Thao and The Get Down Stay Down is a San Francisco, California-based (formerly Falls Church, Virginia) alternative folk rock music group. It consists of Thao Nguyen (vocals, guitar), and Adam Thompson (vocals, bass guitar, keyboards). Frank Stewart (lead guitar, production) and Willis Thompson (drums) are former members of the band.
Nguyen met drummer Willis Thompson while studying for her degrees in Sociology and Women's Studies at The College of William and Mary. Willis Thompson was a member of Camp Tigerclaw, Acousticore, and Murphy's Kids. He is also a contributing member to the band The Light Footwork. Thao Nguyen and Willis Thompson met Adam Thompson (no relation) during a show at the Harrison Street Coffee Shop in Richmond, Virginia. At the time, Adam Thompson was performing as a solo jazz-influenced act under the moniker The OK Bird. Frank Stewart, member of the bands Durian and Verbal, would produce the first full-length album Like the Linen in 2005 and join the band as a lead guitarist. Although only Willis and Nguyen initially performed live on tour, the four members began touring as a group during the Kill Rock Stars' Sound the Hare Heard tour during the summer of 2006. The name of the band was originally suggested by a former bassist of the band. Nguyen would expand the initial suggestion of "The Get Down" to "The Get Down Stay Down". Thao Nguyen still occasionally performs as a soloist, including a European tour with Laura Veirs and the Tortured Souls in August 2006.
After sending Like the Linen to Laura Veirs, Thao was able to get connected to Tucker Martine, Veirs' drummer and producer for The Decemberists and Sufjan Stevens. In August 2006, the group began recording with Martine in Seattle and released the album "We Brave Bee Stings And All" in January 2008. Thao Nguyen has since moved to San Francisco, California. The band toured in 2008 with Xiu Xiu, and separately with Rilo Kiley before heading out on their first headlining tour that summer.
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down released their second full-length album "Know Better Learn Faster" on October 13, 2009. Thao was joined by Andrew Bird on the title track. The band toured the US with The Portland Cello Project and David Shultz and the Skyline in late 2009, and spent time touring the US and Europe in Winter/Spring 2010.
In early 2010, Nguyen collaborated with Mirah, culminating in a a collaborative album.
The band's track "When We Swam" is the opening theme for Australian prime-time TV series Offspring (which premiered in Australia in August 2010).
The band also composed and performed the soundtrack for the 2011 film, American Teacher.
On October 25, 2012, Ribbon Music announced Nguyen signed with the label for the release of her new album entitled, We The Common, and unveiled the first single "Holy Roller" via Youtube. The album, released on February 5, 2013, features 12 tracks including a collaboration with indie songstress Joanna Newsom on "Kindness Be Conceived", Nguyen and Newsom having met at a songwriters' retreat. This time around, she says, her album is "a lot less about my problems and more about how I could be a better participant in my life. There's a sense of revival and gratitude throughout the record that adds to this vitality of it." As part of the promotional tour for the album, Thao and The Get Down Stay Down joined the lineup of numerous music festivals, including 2013's South by Southwest and Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.
In November 2013 the band released an EP, The Feeling Kind, which included cover versions of songs by Melanie, the Troggs, and Yo La Tengo.