"We're all addicted to something," exclaimed Rob Eelman. "Music is one of the few substances you can't abuse. We want to provide people an escape from the mundane reality many are forced to accept... some Temporary Grace if you will."
Escaping the mundane reality is definitely something music has done for Temporary Grace members Greg Forney and Chuck Epperly. The two met at a Wendy's restaurant in Arizona and watched their band Dislocated Styles become one of the most popular bands in the area, eventually signed to Roadrunner Records. They toured around the world and released their debut record in September 2001. Unfortunately, the timing of the release and some lyrics in the song "Fire in the Hole" crushed any hopes for success as the song was blacklisted due to reminding people of the terrorist attack.
"The Rock Rap sound was changing," said Greg Forney, "and even though we still had a tour in Japan planned for February, I knew that after being blacklisted our days at Roadrunner were numbered. Chuck and I made the decision to leave Dislocated Styles after we returned from Tokyo."
A few years later, their current band Temporary Grace is poised to return them to the top. Comprised of Greg Forney on drums, Rob Eelman on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Chuck Epperly on lead guitar and Anthony Crotta on bass, Temporary Grace ditched the "rock rap" sound in favor of good ol' fashioned rock and roll from the heart.
One listen to tracks from of "Priorities" like "Days Uncounted" and it's easy to see that the band has unlimited potential to work with. The songs deal with topics like addiction, love, and racism and show a band willing to write songs that have serious undertones amidst the steady beat.
The release is the band's first full-length CD after handing out a 4-song demo a few years back. "The demo was an opportunity to get some of our songs out and let people know about the band," said Greg Forney. "It did get our name going. There's definitely levels to it. It's funny, but you don't realize how powerful handing out 11,000 CDs is until you do it."
Temporary Grace spent a year in the studio recording the CD because they wanted it to sound just right. Apparently they made the right decision because within a few weeks of its release, the band was featured on Steve Hook's "The Jersey Rock Show", which runs on WRAT (95.9 FM) from Tuesday to Thursday nights. Equally as important has been feedback from the station about people requesting Temporary Grace each day.
The band has built up a solid following due to tremendous live shows and hard work in aligning with bands with similar work ethics, which help create great show lineups that make it easier to sell tickets. It's a idea that is proving highly successful.
"We can let the clubs just lump us on these shows where we're playing with five bands that aren't that good or we can align ourselves together and just do the work," explained Forney.
"The good musicians find each other just like the good bands find each other," he adds. "It's a lot easier for me to convince people to get tickets ahead of time when the people we're selling tickets know who's going to be there. I mean, wouldn't you rather see three bands play hour sets than five bands play 40 minute sets and three of whom you might not have heard of before? I prefer being able to tell people, ,AeoThis is a great band - we put them on the bill, it's not some band that just got added to the show.' And I've noticed the shows we've done like that have bigger and bigger local numbers."
Forney and Epperly used the same formula to help Dislocated Styles get big. They aligned themselves with other popular local acts. Some like Incubus and Alien Ant Farm became national names. Part of what drives them is using their previous experience and trying to build off of it.
"It's a blessing and it's a curse," said Forney. "It's the reason I can't stop because I know what the next level is like. I've tasted it and lived it and know that's what I was put here to do."
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.