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Ten Questions with...

STEVE MORRIS (Heartland)

The guitarist Steve Morris has been involved in many projects including the AORsters Heartland, working with Ian Gillan on his solo material and a new project which features FM vocalist Steve Overland and drummer Thunder/Magnum/Bad Influence Harry James (does this man never sleep???).

Thanks to Claire Lee for passing on the questions.

1. What are you currently up to?

Currently I'm re -recording and producing some old 'F.M'. tracks for Escape, in my studio. These are songs which never made it to record,so I'm making them sound like they were recorded yesterday,which they were,and then getting Steve to come and re do the vocals,Pete to do the Kit,and Merv to stand around and look pretty [and play bass]!I'll then get Andy Barnet and Gary Hughes to do some solos along with mine. Sounding good,but it aint gonna lead to a re-union.

Steve and I have recorded a shit hot new album which we're about to master and that takes priority.He's someone I write with quite easily and we will make a few records together.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

High points of my career,I suppose opening show with Gillan at Moscow Olympic Stadium in front of 20,000.And writing songs with him as well.He's not a bad little singer!And also a charming man. Low points.Getting dropped by Epic with Export after recording a great record'Living in the Fear of the Private Eye'with Lance Quinn in Philadelphia.

3. Who have been your biggest influences on your career?

I'm influenced by many things.Bands-

Beatles, Cream, Zepplin, Purple,Allman Bros, Police, Foreigner, Eagles, Free,Bad Co., Steely Dan,and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Solo Artists-James Taylor,Ian Gillan, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrick, Joni Mitchell, Steve Stills, etc., etc, too many to mention.

Guitarists - Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Duane Allman, Ry Cooder, James Taylor, Joe Walsh, etc, etc.

Also my late father who was a great man and witty as hell.And on the family theme,my daughter Nina tells me whats good and bad today.She's at Birmingham Uni,reading Eng Lit,and is a red hot rock fan and a mean punk guitarist, so all I hear off her is Foo Fighters ,Green Day, and Reel Big Fish. So I'm not just listening to classic rock!

4. Heartland - what are the bands plans for 2003? Which countries have been the strongest markets for the band?

I have some new material for Heartland which I will give to Chris soon. Japan is our main market,but I would love a little more exposure in the States.

5. How did you hook-up with Ian Gillan? Any chance of some more Garth Rocket & the Moonshiners gigs/material in the future?

How did I meet Ian? Well, Phil Easton a rock D.J. with Radio City in Liverpool,was friendly with Ian,and when Ian was looking for a sideline to Purple, Phil suggested me to Ian,and we hooked up in between Purple commitments to do the Garth Rocket tour,and then we became writing partners and mates.

I have to say,the writing of Naked Thunder with Gillan was special.And then recording it with Simon Phillips, Pete Robinson and Tommy Eyre was fantastic.I'm writing some stuff with Ian at the moment which has been on-going for a year or so,due to Purple's touring and recording and I would love that to be available soon.

6. Your working on a new project with Thunder/Magnum drummer Harry James and FM/So! vocalist Steve Overland. Could you tell us a little more about this please?

The project with Steve Overland,has Harry James on Kit,and Chris Childs on Bass.It's a bluesy songs based record with a great feel to it.Harry and Chris are a great team,and I'd love to gig with them,but only if the record is happening.

7. What was the first album you appeared on? How has your guitar style developed down the years?

The first record I played on was Exports' debut album.I'm still a bluesy rock guitarist,although I'm playing more acoustic now,and a hell of a lot more bottleneck.

8. Outside of business, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Outside of Music?? Hmmmm. My family and the mighty Everton come high up,along with some reading chilling out at the gym.

Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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