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"I was influenced by John Lydon from the Sex Pistols." - Billy Morrison

Posted: March 1, 2024
Billy Morrison personifies the new wave of web-intensive, multimedia artists that pave the way forward for a new model, a new creativity and ultimately, a new breed of entertainment.

Photo by: Jane Stuart

Cult Following - Bands have all developed a devoted following over the years, but their music has not necessarily received mainstream commercial success.

The term "cult band" typically refers to a musical group or artist that has a devoted, but relatively small following of fans who are passionate about their music.

Some artists have performed over the years with notable name bands. Later in life, they decided to go onto “their own” solo career. This has worked for many successful artists. They go onto experience immediate success, and the fans they once entertained follow them onto the next project. One of the artists that come to mind is Billy Morrison. Previously he has performed with Bill Idol, The Cult, and has performed with some of the top artists in the world. When I first heard Billy Morrison perform on his own, I was hooked. There are certain sounds, that are familiar to my ears. However, most of what he has created is authentic, with his own style and branding.

Relative to the number of followers on social media, he would qualify as a “cult band”. Which is a compliment. Cult followers are music snobs. They are the elitist of the music industry. I know this personally. I would define myself as a music snob. I always felt that I have the inside scoop on who the best bands and artists were. Often, I would keep it to myself, or share it with a small group of people. All with the same tastes, and elite status.

At this point, in my life, I feel compelled to let everyone know when a cult band / artist has arrived on the scene. Billy Morrison is that artist.

ABOUT BILLY MORRISON

From playing guitar in the Los Angeles based all-star bands, Camp Freddy and Royal Machines, through joining rock band The Cult on their 2001 reunion, to writing and recording with his own bands Stimulator (signed to Geffen Records in 1995), Doheny, Circus Diablo (signed to Koch Records, 2007), releasing his own solo material, and now currently playing guitar for Billy Idol, Billy Morrison makes music at all levels. With Camp Freddy, he has shared stages with some of the world’s greatest musicians from Ozzy Osbourne, Steven Tyler, Slash, and Robbie Williams to Lou Reed, Ronnie Wood, Jerry Cantrell and many more. And touring the world with Billy Idol since 2010 has solidified Morrison as a powerful and creative rhythm guitar player. He will be headed out once more worldwide with Idol in 2014/15 in support of the new Billy Idol album (on which he co-wrote a number of tracks with Idol and Stevens), “Kings And Queens of the Underground”, to be released in October of this year.

Billy Morrison also hosted Camp Freddy Radio, a regular Saturday evening radio show for five years on Indie 103.1FM in Los Angeles from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, along with his co-hosts, Dave Navarro, and Matt Sorum. Nominated for best radio show by the LA Weekly, the show garnered much attention for its irreverent chat and non-formulaic playlists. He also hosted the Ozzy Osbourne Sunset Strip Music Festival award ceremony.

Madison Square Gardens in New York. Summer Sonic Festival in Japan. The main stage at the Reading Rock Festival in the UK, and the main stage 2010 Donnington performance with Billy Idol, Morrison has toured extensively around the world and continues to write, record, and perform in many areas of the entertainment business. He played guitar on some of the tracks on Tommy Lee’s solo album “Tommyland – The Ride” and performed at the 2008 MAP Awards with Steven Tyler, Slash and Chester Bennington. He also writes and records music for various television shows and has co-written songs with several different artists. Credits include songs with Robbie Williams, Billy Duffy, Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan, Steve Stevens, Billy Idol, Corey Taylor, Glen Ballard, and Jed Leiber.

Billy Morrison personifies the new wave of web-intensive, multimedia artists that pave the way forward for a new model, a new creativity and ultimately, a new breed of entertainment. He began acting in 2007 and has appeared in several independent movies and can be seen as a guest star on an episode of the hit show, “Californication”. Billy is also landed a featured role in the movie “K-11”, written and directed by Jules Stewart, and shot on location in Los Angeles.

According to legend, the first word out of Morrison’s mouth as a baby was… ‘motorbike’! Billy spent a couple of years as a motorcycle courier in London—something that holds a very low life expectancy and a very high level of insanity. But he survived the rain, wind and snow and finally made it over the water to the picturesque sunny climes of Los Angeles and the beautifully perfect, palm tree-lined motorcycling that SoCal offers.

Since then, Billy Morrison has appeared in several motorcycle publications, including Motorcyclist, Cycle News, Streetfighter Magazine, 2Wheel Tuner and MotoUSA, has written articles for SportBikesInc and has organized many co-branded, co-sponsored events for Alpinestars and Ducati motorcycles. The RockMoto website has profiled him and his club, the Hellfire Canyon Club, and Morrison was invited to attend the 2011 MotoGP at Laguna Seca and participate in Randy Mamola’s two-seater program. After his lap at speed with Randy on the two-seater MotoGP machine, Morrison simply stated… “f#*king awesome!”.

Morrison has set October 23, 2015, as the release date for his second solo album, GOD SHAPED HOLE. For this new studio album, Morrison is joined by Idol bandmates Steve Stevens and Erik Eldenius, as well as Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and rock legend Ozzy Osbourne, who sings a brand-new track written by himself and Morrison.

Billy Morrison is proof that when music and motorcycles mix, the result is not always a Harley Davidson, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tee shirt, and a can of beer.

INTERVIEW WITH BILLY MORRISON AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: I would have to admit, that I am stoked about interviewing our guest today. He has worked with some of the top performing artists of all time. Including as recently as Billy Idol. However, he has a solo career that has been accepted by many in the rock genre. I am an instant fan, which doesn’t happen often.

Guitar Thrills: Hello Billy. Thank you for sharing some insight into your experience as a guitarist / singer / songwriter. With the notable names you have performed with, why did you decide to pursue a solo career?

Billy: Well, I’m not actively “perusing” a solo career. It’s more a case of I felt I had something to say, some music inside me that I wanted to get out, and the opportunity to work with a few friends that I respect and admire.

Guitar Thrills: Was it something you always wanted to do, even while you were performing with other artists?

Billy:  I think that as a creative person, it’s a constant urge to get out what’s inside me. So, I don’t sit around thinking about being a solo artist! I make personal observations about the world around me, I enjoy writing and playing music, and this latest album just kind of…. happened!

Guitar Thrills: Who did you speak to first regarding your ambitions? What was the response?

Billy: By ‘ambitions’ I assume you mean the decision to make this album? I didn’t speak to anyone. One of the great things about having the technology to record in my own house is that I don’t have to speak to anyone - I can just do it.

Guitar Thrills: Did you have anyone advise you against it? or was there just positive fuel to your pursuits?

Billy: All the friends that contributed to this record did so with enthusiasm, a positive energy and continued support and I am grateful to them all.

Guitar Thrills: What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Billy: Getting sober

Guitar Thrills: Congratulations my friend. That is a HUGE achievement for anyone. However, the lasting effects from being sober will benefit your career and health. We wish you continued success on your sobriety.

Guitar Thrills: What do you hope to accomplish as a solo artist?

Billy: I don’t want to sound flippant, but I will have accomplished everything I wanted from this project the day the album becomes available. This is not about record sales, or a career, or recognition. This is about seeing an idea through to completion and having a cohesive set of 12 songs that define who I am musically, the emotions that I feel in my life, and sharing it with whoever chooses to check it out. That is, it.

Guitar Thrills: Is there any hesitation on how your sound will be received by fans that enjoyed your performances with other bands?

Billy: Absolutely none. This record was made for me. If someone else digs it, then that’s amazing. If you don’t like it, I’m good with that too. I just appreciate you giving it a spin.

Guitar Thrills: Who were some of your inspirations as a singer?

Billy: I was obviously influenced by John Lydon from the Sex Pistols. He was a front man unlike anything the world had ever seen or heard at the time. Liam Gallagher is also a huge influence on me, as is Ginger Wildheart from the UK band, The Wildhearts.

Guitar Thrills: Do you compare your guitar playing abilities with any other guitarist? If so, who would that be?

Billy: I would never compare my abilities with anyone else. I do what I do, the best I can, and I am aware of my strengths and my weaknesses.

Guitar Thrills: You have an upcoming album release called the Morrison Project. I am totally convinced that the song Drowning will be a smash hit. When do you anticipate the release of the video?

Billy: Thank you. The video is out now!

Guitar Thrills: How would you describe your music, and lyrics? Do you feel a need to be different than the other bands that are performing a similar sound?

Billy: It’s difficult to describe your own music. I have elements from many different genres on this album - from hip hop to EDM to classic rock and many others. I certainly don’t feel a need to be different… in fact I don’t feel a need to be anything other than myself.

Guitar Thrills: Are there any modern bands or artists that you think highly of?

Billy: There are many artists that I respect and admire currently. Yungblud is killing it right now and I’ve been a fan since his first independent release. I think Royal Blood are fantastic. Post Malone is a talent to be reckoned with - that guy can sing rock like you wouldn’t believe.

Guitar Thrills: I am really excited about you taking the time to chat with me today. I mentioned introduction about cult bands or artists. I have a feeling that your career as a solo artist is going to be more than that. Unfortunately, your name and abilities will no longer be the best-known secret. Too many fans of your genre are out there, just waiting for someone like Billy Morrison to make an impact on the music industry. Please feel free to keep us up to date with how the new album is going.

Billy: I really appreciate your words, and I hope the album speaks to someone out there. Thank you.




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