Hanford-based band Poor Man’s Poison is a mix of sounds like bluegrass and folk, and is inspired by many different genres of music. Says bassist Dustin Medeiros, “We mostly say we are Americana because it’s a little more vague.” With such a strong sound, it’s hard to believe that this band was formed from a previous band, Done For Good, that collapsed after an unfortunate event.
The original band, Done For Good, which generated one album, fell because drummer Dustin Medeiros, now bassist for Poor Man’s Poison, was diagnosed with tinnitus. Tinnitus is a permanent, constant ringing in the ear and prevented Medeiros from playing drums, or any excessively loud music. After this, Ryan Hakker, singer for Done For Good, began working with Mike Jacobs on different sounds, acoustically driven. Within a year of Done For Good’s collapse, the original members of the band, including guitarist Tommy McCarthy, joined with Mike Jacobs to form Poor Man’s Poison.
“It wasn’t a plan. It just kinda fell into place because we did love Done For Good,” states Medeiros, who recalled the forming of Poor Man’s Poison. The configuration of Poor Man’s Poison is quite different than the previous Done For Good. The biggest difference is that it’s all acoustic. Medeiros dropped his drums and borrowed a stand-up bass, while McCarthy gave up his guitar style for a mandolin, and with the guitars of Jacobs and Hakker, they were convinced that the show must go on.
When asked about their choice of name, Medeiros replied, “There is no glamorous story behind it. It’s just hard to find a name, and that’s where it landed. As far as the meaning, it’s best to take it as it means to you. It’s not about alcohol. It’s more about getting past the vice that holds you down in life; whatever that may be.”
When it comes to writing songs, Medeiros says the process is somewhat relaxed, starting with one of the members bringing in an idea or the beginning to a song they may have been working on. “They bring that to the table at practice and we work things out together. Sometimes the song may change dramatically from how it started, and sometimes they are straight forward. Either way the end result is different then we generally imagine the song being in the beginning.”