Imagine if you will that you’re stranded on a small desert island with a palm tree for company and plenty of sand granules which get everywhere. You inhabit this small piece of land surrounded by the sea for many weeks without noticing that there is a working radio that could help you get a message out. That sort of scenario would drive you mad if it came true!
In this case, the working radio represents a stunning band that has taken the UK by storm with a self-titled debut album going straight in at number 12 in the mainstream UK album charts. The thing is though; their music isn’t constricted to merely the UK, but is available in the U.S. right now. They have an E.P. available for download which is called Pride, and it contains five excellent bluesy, soulful rock nuggets to wrap your ears around. Get it now before everyone else joins the ride!
The Temperance Movement are a band who work hard and have a soul so pure to the core; you can’t help but give them a chance. Their live shows are held in high regard as they ooze sincerity and emotion from every molecule, and they effortlessly possess the combination of The Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Cry of Love in conjunction with their own unique swagger.
Check out some top quality examples of their recordings like Only Friend, the feisty Ain’t No Telling and the laid back Pride to get a sense of what these guys are all about, and you may see irony within their sound. They’re not from the deep south or anywhere near the coasts of the U.S. of A. The Temperance Movement hail from the UK and would love the opportunity to play in the States, relishing the culture and experiences that would go hand in hand with their travels.
Lead vocalist Phil Campbell explained whilst relaxing on the tour bus heading for the band’s next gig in Norwich, “It started with me and Paul and Luke, we were writing and stuff but we wanted to get in to a room ‘cos we wanted it to be louder and wanted to be a proper rock band, so we kind of got together with the other two guys and it really, really went well. So that’s really what inspires us most to do it, just the fact that we enjoy doing it.”
Campbell comes across as a straight-talking, down to earth guy who is quietly content commanding the microphone for a band that knows their own identity. Acknowledging that their sound isn’t a result of an elaborate design or stretch of talent, but quite simply a natural outcome to the chemistry and influences of the band, Campbell elaborates “That was always what we wanted to do, just to kind of try and record and play the music like err, you know so you could just play it anywhere really, on any stage. Try and capture the vibe and the rhythm and put it on to tape, that’s all we’re interested in doing really.”
“It’s an old format and we all just love that, and we just want to make the best version of that, that we can. Bring in our own tastes and musical influences to do that you know. We’re all big fans of older music really” explains Campbell to the subtle background noises of the tour bus. As the conversation continues and ideas emerge regarding how the audience is connecting to The Temperance Movement in the live environment, he shares his thoughts. “What I think is magical about it is just that you can make so much noise and there’s so much dynamic range with a five piece band format. It feels human, there’s a sort of human expression in it that appeals to all of us and I think it appeals to people who like our kind of music.”
Campbell digs deeper with his verdict. “I think it’s because that kind of music was always just played by people who weren’t necessarily really great musicians. You know, they weren’t skilled and it was, it became what it is because people just picked up a guitar and played three or four chords and get away with it and have a pal that could play the drums along with it. It was never really that more complicated than that.”
The Pride E.P. that’s currently available is a sample of the whole recording session that makes up the equivalent of their self-titled debut album. Fantastic tracks like Chinese Lanterns, Midnight Black and Smouldering have yet to appear in the U.S. but all share the common thread of gritty and raw soul-based rock n’roll drenched in a bluesy vibe. Campbell sheds some light on the recording session and the attitude the band adopted for this event to capture their creativity. “It was done in four days and we just picked five off it to go on to an E.P. because we couldn’t afford to put any more than five out.” He continues to share the reasoning for the way the session was divided up. “It cost a lot more to pay somebody to mix 12 tracks or 14 tracks than it would do, for five. We had to do it ourselves; we put out five tracks because that’s all we could put out.”
“The thought of like Chess Records or something you know, people just go around and y’know capturing, take three being the one that was amazing, like Etta James or Howlin’ Wolf or you know, that was the way it was done and that’s the best way it was done. And what we were trying to do was do that knowing fine well that the world has moved on very far beyond that.” The Temperance Movement lead vocalist pauses as he searches for the right words to finish why the band approached the process this way. “One of the main reasons that we used tape and stuff was to try and have some built-in limitations so that we weren’t confused and delayed by choice.”
As Campbell expresses his thoughts and opinions, his thick Scottish accent is reminiscent of Dan McCafferty, former lead vocalist of Nazareth. They both share the same character in their sentences and tone, the way certain words are presented. “It is very much fun doing this, you know, it’s something that you wanted to do when you were young. We’re all really 16 or 17 years old at heart, but we’re obviously not that age. With the benefit of a few years experience in life and now you’ve got the chance to go be in a rock band like you wanted to be when you were a kid, it’s a good situation.”
Regarding his thoughts on America, Campbell enthusiastically responds. “I’d love to go there because, I mean most of the music I love; in fact probably all of the music I love comes from America.” With the theme of the U.S. being the centre of the conversation at this point, Campbell finds himself explaining that the song Only Friend has at its core the spirit of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with the projected feeling of Ohio beating in its heart. “The reason that I fancy America so much is I’d like to meet some of these guys before they move on. I’d love to be amongst it, visit a studio, to go to Graceland or whatever, meet the people there and play in front of them.” This was said on the back of his comments about loving The Black Crowes during the 90s, and what a revelation they were.
Joining Campbell in the mighty band The Temperance Movement, are guitarists Luke Potashnick and Paul Sayer, with Nick Fyffe on bass and providing the beat is drummer Damon Wilson.
On why the band settled on their name, Campbell says “Maybe ‘cos it sounded like the Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Old Crow Medicine Show, it sounds like an old world name, and it was ironic because I had in mind a band that you know, would take on the world and play amazing rock n’roll music.”
Retaining the idea that there’s this shining bright example of roots-based rock n’roll with sincere and genuine respect for the classic influences of the past sitting there waiting to be discovered, surely by now you’ll feel the same way about this band as the UK has, and embrace them and their style of blues-infused rock music. Impress your friends by introducing them to the debut E.P. that hints at better things to come and feel their passionate display smother your ears with an emotive performance.
Let’s leave this article with some words from front-man Campbell as he summarises what’s so good about being in The Temperance Movement. “We play with great, great respect for our influences and in celebration of it. Rod Stewart and The Faces they weren’t American you know, but they kicked ass and they had a great time on stage and you could tell they really loved each other, and liked each other and that’s inspiring. That’s all we wanna do.”
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