A Conversation With Portland’s Own Portugal. The Man About Their Beloved Trail Blazers

PORTLAND — Portugal. The Man have come a long way since their early days in rural Alaska. The Grammy-winning recording artists have called Portland home for almost 15 years now, and since relocating to the Pacific Northwest, they’ve come to embrace the principle doctrines of PDX culture, from food carts, to craft beer, to an art scene that remains firmly and proudly on the fringe, to perhaps most important, a clannish devotion to the Blazers that borders on outright zealotry.

By their own account, the wilds of America’s northernmost territory weren’t exactly a hotbed for hoops fanaticism, so they turned to their own locally-sourced product, drummer and Portland native Jason Sechrist, to help cultivate their Blazers-mania. The result was a baptism into long-suffering fandom for a team that, at times, seems doomed to a fate of perpetual NBA also-rans, yet still capable of the type of inebriate joy that came with their Western Conference Finals run last season.

Through it all, their passion for the Blazers has grown exponentially. That, along with their growing success and popularity in the music industry, has given them a unique opportunity to become a part franchise lore. In celebration of the team’s 50th anniversary this season, the organization will release a vinyl record that will feature, among other things, Portugal. The Man’s cover of the iconic Blazers theme song.

We caught up with Sechrist and bassist Zach Carothers at Bare Bones Cafe in Portland last week to reminisce about their favorite Blazers memories, what it was like to share a stage with Damian Lillard, and much more.

Tell us about how you got involved with this project, covering the Blazers’ theme song for their 50th anniversary record.

Zach Carothers: Honestly, we’ve just been kind of trying to buddy up with them forever, purely just being fans. That’s the fun thing about music and what we do is that we just try to do cool sh*t and we try to do stuff that we like. We’ve done enough stuff that we had to do, and now we’re at the point in our career where we can choose and try to go after things that we just really love. And the Blazers have just been a huge thing for us for a long time. Jason grew up here and so he’s been a fan for like…

Jason Sechrist: Yeah, that theme tune, the intro? I’ve always known of it, since I was participating and being a fan, so basically from ’89, ’90, when I started paying attention to it. It’s pretty awesome that basically all these opportunities fell into our lap to a degree. You can’t really say no when it’s something so cool, like the Blazers.

How do you see that relationship with the team evolving in the future? Do you see doing more things with them?