"Tempus Fugit" got together in its current incarnation in the early summer of 1997, when Daniel Veidlinger called up some of his buddies from previous bands which he'd been in. Originally a band without a name (imagine that!) he, along with Phil Shoore, David Blatt, and Darrin Cappe, spent the summer jamming away in the posh Veidlinger basement. At the time, as it usually goes with bands, we spent most of our time playing covers, and attempting to write some of our own songs. The songs written in this period were, "Leave My Soul Alone," and originally a trance-inducing instrumental nicknamed "My Ass Hurts". These songs, progressive in nature, were musically written by Daniel, who has a flair for the complicated, and therefore writing was a slow, but worthwhile, process. "Proofrock" was also written during this time period, combining a complicated time riff written by Daniel, with two rockin' guitar riffs provided by Dave. The union of the two was magical, and we knew that we had a really good song there. Originally, it was an instrumental called "My Ass Hurts," referring to Darrin's involvement in the song. It wasn't until much later that Darrin wanted to try adding vocals and needed lyrics. I wrote out the parts of T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Proofrock" [at lease what I remembered. I picked this poem because it was the first poem I ever really loved. Darrin adjusted and edited the poem remarkably well, and it became a complete song.
Daniel is perhaps the most musically inclined member of the band, and because of this, he usually took over the song-writing duties in the band. Therefore, his return to Chicago to continue his pursuit of his PhD. was to become a turning point in the bands growth and development. We found his replacement just prior to his sojourn. Her name was Robin, and she was a "real" progressive bassist (I would use the term "hard-core" if it weren't so inappropriate). Phil and Darrin, in the meanwhile, were looking for a different musical style for the band, and fortunately we had a very versatile and easy-going guitarist in Dave, who can pretty much adapt to whatever kind of music we felt like playing.
The two most significant features of the time period between September 1997 and January 1998, was that we began writing songs without Daniel, and that Robin never showed up to rehearsals. The significance of Robin's absence is that without her during the writing process, the songs were not going to head into the really complicated progressive stuff. Darrin began to present some of his songs to the band. Darrin's songs, personal and written on acoustic guitar, usually come off as folky before we get our hands on them. And this was the case with the first song we worked on, called "Black Rose." I heard something powerful and choppy almost immediately in the chorus section, and put in the beat on the tom-toms (borrowed from "The Police") the very first time. David put on his distortion pedal, and the song took a life of its own. We knew right away that it was catchy and poppy, and that it was an important song for us.
"Clover" was the next song presented to us by Darrin, and we didn't do too much to revolutionize the sound of the song. We attempted, and, I believe, succeeded, to build the song up to the emotional acme of "It can be so disappointing." It was at this point that David and I also got involved. David had this beautiful, classical-like, guitar line, which he has written as a love song. Darrin and I immediately loved the sound, which was in a different style of the other originals we had written. David didn't have lyrics for the song yet, and so I looked through my collection of writings, poetry and lyrics, and we found "Never Again" there. Although it took Darrin a little while to acclimate himself to lyrics written by someone other then himself, it turned out to be a very powerful song.
One of the defining moments of the band (we were calling ourselves "Tempus Fugit" at the time, ironically, David and Robin really liked the name, while Darrin and I were uncomfortable with the association with our previous, and completely different, band) came when we began work on a song called "For the Children." Before Daniel had left for Chicago, he had written this powerful, yet simple melody on guitar. He played it for me, and taught me the guitar part, which stuck in my head for several weeks after he had gone. The lyrics had been turning in my head after the controversy of the Marilyn Manson tour, and South Park's initial stint on television. I actually attempted to write the lyrics to fit in with the rhythm of the music. (In the end, however, a drummer's rhythm, maybe even a poet's, is different than a vocalist's sense of how the words should adhere to the music, or maybe it's just that Darrin and I hear different rhythms in the same song.) The defining moment came because Darrin, David and I began with only the chorus of the song being written. And we spent our time writing the music for the rest of the song together. We were happy with the result, but even happier to find that we could communicate our musical ideas freely to one another, and end up with something communal that is ours.
That time period was also marked by our lack of a consistent place to practice. With Daniel's absence, we felt uncomfortable jamming in his parents' basement, and so we ended up on the route of going to rent-by-the-hour studios. I personally think that these places are not conducive to original bands. With the time constraints put on you, working on new songs always feels like you are wasting your money, and you end up playing the same songs over and over again. We decided to find a permanent studio and chose a small (cozy would be a nice word) studio in "The Rehearsal Factory." We rented a PA, and although it did not have the best sound quality, it was our place, and we could come and go as we please.
It was around this time that we realized that although we always saw her amplifier, it was going to be difficult to play shows without a bassist who knew our songs. Robin left the band in a mutual feeling that it wasn't working out. She felt that in order for her to "make-it" she would have to her her own stuff, we just wanted a bassist who would come to rehearsals.
Next Release - 1998