KIM TEMPLE as part of Wavelength at Sneaky Dee's (431 College), Sunday (January 25). Pwyc. 416-603-3090. Rating: NNNNN
kim temple isn't very threatening. I mean, I'm not sure if I could take her in a fight, but she's not the type of person to challenge me to one. Still, her new solo project has been dubbed Temple Threat. And as a female drummer, she is one of those chicks who challenge gender lines. I know that comes across as cheesy, but it's true.
While many parents are busy shoving non-gender-specific toys at their kids in the hopes that one day little boys everywhere will dream of growing up to be ballerinas and little girls will fantasize about becoming the next Maurice Richard, the fact is, nobody's going to have to worry about rethinking the lineup of The Nutcracker any time soon. And the world of rock is no different. Chicks are singers and boys do the rest.
Sure, there are other female drummers out there: Stefanie Eulinberg, Cindy Blackman, Sam Maloney, Dee Plakas, Sheila E., Kerri from Rocket Tits - but the fact that I could name them all right here and not run out of space only illustrates my point.
So when you meet Kim and find out she's a drummer, you can't help but think, "That's so fucking cool."
Then you find out she plays hockey, too (with the Exclaim! League on the Three Gut team named Feelings) and you really start to feel like an inadequate girly girl and make a mental note to do something un-girly in the near future.
The advantageous aspects of being a rarity are not lost on Temple.
"People literally freak out about it," she laughs, sitting at the bar at the Communist's Daughter looking all pretty in a pink shirt and matching choker.
"People come up to me and say, 'It's so awesome to see a girl drummer,' or guys say, 'You're one of the best drummers I've ever seen - not the best chick drummer but one of the best drummers!'
"You do become aware of the commoditization is that a word? I get a lot of calls from people who specifically want a girl drummer, and you know they just want you in their band because it looks hot."
Nevertheless, for Temple Threat she's abandoned the skins and taken up a Casio keyboard instead. She'd been writing tunes for a while but hadn't performed any of them when, again, someone called her up and she decided to give it a try.
"I was asked to play at Casa del Popolo in Montreal and I didn't feel like I was ready. I'm not used to being a frontperson. My mom had given me this cape years ago that I figured I'd use for a Halloween costume or something, and I found it in my closet and thought, 'Maybe if I wear this it won't really be me. It'll be like being in costume. '"
So she threw her keyboard in the car and off she went.
"The Casio is something I can do by myself. I'm mobile, as opposed to playing with drums and having to get home late at night and unload by myself."
Between songs she started this banter about being half vampire, "just to lighten things up because it was so dark," and a concept was born. Now the half vampire is part of the act.
The tunes are dark. They're sparse carnival dirges about love and death, with percussive keyboards and circus stylings topped with droning lament. I think of Leonard Cohen, but others tell Temple her tunes are goth.
"I don't know. When I think of goth I think industrial, heavy and sinister. Maybe the sinister part applies. I see it as filmic, like a soundtrack. I want to make the show like a Brian De Palma film. I was obsessed with Phantom Of The Paradise as a teenager."
Perhaps love and death are goth themes, but, hell, they figure in just about every other genre, too.
"I guess I'm very existential. It's also about being an old soul."
So, Kim's an old soul, is she?
"I like to think I am. No, yeah, I am."