Thanks so much to Phil Andrews for the interview!
++ Why did you decide to call it a day with Chapter 29 and start The Morrisons? I’m quite curious of that first band of yours, were there any recordings or releases?
I think we had gone as far as we could with it really. It was Ian and Jerry’s first band in which they literally learned to play. If it had been 1986 and not 1982/83 I think the twee sound would have found a better home. There were a number of fairly basic recordings and funnily enough these have just been released as a CDR album by Series Two Records.
++ Were you fan of The Doors at all? Or was the name a joke? What were your favourite bands at the time?
Ian was a big fan of The Doors but the idea came one Sunday night when we were both down the pub and pretty drunk! We were nearly called The Jim Morrisons!! Ian has always been a big garage rock 60’s fan and introduced me to The Velvet Underground amongst others. We were both very inspired by punk and the “just go and do it” ethic to writing and playing.
++ How did the whole band came together? At one point you were a five piece right? you even had a saxophone!
We actually started as a five piece and after about six months (in time for our first gig) Shelley joined on saxophone and backing vocals to make it six!!
++ Why did you decide to self release the Listen To Your Heart flexi? H ow fast did those 1000 copies go?! How did you afford pressing it?
We saw that a flexi was the way forward through the music press at the time and we actually recorded ours before we had even gigged. Once John Peel played it several hundred copies went via mail order within the first couple of weeks. Johnny Dee then approached us about giving the balance away with his Especially Yellow fanzine which we did and that lead on to the EP for Playroom Discs. Ian, Jerry and myself saved up the money for the flexi at £10 a week each for about two months.
++ Most of your recordings were done “live”, straight to a four track! Why did you do it that way? Were you looking for something with more energy? What difference do you find between those recordings and the Playroom EP?
Most of the recordings were done live on four track because that was all we could afford. Home recording equipment was still basic and expensive and a “proper” recording session would have been too expensive as well. It does have the advantage of sounding more rough and edgy and because the recordings were done with friends we could do more of them and re-do the ones that didn’t work out so good. With the exception of Travellin’ Boy and Lament we were disappointed with the EP sound which we felt was too polished. Ian and I prefer the four track demo versions of the songs better.
++ The EP of yours is fantastic. Listen To Your Heart, Storm, Lament (such a good bassline and trumpets!) and the underrated Travellin’ Boy (this could have been a single by itself!). Why didn’t you keep releasing more music? I heard Golden Pathway was going to release something but it never happened? What’s the story?
Thanks Roque. We always liked the EP songs it was just the recordings that sounded too polished!! Golden Pathway were poised to release our next single which was going to be Brighter Days as Karen and Gordon at Playroom Discs still had other EP’s to get out before they could think about another Morrisons one. Things still moved very slowly back then and we needed the distribution network that the labels had remember there was no internet and MySpace back then. Travellin’ Boy by the way was always one of my favourite Morrisons songs we did play it again in the live set a while back which was fun. On the subject of bass lines it must be said that Dave is an awesome bass player.
++ How was your relationship with Johnny Dee? How helpful was him with his Especially Yellow fanzine in spreading the word of The Morrisons?
Johnny was real helpful. Without his input giving away Listen To Your Heart with Especially Yellow we wouldn’t have got the EP deal with Playroom Discs. We mainly exchanged letters (no e-mail then) but I’m sure I met Johnny once at his flat in Brighton when Ian and I visited Karen and Gordon but my memory is a little wobbly here it was a long time ago. I always read Johnny’s articles if I come across them in the papers though.
++ What was the biggest highlight for The Morrisons? Maybe getting the flexi played by John Peel?
The John Peel plays will always be special he was after all the most iconic DJ of all time. We did play some really great gigs at the time too people seemed really up for it. It still surprises me though when people get in touch now who bought the records back in the 80’s.
++ Do you remember anything about those tape compilations were you appeared? Like the Rewind compilation tape or the Now That’s Righteous one? Who did these? How did you end up on them?
We used to do loads and loads of fanzine interviews at the time and these would often come with requests for tracks for compilation cassettes. We always donated tracks and I lost count of who had what. It’s great to see that some of those are really popular even now.
++ On the Leamington Spa compilation liner notes you say you were darlings of the fanzine scene! How involved were you in that scene? Did you ever gave it a shot to make one? Which ones were your favourite ones?
As I said above we were doing several a week they were a great way of getting the band’s name around. We never started one ourselves although the local one here called Swim I would regularly write for. Favourite fanzine well Especially Yellow of course!!
++ What was your favourite gig playing for The Morrisons and why?
It would have been in 1987 at Bart’s Tavern in Exeter. We played with a band called The Precious Stone Thieves and the place was packed. There was no stage at Bart’s and the audience was literally pressed right up tight in front of the band. We played really well that night and made lots of friends. We were always regulars at Bart’s after that.
++ Why did you call it a day in 1988? Were you involved in any bands after that?
I think we were all getting frustrated. Things weren’t moving fast enough for us I think we felt we should be touring and releasing records but it seemed to take forever for things to move forward. In hindsight I think we needed a Manager we were still doing everything ourselves from writing songs to booking live dates, PA hire and vans etc. I played bass in a band called Jensen for about five years. Ian, Jerry and Dave played in a number of bands before we re-formed The Morrisons in 2003. We lost contact with our drummer Jason until a couple of months back when he spotted our You Tube stuff and got back in touch again.
++ You released a fantastic retrospective CD with the good friends of Firestation Records called “Songs From the South of England”! Im very glad it happened as it introduced your music to a broader audience. How do you feel about your songs twenty years later? I think they’ve aged really well! Which is your favourite song of your repertoire?
It was great to do the Firestation release as it drew together lots of loose ends and packaged up a lot of songs that had just sat quietly on the shelf getting dusty. I think a lot of the songs still sound good and I’ll often strum through some of them at home even now! We do play some of the 80’s stuff in our live sets now but it tends to be “forgotten” ones that we never recorded at the time. Favourites would be Travellin’ Boy, Storm and Brighter Days (we have been known to play all three of these even now!!).
++ Last question, which is your favourite beach in Torquay?
It’s called Oddicombe and is real quiet compared to the main tourist beaches. You can reach it by using an old Victorian cliff railway which is fun and there is a good pub called The Cary Arms about a ten minute walk away. If you ever visit Torquay give me a call and I’ll take you down there!