The Oldest Profession
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The Oldest Profession

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Band Rock Blues


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs



Shortly after moving to Memphis from Chico, CA, Tyler Melhaff posted an ad on Craigslist looking for musicians. Having never drummed in a band before, but always wanting to, Memphian and LFM contributor Kirk Rawlings answered. They met in a pool hall and jammed few days later. It was hot. Later, glistening in the exhausted afterglow, Tyler laid his head upon Kirk's chest carpet... and that's when they knew it was destiny.

They began crafting songs as a duo and developed a raw, gritty sound. A few months later, Scott Housman, also from Chico, made the cross country drive to join the band. The Oldest Profession is in the midst of planning a musical barrage that will not be forgotten.

"We kind of get to approach the Memphis like the Brother from Another Planet," says the Chico guys. As outsiders reporting from the inside, Memphis can be dirty, indifferent and mind-numbing, but really compelling and charming at the same time. We write in the present as much as possible, so the music can't help but be soaked in our surroundings. We like it here."

Marshall says the music scenes in California and Memphis couldn't be more different. "There's much more history in Memphis, everyone can play, but nobody fucking dances in Memphis!"

The Oldest Profession's Recommendations

Favorite Music Venue:
- P&H Cafe for the room. Hi-Tone and Neil's for the friendly sound guys.

Favorite Place to Eat:
- Pho Hoa Binh, Brother Junipers, and wings from Central BBQ.

Favorite Place to be Enlightened:
- Bathroom

Memphis Artists:
- We are first and foremost HUGE fans of all walks of art, so we will drop names as we go. Stay tuned... - Live From Memphis

When I mention The Oldest Profession I’m not talking about prostitution, nor am I talking about French cinema. I’m talking about a trio of Memphians who sell a nice balance of pop instrumentation with indie ideas and a rock vibe with a blues heart.

Interestingly enough “to prostitute” in a literal Latin translation means “to expose” or “to place up front”. The Oldest Profession “place up front” a comfortable bed of musical influences to lay in with delightful departures from traditional song structures to indulge in.

Aside from “Road Song” they are never without a quick intro that tugs at your shirt and promises you the vocals and instruments share the song evenly. Every short burst of song are progressive movements and witty musical transitions that carry you through seamlessly.

“Road Song” - Crunchy guitar textures hold these spaced out vocals in a tight grasp while the Rhythm section drives a consistent half time feel to carry you to the end of the song…where your met with a sweet harmonica melody.

“Chorus Song” – Musically haunting you with long flowing movements under a steady jangly rhythm while reflecting a departure from innocents – “You are the wicked one….”

“Green Grass” – The acoustic instantly puts you under a tree reflecting on a relationship. As time moves on strings will bring change in the form of breezy vocals and just like that – you loose track of everything in a medium tempo blanket of heavy rock and drums – “full of time my dear friends…”

“Dilemma” – This is two minutes of syncopated, edgy and raw sarcasm with interjections of blatant 4 bar explosions – “I don’t need a friend-I’ve got my own “dilemma.”

“The Oldest Profession” - Instrumental invitation to this little brothel of music. Tom filled upbeat rhythms in a surf rock vibe – “…Ok thank you.”

Tyler Mehlhaff, Kirk Rawlings, and Scott Housman have put together a nice personality, and a solid musical core. Although, with this effects heavy homemade EP its a bit hard to make out the lyrics at times. However, this concern is easily forgotten when your hear the obvious and transparent emotions conveyed their performances. I eagerly await their next visit.

-Mike Wilson - The Vinyl District


The Oldest Profession EP
The Oldest Profession Live at The Bucc
I Live in Memphis (Single w/Nutbush B-Side)
The Warm Front (LP)
The Oldest Profession Live @ Plew's Brews
1208 N. Parkway (post-production, due November 2011)



Cold was an understatement. It was one thing to live in a big house. It was another thing to live in a big house, without functioning heat, in the dead of a Memphis winter. When residing in a place where freezing temperatures are regularly read on the thermostat, productivity is generally hard to come by. However, the passion and drive put forth by The Oldest Profession lit the flame that woul...d warm the house all winter long. During those five frigid months, scores of songs were written and the “Ice Box” as they called it would transform time and time again into a functioning studio. It also played an organic role in turning the bands live performances into an explosive display of physical and musical energy. When rehearsing in the Ice Box, the only way to stay warm was to jump around and for lack of a better term, to “rock out.” This newly caged beast was then set free on stage and gained The Oldest Profession access to play with groups such as Reeves Gabrels, Morning Teleportation, Cities Aviv, and Margot and The Nuclear So So’s.
The band as a whole has spent significant time digging deep into the hard life and hard music of Memphis’s past. Pulling inspiration from Memphis greats like Howlin Worlf, Memphis Minnie, and James Carr, The Oldest Profession embraces the struggles of the past and musically juxtaposes it to a more modern side of the blues. The primal rhythms set by this band can't help but move even the most heavy of shoes. If you’ve ever been heartsick, worked a factory job, been kicked to the street with nowhere to go, or just had a bad case of itchy feet, The Oldest Profession has been there and lived to sing about it.
For a change of scenery, the band decided to head west to Portland in April 2011. In their new habitat, they quickly got the ball rolling and have promised three to four pending self recorded and produced 2011 releases as well as regular performances within the Portland area. The Oldest Profession may have headed west, but they brought the heart of the south with them.