Temperance Movement Like That Old Time Rock n’ Roll

Perhaps now more than ever, music needs bands like the Temperance Movement. In other words, real, honest-to-goodness, live-sounding rock n’ roll. In an era where Pro Tools, Auto-Tune and a team of professional outside songwriters are essential to many mainstream acts, it’s assuring to see the emergence of these British blues rockers, who recently issued their sophomore full-length, White Bear. Guitarist Paul Sayer chatted with Pulse shortly before his band is due to perform at the Brooklyn Bowl on Sept. 19.

Do you agree that the mainstream needs more artists like the Temperance Movement—live-sounding rock n’ roll bands?
I think there are less of us around. Possibly for a new generation of music fans coming through, they haven’t seen or they don’t get the opportunity that much to see a live show like ours—which is very honest, musically. Yeah, I think it’s important to understand where all that comes from.

What is puzzling to me as far as the mainstream goes is why there are not more bands that realize that artists that have stood the test of time—Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Nirvana—were all real/live-sounding.
I think there are so many different pressures on people that make music these days. And it’s such a difficult industry that it can influence your live show and how you are approaching it before you’ve even done any shows. These days, what often happens is [bands] find an artist that they think is moldable, and part of that molding process means that by the end of it, the band doesn’t sound an awful lot like it did when they were just in their garage or rehearsal space. Like you mentioned Nirvana, and that’s a perfect example of that—it was a group of guys probably in one of their garages playing away, someone heard it, loved it and put a lot of effort into making sure that other people heard that [same sound]. And I’m not sure how often that happens these days.

Who are some other modern artists that follow a similar stylistic path?
There are loads of bands out there that put on an amazing live show. The Dawes are one of those bands. Rival Sons, Black Keys, Jack White, Lake Street Dive, Sheepdogs. There are a lot of people who feel exactly the same way as we do about music—musicians, audience members and listeners.

Which brings us to the new Temperance Movement album, White Bear.
With the first record [2013’s self-titled release], we wanted to say, “Look. You can still make an album this way and it can still sound great, hopefully. There’s not some ‘magic’ that was around in the ‘70s that doesn’t exist anymore.” But with the new record, we felt like we did that. On this record we allowed ourselves some more time and freedom to explore some production and recording techniques, and it wasn’t just the sound of a band set up in a room. And it’s less of a retro record—I think it sounds more “today” than the first album, which was meant to be kind of a throwback-sounding album. It was written in a very different way, because a lot of the ideas came about when we were on the road. We would jam at soundchecks and the sound of the band on stage in a big-sounding room brings out very different things in you—whereas if you sat around with an acoustic guitar in someone’s living room. That definitely had an effect and maybe made the album sound bigger and a bit grander. The important thing for us is we don’t see ourselves as a band that will hit upon its formula on the first, second or third records. The reason for doing all this is to be able to evolve and try different things musically.

greg prato

greg prato

Greg Prato has lived almost his entire life on Long Island. He has written for Rolling Stone, and has penned many a book on either rock n’ roll or sports. See what he’s up to on Twitter @gregpratowriter.