ATREYU's MARC 'PORTER' MCKNIGHT: Why I Moved From Alabama To A Small Town In Germany

December 25, 2023

During an appearance on the latest episode of the "BREWtally Speaking" podcast, ATREYU bassist Marc "Porter" McKnight spoke about his recent decision to move from Alabama, where he was born and raised, to a small town in Germany, where his wife's family resides. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was a big choice. It really was a big choice. [My wife] Julia and I kind of talked about it in May of this year. And we had started to have the feelings of, do we really wanna live in Alabama forever? And it wasn't the home and it wasn't my family and it wasn't the property. It was… Uh, I hate being political.

"America is in an interesting place," he continued. "And I think that for a while now, I felt living where we lived especially, I felt the attempt to be poisoned on all fronts. With the mentality of the way that American government and policies and culture is — with the food, it's absolute fucking garbage that we can get our hands on and it's poisoned and laced in chemicals and all this bullshit, and to get the better versions of stuff, it's unaffordable. And it's hard to afford to exist there. It's hard to fucking thrive and have any sort of good life there. It's hard to pay rent. It's hard to pay utilities. It's hard to make money. It's just fucking hard. Then we started talking a lot about life here [in Germany] and [how] different it could be.

"When we went to Europe in January, February and March earlier this year — we supported BULLET [FOR MY VALENTINE] — and I came over with Julia and [our dog] June early in January and stayed with her parents, which are about three and a half minutes that way past the church that was built in the early 1400s, and it was just beautiful out here and very calm and very wonderful and we just had a fantastic time. And we heard what they paid for their house, and it was an interesting thing and it kind of reminded us… 'cause we spent — Julia especially, 'cause I was on tour for a big chunk of that, but she spent a lot of time here — and so we just talked a lot about how different life could be and the pros and the cons.

"We thought that would be my 'forever home' in Alabama," Porter added. "And it still is — it's still in my family and I still wanna spend as much time as I can there, and who knows what the future holds; we could be back there eventually. But when we started thinking about the pros of being here with… Health care is affordable, life is affordable. From the first week I was here, I went to their version of like a CVS or a Walgreens called DM, and I bought the exact same things that I would at Target or any of those things, and I did a price comparison and it was literally double for the exact same product in the States — same amounts, same everything. And I was, like, 'Holy shit.' It's not the same brand. But I was, like, 'Holy shit.' And then you go to the store, you go buy bread, and you get this big fucking loaf of the best bread you've ever tasted to make these lovely sandwiches that you have two slices of fucking bread with some meat or some cheese or some fucking, some jelly or some spread or some Nutella or some butter and honey or whatever you put on it, it's all delightful, and you're full. Like, that's a meal. You have two pieces of bread in the States… We saw this meme last night with this guy that moved from the States to Berlin, and he's, like, 'You have two pieces of bread in the States, you're poor.' [Some is] asking [him], like, 'Yo, what the fuck's up? Let me give you five dollars. Get a real meal.' You won't be satiated. So simple things like that.

"Don't get me wrong: Germany has its issues, Europe has its issues, everywhere has its fucking issues. Let's be clear," McKnight continued. "But this culture with the government [in Germany] is based on allowing their citizens to find happiness and to find space for themselves and their families, and they help provide that. And it's fucking night and day than what we can comprehend in the States, 'cause they don't give a fuck about us in the States, and they never have. And I've never felt safe and I've never felt secure. And I'm not afraid of getting fucking shot up every two seconds. If we do procreate, we can send our kids to a school right down the street and we can just let them fuck off and walk by themselves. You don't have to be afraid of that. There are so many perks. And we're by her family. We're in the fucking mountains. We walk out our back door and there's massive, massive fields for June to go play in. Go further than that, there's woods. It's incredibly beautiful and incredibly calm and incredibly nice here. Not to mention this house — I don't wanna talk numbers, but we bought this house that has three fucking levels on it. We can live up top, we have room for art, we have room for a garden, we have room to grow creatively and as a family and whatever, and have friends come over and stay whenever they want. And this place costs less than it would for a one month, like per month studio fucking apartment in L.A. — or almost anywhere these days. It's mad. So all of those things and all of those factors kind of just were, like, 'Fuck.' And also, to be perfectly selfish and frank, I love living here. I love being close to a church from the 1400s. I love seeing the architecture. I love seeing old shit. I love being able to take a fucking 30-euro flight to Barcelona if I wanted to, or go drive to Amsterdam or go get on a train and go to Munich or Berlin and whatever. I love being able to go to these fucking places that all of my life seemed so exotic, and now it's just in my backyard. It's incredible for me."

A few years ago, Porter spoke to Creative Live about how he ended up joining ATREYU, which is based in Southern California, in 2004. he said: "I was born and raised in southern Alabama. It's a wonderful little pocket of artist communities. When I was 17, I went to college at Chapman University in Southern California. I went there for graphic design, and to play soccer. So I went, and the soccer team were a bunch of dicks, the coach was a jerk, and it was just a completely negative environment, and so I quit. I hate quitting, but I had to, and that pushed me back into music. I played shows at Chain Reaction and all the local venues, met the ATREYU guys, and after my other band fell apart ATREYU asked me to play with them and the rest is history."

ATREYU's latest album, "The Beautiful Dark Of Life", came out on December 8 via Spinefarm.

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