By 1998 we had changed or name to "Release" - not to be confused with "The Release" which is who we bacame after Dario joined but before we re-became "Tempus Fugit". Enter Oren Levy, pretty much a musical virtuoso who responded to our ad in Now Magazine. Oren put down the bass-line, thus creating what would eventually be "Slip Away" even before David (the guy with the heads in his freezer) showed up for his audition. We knew Oren was in right then. By this time we had already written "All Over Again," and "Almost Over," and we felt that we had enough material to play a gig. Side note, just before Oren joined the band, we had felt that the songs were all too mellow, and so we wrote "Violation" just to shake up the mix a bit. Oren also presented a song to us eventually called "Calm in the Storm," (or which I called "Communist Manifesto," - it's difficult to hear in a loud, small studio). This song would have been good if we could have played around with it, jammed it out. It had a funky guitar line which could have been built up with percussion, but Oren wanted a more simple blues song. Thus we began our quest to play our first gig.
The first thing was to practice, practice, practice. And so we did. Oren picked up the songs remarkably quick, but something wasn't quite right. We held a band meeting to discuss certain tensions in the band and to decide on what exactly we were going to do. We talked about a lot of small details, but we also informed Darrin that he was now officially a rhythm guitarist, as well as vocalist. He then bought an electric guitar, and began experimenting with strumming patterns. He booked our first show at Lee's Palace on March 30, 1998.
The Lee's gig turned out to be a very good first gig. Sure, the band was rough, and we had a difficult time hearing each other, but we played together and we got a good response from the crowd, around 40 of whom came to see us specifically. Our set list was:
Rockin' In The Free World
All Over Again
Calm in the Storm
My best memory from this first gig is the overwhelming positive reaction we got from our friends. Forever Young turned out to be a crowd favorite, and we began looking forward to our next show.
Happy with gig #1, we got booked at the El Mocambo for Scott B.'s open kitchen, downstairs. Although the sound wasn't as good, it was also a kick-ass show.
It was after this show that Darrin started finding us many gigs. Unfortunately, Oren didn't seem very keen on playing any of them. He had decided that he had to focus his energies on his full-time job, and the grueling task of week-day gigs that ran quite late was not conducive toward a productive work day. His leaving the band was a mutual agreement due to the fact that we wanted to play gigs and he didn't. He did, however, graciously agree to play one more gig with us, which Craig at Lee' Palace asked us to play when he "accidentally" printed up tickets for a show that we said we couldn't play.
Simultaneously, we began looking for yet another bassist. This time, however, we found Dario Brancato, who wanted to be in a band and who worked with my fiancee, Elaine. He came to jam with us, and although it was rough, his musical sense melded so well with what we were playing that we knew right away that we had found our permanent bassist. With this, he was in the crowd when we played Lee's Palace on May 26, 1998.
Oren's final gig with us was a complete success. We played with confidence and energy and we were really happy with the overall sound.
Next THE Release - 1998