A few years ago back in 2014 we were lucky enough to get the chance to interview Josh Portman, we can’t thank him enough for the opportunity! Check out the interview right below under the read more.
Hey Josh, first of all, I would just like to thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, I really do appreciate it and I hope you have a bit of fun answering some of these questions that I have compiled from me and some other fans.
Hey, no problem at all! Thanks for compiling all of these questions. This should be a lot of fun.
1. How does it feel to be new in Yellowcard, knowing that this band already has a story? – Does it make you want to be a part of this story, and if so, are your proud of your band?
Well, not everyone knows this but I actually first played with Yellowcard back in 2007. When Pete Mosely left in the middle of the tour with Blue October, Ryan Mendez called me to see if I wanted to fill-in and finish the tour, and then do two weeks in Japan with Linkin Park. Of course I jumped at the opportunity (even though I was a guitar player) and had the time of my life. It was during these tours that I became very close with the other guys in the band as well.
So fast-forward a few years, after the hiatus and after Sean O’Donnell left, and I get the call from Ryan Key to come back permanently. This Christmas will mark three years since I got that life-changing call. SO, although I’m the newest guy, I’m not really new haha. But yes, it feels amazing to be a part of a band with such an awesome, successful history and an incredible catalog of music. I’m very proud of the band and to be a part of the story now.
2. How does it feel to not be in the recording process of a record even though you’ll get to play the songs live?
Well, I mean obviously I would like to be recording. I love and miss that whole process. It’s a special and magical thing. But I get it. Before I was asked to join the band as an actual member, it was decided by the other guys that they just wanted to keep that writing/recording team as it was for a while. They had gone through so many bassists over the years and with each lineup change, there’s a whole lot to deal with from so many different angles. I don’t think they thought I would quit the band or anything, but maybe just avoid the headache altogether of even thinking that could happen. (It won’t. I’m not going anywhere, haha.)
So maybe on the next record or two things will change. Either way, I’m cool with it. I have the best job in the world. I get to travel the world with my best friends and play amazing music live. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well…you know…unless Motley Crue asked me to come play guitar for them haha.
3. What college did u go to and what was your major?
I actually started right out of high school at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Then I did a little time at Mercer University in Macon, GA and I finally wrapped up my degree in marketing at Middle Georgia State College. To anyone reading this: KICK ASS in school and get that degree! You’ll still be super young when you finish and you’ll have your entire life ahead of you to follow any and all dreams you may have! Just get this one thing behind you.
4. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The one and only thing I EVER wanted to be was a “rockstar.” It sounds lame to say that word these days since the era of the “rockstar” has sort of passed. But I miss that. I miss the ‘80s and ‘90s stars…the characters…that dominated MTV and made the rock & roll and metal I love. I just wanted to be like Motley Crue or Metallica.
5. When did you first realize you wanted a career in music?
I got into rock music at a very young age. I still have very vivid memories of being at recess in 1st grade everyday, swinging on the swingset with my two best friends as hard as we could to Van Halen’s “1984”, Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet”, and Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” tapes blasting from Jimmy Venden’s boombox. But that was it. That’s what did it. At that point in time, MTV was ALL music videos all the time, and most of them were heavy metal. I wanted all of it. The crazy guitars, big hair, leather animal print pants, chicks, pyro, etc. haha. If I had to pick one album though, just ONE that really changed my life and realized what I had to do with my life, it’s Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.” Still my all-time favorite record.
6. What are some of your biggest musical influences?
I guess I sort of covered this one in the last question, but early on it was definitely a ton of ‘80s metal. From the “hair bands” to thrash metal, I just couldn’t get enough. Metallica, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Ratt, Skid Row…pretty much all that stuff. The alternative stuff of the early ‘90s was also hugely influential though. I loved Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots.
As a guitarist though, my first “real” band began around 1994 and it was just straight-up new school punk rock: NOFX, Face to Face, Lagwagon and then when I discovered Strung Out it was all over. That would be literally the only thing I listened to for the next couple of years haha. It’s so crazy that those dudes are buddies of mine now. Life rules!
7. What are some of the more difficult points in your career and how did you overcome it?
Life will always be filled with ups and downs, very high highs and very low lows. The key is to learn from all of them and try to stay focused and positive. Everything will work out in the long-run if you don’t give up! Career-wise the only real difficulties were just bands ending over and over again. I’ve busted my ass writing, recording, touring in crappy vans, playing crappy venues, eating crappy food, and barely scraping by, all for the love and the passion of playing music. You do that for years, and then the band breaks up. You can give up, or you can start over and run that cycle again. I ran that cycle many times, and had a BLAST doing it. But as you get older, you have to start thinking about your future. You have to make a living. It’s hard to do that in a rock band, now more than ever! I’m so extremely fortunate to be able to support myself now and see the world doing what I want with this band. But everyone needs to understand, it didn’t happen overnight. Not for ANY of us. We all paid our dues and struggled, but we prevailed in the end because we didn’t give up. Anyone can do it with the right heart and dedication!
8. What is the proudest day of your life?
Wow, there’s certainly been a lot of proud moments in my life over the last couple of years. But there’s definitely ONE specific one. Pretty soon after officially joining Yellowcard, I tweeted something one day along the lines of, “I wonder what the chances of Nikki Sixx (of Motley Crue) coming to see us play this summer would be?” A lot of people retweeted it and a few days later he responded to me and the band saying “Josh…I dig your band.” Not to totally fangirl here, but he’s my #1 hero and that was a life-chaning moment for sure.
ACTUALLY…that happened again today as a matter of fact when he tweeted, out of nowhere, that he really digs our new single, ‘One Bedroom.’ So amazing.
9. With Lift A Sail coming out soon, which song off the album is your favorite?
It’s difficult to say right now actually. I tend to have a new favorite every couple of weeks. That always changes after we start playing them live too. Sometimes I’ll love a song on the record, but live I’m not feeling it the same way. And sometimes it’s the other way around. It’s interesting, especially with new material, to see how the song transforms in front of a crowd and with some production behind it. I think my favorite track from “Lift a Sail” this month is probably ‘My Mountain.’ It’s a MASSIVE rocker and I’m stoked for you all to hear it very soon!
10. Last but not least, someone would like to know if you guys have any plans of releasing Lift A Sail, or any of your other previous albums in instrumental version?
Hmmm, you know, I’m really not sure. I don’t think the band has really ever considered this, but I don’t know. I would personally be inclined to say no, simply because of how much the lyrics and meaning of Yellowcard songs play into the song as a whole…the vibe of the song, the riffs and structure, etc. I feel like our songs are meant to be heard as whole, complete songs. That’s just me though, haha.
Now here’s just a couple of fun questions to finish this off. =)
11. What 3 words would describe you best?
Haha, I’m not sure. You guys tell ME!
12. What are your favorite tv shows at the moment?
I got super into HBO’s “The Leftovers” while we were on Warped Tour. I’m a few episodes behind, unfortunately, but that show is incredible. I also finally just started “Game of Thrones” and it’s pretty badass.
13. Who is your favorite superhero?
Powdered Toast Man!
14. What are you currently listening to these days?
The new He Is Legend record “Heavy Fruit” is pretty much all I’ve been listening to for almost a month. They’re one of my all-time favorite bands and it’s so rad to see them return from their breakup with such a monster of an album. You guys have to check them out! The new Gameface record is amazing too. Hmmm, what else? A lot of Periphery, Heartsounds, and RATT.
15. Is there anything else you’d like to add and/or any final thoughts?
I just want to thank everyone involved with Yellowcard Source and all the fans everywhere. You’ve all been so cool and embracing from the moment I joined this band. I love you all and can’t wait to see you rocking with us very soon to all the new jams. Enjoy the record!
And again, I can’t thank you enough for doing this, it means more to me than you know. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I am so stoked for Lift A Sail to come out, I’ll be seeing you in the fall !
Thank you! See you soon!