I consider the first “real” band I ever played in to be Tempest Fero. Horrible name. Fun band. It was Mike on bass, Jeff on drums, Jim on keyboards, and some fat doofus on guitar.
We had a number of “songs” that we’d come up with that were just instrumental riffs that were fun to jam on. Goldfish, Toilet Water from Hell, Guppies from Mars and Beyond. Yeah, we were 16 and 17 year old nerds. I remember toward the end of my junior year in high school we had decided to stop looking for a singer and start just doing it ourselves. Jim was good. Jeff was better. I wasn’t so hot. Mike only sang when it was funny. I thought that if we were becoming a real band we should probably write lyrics to our instrumental songs. My first attempt was really bad, but I fudged it into a melody that went over Goldfish. Time for a Change was born. It was the first song I’d ever written or cowritten that was really complete. My simple melody got trashed in favor of a better one that Jim came up with. They were sort of similar, but Jim’s blew mine out of the water.
All of that happened about 25 years ago. Now, after all of this time, I give to you, oh internets, a sloppy little GarageBand demo recording of Time for a Change, 2013. Gasp in wonder at how lame it is…
But wait, there’s more!
I had to dig through a box full of old cassette tapes to find the arrangement and the lyrics, but I eventually found a tape that was in awful shape, with the worst wow and flutter in the history of magnetism. It also didn’t have Mike playing bass. That made me sad. Still, there were four other songs on the tape. One of them was a song that Mike and I wrote in his basement while playing with his 4-track recorder. This was probably either late ’88 or early ’89. I really can’t recall. Jeff took over the melody this time and made my simple, feeble attempt a billion times better.
The lyrics came from two places. I bought a copy of Steve Hackett’s Till We Have Faces album and the opening track was called Duel. It was based on a Spielberg movie of the same name about a commuter who is stalked by a psycho driving a truck. That idea, combined with nearly getting in a head on collision while driving home from work late one night made up the basis of what was sadly probably my best lyric effort with Tempest Fero. Not to imply my lyrics ever got much better, but this was the best I had come up with at the time. Jeff had started writing lyrics for T.F. too and his squashed mine like the proverbial grape. Anyway, in the hopes of not making Time for a Change feel all lonely and stuff, I also made a new GarageBand demo of One on One Duel…
Enjoy these two flashbacks to Rob’s early days of writing music, way back in the 80’s!