Brave Days Of Old
A Hymn For An Ancient Mariner
Ken Tamplin is a pioneer musician. He started playing guitar at age eight and later adapted his study of music to other instruments including his voice. At 12 another significant event changed Tamlpins life forever. In the process of building a rocket, it accidentally discharged into his stomach ripping open his spleen. Infection set in and the doctors didnt have much hope that he would live through the night. His mother called prayer chains across the country to pray for her son and in two days the infection and wound were virtually undetectable. He is a living miracle. The power of that experience focused Tamplin on a loyalty to Christian beliefs that has encouraged and blessed his life ever since.
In 1984, Tamplin joined Joshua, his first major rock band and assisted in the recording of Surrender, the groups second studio outing. "Joshua wasnt necessarily a Christian band," Tamplin told us poolside at the Ultrasound 2000 show. "There were Christians in the band but we played our type of music, which transcended well to both rock and Christian rock markets. Its kind of interesting in that Joshua played at the first Dynamo Festival in Europe years ago and here I am at the first Ultrasound Festival."
In 1988, Tamplin left Joshua to form his own band, Shout, with Idle Cures guitarist Chuck King but before cutting his ties he contributed to three tracks on Joshuas third record Intense Defense (1988). Both Shout records, It Wont Be Long (1988) and In Your Face (1989) were landmark albums in the arena of Christian rock. The lyrics were positive and inspirational though not over the top or preachy and the guitar-fueled musicianship was ranked among the best by both critics and fans. It was Shouts similarity to Foreigner and Whitesnake that led to Tamplin being heralded as the next David Coverdale and with his four-octave range, he proved he was up for the challenge.
"I got compared to Sammy (Hagar) my cousin too. I never really tried to sound like him or anyone else for that matter," says Tamplin. "If anything Im influenced by such great singers as Paul Rodgers and Lou Gramm but my biggest influences are Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket and Otis Redding. They really started the whole soul thing. And thats what I love."
By the early 90s Tamplin was recording as a solo act. This allowed him the freedom of mixing a number of different influences and styles under his monarch while still retaining a loyal fan-base. Axe To Grind (1990), Soul Survivor (1991), Tamplin (1993), In The Witness Box (1995) and We The People (1995) all faired well, especially in Europe and Japan. "I still tour over there a couple times a years. Sometimes Ill do as many as six shows in a row with only one day off before another six shows. I really have to pace myself so I dont blow my voice out. But its fun to find all these little pockets of fans that dig my music."
In the dawn of the new century, Tamplin finds himself busier than ever working in films (The Waterboy and Major League III) and TV (Baywatch, X Files and First Wave). Last year he released a career retrospective solo album titled Brave Days Of Old and has just followed it up with the full Shout reunion disc, Shout Back, which sees Tamplin joined by Chuck King, Joe Galletta and Loren Robinson. It is out in the States on Planet Records.
"I have just finished another album too called Where Love Is," states Tamplin. "I finished it before the Shout reunion. Its more of a pop thing but because of the Shout release Ive held off on putting it out. Its defiantly something to watch for. Ive got so many ideas I dont know what to do with them all. The challenge has been to corral those ideas into what people expect from me as an artist. Whether its hard rock, pop, or working on a session project I put the same amount of effort into each one."
Ken Tamplins magnetic energy, dedication and enthusiasm are what inspire and coverts the many people lucky enough to hear him play. His songs are a reflection of one mans journey through life and the effect the world has on him. It is his gift through music that lifts the soul, challenges the mind and moves one closer to an understanding of the Divine.