The Wanteds
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The Wanteds


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"Sound Advice: The Wanteds"

Come see the man, then wait for the movie. If everything goes as planned, Tommy Harrington, the sole member of The Wanteds, is going to be the subject of a documentary released later this year. Dave Kopilak, a Portland lawyer-turned-filmmaker, hired a director and camera crew to follow Harrington on The Wanteds' fall tour, a seat-of-the-pants affair where he would sometimes show up unannounced at a venue, drum machine in one hand and guitar in the other, and ask to open for whoever was playing. This footage will be the core of the film, alongside interviews with Harrington's past girlfriends, former associates and family. Kopilak chose his subject wisely: The enigmatic and talkative songwriter is not shy about his past foibles or present conundrums. From interviews, he gives the impression he is half-Jackson Pollock and half-Narcissus. But Harrington is 100 percent entertainer. His plurally-titled solo project is kind of a one-man Postal Service with more emphasis on the songs and less on the beats. Let Go Afterglow, his debut disc, offers sugary, strummed songs of confession, love and loss set to simple two-four rhythms and rolled in simple keyboard creations. Some tunes forego the Electronica and go straight for a stripped-down Doug Martsch vibe. Both flavors of Wanteds song are as likely to explode into full-on Rock mode as they are to fade out peacefully. Of course, the lyrics are full of introspection and his voice is ripe with honesty. But there is another facet that comes through in his recorded work and his performances. There's something inspirational about a 35-year-old artist who, after years of trying to make it as a part of various bands, walks out onto the tightrope and bares his soul with more youthful exuberance than Emo and angst-rockers half his age. Free of the alliances and addictions that limited him in the past, he projects himself unabridged. It's this heroic ingredient that guarantees an exhilarating show and, someday, a moving film. (Ezra Waller)

- Cincinnati City Beat

""Let Go Afterglow" Review"

I’ve often found that people who’ve been through struggles have a lot to say. Whether heartfelt and sincere or poignant and with a purpose, the story is theirs and it is genuine.

The Wanteds Let Go Afterglow is a spiritual release for singer/songwriter Tommy Harrington. With a feeling of unabashed honesty and sincerity Tommy recounts his hardships and loss, his triumphs and rejoicing. Harrington, the creative force behind The Wanteds, is a one man show; he was in town last week at O’Leaver’s and took the stage alone with a drum machine and guitar in hand. It was a trip to see him perform. If you missed it, I’m sorry. He brought a youthful exuberance to the plate that I haven’t come across before. It was pretty amazing considering that he’s 35 and struggling just to put food on his table.

The beauty of Let Go Afterglow is in its simplicity. All the tracks on the album, either purposefully bare or carefully hand crafted, have a loveable low-fi quality about them. It gives Let Go Afterglow a very personal quality. The album is rife with catchy hooks and lyrically memorable songs. The lucid guitars and the distant yet compelling drum machine paint the backdrop as Tommy sings his sorrows in such an intimate manner that you feel like you know the man after giving the album a spin. His voice has a whispery quality that lends a soothing element to his music. From the forerunner “You Can’t Say No” through out “Confess” and to its finale “What I Want” Let Go Afterglow is one virile album.

On Let Go Afterglow Tommy Harrington is going for broke. This album is a struggling mans attempt to make things right. He is an indie music hero if there ever was. There will always remain some truths to ephemeral to be captured, but The Wanteds sure try.

Grade A

By Kyle Koliha - Omaha Pulp

"Maverick Rocker Walks Fine Line"

Everything in his life rides on what happens next to Tommy Harrington.

At 35, he’s been trying to make it in music since he dropped out of college at 20 to learn how to play guitar. His girlfriend is pregnant, his credit cards maxed. If he does not come back with at least $1,000 from a tour he starts today, he will be homeless. “Well, not entirely homeless,” he said. “I have that new minivan.” As always with Harrington, there is an assured hope that things will work out. His self-produced album — the pop-laden “Let’s Go Afterglow” — has gone from unlisted on the College Media Journal top 200 list to No. 185 to No. 147 to No. 102. Portland lawyer Dave Kopilak is producing a documentary about him and the Wanteds, the plural name Harrington’s singular self uses on stage. And he has e-mail proof that representatives from record labels will be on hand at some of his shows.

Portland is rife with insular warrens of musicians convinced they will make it. Major label, independent label, studio musician, songwriter — all voices in the same choir. Harrington is one of them. Like them, he thinks he is good enough to stand out. Kopilak is not in it for the music, just the personality. “I didn’t want to make a movie about the music industry per se or a starving musician,” he said. “Tommy is intensely interesting as a character study. It’s his personal story that I’m drawn to. I mean, when you meet him, you know.”

Born in Wisconsin but reared in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, Harrington says his father abused him long enough that drugs became his escape. Drugs helped him practice the guitar, he says, but stunted his creativity and encouraged him toward a series of girlfriends whom he could live off of. He came to Portland with bandmates in 1999 and soon found himself alone.

He talks openly about it all with a consistent result — people want to hear more. At Belmont’s Inn, the congenial regulars both crusty and otherwise identify with him. “Let’s Go Afterglow” is on the jukebox there. Thirteen-year-old girls rush the stage at his all-ages shows to get closer to the honesty and fresh pain of his lyrics. People who know him walk up to him almost anywhere to hear him tell — again — breathless stories about his touring life. “One guy was setting up on stage for his gig and I go to the manager of the place and I tell him, hey, I’m one guy and can set up and take down in 10 minutes, just please let me play first,” Harrington said. “So when he says I can, I just jump right up on the stage with my gear and push the other dude off. He can play later.”

Always doing something...

In between jobs, Harrington writes, programs his instruments, prints showbills, checks e-mails, packs for the tour and sends a couple of high-school-age volunteer minions — his “street crew” — out into the world to spread the gospel of the Wanteds.
The constant traffic in and out of his house and in and out of his mind leaves Harrington always looking a little expectant. A former speed freak, he talks in endless waves, saying America is great because a guy like him could buy a new minivan with $17 in the bank and $40,000 in debt, and that Jane’s Addiction made him want to learn guitar and drop out of UCLA, and this tour was easier to book than the last tour and that has to mean something good, and radio interviews will only help him sell records and did you know he only sold four T-shirts on the last tour but 200 CDs. Yet he insists he’s given up Red Bull energy drinks and the caffeine that goes with them. Even though he has his insecurities — he doesn’t want to look as though he’s balding in photographs —his image is all-musician: blond-streaked, naturally dark hair shoots up from his head. His long limbs and hands are Harrington in microcosm — he is tall and lithe — and show a gnarled familiarity with work. “He sleeps less than most people,” Kopilak said, laughing. “Four hours a night I think is the most I’ve known him to get. Tommy is always doing something, always working. I think he would get depressed if he had an idle moment. That last tour, I don’t think he would have slept at all if my film crew hadn’t been there. He wore them out.”

Booking gets easier...

That last tour affirmed Harrington’s confidence to book this one. He left Portland last August with 17 shows booked. He wound up playing 36. He would show up in cities and find music venues, then plead as a one-man band to open for whoever was playing that night. He’d e-mail bar owners and promoters while on the road and ask for gigs. He jumped into online message boards looking for local bands wherever he was that could tell him where to play. The only cities where he did not sell at least one CD were Knoxville, Tenn., and Bozeman, Mont. All the while, he had a camera behind him. The documentary’s director, Stephanie Smith, joined Harrington on the road. They knew each other before filming started — Harrington suggested that Kopilak hire her. The documentary has not been sold or even fully edited. Kopilak plans to set up a Web site and perhaps hire a firm to market the film.

At Harrington’s house on Southeast Haig Street on the day of the last interview for the documentary, Smith tried to tie up all the loose ends and unfinished conversations left over from 230 hours of filming. “I need to come home from this tour with $1,000 or, uh, or I’m going to be in a bind,” Harrington said haltingly when the camera started rolling. “Do you think you can do that?” Smith asked. “Yeah,” Harrington said.
The last tour lost money, and not just because of Harrington’s three speeding tickets. He knows more people along the way this time, he said, and the drives are shorter. He won’t eat out as much.

He can do it. He knows he can. He has no choice.

- The Portland Tribune (front page story)

""Failure Looks So Good" Album Review"

The vocals are completely different and conjure up images of what The Smashing Pumpkins might have sounded like if Billy Corgan had been replaced by Perry Farrell. I find the combination to be quite appealing, like two slightly different genres combing together to form a band. Nothing about Harrington’s vocals are soft or beautiful but that’s what makes it interesting. He’s been through a lot in his day and has shed his old ways along with a home in California for a place up north in Portland where he can put pen to paper. The things he’s been through and the roughness of his past shows through in the musical quality and lyrics for something that feels very honest and straight from the heart. - Delusions of Adequacy


"Failure Looks So Good" (2008)
Released September 23, 2008.

"Let Go Afterglow" (2005)
#103 on the CMJ Top 200.
Songs featured on NPR, KNRK and over 300 college radio stations nationwide.



Portland, Oregon-based cathartic guitar-driven, melodic pop, indie-rock outfit The Wanteds are Tommy Harrington (vocals/guitar), Ryan Mullen (bass), and Adam Mack (drums). But, this wasn't always the case. For awhile, the band was only Harrington, a guitar, a laptop, a minivan, and his own demons - both pushing him to excel and fighting him at every turn. It was a ride that Harrington weathered into the band's forthcoming full-length, "Failure Looks So Good", set for release September 23, 2008.

"On some level, we all walk through life with a basic desire to be wanted. To be loved. And it's really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the things we want will somehow fix us or make us happy and bring us closer to that goal. If I only had, whatever, then I'd be happy," Harrington says, discussing the band's name.

"It's an irony of life. We desire things in hopes that we'll feel desired."

In 2004, Harrington started The Wanteds, recorded the band's debut as a solo record, "Let Go Afterglow", and proceeded to spend eight months on the road over the course of a year, while local filmmakers filmed a documentary about his life. He sold several thousand CDs from the stage, had growing attendance in every market, and was starting to turn heads with the press. Harrington thought he was on the right path.

All of that changed when he came off the road, realizing he was about to become a father, and once again delved hard into drugs and sleeping around, while desperately trying to fill the want inside of him.

Life changed when his son, Brice, was born. Harrington sobered up, took a good hard look at his partying life-style, and settled down.

"I almost quit playing music all together because compared to creating a human being, creating music seemed silly," he says.

But once his life was cleaned up, and he began to watch his son grow from an infant to a toddler, Harrington began writing again.

The want was back inside him. He wanted The Wanteds back, but this time as a full band. No more one-man shows, solo tours, or making a record himself like he did with "Let Go Afterglow".

It was at this point he began scouting to put together the perfect band.

After seeing bassist Ryan Mullen play around town, noting to Mullen's girlfriend that Mullen looked bored on-stage with his current band, and having it confirmed by her that he indeed was, Harrington asked Mullen if he'd like to work on some songs with him.

Mullen was excited at the prospects, and the two began writing material together. After developing a batch of songs, the duo was on the hunt for a drummer. However, this would be no easy task.

"Ryan and I were playing with our second drummer in three months and weren't happy. We tried demo-ing the songs and it was apparent that, yet again, we had not found the right fit. We were stuck," Harrington says, disappointed at the time, but realizing everything does indeed workout for the best.

"Ten days before our last scheduled gig we just decided to let go and end it with that drummer," he continues. "We had no band and a show in ten days."

At this point, most bands would give up. But, not Harrington and Mullen, who answered a Craigslist ad and found drummer Beau Kuther, a member of Portland-based band Kaddisfly.

After rehearsing twice, they played their first show with him. He was a great fit - and exactly what they were looking for. But, due to his other obligations, Harrington and Mullen knew that he was just a temporary fix, and could not be their permanent drummer.

Disregarding this, they decided to use Kuther to make a record. After only playing with him for six weeks, the trio went into the studio to record what would be The Wanteds' second record, "Failure Looks So Good.

Recording at Supernatural Sound in Portland, Oregon, the trio tracked all the bass, drums, and guitar live to two-inch tape in only fourteen hours.

"It went unbelievably fast, as it had to, because we didn't have that much studio time," Harrington recalls. "I've never accomplished anything like that before in the studio. We did very few overdubs, a few acoustic guitars in places and a second guitar in three or four places and that was it. Everything else was just the three of us tracking live to tape. No pro tools. No plug-ins. It was all straight to tape and using analog gear at Supernatural. Totally organic and totally old-school."

A deeply personal record, and the most "me" record Harrington has ever been a part of, he says, he's also quick to point out that "Failure Looks So Good" wouldn't have been possible without Mullen by his side.

"Sure, I did most of the songwriting, but Ryan's bass work helped provide most of the vocal melodies and we co-wrote several songs and there is no way things would have turned out this good without him being involved," he discusses, when asked about the subject of co-writing. "That's a beautiful thing, when you find someone who meshes so well with you that