “Sitting with her in the studio is the funniest thing,” he said. “I love the way she hears things.” Frances was also in the studio as they recorded the song “Ghost Town,” which now features her vocals — well, her howling — in the track. “It just became part of the song. That song was the most fun, just seeing Frances [in the studio,]” Gourley said. “She’s just riffing, dude.”

Gourley shared what it’s like to create a setlist that encompasses the band’s entire discography, saying there are “no rules” to how his band builds his shows: “I wanna go and feel like I was taken on a journey and that’s we intend to do,” he said.

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Gourley also spoke about the different collaborations on Chris Black, specifically the addition of instrumentalist Edgar Winter on “Champ.”

“His part is so great because the song, to me, is about personal growth… To hear him sing that song that meant so much to me, singing with someone who made it through all the struggles, is really beautiful,” Gourley said. “He did all that stuff so naturally. He’s Frankenstein.”

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