Morgan Fisher was the keyboard player with British 70's rock band
Mott the Hoople, who also featured Mick Ronson & Ian Hunter amongst
their ranks. Morgan joined post-Hoople bands Mott & British Lions,
before embarking on a successful solo career.
1. What are you currently up
I am making a lot of music for TV ads - very interesting stuff they
ask for here, and of course it fits right in with my "Miniatures"
concept. Plus it pays my bills and lets me buy interesting vintage
electronic instruments like the Clavioline, Variophon, and Hammond
Extravoice (anyone out there heard of these?). I've also ordered a
small pipe organ and a hurdy-gurdy so I can get away from electronics
Next March I will play four and possibly six concerts in Tokyo and
Yokohama. I am really looking forward to them because I will be on
stage with my favourite Canadian singer, Jane Siberry (
http://www.janesiberry.com ). I'll accompany her at her shows and
she'll join me on mine. My shows will also feature a string quartet,
which will be delightful. For anyone who is passing this way (!) and
wants to come to the shows, there's more info at: http://www.morgan-
A review (in interestingly bad English) and photos of my last show
can be seen at: http://smash-jpn.com/mag/tour/02tr/020927morgan.HTML
I am also collaborating by mail on an album with Hans-Joachim
Roedelius of the 70's ambient synth band Cluster (who worked with
Brian Eno). One of the nicest people I've ever met. Info about him is
And I am about to release a limited-edition vinyl single called "Three
Faces" on an Austrian label, Klanggalerie. http://www.klanggalerie.com
2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpint(s) of your career?
So many it's hard to remember. Perhaps the final demise of the British
Lions was one of the most depressing - lousy manager and record
company and all that. But every cloud has a silver lining, so in a
way it was good because it led to me getting out of big showbiz and
setting up a home studio and indie label in 1978, which was certainly
a high point.
Who have been your main influences on your career?
Always a hard question as they are innumerable. But having recently
turned 53 I can look back and be fascinated by how my childhood
influences still remain - the sound of the sea and seagulls during my
summer holidays certainly affects the way I make ambient music now.
And my parents liking for French "chanson", with their glittering
orchestral arrangements (e.g., Charles Trenet and Edith Piaf) has
been a continuing influence. Not what you were expecting, perhaps,
but if I get into all the rock and jazz people who've inspired me
this email will be too long to send! Non-musical influences can be as
significant as musical ones - I am often more inspired by art and
photography than music as I don't know how they do it - so I get
the influence pure and can't analyse it.
What inspired your move into composing ambient music? You seem to
have made a big impact in Japan. How did this come about? Could you
take us through some of your personal highlights in the music you
I've just mentioned one important influence, but to be more specific,
in England in the mid-70's I was very moved by the new ambient music
of people like Eno and The Penguin Cafe Orchestra. I made my first
ambient album "Slow Music" in 1980 with sax hero Lol Coxhill. In
those days we didn't use samplers or computers, it was much more
hands-on - cutting up pieces of tape to make loops and so on - slow
The traditional culture of Japan has certainly inspired me too - I
came here on a whim in '85 and never left, it just felt right. People
are very respectful and receptive here - less cynical than in Europe
or the USA, so I felt OK to try new musical experiments, and the
response has been good.
One of my highlights was working with Yoko Ono on my "Echoes of
Lennon" album - she was thoroughly charming and cooperative, and told
me many stories about her life with John.
You toured with Queen in 1982 - how did you get the gig? What are
your fondest memories of that tour?
I got the gig because Brian May was one of several people I wrote to
when I was living in Brussels and was looking around to see if any
interesting jobs were available. I didn't expect him to ask me to
join his band! I guess he did because he'd known me since about '72
and felt I'd fit in well. As it turned out, the tour was less fun
than Mott because the shows were always so perfect - no room for
improvising. My fondest memory without a doubt is what happened
during one of Brian's nightly 20-minute guitar solos. The rest of the
band as usual went backstage, and Freddie, having heard Brian's
brilliant (but always the same) solo countless times, raised his eyes
to heaven and said in his very camp way, "Oh, let's go shopping!"
6. What were the highlights of your days in Mott the Hoople? How did
the fans take to British Lions?
Just going to the USA for the first time was a gas. I finally
understood and learned to love rock'n'roll (as opposed to rock, which
I'd always loved). Making "The Hoople" was great fun, not only
because I could contribute musically, but also because AIR was a
great studio and you never knew who you'd meet in the corridor or the
rest room - John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, Brian Ferry, Marc Bolan, and
of course, studio owner George Martin.
The Lions went down great almost everywhere, it was really
encouraging - and therefore really dispiriting when the manager and
record company did virtually nothing for us.
7. You have appeared on various albums including Hanoi Rocks. How
did that come about and any bands/artists that you would like to work
with in the future? Would you ever go back to being in a band
I think Pete'n'Buff were producing Hanoi. As for who I'd like to work
with, well Jane Siberry has been one I've thought about for years and
it's going to happen soon, so I'm delighted. I'd also be happy to
work with most of the artists on my two "Miniatures" albums, but who
knows how and when? I would be in a band again if it felt right. I've
worked with a few here in Japan already. But for now I've enough on
my plate with my own music and am more interested in thinking about
who to invite to work with me...
8. Last book that you read...
It was the life story of Jean Vigo, one of my favourite French film
directors. Julien Temple (director of "Absolute Beginners" and a Sex
Pistols movie) made a great film about his life. "Vigo - A Passion for
Life" I think it was called. Recommended! As of course are Vigo's
films (he only made four, and died aged 29).
9. Outside of business, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Photography, working on my website, walking, sleeping, bicycle
riding, fine wines, and most of all, spending time with my wonderful