List your band members and the instruments that they play.
Jeremy Porter – Guitar, vocals
Gabriel Doman – Drums, vocals
Patrick “Patty Two Shoes” O’Harris – Bass, vocals
What is the name of your group and what led to the naming?
Jeremy Porter and The Tucos. We’re named after the Eli Wallach character in the spaghetti western film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
When did it form?
The band first got together in November of 2010 to record a song for a Christmas compilation. Things gelled and we played a couple shows, and here we are eight years later!
Who writes the music?
I write the songs, but I take them to the boys when they’re about 80% done and we finish them off together, mostly hashing out arrangements and feel. Over time, the boys have contributed more and more to the writing process and one of our new songs is based on a riff that Gabe brought.
How would you describe the sound?
This is always a tough question to answer, but I’d call it “Detroit Rock and Roll.” We’re from the Detroit area, and we play rock and roll, and that’s about it. People like to put things in buckets that are easily labeled, and I get that too, so if I had to I’d say that we draw influence primarily from a couple genres – classic American powerpop (bands like Cheap Trick and The Plimsouls), Roots-rock/Americana (Gram Parsons, Uncle Tupelo), post-punk/alternative (The Replacements, Hüsker Dü), and rockabilly (X, Eddie Cochran).
Where are you from originally? If not from Buffalo, why are you here?
We’re from Michigan and we each live in communities surrounding Detroit. I’m originally from Marquette, which is a small college town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s a beautiful city on the shore of Lake Superior, and was where I formed my first band.
We’re in Buffalo as part of our “Don’t Worry, We’re ALL Contagious” tour, supporting our third album “Don’t Worry, It’s Not Contagious.” This is our third time there!
What are some of the band’s influences?
I think I answered this up above, but I think our performance comes from bands that really put it all out there on stage. We’re no shoe-gazers. We like to go all out, play a high-energy set, have fun up there, and engage the audience to join us. When The Who played, your eyes were glued to the stage. They might not have been the best band in the world every night, but they were never boring.
Are you schooled in music? From where?
Actually, yeah, a bit. I played guitar in high school jazz band, and even played percussion in marching band, though that was more just something to do with my friends before we could go party. I had one semester of college jazz band that culminated in a cool tour of historic theaters in the Upper Peninsula.
Where have you played in Buffalo and what did you think of those places?
We’ve played at The Mohawk and the Buffalo Iron Works. We liked both places very much, though they’re quite difference. The Mohawk is a bit more punk rock – dark, loud, and grungy, in the best way. Iron Works is a newer place with pristine sound and a lot of space to move around. Both venues were very nice to us, and we had a blast at both shows. We’d play either room again in a heartbeat.
What is your impression of Buffalo?
First, that it’s a hard-working Rust-Belt city, just like Detroit. It’s a city that’s been through some tough times, but is coming back and has some great things going on, also like Detroit. There’s some cool culture and activity – but it’s still a blue-collar, roll-up-your-sleeves and kick the day in the ass kind of city, and that gives it a cool edge and makes it special. I have to say that our experience is that the wings are over-rated, so if you want to turn us on to some good eats this time around, we’re all ears!
What’s your day job?
I work in technology when we’re not on the road. It’s a good job that keeps me busy and helps to finance the band, and also offers me the freedom to play as much as we do.
What was the last live music performance that you caught?
Hmm, other than bands we’ve played with, I think that would be Deer Tick (from Providence, RI) at the Magic Stick in Detroit. They played an acoustic set and an electric set, which matches their latest dual-LP release. It was a fantastic show.
Do you play/sing covers or all originals? Or a combination of both?
We are an original band and have three albums of our own songs that we pull from. We do occasionally play a cover or two, depending on the show and our mood. Occasionally we’ll play a few covers if we’re playing multiple sets, but we are definitely an original band.
If you could play/sing with one famous band/musician (any time in history), what/who would that be?
Jeez, that’s a tough one. Gram Parsons, Keith Richards, Phil Lynott all come to mind. Just to see Gram in person would be worth anything I guess.
Where do you draw inspiration for your songs? What makes a good song?
That’s another good question. Traditionally most of my songs are about heartache and heartbreak, obsession and frustration. They often take place in bars and dark rooms, and often from the point of view of someone who longs for something they don’t have. I’ve been working hard to stretch outside of those parameters, expand my lyrical horizons, so to speak.
I think a good song tells a story, avoids clichés and overused songwriting techniques, and has some sort of hook or earworm that the listener can’t shake. A good song is about a moment in time, not a broad, spanning subject. And for God’s sake, try to keep it under four minutes!
How would you describe your style of playing guitar?
Aggressive, but hopefully tasty when it should be. A little sloppy at times, but often intentionally. I like to veer off the road a bit, straddling the shoulder, then, just when you start to fly off a cliff, right the ship and get back on track and lock in. That’s something Keith Richards is great at, and he and Pete Townsend are my rhythm guitar heroes. I also love Bob Mould, Bob Stinson, J. Mascis and some of the metal guys like Randy Rhoads.
Can you give a brief rundown of your guitar rig?
Sure! I play Reverend PA1 guitars, which are the Pete Anderson signature series hollow-bodies. I’m a featured artist for Reverend, and I stand behind their guitars wholeheartedly. They play like a dream, sound great, and they stay in tune and in-toned after bouncing around the back of a frozen van. You can’t ask for anything more.
My Matchless 98 Chieftain head is the core of my sound, and I run that through a gutted Matchless combo that’s just a cab now. Then I have a 68 Fender Deluxe Reverb reissue with all the Rivera mods. I run them in stereo. Live I use a Wampler Paisley overdrive and a Spaceman Saturn V dirty boost, then a delay and chorus for occasional flavor.
In the studio, there’s a multitude of amps, guitars, and pedals used. Between Gabe, the studio, and I, we have a damn impressive arsenal at our disposal.
Do you have a label? A recording studio? Have you recorded a CD?
We’re on GTG Records out of Lansing, Michigan. They’re great people we’ve known for a few years, and they released our most recent record. We’ve got three albums out (Don’t Worry, It’s Not Contagious (2017), Above the Sweet Tea Line (2015), and Partner in Crime (2013).
Gabriel and I each have studios in our home. Gabe does some legitimate band recording sessions, but I mostly do personal demos and Tucos demos. Each of our albums was recorded at The Loft in Saline, Mi. It’s a great room above a converted hayloft on a harness-racing horse farm south of Ann Arbor.
What’s up with the restroom photos?
Haha, well, that’s just something that sort of happened organically. There’s nothing quite like the bathrooms out there on the dive bar circuit. I posted a photo of one once to social media and it kinda took off, so I did it again (and again) and now it’s sorta my thing. I did a prototype of a coffee table book called “Rock and Roll Restrooms – A Photographic Memoir – Volume 1 – A unique look into the seedy underbelly of small-time rock and roll” and I’m currently searching for a publisher, so if ya know anyone….
Where and when is your next gig(s) in the city?
We’re playing Nietzsche’s in Allentown on Friday night! (Friday, June 15: 10:00 pm – 2:00 am | Tickets are $5.00 | Also on the bill are our old pals The Buffalo Brass Machine, and new friends The Alison Pipitone Band. This is our first Buffalo show that falls on a weekend, so we are pumped!
Photo credits: EonZero
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