August 18, 2015

The Temperance Movement: Ain't No Telling How Far They'll Go

The Temperance Movement had already opened for the Rolling Stones on a handful of dates last year, but when the nascent British-based band got the nod to do it again this past June at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, age-old anxieties emerged. Of the sold-out audience, for starters, Australian-born drummer Damon Wilson recently told Write on Music on the phone from his UK residence, recalling his speculations, “What kind of mood are they in? Are they sitting down? Are they drunk? Are they sober? Is it daytime? Is it nighttime? What’s going on out there? What’s the feeling? What [was] the main act’s soundcheck [like]? What are they gonna do? You’ve got to factor in quite a lot of things.”

As showtime loomed, however, Wilson was at least sure of one thing:

Nobody was coming to see his band.

“When you go to a Stones gig it’s all about the Stones,” he said, “probably more than any other band. They’re actually a bit of a challenge to open for because they don’t need any warming up. People are there and they’re ready to go.”

Since forming in 2011, the Temperance Movement (whose self-titled debut LP was originally issued on indie label Earache Records in 2013 and was re-released this past February on Fantasy/Concord Records) have built a burgeoning fan base all their own. Messengers of chiseled, rhythm-and-blues-soaked rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of The Faces and Humble Pie, they deliver rambunctious album standouts like “Midnight Black” and “Ain’t No Telling” with a swagger that comes from having hit the proverbial jackpot. For the band’s five members — besides Wilson the lineup includes frontman Phil Campbell, guitarists Luke Potashnick and Paul Sayer, and bassist Nick Fyffe — that’s not too far from the truth.

In fact, as Wilson recalled, the band’s earliest rehearsals not only proved to be worthwhile for everyone involved but enlightening and inspiring as well.

“The sound came instantly,” he said, “so it was very clear that we weren’t a pop group. It was also clear we weren’t a death-metal band.

“If I was to make it really simplistic,” he continued, “I think we kind of jokingly said, ‘Let’s be the next Black Crowes.’ I guess. That’s kind of the dream for any musician, to be in a band that people respect the musicians and the music [of] but you also get played on the radio and you get to travel the world. I think that’s what most musicians want.”

That’s not to say there haven’t been any tentative moments in the band’s evolution thus far.

“For the first probably six months, I remember,” said Wilson, “when we did bits of recording, a handful of gigs, it was very part-time. But even as that was going, I knew what we were doing was brilliant. I just didn’t think that anyone else would think it’s brilliant.

“It’s not that we didn’t have any confidence,” he continued. “We had loads of confidence. I’d never really taken a band from nothing to as far as we’ve gone before.”

Greater success seems all but certain to follow. Performing their music to audiences at every opportunity, the Temperance Movement are currently touring across the United States and Canada — the band’s latest single, “Take It Back,” currently tops the Canadian Active Rock chart — and no doubt earning new fans each step of the way.

“It’s not necessarily how good the musicians are, because there are plenty of better musicians than us,” said Wilson. “It’s just that it works. That’s a really nice thing about music — that’s why people never get sick of new bands — because there’s something special that goes on that you can’t put your finger on, that at least one unique combination of people works.”

For more information, please visit the Temperance Movement online.