The 15 best student artists:Brown Recluse Sings

Fifteen artists were chosen to share their stories in our special issue, created to showcase some of Temple’s most passionate and creative on-campus talent.

(Courtesy Sheena Allen)

Year started: 2006
Genre: Indie rock

Three 20-something Temple alums founded a band in 2006 named after an evil killer spider, the poison of which induces stomach-turning wounds – not a likely source for feel-good indie pop, right?

“I wanted the imagery to contrast the aesthetic of nice pop songs,” lead singer Tim Meskers said.

Brown Recluse Sings, a retro-throb indie rock group with eclectic vibes, has gathered its growing fan base with ethereal vocals and a ‘60s feel. 

Tim Meskers, 24, and Herbie Shellenberger, 23, have played at Kung Fu Necktie and Khyber.

With producer Mark Saddlemire, 25, the band is busy working on its fourth album, The Soft Skin.

Sitting in an intimately-lit apartment on a vintage couch, surrounded by modern art and foreign film posters, Meskers talked about his years at Temple. He said he loved those years, as they changed his life. 

“A series of classes helped me radically restructure my perception of American culture,” Meskers said.  “Some professors had a great impact on me.”

All were attached to music at an early age. Meskers and Saddlemire sang in their respective church choirs as children, both with musical families.  Shellenberger listened to his mother’s cassettes of Thriller and ‘60s rock band, the Turtles.

“I watched MTV obsessively,” Shellenberger said. 

Meskers, who writes the majority of the band’s lyrics, said the words are mostly inspired by his life experiences.

“Periodically, I assemble [lyrics] in a way that might be intriguing,” he said. “I can learn about myself through the process of making music.”

“It’s an intimate metaphysical description,” Shellenberger added.

The band also takes cues from visual art, sociology and politics.

Soft Skin will introduce percussion and electronic accents to the sounds of Brown Recluse Sings. 
“We’re going in new directions,” Shellenberger said of the new album.

Maybe the ball of human hair the trio has assembled, apparently for its own amusement, will be of some inspiration.  

Check out Brown Recluse Sings’ MySpace page at

Bianca Brown can be reached at

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