Heroes and Villains

The charm of Heroes and Villains lies in this city itself. Portland is quite possibly the only city that could house a band that is both as vaudevillian and surprisingly modern as Heroes and Villains. Adam Raitano (singer/guitarist/glockenspiel) takes some time to talk about the band, Smile, and blatantly namedrop both Lowrey's Seasoned Salt and Bob Seger in the same paragraph. Shameless.

Heroes and Villains perform at the Doug Fir Lounge on Fri Jan 6

You recently finished recording your first full-length, when is it coming out? Any other details on the record you want to share?

Yes, we have recently finished recording, but alas, we have not finished mixing yet. That makes giving a release date a little tricky, but we have a goal to have it out in late winter/early spring.

There seems to be a real loose-knit/collective feel to Heroes and Villains, was this something you intended when starting the band?

Not necessarily. The band itself is a happy accident. As it turned out the people in the band are all from very different musical backgrounds, full of ideas and have no reservations expressing them. It would be virtually impossible to rule with an iron fist and that wouldn't be as fun anyway, or would it... ?

I can only assume Heroes and Villains is named after the Beach Boys song, so if that is the case, what is your opinion of Smile? I personally think it's absolutely terrible, but people love Brian Wilson so much that it was almost impossible to read any bad press on it. Your thoughts?

Smile from a compositional standpoint, while a little goofy at times, is a good piece of music overall. The original demo tapes from the '60s are far more exciting than the new version. That being said, we're not really all that influenced by them. [Heroes and Villains bassist] Levi suggested the name after he saw us play our first show and thought the name fit well with what we were doing, something to do with the fact that we have a lot of 3-4 part harmonies more than anything else.

Usually Tom Waits covers are only tackled by seasoned pros like Rod Stewart. What was behind your decision to do "Tom Traubert's Blues"?

Interestingly, we are seasoned pros as well. Early on in our infancy, Ali (our pianist) applied a liberal amount of Lowrey's Seasoned Salt on us all and it really changed our outlook on things. Besides immediately becoming technically proficient on our instruments and strangely having 50-plus years of experience to draw from we felt it was in our grasp to tackle a Waits tune. Of course it's also exciting to be in league with guys like Rod Stewart and Bob Seger.