Russell Morris is a (ARIA) award winning singer songwriter from Australia. He scored a major hit with the song "The Real Thing". It was number one in Australia, and also the U.S. cities of New York, Chicago, and Houston, in 1969. It was one of the classic Psychedelic videos of the 1960's. Russell scored five top ten singles in Australia in the late 60's and early 70's. I recently caught up with Russell.
R.V.B. - What kind of music were you exposed to at a young age? What sparked you to become a musician?
R.M. - At a young age I was listening to the music my mother had in her collection - Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra. Later on I would be intrigued by New Orleans Jazz. Then the Rolling Stones opened up the door to Rhythm and Blues and to the American Blues artists.
R.V.B. - What instrument did you take up first and how did you work singing into your music? Were you formally trained?
R.M. - I took up the guitar. I was never trained. I only started to play in order to write my own songs
R.V.B. - What was the name of your first band and how did your first gig go?
R.M. - Our first band was called "Somebodies Image" and our first gig was at a nurses ball. Perfect.
R.M. - Our first break was supporting a band who was friends of ours caller "The Group". Ian Meldrum was with them. After the performance he approached us with an offer of management and record production.
R.V.B. - Are there any early touring stories? Mishaps or special evenings?
R.M. - The weirdest show was Randnick Racecorse. Three shows - morning, afternoon and night. By the evening show (Center of the Oval) the crowd was huge and we had to drive up to the stage thru the perimeter fence manned by guards. After two songs, the police ordered us to finish the show. So pursued by the crowds we drove to the gate. The guards were all gone because they thought the show was an hour. We drove round and round pursued by masses of fans until they finally found the guards.
R.V.B. - What was involved in making the audio and video of "The Real Thing"?
R.V.B. - How did that song change your life and where did you go from there?
R.M. - It was like climbing on the back of a stallion... hanging on, sometimes exhilarating and other times scary.
R.V.B. - Were you happy with your follow-up songs?
R.M. - The follow up songs seemed to be taking me further away from what I really wanted to do. I became seduced by the "Pop Sirens"
R.V.B. - Were you comfortable going to Europe? Where did you set up shop and what were your promoting activities like?
R.M. - Yes I was comfortable in Europe. I really enjoyed my time there however we couldn't seem to make any inroads. Sometimes the timing is not right. I based myself in Liphook and prior to that Finchley Road.
R.V.B. - Another big move was moving to New York... Did you live in Manhattan and how did you like the club scene there?
R.M. - I based myself in New York and Los Angeles. The little clubs in New York are great. I saw some great players there.
R.V.B. - Throughout your career... did you meet certain musician friends that you stayed lifetime friends with? Were you teamed up with any interesting acts on your bills?
R.M. - The players that I met in the UK, New York and L.A. I have mostly stayed in touch with. Half of them have done real well. The other half have drifted into other careers.
R.V.B. - What are some of your favorite performances that you did?
R.M. - I never performed in The U.S. or the U.K.. I was mainly recording. Work restrictions made it much too difficult.
R.V.B. - Is there anything that you wish you did differently in your career?
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your awards that you have received in Australia. How special of an honor was that for you? I understand you performed with a super group at the ceremonies?
R.M. - The Awards; I guess they are signposts that enable other people to judge your career. It's lovely to get them but as an artist it's best not to dwell on them. It's your obligation to keep exploring the new otherwise you rust.
R.V.B. - What do you have going on these days? Do you have any other hobbies other than music?
R.M. - These days I am looking at creating the follow up album to "Sharkmouth and "Van Diemens Land" It's a challenge. I know musically what I want but lyrically I am still looking for the right stories.
R.V.B. - Are there any new bands out there that you like and what do you have in your CD player today?
R.M. - New bands? Yes there are always new bands. So many are so good. I seem to listen to the facits of them and then I move on just absorbing. However I'm still always drawn back to roots and blues. The simpler the better.
R.V.B. - Finally... what do you think of the state of music the digital age?
R.M. - Digital is easier... much easier to get ideas down and so easy to edit as well. Digital with all it's convenience will never have the warmth of magic of analog.
R.V.B. - Thank you very much for your time and responses.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
For further information visit Russell's website www.sharkmouthmusic.com
To order Russell Morris music click on the Amazon tab upper right
This interview may not be reproduced in any manor without permission.
For information contact musicguy247(at)aol(dot)com