In 2018, Portland songwriter Mo Troper posted on social media that his song, the orchestral “Never Dream of Dying,” had been tapped as the next James Bond theme. I, for one, fell for the ruse. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. “There are a lot of people who bought it, which is pretty amazing,” Troper tells me over the phone.
Troper constructed the fake Bond-theme media blitz on a dare because in today’s music business, musicians handle promotional duties that once belonged to a record label. “You have to do everything yourself,” Toper says. That hasn’t always been easy. “I had a lot of shame around self-promotion.”
The Bond trick, though, was low-key genius, working in part because Troper’s ’60s and ’70s-era rock and power pop influences would not be completely out of place on a Bond soundtrack. That sound is evident in Troper’s excellent new release, Natural Beauty.
The album, Troper’s fourth full-length, is out now on the Portland record label Tender Loving Empire. Troper comes to Eugene supporting Natural Beauty Sunday, March 1, at Sam Bond’s. “Never Dream of Dying” was recorded for the new album but didn’t make the cut.
Growing up hearing his dad’s record collection and playing guitar since he was teenager, Troper has always loved rock and pop from the ’60s and ’70s, usually in the form of garage rock and early punk. After recently reshuffling his lineup, Troper felt free to further explore this era, this time from the softer side, recalling artists such as ELO, Badfinger, Big Star and Paul McCartney.
“Some records made from that time period are able to transport you. I don’t think I’m ever going to get tired of that,” Troper says.
Mo Troper plays with Joypress and Stoner Patrol 8 pm Sunday, March 1, at Sam Bond’s; $5, 21-plus.