By: Heidi Hopf
Kim Foley said that “Rock and roll is a nuclear blast of reality in a mundane world where no-one is allowed to be magnificent.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. This day and age I personally believe everyone could use a little more, raw Rock and Roll in their lives, but I’ve been worried that maybe rock lovers were bound to go hungry and have to rely on the scraps of the past. After speaking with Kevin Byrnes of Fifth Temple I have a new hope that a feast fit for the gods of rock may be served to us on a silver platter.
After a 28-year hiatus, Kevin Byrnes (songwriter/ guitar) and drummer Paul Irish had finally reunited in 2012 and decided to form a recording band by joining together with Parker Holyhomes on bass and vocalist Ed Seguin. After revisiting some old songs and writing a pile of new material they had a debut album recorded at Ice Nine Studio with Alec Bromkey that will be coming to us in January, and a second in progress. They have also moved forward with scratching the itch to play that material live.
I asked Byrnes what it was like to reconnect with a former bandmate and perform some older material after so many years.
“As the writer, I was resistant to some of it because when you’re 20 something or 30 something and you’re writing songs you are coming from a different headspace,” said Byrnes. “There’s a lot of life that goes under the bridge. And so your whole approach and hopefully your talent changes and evolves. So it was kinda interesting because I was revisiting my own material… I was rewriting my book as it were. The guys responded to it really well. It turned up really well. I hate the word mature when you’re talking about this stuff cuz its Rock and Roll. But it is more sophisticated in its rawness if that makes sense.”
To me, that made perfect sense and gave me a degree of excitement to listen further into their music. After listening to a few songs from the album Byrnes seemed the perfect candidate to discuss the matter of the pesky death rattle of rock and roll. Fifth Temple combines the gritty sounds of the 80’s and the melodic mood of the 90’s rock to create that loud feverish sound that has accompanied so many of us through fast drives and late nights screaming along to the stereo. So who better to ask if he thinks we should all be preparing our funeral attire.
“I don’t think that its dead. I think that it has changed its clothes.” Byrnes said. “It’s not always in stadiums now. Maybe the following is a little smaller than it was but you have to remember that rock and roll came into the baby boomer era there were way more kids then, so they were on mass really loving this thing. I think that the market has become more eclectic.”
“I think that one thing that’s interesting is that to some of the older crowd [being not teenagers] the rock and roll audience is still alive and well. And they still want what they want. Their listening ear has expanded but there is still a viable market. I think rock and roll has absorbed many different things for better or for worse. I think it has a lot of longevity actually. One of our new songs is called ‘It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over’ and it’s about exactly that. That as long as we’re still drawing breath there will still be rock and roll.”
So maybe that’s it. Rock and Roll isn’t gone, it’s just hiding in different areas now and under another name. Maybe Rock and Roll has just decided to don a disguise, assume an alias and is planning its triumphant return.
Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before it makes a comeback tenfold. With the Millennial’s being the next largest market to the Baby Boomers I guess it’s up to them to demand it.
Watch for updates as well as an upcoming video from Fifth Temple on their Facebook page, and give them a listen on SoundCloud.