Everyone knows music is a form of expression. But for three Bitterroot-raised boys, it’s also a form of friendship.
Jason Owens, Neil Sampson and DJ Sherwood have “jammed” together for about seven years. At the beginning, they’d simply hang out, play guitar and, every once in a while, make a song.
“We’d sit there and we’d sing it and we’d be happy,” Sherwood said.
As the years went on, the boys became more proficient at songwriting. About three years ago, a friend told them they should play at The Office in Hamilton. So they did.
“It kind of blew up on us. We weren’t expecting it at all,” Owens said. “We weren’t really planning on doing anything with it.”
It was then that their trio became Temper-Airily, the band without a specific genre, other than acoustic, to describe their music. And that’s how they like it.
“We play to suit our moods in a lot of cases,” Owens said. “I think that’s what inspires us in a lot of situations, is a particular song will fit how we’re feeling.”
The diversity in their songs also comes from their varied tastes in music. Owens is a self-proclaimed metal-head while Sherwood generally sticks to classic rock. Sampson said he was originally all about blues and punk rock, but lately his tastes have “gone and become everything.”
“They all kind of just blend into chaos,” Sherwood said, laughing. “Like the best kind of chaos that you could ask for. We get together and somehow, out of all the excuses and the late nights, something wonderful happens.”
All three boys sing and play guitar. Owens also plays the “stomp-box,” Sampson the stand-up bass and Sherwood is the “ice-breaker” who tells the jokes. Combined with their fluctuating set list, each show is just like another night out with the guys. They feed off each other’s energy as well as the audience’s and produce a show to match.
“If the crowd’s really reserved and they’re not giving us a lot of feedback, we’ll…” Owens started.
“Smack ‘em!” Sampson interjected and laughed.
“We tend to kind of get more mellow in our playing,” Owens finished. “But, if there’s a lot of energy coming at us and they’re really feeding off what we’re doing, we actually tend to get over-excited. We’ve been playing a little bit too fast.”
No matter the tempo or the style of their songs, Temper-Airily always tries to keep a grain of truth in them.
“Whether it be past experiences or something that we believe in wholeheartedly, that’s what we like to sing about,” Sherwood said.
That can also mean their perception of a situation, which can sometimes produce what Sampson deemed the “funny creepy” songs.
“We’re just trying to throw humor at dark situations because, you know, sometimes all you can do is laugh and shrug it off and just keep on going,” Sherwood said.
So far, Temper-Airily has kept their concerts in the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula area. All three boys have day jobs – Sherwood at Spice of Life, Sampson at Cheng Family and Owens managing his own business, the band and being a father. They plan to take a break from performing in the winter to record and work on more songs.
“When you’re recording and taking apart a song, you may find something that’s missing,” Sherwood said.
He gave the example of their song “American Dream,” which they now close with at just about every show. It’s a testament to chasing your dream despite distractions from work and life in general.
After the break, though, Owens said Temper-Airily may consider taking it to the next level.
“We’re starting to get a lot of really positive feedback that, for me, has kind of led me to believe that we could do something with it if we wanted to,” he said.
But all three said their friendship will always come before the band.
“That has to come first because, well, at the end of the day the rest of it really isn’t important. As long as we’re enjoying what we’re doing that’s all we really care about,” Owens said.
Temper-Airily’s next show is at Bitter Root Brewery in Hamilton for the Velocity Gymnastics fundraiser on Aug. 5.
Reach reporter Lindsey Galipeau at 363-3300 or at email@example.com.