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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who is in Portishead?
The members of Portishead are:
Beth Gibbons (Singer, lyricist, song writer)
One of the first questions is often why the name Portishead? Portishead is Geoff's home town on the River Severn, just outside Bristol, UK. The story goes that Geoff was known at the studios as "that guy from (the town) Portishead" when he first began making music. The idea for the band name grew out of that.
John Baggot (keyboards)
On the Albums
Sean Atkins contributes additional vocals to 'Cowboys' and 'Western Eyes'.
"To Kill a Dead Man" is a short film based upon an original idea by Portishead. Geoff had always wanted to score a movie soundtrack and rather than wait for one to come around, he decided to create his own. And since this venture was their own, it allowed him the creative freedom that he was after.
The plot of the film is typical of the film-noir spy genre. It opens with an assassin assembling his rifle on the roof of a building and waiting for his target. Once the target appears, a shot is fired and the target collapses. The assassin then flees, while the shot man and his female acquaintance are whisked away in separate vehicles. From there, the story gets very interesting as hints of a conspiracy are revealed while the female character tries to come to grips with what has happened.
Various band members have roles in the film: Geoff plays an assassin, Adrian plays the target of the assassin, Beth plays Adrian's female acquaintance, etc. The film runs approximately 10 minutes and is available in two versions: the cinematic release in colour and the commercial release in black and white.
In 1995, Britain's prestigious Mercury music prize was awarded to Portishead for their debut album, 'Dummy'. For anyone who saw them collect the award, it should dispel the myth that Beth is a shy retiring creature.
PNYC refers to the gig that Portishead gave in New York City to mark the release of their second album. The show was at the Roselands Ballroom and was filmed. The film was shown at various cinemas around the time Portishead was released and has now been made in to a video that is available in good record stores.
From the Polygram Press Release:
The video features 16 tracks taken from "Dummy" and "Portishead" and in addition, a short film "Road Trip" and an exclusive booklet with stills form the show and information on the performers.
"Road Trip" directly precedes the Roseland performance and the 10 minute film is accompanied by a soundtrack comprising a mix of Portishead instrumentals spliced together by the group's touring DJ, Andy Smith. "Road Trip" was shown as the introduction to each of the group's live shows on the world tour.
Trip Hop was a word invented by the media to refer to the type of music which is typified by Portishead, Massive Attack, etc. It is a term which the members of Portishead disapprove of, as they feel that the sounds coming from Bristol are all unique and don't need to be labelled. The term Trip Hop is a spin on Hip Hop, from America. Music such as Portishead is also referred to as Slow Beat and Bristol Sound, and whole load of other strange terms.
Portishead has sampled from the following artists (Portishead song in
Both 'Glory Box' and 'Hell is Round the Corner' sampled from 'Ike's Rap II' without knowledge of the other. Tricky's album Maxinquaye came first, but Glory Box was written first.
The Official website contains sections for each of the members of Portishead. See Adrian's lists of his favourite films and musicians. http://www.portishead.co.uk
Basically it is a signal beamed between two nodes, which the player interrupts by interposing his/her hand or some other object to break the beam. Then the theremin generates a tone. It makes lots of spooky, wavering tones. Check out "Art's Theremin Page" http://home.att.net/~theremin1/ for useful links. The classic Theremin sound is used in Humming, but I believe that this was produced using a Moog Synsither, and certainly a Moog is used when playing live, as theremins are very sensitive to things like humidity and therefore it is difficult to achieve consistent sounds.
Hey remember that MP3s might be illegal in the country you live in, and that Portishead lose money when you pirate songs, but then again they did sell about 8 million copies of Dummy world-wide, so they are hardly poor. Also about 80% of the money of an album goes straight up an executives nose at the record company.
In addition to these three search engines, many Warez sites contain MP3s, but usually with many broken links and hard-to-follow organisation techniques. If you still can't find the song you are looking for at the above sites, try doing a search for "Warez" "MP3" and "Portishead" on a major search engine, and be prepared to wade through sites.
Movies with Portishead in the soundtrack:
TV Shows that had audio clips of Portishead:
The Portishead Discussion mailing list was established April, 1998. Anything and everything related to Portishead is discussed. It is preferred that posts stay on topic. Sign up at http://www.Mailing-List.net/list/portishead/portis.htm The list is administered by jules (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is available in both digest and non-digest forms.
The Portishead News list is for people who don't want the amount of mail generated by the discussion list, but still want to be informed of Portishead events. Posts are monitored and sporadic (usually once a month or so), and consist only of confirmed news. Sign up at http://www.personal.psu.edu/mjf195/portishead/mailinglist.html The list is administered by Melissa (email@example.com).
books, there is:
Post to the mailing list with specifics (ie. what is being sought and in which area of the world --this is an international list) and someone will surely offer suggestions. For posters, the best bet is to dig deep at obscure music stores or to check out http://www.concertposter.com. For more information about discography/bootlegs/promos/videos, go to the Unofficial Portishead Discography site at http://www.room101.com/scorn.
If you can convert fonts to other types then please email it to me.
Dummy used Haettenschweiler (true-type 27K)
Portishead used Compacta BT (truetype 24K)
A sci-fi show named 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons', which first aired in 1967, may have been an influence on a young Geoff or Beth. The show contained a dark and twisted premise and some very creepy overtones, making it deemed unfit for children in many countries. The Mysterons (modelled heavily on the Martians in Ray Bradbury's 'Martian Chronicles') become sadistic tormentors of the human race, but instead of destroying Earth outright, they wage a war of nerves against the human race. The Mysterons are far more powerful, but the humans begin to develop technology to fight back. In this show, the Mysterons are never seen, but are disembodied voices that 'possess' radios or television sets, uttering proclamations of doom that may be referred to in the Portishead song of the same name.
In addition, the Portishead song contains an uncredited sample from the show's "Theme From the Mysterons".
Please direct all comments and additions about the FAQ itself to:
Please direct all comments about the Portishead Discussion Mailing-list
Please direct all comments about the Portishead News Mailing-list to:
Please direct all comments about Portishead discography to:
Please direct all comments about the Portishead webring to:
To contact Portishead's American Label:
To contact Portishead, go to their official website:
This Portishead FAQ version 1.5 was last updated on June 16 and is found at http://portishead.underworld.net.
© Sour Times 2000 - Last updated 16 August, 2000