THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT - “It's Like A Kick In The Balls"
March 24, 2015, 4 years ago
With the recent news that the Black Crowes are kaput once again, one band that may help fill the vacated spot left by the Robinson bros is the Temperance Movement - a band that combines blues-rock and garage rock. And the UK band is currently in the middle of its first-ever US tour - opening shows for Blackberry Smoke. TTM's singer, Phil Campbell, spoke with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato about how the tour was going so far, his thoughts on the difference between playing to US and UK audiences, influences, and an update on the follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut.
BraveWords: How has the tour been going so far with Blackberry Smoke?
Phil Campbell: "It's 40 dates basically, with the band. With video and promo duties, it works out as just over three and a half months of touring in America. We have one break in the middle, which is coming up in ten days time. So, if you can imagine that excitement of a band whose first impression of America is playing with an established act, who play to 2,000 people each night - I think some of the best size venues for a rock n' roll band. So every night, we get to play somewhere brilliant. We get to meet all their fans, who usually like us. The band itself, Blackberry Smoke, are lovely people - seasoned players, very cool. Don't mind us taking their stage - they offer us their stage and they offered us their crowds to play in front of every night, happily. We've been getting played on the radio, which is brilliant for any band these days, to come over to America from the UK, to get radio play. It's all been very, very exciting."
BraveWords: Have you had any opportunities to hang out with the Blackberry Smoke lads and get to know them?
Phil Campbell: "Oh yeah, a little bit. These guys are actual rock stars, so we kept something of a distance for a while. But sometimes you might arrive at a venue where the dressing room or the catering area is a bit more hospitable to talking together. Yeah, we've had a couple of discussions. We got to know them. They're very funny people, real family people."
BraveWords: How would you compare US audiences to UK audiences?
Phil Campbell: "I'm from Glasgow in Scotland, and most nights, in America, it's like having a Glasgow audience, because a Glasgow audience for the Temperance Movement has always been my favorite audience. I think mainly because people over here appreciate a band to play well and play hard, and they like to enjoy themselves, they like to celebrate more easily and readily than folks in the UK are - they're a little bit withdrawn and withhold emotional responses sometimes. I don't know why, but that's the way it is. But in America, people want to cheer for anything and everybody. And I suppose we're 'the new band on the block.' We're the underdog, I guess."
BraveWords: I've heard the Temperance Movement described as both 'blues rock' and 'garage rock.' Which description do you prefer?
Phil Campbell: "It's a bit of a blend of both. A 'blues-garage band' would be cool, because we pretty much fit the bill for both. Our music was made, recorded, and produced in living rooms and basements and rehearsal room studios. That first record that you've got, we put that together the 'garage band way.' Yeah, we love the blues, we love British blues, we love late '60s British blues - that's what we love. Mixed with Americana and country songwriting from the late '60s/early '70s - the best period for rock n' roll music. Band music. Drums, bass, guitar - that kind of thing. That was the best period for it, and that's what we always dip in. And I grew up seeing Nirvana and Oasis and everything, and the music I love the most - and that's indeed what sort of deemed the template as a sheer love for late '60s/early '70s music."
BraveWords: Who would you saw are some of the band's main influences?
Phil Campbell: "Rod Stewart and the Faces, definitely. As a singer, everyone from Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, and Chris Robinson - it's an amalgamation of those three characters. And Freddie Mercury perhaps, from Queen. And I love Neil Young, Tom Waits. For myself, I love these mad characters when I'm on stage. I think of Tom Waits a lot. I try and do Tom Waits, the Faces, a little bit of Rod Stewart, occasionally. These are the greatest performers I've ever seen."
BraveWords: The debut album came out in 2013. How far along is the band's sophomore effort?
Phil Campbell: "We have written and recorded our second record. It's in the process of being mixed right now. It's due for release later on in the year - in the UK at least, anyway. I think they're trying to get some sort of dual release thing, but it depends on what happens. But I'd guess within the next few months."
BraveWords: How does the album compare to the first?
Phil Campbell: "Well, one of the main differences was the writing changed a bit - it developed for myself and the two guitar players [Luke Potashnick and Paul Sayer]. We wrote as the three of us. What happened was we were on tour in Europe, and we became a band. We started to jam together and we'd record some of the soundchecks and a lot of material from the new album came from that - jams and certain things that were cool. And we very consciously pooled all the material together, because we went through the tour where we recorded all our live shows, and were able to record the soundchecks as well. We put all that stuff together, as well as writing another few songs. That's what the album is. And we retained the blues and Americana and the Black Crowes, and we retained the sort of swagger of the Rolling Stones, but we add in a few different noises, like a couple of production things. We had more fun with this studio, really - instead of just going in and recording live tracks. The first album was important to us that we did takes, and we've done the same with our second record, but we just had a bit more fun sonically. I can't wait for it to drop. There's a track called 'Get Yourself Free,' which I just can't get out of my head. We're playing some of the songs on this tour, whenever we get a bit bored!"
BraveWords: How has the new material been received by audiences?
Phil Campbell: "It's the same as any of the other songs in the set, because it's all new to people here. Everything that we do is new. The only reason that we choose to play some of the new songs is just to challenge ourselves. And we've toured the first album for two years now. There's a song called 'Modern Massacre,' that we sometimes open with, and it's like a kick in the balls. It's like a punk song. And it's quite different from the sort of bluesy, country, Americana of the first album. And to the point where we think, 'Well, these guys are a country audience. We better just watch what we play.' But they come up to us, and they tell us, 'Fucking hell, man! 'Modern Massacre,' that was a great tune!' We seem to be doing OK with the new material."