The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world







The Temperance Movement released one of the most critically- acclaimed Rock albums of 2013 and whilst it was picking up accolades from the likes of Classic Rock magazine and the mainstream press in the UK and things started to move in the US with their tour last year with Blackberry Smoke;  in Australia only those in the know seemed to catch on. New album ‘WHITE BEAR’ out on January 15th will change all that…

We spoke to Damon Wilson the Aussie-born drummer and co-founder of the band to talk all about the new album and what’s next for The Temperance Movement as they release their 'difficult second album' - White Bear. It's an album that sizzles, sways and rocks harder than the first time you heard them and is sure to take the band to a new level and with it global recognition.

Mark: Hi Damon, great to talk to you today, thanks for making the time for The Rockpit. How are you and the guys on the eve of the release and the tour?

Damon: Good to talk to you too Mark, things are going great here, last night we did a TV show in Paris in preparation for the tour.

Mark: It’s nice to get to speak to you as it’s you musically (in the band) I know most about, you’ve played with some great people in your career already but I have to get this question out of the way first: ‘What was it like to play a Festival with Ray Davies?’ (of The Kinks fame)

Damon: It was pretty surreal, and it was brilliant, it pretty nerve-wracking the first time I did a show with him we hadn’t rehearsed and it was a pretty big Festival in Spain so I think everyone including Ray was pretty nervous and he sidled up to me before we went onstage and said ‘Good luck mate, don’t fuck up’ I just laughed and then he looked down on me as he’s pretty tall and said ‘But seriously, don’t fuck up!’ He’s a one off Ray, the music speaks for itself, he’s written so many great songs it was pretty bizarre to make music with someone so great and so prolific, I certainly learnt a lot.

Mark: You and the band are now about to embark on a pretty lengthy tour of your own across Europe and the UK, I bet you can’t wait to start playing the new album out on the road?  I actually caught you back in April by accident down in Orlando – I was heading out to see Blackberry Smoke at the House of Blues and was more than pleasantly surprised to find you also on the bill.

Damon: That was fun at the House of Blues, a great show – we were right next to an Alligator farm – we could see it from the dressing room – it was crazy!

Mark: It was a great night and it’s great to see bands that play real rock and roll coming back and getting before big crowds, especially in the UK and Europe. It must be exciting to see it all coming back after Rock has sort of taken a back seat in this Century so far?

Damon: Yeah, it had taken a back seat but I think just because it’s not cool doesn’t mean that people have given up on it; and I think what we’ve found in this band is that we started this band four years ago just to keep ourselves happy and to make the music that we didn’t think was out there, so it’s been a really genuine and nice surprise when people have got on board and told their friends and that’s how it’s worked for us.

Mark: It’s so good to hear that people are talking about rock music and that groundswell is happening, it even is here in Australia to a degree, there’s some great bands Downunder who are starting to not exactly look back, but appreciate where the music we all love comes from and make great new music that appreciates the roots and acknowledges them. It’s obvious from your music that you love the 70’s and the freedom that Rock expressed in that decade.

Damon: It’s great to be part of that.

Mark: Getting onto the real news – ‘White Bear’ – what an album! It’s not often you get to hear a band put out a second album that’s equally as good, if not better than their debut, especially when yor debut was that damned good. Was it important to take your time between those two releases?

Damon: Well to be fair we actually didn’t spend too much time making the second record, we spent a lot more time on the first one. I guess the reason why we didn’t get round to recording it sooner was we were so busy promoting the first one, and I don’t think this is an uncommon thing, it think it happens a lot. We just saw a window and said ‘Come on its time to make a record’ – it was the start of last year and we blocked out three little gaps of three or four days and went to three different studios, one of which was the record we made the first record in and we just went for it… so the two albums were made under very different circumstances as with the first album there was really no expectation at all on us from anyone including ourselves. So we went to the studio for four days and recorded, and ended up with 18 songs. Then we looked at that and thought ‘That could be an album I guess!’ Then with the second album we had a record company and we’d had some success, and we had fans so there was quite a lot of expectation. So the second album is driven from a completely different mindset I suppose.     

Mark: It’s a great album with a great flow, strangely familiar and yet with enough texture and variety to keep it interesting. I mean there are standard heady rockers and then there are songs like ‘A Pleasant Peace I Feel’ which has a real sense of exploration. Are you searching for a definitive sound, or just having fun and living the music?
Damon: (Laughs) Yes, I’m not really sure if we feel there is a definitive sound to strive for, we love that show ‘The Mighty Boosh’ where they go out looking for ‘the new sound’ and they disappear into the desert:  and it was a bit of that, there’s a healthy sense of humour in our band, I mean we want to push ourselves but at the same time we appreciate how silly rock bands can sometimes look when they talk about things like doing their ‘experimental record’ or really pushing to find a ‘new place’ for their music. I think the only agenda we had for making the second record was that we didn’t want to make the first one again and I think that of all the people that got the first record there were also people that might have thought they had us pegged as these sort of ‘Classic rock wannabee guys’ - you know the ones – who thought they could hear the records that influenced us, and knew exactly who we are. And I think that we were determined to show that there is a far greater depth to what we are and what we listen to and I wanted that to come across in the recording.

Mark: The way the media is these days is somewhat chaotic, but I blame the mainstream press more – I mean they have looked down on Rock music forever and tried to ignore it or downplay or dismiss it whenever it surged to popularity.  It’s easy just to throw out a ‘sounds like Led Zeppelin’ and be dismissive but its lazy to do so and it doesn’t scratch the surface of a band like the Temperance Movement, I listen to the album and I hear a whole, so many layers, subtlety and power, it’s like a work of art really.

Damon: That’s very cool of you to say so. When we started recording we went back to that studio we recorded the first album in and recorded 5, maybe 6 ideas and it was only two of those songs that made the record because of the variety. I think ‘Pleasant Peace..’ and ‘Three Bulleits’ were among those new songs from the first session. And I think those two were the blueprint for the album. (Then) we had a conversation about mellower songs, as there are a few on the first record and the thinking was, the one decision that we made early on was that we didn’t thing the new album was going to have anything really quiet on it – it was all going to be pretty loud and proud! I don’t know, we’ve not yet made a record that doesn’t hang together as a complete piece of work, I’m sure we’ll face that challenge at some point.  

Mark: Are you going to be taking a lot of new album tracks out on the road?

Damon: Oh yeah, we did this TV show in Paris and we did 8 of the new songs and we can’t wait to present the whole thing, I mean there are only ten songs.

Mark: Sounds like audiences are in for a real treat. Thanks so much for talking to The Rockpit. Just before we go we’d love to ask you something we ask all our interviewees: If you could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ in the studio for the recording of any great album just to see how it all came together what would it have been for you?  

Damon: ‘Dark Side of the Moon’… Without a doubt, I know that’s kind of a critic’s choice…

Mark: But so hard to fault…

Damon: It’s such a sophisticated record, there’s just so much depth. It’s so grown up for a bunch of guys that were in their 20’s. There’s some footage of them on that ‘Live in Pompeii’ (DVD) and it shows them in Abbey Road and that just really wet my appetite. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the politics and the mind games between Roger Waters and the rest of the band! (Laughs)  

Mark: And the easy question we end with 'what is the meaning of life?'.

Damon: Isn’t it 37 or was it 42 I can’t remember from ‘Hitchhikers’… What is the meaning of life – maybe it’s ‘He who has the most fun wins!’

Mark: Or maybe get out and see as much live music as you can before you die!

Damon: Now that’s a good one.

Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time today Damon, hopefully we’ll get to see you and the guys down here soon.

Damon: I hope so Mark, it was really good talking to you.



Now get out there and get a copy of ‘White Bear’!






Damon spoke to Mark Rockpit - January 2016  


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