Imagine The Doors without the ego of Jim Morrison, and without the fame, but with the musical prowess and accessibility that living and making music in Portland allows.
Imagine The Doors without the ego of Jim Morrison, and without the fame, but with the musical prowess and accessibility that living and making music in Portland allows. Imagine a band like this that prefers to play no-cover shows. A band that’s only been on the Portland music scene since 2006 but was the first in PDX Pop Now! history to destroy their instruments on stage.
Meet local psych-rock outfit Bodhi.
Originally from the East Coast, Erin Ansley (drums) and Brian Carter (lead vocalist, guitar, keys) moved to the Bay Area before eventually settling down in Portland.
“While living on the East Coast,” says Ansley, “we listened to and admired bands that were doing great stuff here—Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse, Elliot Smith, The Gossip, etc. It’s kind of for obvious reasons, like so many others who come here for music. Heck Johnny Marr moved here right as we did.”
While the comparisons in musical style differ greatly, it is obvious that Bodhi has appreciation for many of the great bands that came before them. Bodhi’s sound is all their own, the sum of all their illegitimate parts, collected no doubt from their journey around the country as well as from the woodworks of the various places they settled.
Guitarist and keyboardist Bob Pounding, for example, grew up on the Oregon coast and is attending school at Portland State. He’s been listening to and attending shows of local Portland bands for years.
“Bassist Justin Lopez,” says Ansley, “came to Portland because he had friends here who encouraged him to relocate from California to play music and get out of the L.A. music scene.”
As for their hiatus, it culminated in their PDX Pop Now! performance last year where they stole the show, not only with their humming, key driven guitar rock but by destroying their instruments after their set.
In a town so heavily populated with mellow folk and indie-rockers (all of whom could reason their way out of breaking their Martin DM acoustic guitar) is there room in this town for real rock stars?
“PDX Pop Now! was really awesome,” says Ansley. “The unintended drum destruction was a nice release. I was feeling stoked about the show but bummed that Bob was leaving for Spain and we weren’t sure when we’d play as a band again. I guess I kind of took it out on my kit … but Brian’s just crazy. He cracked the head off his guitar just a few weeks earlier at the East End during our last song.”
This sense of freedom and excitement are the same sentiments they have when approaching playing shows in general. The band prefers playing shows that require no cover because, as Ansley puts it, “it allows more people the opportunity to see live music without breaking their wallets. When a cover is $8 or $10 for a show with four local bands, that’s kind of steep, especially for someone who may not be familiar with the band.”
They say that they will play a backyard or a basement anytime, while in the same breath they go on to say that they don’t take music making “seriously,” Portland is beginning to take them very seriously.
This music for music’s sake attitude makes sense coming from a band that hasn’t yet released a full-length album. Their track “Nadine” on the PDX Pop Now! compilation has been heralded by many as the best song on the 40-track album. But for eager fans, there is a full-length slated to arrive in May.
“As for the new album,” explains Ansley, “you can expect some re-recorded oldies but goodies as well as some new tracks that definitely experiment a bit with sound but still fall into our ‘style.’ Despite this ‘style’ I’d say each track is unique from each other nonetheless, and working with Collin Hegna over at Revolver Studios was great and we’re really excited to release our first LP.”
And they’re not the only ones excited for the album to come out. This will be one of the most anticipated local albums of this new-year, that is if Bodhi can resist destroying its instruments long enough to finish it.