After 20 years listening to Eskimo Joe’s breakout hit ‘Sweater’, I don’t think I ever would have guessed how epic the response would be when I finally got the chance to ask Kav Temperley what his grandfather thought of the songs lyrics.
“Well, the thing is, my grandfather passed away in 1997,” Temperley says. “At that time, like a lot of us, I was a kid playing rock and roll that wasn’t super well off and doing whatever grotty gigs I could get away with.
“When my grandfather passed away, he left me about seven and a half thousand dollars. At that point in time, I could play music well, but I was just singing in other people’s bands. So I bought myself a bass and a bass amp and I started Eskimo Joe,” he smiles.
“In some ways, you could say ‘Sweater’ was some kind of spirit of my grandpa kicking around to help me push my music career; he was never around for me to get his thoughts on the song, but he did help with the whole thing in a roundabout way.”
One of the biggest perks of being a music journalist is hearing stories like this. Stories that, unless they end up going to print, no one else will ever know. This is also the reason why you should go see the acclaimed songwriter on his first ever solo tour as he performs tracks from his debut solo album All Your Devotion.
“I’m basically going out and playing the songs in a very simple manner and actually telling the stories behind the songs,” he says. “I guess the whole idea with that is the stories almost become as important as the songs so that seems like a really intimate and authentic place to start.
“After that I’ll come out next year with a full band and hopefully the people in the audience can tell their friends, ‘oh, I was at the solo show and this song is about….’ and then it becomes about the fans telling the song’s story.”
With Temperley telling the stories of the songs behind All Your Devotion, fans can expect an incredibly intimate experience, especially considering his first solo release is also his most personally intrusive album to date.
“When you write an album by yourself, you get to sing the lyrics that may have been too embarrassing to sing when other people are in the room,” he laughs. “In Eskimo Joe, I would always bring my lyrics to a more universal place. I’d start out with honest stories about my life and what was going on for me; they would always end up sounding like they were grand universal messages.
“With this solo album I can be really personal,” he continues. “There are songs like ‘Devotion’, the title track, which is the most seductive song I’ve ever written, and others like ‘Queen of my Heart’ which is probably the most straightforward love song I’ve written in a long time. Sometimes it’s hard to sing those kinds of songs when you are in a room with two dudes that you know really well. Doing a solo record has given me the freedom to really be authentic with what I want to say.”
When & Where: Sooki Lounge, Belgrave – October 12 & The Toff In Town, Melbourne – October 13
Written by Alex Callan