Interview: The Temperance Movement’s Phil Campbell

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Interview with blues-rock band’s frontman; plus free track download
(Photo: Rob Blackham)

(Photo: Rob Blackham)

“It was the perfect tour for us,” says the Temperance Movement’s raw-voiced frontman Phil Campbell of his punchy, blues-rocking combo’s first U.S. visit, a two-and-a-half-month jaunt opening for grass-roots Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke.

The London-based Temperance Movement – Glasgow-born Campbell plus guitarists Paul Sayer and Matt White, bassist Nick Fyffe and Australian-bred drummer Damon Wilson – was an ideal match for their American tourmates, with both bands mining distinct but compatible veins of gritty, arena-ready roots-crunch.

“It was very positive,” Campbell affirms. “Blackberry Smoke’s fans were really welcoming, and they seem to be exactly like our fans back home: real blue-collar, working-class people. That’s our natural audience. Whenever things start getting too hipster, I usually excuse myself and go outside.”

The soulful sound and swaggering spirit that have been winning the Temperance Movement new stateside fans are apparent throughout the band’s eponymous debut album, which confidently taps into the deep well of blues and rock influences that have been traded across the Atlantic for the past half-century. The dozen-song set offers an accomplished mix of rousing rockers and thoughtful ballads, following in the scrappy-but-sensitive tradition of such forebears as the Rolling Stones, the Faces and the Black Crowes.

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(The band’s second album, White Bear, is scheduled for release on July 15, via Fantasy Records. The terrific title track is already available. They enjoyed a Top 10 rock radio track in 2015 with “Take it Back.” Dates are already booked for July with more to come.)

“It’s the people’s music, and it kind of exists outside of the music press and the machinery of the media,” states Campbell. “There’s a feeling that you get from playing this kind of music that you can’t get from anything else. I mean, I respect anybody who tries to do something interesting and cool, and I did a bit of that myself when I was younger, but innovation can be dangerous in rock ‘n’ roll.”

The Temperance Movement’s back-to-basics approach was definitely out of fashion on the London scene when the band – whose members’ resumes included work with the likes of Jamiroquai, Ray Davies, Klaus Voorman, the Waterboys, James Blunt and Jack Bruce – came together in 2011.

“We knew it was gonna be a band that was gonna be loud and hard,” Campbell notes. “We’d all come from very different backgrounds and tried a lot of different things. By the time we came together, I think we were all feeling ready to cheer up a bit and be in a band that was gonna go on the road and experience life together and have some stories to tell.”

The Temperance Movement has already accumulated more than a few stories, including an invitation to open four shows for the Rolling Stones in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – a band milestone that Campbell describes as “a magical, wonderful experience and a dream come true.”

Now, with a foot firmly in the door of the American market, the Temperance Movement plan to continue building its U.S. fan base the old-fashioned way.

“We’re just trying to get as many new fans as we can, and hopefully they’ll tell their friends about us and bring them all to the next gig,” Campbell asserts. “Our first experience in America was a really good one, so we know that there’s an audience for our music here. Now it’s up to us to just keep coming back.”

Free Download: 'Take It Back' by The Temperance Movement

The Temperance Movement 2016 U.S. Tour Dates:
July 09 – Telluride, CO – Ride Festival
July 10 – Telluride, CO – Ride Festival
July 12 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
July 14 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
July 15 – Peoria, IL – Limelight
July 16 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Stache at Intersection
July 18 – Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon
July 19 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
July 20 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
July 22 – Columbus, OH – A&R Music Bar
July 23 – Detroit, MI – The Shelter at Saint Andrews

Scott Schinder

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