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Portastatic

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WHY AM I WRITING THIS PORTASTATIC BIO?
By Tom Scharpling

Why? Because in the bio for BRIGHT IDEAS, Portastatic’s amazing 2005 full-length, my name was mis-spelled. Here’s the offending passage:

“Portastatic first achieved delicacy in 1992, when Tom Sharpling, proprietor of the fanzine 18 Wheeler, persuaded McCaughan to release a 7” of the recordings he had been making for kicks in his kitchen.”

Sharpling? It’s S-C-H, guys. What happened? Was Google broken that day? Who’s in charge of quality control at Merge? You’d think with all that Arcade Fire money, shit like this wouldn’t slip through the cracks. But it did, and as a component of the eventual ugly lawsuit (mental anguish!) I have been granted permission to write the new Portastatic bio.

But seeing the statement above lends some perspective to things—back in the early 90’s, I was lucky enough to be a part of the early early days of Portastatic, when the name was a catch-all for Mac McCaughan’s low-fi side pocket recordings—stuff he was knocking out while being the propulsive songwriting force behind the legendary Superchunk.

Fourteen years later, and it’s a different ballgame. (Mac would prefer I say it’s a different hockey game, because he’s still in Stanley Cup afterglow with the Carolina Hurricanes winning it all.) Superchunk is on ice for the foreseeable future, and Portastatic is where McCaughan gets it done. And get it done he does—it’s shocking to see how the band has grown from such humble beginnings.

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