Ritchie Young laughs over the crackle of the phone as he tells me that he once worked for the Vanguard…then he was fired. “I must not have been very good at it,” he says. Well, he was good enough to start up a very successful band named Loch Lomond, at times consisting of up to 11 members, all of whom have proven talented enough to land an opening slot on a national tour this November with Portland superstars the Decemberists.
Ritchie Young laughs over the crackle of the phone as he tells me that he once worked for the Vanguard…then he was fired.
“I must not have been very good at it,” he says.
Well, he was good enough to start up a very successful band named Loch Lomond, at times consisting of up to 11 members, all of whom have proven talented enough to land an opening slot on a national tour this November with Portland superstars the Decemberists.
Loch Lomond’s last national tour was a year ago. When asked about how they were received last time they were on the East Coast Young said, “Brooklyn and New York are a lot like Portland. It takes a lot to impress people. We tried our best. We kind of needed to do well to pay for gas. One of our shows, I remember, everyone was talking at the beginning of our set and then quiet by the end. If it rarely builds up to any volume it’s still low volume. Getting people to stop talking and listen. It was nice.”
And people do listen. Loch Lomond has made quite a name for itself here on the west coast playing incessantly around Portland, as well as some shows in Washington and California. It is nothing short of miraculous that this ensemble has gotten together so many members that tour and perform with various other acts as well.
However, netting support from local jack-of-all-trades Dave Depper (Jolie Holland) and Scott McGee (Nick Jaina) has only fortified Loch Lomond’s impressive orchestral undertones.
The Vanguard talked to Young earlier this week about his band and the problems of bringing these orchestral flourishes on the road.
Alex Huebsch: How did the tour with the Decemberists come about?Ritchie Young: I think, well it was a slow process-the Decemberists were on Hush Records years ago. We [Loch Lomond] played the Aladdin Theater 10-year anniversary for Hush Records a few months ago. Colin [Meloy] and Chris Funk were there. Kevin French, their booking agent, called and asked if we wanted to come on the tour. We were planning a tour of our own so we put it off to go with them.
AH: Is the band ready for the tour? Do you imagine being on tour together will change you as a band, being in close quarters, etc?RY: We’ve done it so many times. We get along so well. We always keep each other in check. We sleep in the same hotel room and sleep close to each other. We probably get along better on tour than here. The more people going on tour the more stressful it is, but also it’s more fun. And the balance of men and women in the band kind of keeps the peace.
AH: Do you know if there are any talks of adding any tour dates?RH: They [the Decemberists] are going to fly. We are going to take a tour van or a bus. If there are days off we will try and fill in with some other shows. They are going to play Conan O’Brien.
AH: What do you hope will come out of this tour for Loch Lomond?RY: It’s the biggest thing that’s happened to the band. We are getting ready for the tour. I’m very excited and honored. I’m in planning mode. For how well [the Decemberists] have done they are really nice people. It would be intimidating with a band that size if they had egos.
And it might be easy to get an ego after being picked by the Decemberists to join their tour, but Young has managed to stay away from that. Not only has he avoided a well-earned swelling of pride, but he has helped form one of the most subtly exciting music acts in Portland.
The East Coast awaits.