Morning Teleportation back to BG to write music

Tiger Merritt of Morning Teleportation sings to fans crowding around the stage at Tidball’s on Tuesday, April 10. The band returned to Bowling Green, their city of origin, from their new home base in Portland, Ore., to play a show.

Chris Rutledge

The members of Morning Teleportation didn’t plan on moving back to Bowling Green. It just happened.

But that’s how the band always operates. The transitions in their music have often been described as abrupt and unexpected, and the transitions in their life have been much the same

The band formed (“Did we ever form?” Merritt asks Goodwin) in Bowling Green in 2005 — friends Tiger Merritt, Travis Goodwin, Tres Coker and Paul Wilkerson. The quartet didn’t even think of themselves as an actual band until their friend, Daniel Tichenor of Cage the Elephant, told them they should start taking music seriously.

“He was like ‘Hey, you could maybe, like, play music. You know, actually put out a record.’” Merritt said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s a far-out idea.’ So we started doing that.”

Merritt said before that the members just played for fun at his house in Bowling Green.

“My house had no furniture, just musical instruments,” he said. “Well, I had a kitchen table and chair…”

“Not till your mom came here and was like ‘Where can I sit?’” Goodwin said with a laugh.

In 2008, the band relocated to Austin, Texas, to record for a few months at the advice of a friend. It was around this time that the band members met up with Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, who would go on to produce their 2011 debut album “Expanding Anyway.”

Goodwin said Morning Teleportation was playing a show in Cincinnati the same night as Modest Mouse, and afterward, Brock headed over to check out the band’s set.

“That’s when he was pretty much like, ‘Hey, I’ll produce your record, or whatever.’” Goodwin said.

Brock suggested the band members relocate to Portland, Ore., to record and that’s where they lived for four years.

Merritt said the decision to move back also was sporadic.

“Just seemed like something to do,” he said.

A lot of things changed in those four years.

Some bands Morning Teleportation played small venues with began touring, and the number of Bowling Green music venues almost doubled.

Similarly, Morning Teleportation has been through some changes.

In 2011, Wilkerson, the bassist, left the band. Morning Teleportation still haven’t found a permanent replacement, and use a rotating cast of musicians.

Canago’s Jason Williams will play bass for the band when they headline Revolution 91.7’s annual Mayhem Music Festival today, the third show Morning Teleportation has played in Bowling Green this month.

But Merritt said his favorite part of Bowling Green doesn’t involve the music scene.

“Judy’s Castle, breakfast special,” Merritt said. “$4.25 before 10:30.”

Merritt said that the band came back to Bowling Green to take a break and write music for their sophomore album.

And while the band has been doing both, it still has been playing out-of-town shows regularly. In fact, Merritt said that while he loves both Portland and Bowling Green, the band members don’t get to see a lot of either.

“We spend more time on the road than we spend anywhere,” Merritt said.

It was out on the road that the band met up with Knighton Clark and Nicholas McDowell. Clark and McDowell saw the band play in St. Louis and decided on a whim to follow the band for a few shows.

They ended up attending the band’s shows at The Twisted Tap and at Tidball’s, though Clark had to watch the latter through the window outside because he wasn’t old enough to get in. 
McDowell said that while his decision to follow the band was abrupt, he’s been enamored with Morning Teleportation for a while.

“In 2010, I saw them open for Modest Mouse at the Pageant in St. Louis and just fell in love with them instantly,” he said. “They’re probably one of the best bands out there right now. I think. I listen to them constantly. I could literally probably watch them 20 times in a row and never get tired of it.”

Merritt gave Clark and McDowell a shout-out through the window near the end of the Tidball’s show.

McDowell said he’s still trying to make up his mind on how many more Morning Teleportation shows he will attend this year.

Similarly, Morning Teleportation is mapping out 2012.

Merritt fantasizes about spending the summer hibernating and playing guitar on the porch, and Goodwin said the band is planning a summer tour. But for the most part, Morning Teleportation is playing it as it comes.

“I kind of want to just write and record, but I’m not sure,” Goodwin said. “If anything cool comes up to do…”